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MySpace Meets American Idol

We are all winners, at one time or another, and we feel good when it happens. Consciously or not, these victories are fueled in large part by people's personal vanity. To want to win is a powerful force in all people that drives behavior patterns in virtually all demographic groups. That is why people LOVE contests. They love to win, or vote for who they think should win. They like to witness games of skill and challenge. All you have to do is look at the success and the buzz around shows like American Idol, Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, et cetera. That is why contests have long been a great value proposition for marketers, leveraging the powerful subconscious desires of people to compete and to fuel human vanities.

Create buzz around your brand with a UGM contest
With the ever increasing cost of creating compelling online contests and the exponential popularity of UGM sites like MySpace.com and YouTube.com, it has become clear to many marketers that online UGM contests are perhaps the best value for online spending. With UGM contests, the cumbersome task of creating content is offloaded to the same people whom the marketers are after. Furthermore, by carefully selecting the theme of the contest (e.g., best singer, best makeup, best bikini contest, cutest baby, et cetera), marketers can further target the audience demographics they are after.

Not all UGM contests are created equal
The selection of the UGM contest theme is absolutely crucial. If not selected and enforced properly, the UGM contest campaign may even have a negative result. Recently, a U.S. auto company launched a UGM campaign allowing users to create their own auto ads. The company was unpleasantly surprised when users created and posted quite a few not-so-complimentary ads for the company. Compare this to a UGM Bracketed Contest that a national brand recently launched using Contest Factory's UGM Bracketed Contest platform: the EVP of this national brand had the brilliant idea of inviting the public to compete in an online national audition to sing the company's jingle. In a short period of time, tens of thousands of people were uploading MP3 files, all singing the company's jingle and its catchy chorus line containing the company's brand name!

What is a UGM Bracketed Contest, you ask? It is what you get when you combine MySpace.com and American Idol, or it is like the NCAA Championship tournament, but where user generated content competes instead of the college basketball teams. If you are tired of the ordinary marketing campaigns like online sweepstakes and instant win scratch offs and are thinking about a UGM campaign, you may want to consider a UGM Bracketed Contest.


"Sexiest Lips contest" on SizzleFizzle.com

Here is a list of hidden benefits of UGM Bracketed Contests:

  1. Huge viral effect: When users submit their content to the contest, they immediately invite their friends and family members to register and vote for them. (It is important to select a UGM Bracketed Contest platform where you have the option of weighing the public votes against a panel of judges to prevent online ballot stuffing.)

  2. Increased number of return visits: Perhaps the most significant hidden benefit of UGM Bracketed Contests is the sharp increase in the number of return visits by the users. This is mainly due to the time-based nature of the Brackets system, where contestants and their fans keep coming back and visit the site to check the results of the last rounds and to vote in the future contest rounds.

  3. Increased length of visit: Even though the fans of a particular contestant visit and register on the site to vote for their friend or family member, a majority of them are attracted to check out the other contestants in the brackets. For example, on the all-brackets contest site SizzleFizzle.com, where it only takes about one minute to login and vote for a contestant, over 60 percent of the visitors spend five minutes or more, with over 15 percent spending over one hour on the site.

  4. Quality control of UGM submissions prior to posting: By the nature of bracketed contests, submissions to the contest should not be revealed to the public until a bracket is filled and its content approved. Make sure your UGM contest provider provides this feature and QA service.

  5. Viral lead acquisition: For accurate tracking of the contest votes, the UGM Bracketed Contest platform should require authenticated user registration. Therefore, in addition to the initial buzz created by the contest, marketers will end up with a very valuable opt-in user contact list for their future marketing campaigns.

  6. Setup once, use forever: Another great benefit of UGM Bracketed Contests is the fact that the viral effect continues far beyond the initial marketing campaign. Once the initial contest platform is set up, new contests can be added to the site at any time without any additional cost and long after the initial thrust of the campaign has ended.

With the right choice of platform, a bit of creative thinking, and an attractive prize incentive, the ROI of a UGM Bracketed Contest marketing campaign can be enormous. Whether it is a video, music, photo, tattoo, makeup, essay or … contest, you can be sure that online users will flock to your contest site, bringing others with them and continuing to come back long after the initial campaign.

Dr. Iman Foroutan is the chairman and CEO of Opus One Corporation, the parent company of www.MakeaSatr.com, www.FirstBuzz.com and www.ContestFactory.com. Read full bio.

<p>Dr. Iman Foroutan is the Chairman and CEO of Opus One Corporation, the parent company of <A href="http://www.contestfactory.com/">www.ContestFactory.com</A>. Iman is the visionary behind the patented "Make a Star" UGC Contest...

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