The Difference between Narrative Entry and Technical Entry

Look at many sites and blogs running competitions or giveaways, and you’re likely to see something resembling the below:

[hl type=”colored”]To enter our competition, do the following:

Simply email [email protected]

Follow us on twitter @windscreenwashers

Fan us on FB

Leave a comment below

Share every day

Good luck LOL :)[/hl]

Here are the questions that something like this immediately throws up:

  1. Can the promoter fairly record, weigh, and draw from these entries in a demonstrably fair way?
  2. Does anyone believe that the promoter actually can draw entries fairly?

The answer to both of these questions is “probably not”.  The above example is a narrative entry.  It’s fairly obvious that tracking Facebook, Twitter, email, and comments, recording those entries centrally, weighting those entries if one entry method is worth more than another, and then drawing fairly from the qualified entries is at best difficult, and at worst too difficult to bother with.  What results is an unfair draw.  A good portion of your entrants will be smart enough to know this.  Maybe they won’t care, but maybe they will.

A good rule of thumb for avoiding PR blowback and complaints about your competition under any circumstances is:

Am I inviting a question that I can’t answer?

If you are, you are giving someone (an entrant, a compliance body, or a competitor) an opportunity to damage your reputation publicly.  So how to mitigate this?

Technical entry allows for you to record, weigh, and draw entries more easily, reliably, and fairly, and importantly, demonstrate to your entrants that you can.  What does this mean?  A direct interface between the entry method, and the database to which you record the entry.  The upside to this is that entrants are more likely to convert (i.e. enter), and are more likely to enter via multiple entry methods, if applicable.  So, how do you do that?

Well, you can build it!  It’s no secret that there are contest and sweepstake SaaS solutions, that give you widgets to track multiple entries in a more technical way, but building your own technical entry allows you to craft a promotion (or a game) that is more visually exciting, more fun to play, more readily shared, and more credible.

Here’s an interesting example

We built; a responsive free-to-play bingo (instant win) style game.  Users can sign up via email as a primary sign up, with additionally incentivised Facebook or Twitter sign up.  To gain extra entries, players can:

  • Play every day
  • Share socially (at a daily interval) or link social accounts
  • Directly invite friends via uniquely generated referral code


Importantly, players can see in real time what entries they’ve earned.  They don’t need to wait for anyone to check and record them.  And, the combination of recurring sharing, daily entry, and friend invite (all of which are instantly and demonstrably incentivised) produces a flywheel, meaning the game develops a viral coefficient (or K Factor) of more than 1.

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