How to Do a YouTube Giveaway

One of the easiest and at the same time, most effective ways of growing your YouTube channel is by organizing a giveaway on YouTube or a so-called YouTube contest. But there are some dos and don’ts about these marketing methods, and we’re going to detail all of them below. 

We will also give you some tips and tricks on how to make your giveaway popular. Make sure you check out the plan that we’ve showcased in this article as it is packed with useful information. 

How to do a YouTube giveaway

What are you looking to achieve?

This is the first question that you have to ask yourself. If you do not know the purpose of your giveaway, you aren’t going to achieve anything and you might also spend some money on getting the prize. 

The typical goals of any YouTube contest or giveaway range from increasing your brand’s awareness or engaging with your community to simply gathering more likes and subscribers (that is, if you are a professional YouTuber). 

You can also use the giveaway as a means of promoting a product or service so long as you tell people that one of the rules for joining the contest is to share the video in which you’ve mentioned said product. 

You can get a bit creative with your goals in that you can ask giveaway participants to both subscribe to your YouTube channel and follow you on Facebook or Instagram (depending on what social media account you want to grow besides your channel). 

Something that might be a tad too complicated would be for you to use a giveaway platform where you give people points for each action they have completed. 

Unfortunately, this method is rarely worth it and people can just lose patience and avoid joining the giveaway altogether if they see that they have to login and do a lot of actions in order to join your contest. 


If your prize isn’t all that great, you’re probably not going to get a lot of people joining the giveaway, right? 

Well, not necessarily. Folks love free stuff and some will simply join your contest because they want a freebie, not because they’re genuinely interested in the product or service you are offering. 

However, the prize does have to somehow be relevant to your audience. Otherwise, they might just not be that interested. 

For example, if you are a booktuber, the best idea would be for you to give a book away. The suggestion that we have for you, in this case, is to look for a shop that orders everywhere in the world and that does that for free. Bookdepository is a great example.

This way, you’ll effectively be buying someone a book without paying for transportation and they’ll just tell you what book they want. You can set a limit of $15, for instance, so they can pick any book under that threshold. 

Giving away a physical book that you already own can be quite complicated if you have an international audience, because you’ll have to pay for potentially very expensive post office fees. 

On the other hand, you have the option of making the contest national, which means that you’d send out the prize only to residents of the country you live in. 

If you are in the marketing or general online niche, things are much easier as you can basically give away subscriptions to services such as Ahrefs, POP, SEMRush, or any other marketing tools that you might have mentioned or might have explained in your videos. 

Obviously, this automatically eliminates the transportation fee complication since anyone can get those tools. 

So, when thinking about the prize of your contest, one of the best YouTube giveaway ideas is to consider your audience’s needs, but your own, too. 

How will you promote your giveaway?

There are lots of ways of promoting your giveaway from using actual YouTube ads to asking people to share your videos on social media. 

However, we would like to note that the second method doesn’t really work that well these days, since Facebook and other social media networks are basically now working against competitors.

Therefore, the algorithm is going to make it so that your sharers’ post is not going to appear in lots of people’s newsfeed. 

While that is a clear downside, there are other ways of promoting your contest, such as the following:

  • Email marketing 
  • Paid ads on LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, or YouTube (not on Facebook)
  • Write a blog post or even a guest post about your giveaway and embed the video into it
  • Tell people that they get more points if they share it on social media

There’s also the option of you collaborating with a similar YouTuber. For instance, you can both organize two giveaways at the same time and ask both of your audiences to like the videos and subscribe to both of the channels. And share them. 

To give you an example, if you are in the content marketing or SEO niche, one of you can offer a subscription to SEMRush and the other can offer a subscription to Surfer SEO.

Create clear rules

We should have probably mentioned this right at the beginning of our post, but it’s still worth noting here. 

Your audience has to know what to expect when joining your contest. First of all, you should take the time to read YouTube’s Community Guidelines to make sure that your giveaway or the participants aren’t going against any of the rules. 

Then explain in as much detail as possible what the contest is, its prize, and what people have to do in order to join. 

If you have a situation where, for example, the platform you want to use for delivering the prize doesn’t send out products to certain countries, refer to the page on that website in your description box. 

It would be awful for someone to win the giveaway only to find out that they cannot receive the prize because of any shipping rules that a site might have. 

