How Instant Gratification And Instant Win Contests Go Hand-in-Hand

We know that contests and giveaways are a great to way boost engagement, but have you ever tried an online instant win contest? We live in an amazing time where we have access to almost anything instantly. We have instant information at our fingertips with the internet, instant binge-worthy entertainment with Netflix, instant fast food on most streets, and instant consumerism with online shopping.

With all this access, people are getting into the habit of quick gratification stimulants. The word “instant” has significant weight in our fast-paced lives. A lot of good things in life take time, but immediate gratification is now our human default response. It’s becoming hard to overcome these urges and be patient, even for a video to load.

As the world progresses and changes, so do our marketing and business strategies. How can we avoid becoming part of the ongoing marketing noise? In this article, we will cover how to use the urgency of “now” with giveaways to stand out and get more interaction with your brand. In this article we will cover:

  • Why Instant Gratification Works
  • Online Instant Win Opportunities
  • Prizes for Online Winners
  • Instant Win Best Practices

Why Instant Gratification Works

“Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.” The Entrepreneur

Skip the line mentality

Disneyland is a magical place. It’s also an expensive place people feel obligated to go to several times in their lives. If you’ve been, you might have seen a FastPass clock. It essentially says, “If you’re in the regular line it will take X amount of time. If you have a FastPass it will take X amount of time (which is significantly shorter).” The strategy sells millions of FastPass’s for Disneyland each year as it feeds off of the “now mentality”. Time is so valuable we will pay a higher price just to avoid waiting. Let’s look at the psychology of waiting:

  1. Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
  2. Process-waits feel longer than in-process waits.
  3. Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
  4. Uncertain waits seem longer than known, finite waits.
  5. Unfair waits are longer than fair waits.
  6. The more valuable the service, the longer the customer is willing to wait.
  7. Solo waits feel longer than group waits.

There is a psychological discomfort associated with self-denial. Our human instinct is to catch the reward we have at hand.

We naturally avoid pain. Waiting is a form of pain, and that’s why instant is so satisfying. Allowing consumers to “skip” the waiting period to see if they won a contest is a lot more appealing than waiting for an outcome, even if that outcome has a chance to be bigger. We ultimately know that “good things come to those who wait,” but waiting has been a struggle since the beginning of time.

During the caveman era, food availability was uncertain. The likelihood of survival was greater if humans grabbed the smaller immediate rewards of food rather than waiting for the larger wooly mammoth reward that could be greatly delayed. Our ancestors could never be certain a future reward would ever present itself. We can utilize this same mentality with marketing our giveaways by offering a call to action with an immediate reward outcome.

Online Instant Win Hosting Opportunities

When I think about instant winners, I imagine a carnival game where you spin the wheel and a man in a white and red jacket hands you a prize.

Well, how do instant winners work online? And wouldn’t there be thousands of prizes to distribute? Yes! And that is what you want! The more interactions the better! Here’s a list of instant win opportunities you can host online boosting user engagement:

Online instant win games

These games are usually a one or two click guessing game that will automatically give a prize. Having these as a pop up right before viewers leave your site is a great way to lengthen page time before the consumer goes clicking to other domains.

Online Surveys

Online surveys can collect great information about who is actually visiting and willing to engage with your website. Simply ask for some quick opinions for a chance to win. Great way to find out what the consumer really wants.

Online gambling style slots

Pretty self-explanatory, and pretty surprising how people respond. There is a sense of adventure with gambling, especially when they don’t have to sacrifice anything except time.

Simple information input

Sometimes all you need is a first name, last name, and email address. Getting a newsletter following is huge and will help for years to come with sales.

Online scratch cards

Do you remember these games as a kid? Rather than looking for a penny to scratch with, just a click of a button to see if you won anything.

Instant online Lottery

This can be a combination of all of the above, but using the word “lottery” will catch the peoples eye!

Prizes for Online Winners

Now that you have some ideas of some instant win games you can do to grow your company, what are the prizes going to be? Surprisingly enough, you are probably giving them away already.

Promotional Products

Promotional material budget depends on the industry, but according to the New York Times, American Businesses spend up to 20 Billion dollars a year on promotional products.

