Nate Elliott[Posted by Nate Elliott]

Chances are you've seen an online video contest lately. In fact,
you've probably seen a lot of them: more than 20% of interactive
marketers — including category leaders like P&G, Nike, Coca-Cola
and Sony — tell Forrester they've run campaigns asking users to submit
online content in the past year. I've been collecting a list of dozens
of great video contests, and one contest clearinghouse site says there are 115 user-generated video contests accepting submissions right now, across a huge range of categories.


Some of these contests — like Tourism Queensland's Cannes-Lion-winning "The Best Job in the World" contest, or Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" contest — generate a lot of media coverage. But there are many hundreds more each year, promoting everything from steak sauce to psoriasis research, that don't get as much notoriety.

are so many marketers running online video contests? Because users love
online contests almost as much as they love online video — and because
user-generated video contests can help marketers achieve a huge range
of marketing objectives.

Video contests let marketers listen to their customers and learn about their needs — like student loan provider Access Group,
which asked law students to enter videos about their concerns and then
used insights from those videos to create its "Student Loans, No
Worries" ad campaign. Contests can help marketers energize users an
drive a viral marketing effect — like Servus Credit Union,
which encouraged entrants to develop their own marketing campaigns to
drum up votes, and found the three finalists generated as much
publicity as the credit union's PR firm did. And they can give
marketers access to cheap, original online video content — like ski
resort Sunshine Village, which used its contest to generate a video library of its mountain's trails and terrain.

Of course, not every video contest succeeds. They often take months to plan, they can cost anywhere from $10,000 to
$250,000 or more, and they usually require the coordinated efforts of
several internal departments and external vendors. And if you don't
get the "three Ps" right (choosing the right premise, offering the right prize, and picking the right
promotional strategy) you could fall flat on your face.

I've spent the last two months studying hundreds of contests,
and have just published two new reports on the
topic. User-Generated Video Contests: Best Practices For Driving More Entries And Creating Viral Impact
is designed to help marketers understand which users they should target
with video contests, what goals they can achieve, and how to get the
most value from their contests. Video Contest Checklist: How To Choose The Right Premise, Prize, And Promotion For Your Contest
contains a checklist that guides marketers through every single step in
the contest process — including choosing a contest premise, selecting
a prize, planning a promotional strategy, choosing a voting structure,
picking a vendor, setting a schedule, establishing a budget, getting
internal buy-in, and measuring the results.

Over the next few
days, I'll be publishing some of the most important lessons I've
learned in my research — including the best promotional strategies
I've seen, and mini-case studies on what makes contests successful — on my personal blog.

In the meantime, if you've been thinking of
running a user-generated video contest — or if I've convinced you it's
a good idea — drop me a line (nelliott at forrester dot com). I'd be
happy to work with you on making your video contest a success.