Include some of the following information:

  • Any age restrictions
  • Local restrictions
  • Include a privacy notice where you tell people how you use the data you collect about them
  • Mention a partnership if you are sponsored by a brand and offering their product
  • Tell people when and where they’re going to find out who won
  • Mention a start date and an end date to your giveaway – you might get comments even after months and months have passed since many folks aren’t paying attention, but comments are engagement so that will work in your favor

Another aspect worth adding here is that your giveaway should always be completely free to join. Even if you ask people to like and share your video or subscribe to your channel, they should never have to pay anything to join your contest. 

Finally, make sure you know what type of giveaway you’re actually organizing. Most of these events can fall under three main categories:

  • Contests
  • Sweepstakes
  • Lotteries

In some states, organizing a lottery is illegal, so do keep that in mind. Do your research before running any of these as you might be risking a serious fine depending on where your business is based. 

Keep it simple

Like we were saying previously, it is highly important for you to keep your giveaway as simple as possible. 

Don’t make overly complicated rules. You definitely have to have a set of rules, but if people have to go through a really lengthy process to finally join your contest, you’re not going to see much success at all. 

If you’re thinking that maybe you might be able to gain some content, think again. These days people do not have the patience to write an opinion piece, an essay, or even a guest post on anything. As much as it might pay off, they don’t want to do it. They’d rather consume content rather than creating it. 

Do keep in mind that most Internet users do not like to give away their personal information that easily. So if you’re creating an entry form where you ask them a lot of personal questions, they’re probably not going to want to join your giveaway.

As previously stated, you have to make sure that you tell them clearly when and where they can expect to check out the results of the contest. You know what people we’re referring to here — those that always have a negative comment if they haven’t been notified that the results were published. 

Announcing your winners

There are several ways of announcing your winners. For example, if you’ve asked people to follow you on Instagram so as to increase your number of followers and engagement on this platform, you can simply create a story where you film how you’re picking the winner. 

But since you’re on YouTube, the best way of picking a winner is by creating and publishing a new YouTube video about it. That way, if people ask about the results, you can just refer them to that video — all the time. 

YouTube giveaway pickers

Just how are you going to select the winner of your giveaway? Well, if you have 500 subscribers and there are 40 people joining your contest, you probably can just write down all of the names of the folks that have participated on small pieces of paper, mix them up in a hat, and just pick one. 

But if you have thousands of subscribers or more, it’s not going to be that easy. 

That’s where a YouTube giveaway picker comes in. We’ve created a short selection of some of the best ones out there. 

Comment Picker

From what we have gathered, there are two ways of using this tool. You can either install a separate Chrome extension so that you have it on hand for the next time you organize a contest or you can use the online picker that they have available on their site. 

Whichever of these two methods you choose, the fact is that this one’s among the easiest to use pickers out there, so it is worth checking out. 

The Pick a Winner functionality in TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is one of the best tools for YouTube we’ve ever come across and we’ve mentioned it in some of our other posts, too. But did you know that this amazing tool actually includes a winner picking feature?

Best of all, it’s completely free, so it’s not addressed only to those that are paying for TubeBuddy!

Wheel Decide

Although it might be less known compared to some of the other YouTube comment pickers we’ve mentioned here, the truth is that this one’s pretty nifty, too.

Read more: How to increase YouTube traffic

The best feature that we found in Wheel Decide is that it lets you record the whole process as you are picking the winner. The user experience might not be something worth writing home about though since inputting a lot of participants takes some time. There could be the option of you uploading a txt file, instead. 


This random YouTube comment picker app is another that you should consider, especially if you regularly use your phone for managing your channel. We do have to note that it only works with Android devices, so that’s worth considering. 

The best thing about it is that you can pick several winners at the same time. The app will ask you to input the number of winners you want selected and simply type in the URL of your YouTube video to get everything done for you. 

If you’ve gotten less than 10,000 comments on your video or up to 150 comments on your Instagram post, you can use this tool for free. You don’t have to log into your account or do anything remotely complicated. 

Moreover, this is a web version, so you can use it on any browser from any device. 

Read more: Ranking a video on YouTube

Final words

YouTube giveaways are amazing for growing an audience or building awareness about your brand. 

So long as you stick to the platform’s community guidelines and create clear and specific rules, there should be nothing stopping you from using this marketing technique to your advantage. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!


author avatar
Craig Campbell
I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 19 years. In this time I have gained extensive knowledge in the subject of SEO and have build up a wealth of experience in SEO and other digital marketing services.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 22 years.

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