According to Jerry McLaughlin, president of Branders, one of the largest sellers of promotional products online. “Promotional products are, some say, the oldest form of advertising. American businesses spend $20 billion a year giving away stuff with logos, which is pretty good evidence that it works. Mr. McLaughlin credits the effectiveness of promotional products to centuries-old cultural norms around the rule of reciprocity. “If you give something, the recipient is honor bound to give something back,” he said. “In every language and culture, research has found there are really pejorative words for people who get and don’t give back. We, humans, are hard-wired to respond if we get something.” The Surprising Power Of Promotional Products

Instant information

If you are a smaller company and don’t have a huge budget for physical items to ship, you can always give value through the informational electronic material. If you provide an online course that requires a payment, have that as a giveaway. Your expertise is valuable! Give detailed and in-depth information for your craft that your online enthusiasts can sink their teeth into.

Free instant downloads

This could be anything downloadable!  Patterns, pictures, and even recipes! You can easily provide a resource for people to download with just a few clicks. Doing so gives them a level of instant satisfaction.

Discount Codes

Discount codes are often distributed by companies to customers. Try doing a contest allowing potential customers to gamble for a higher discount and see the interaction skyrocket. Everyone feels good getting a deal!

One month free subscription

Do you have a monthly subscription you could provide? This doesn’t take any more of your time, just adding an email or physical address to for a higher monthly subscription. They might like it so much and decide it is worth paying for!

Amazon gift cards

Amazon gift cards should be a love language. It speaks to pretty much everyone that orders online. These gift cards can be sent electronically and allow the consumer to buy anything they want!

Event tickets

Does your company get local event tickets? Use this opportunity to create an instant online giveaway. Fans will love it and feel a commitment for you as you provided an experience to remember.

Movie passes

Everyone goes to the movies as an escape from the work week. Providing movie tickets doesn’t cost much from the budget and consumers can choose which movie they see.

Best Practices For Instant Online Giveaways

When you post a promotional campaign, you are really asking people to participate with your brand. This is a crucial time to start building loyalty. You only have about 10 seconds before they click away. The instant giveaway must have a clear call to action and present a possible immediate  “value” for the participant. So much value they will weigh the options and start to engage.

Instant means instant

Don’t tell them it’s an instant win contest and then make them take extra steps. This will leave them feeling deceived and have a bad taste in their mouth for your brand. They will click out before knowing if they won or not.  Set up an auto email response for results so they know you appreciate them playing, and revealing the outcome.

Make sure the prize aligns with your brand

The monetary value of the prize doesn’t have to be high, it just has to coincide with your company and the spirit of our brand. If you’re a gardening company, you’re missing a huge opportunity by awarding free pizzas coupons for your giveaways.  You would be missing a prime opportunity to further brand your contest. Check out the tried and tested branding tips for Facebook contests.

Build a campaign that encourages people to keep coming back

Hosting a successful giveaway is nice, but if you can create one that has guests coming back multiple times is even better. You can even set up a campaign allowing them to “try again tomorrow” and have multiple chances to win.

Don’t forget to promote!

As marketers, we know that good promotion is key. Not promoting your contest is like building a great store and not telling anyone where to find it. With social media, there are so many ways to get the word out and award people for sharing it with their friends and family. For example, you can optimize your company Facebook page for the current giveaway you are running.

Figure Out The Small Print

All giveaways have small print and it’s a good idea to have those detailed out before hosting anything. Woobox can handle most of this, but it’s still important to talk with your legal team. If you are giving away something that costs hundreds of dollar there is a chance the winner will still owe taxes. Give them a heads up so they are not surprised.


In conclusion, these instant online giveaways can be done in multiples ways resulting in higher levels of engagement and enthusiasm from consumers. The prizes can be easily distributed with electronic or promotional material that you already give away. The customer will appreciate the prompt result and not hesitate to engage.

At Woobox, we love seeing people and businesses succeed. We provide free tools to help you customize instant online giveaways that correlate with your specific brand. We help regulate how many winners there are, what prizes are given away, and how to automate responses making it a great experience for you as well as the consumer. A subscription is only required to publish and run a campaign.

Best of Luck!