How This Old House Monetizes Its Sweepstakes Forms
Form demographics used for instant, targeted engagement ads post-action.
Publishers are constantly searching their brand platform's nooks and crannies for incremental revenue streams. Time Inc.'s This Old House found one on its online sweepstakes entry form pages. The brand has partnered with subscriber acquisition firm Opt-Intelligence to monetize entry forms with engagement ads served up based on the demos a visitor uses to fill out the form.
This Old House executes four or five contests each year. Some are part of an advertiser package, others are done for internal consumer engagements. Entry volume ranges from 200,000 to an annual summer sweepstakes that channels more than two million entries.
But in all cases, the brand pays a third party to host the contests. Costs can range between $5,000 and $10,000, says TOH digital director Russ Vance. The Opt-Intelligence solution provides a source of revenue that can help a contest break even and sometimes break a profit.
How It Works
After a consumer fills out the contest form, those demographics are bounced against Opt-Intelligence's ad inventory, as well as a third-party provider to collect a little more data about that person, and the thank-you page will feature opt-in engagement ads targeted to that user.
In many cases, the ads can come from small businesses from that person's location or from national brands. The page might feature an offer for a local restaurant's newsletter, for example, or something similar from a brand like The Home Depot.
Either way, the user engages within the ad on that same page, they don't click away to another site. Click rates vary greatly across verticals, but the average is around 12 percent.
RPMs tend to be heftier than standard display, averaging $180, says Opt-Intelligence chief revenue officer Rob Massa. And the solution isn't exclusive to sweepstakes. Other sign-up forms, newsletters or website registration, for example, will work, too.
After the revenue share with Opt-Intelligence, that's usually enough for This Old House to cover the host costs of its sweepstakes, and even make a profit. "It's not an exact science," says Vance. "Our costs are fixed on the sweepstakes, but if it catches fire, it can go anywhere from breaking even to making some money."
Further, the customer profiles generated by the sweepstakes and the ads they're matched against are more ammunition for the sales team. Form activity might surface a brand that doesn't currently run with This Old House, which now has evidence to leverage into a more progressive campaign.
In the case of a unit served up from an existing advertiser, TOH can use that data to reinforce it's reaching the right audience.
Lastly, adds Vance, cost coverage removes much of the risk. "When we do a sweepstakes for an advertiser, we have to factor in the cost [to host] versus the buy. Having the ability to monetize the sweepstakes takes some of that worry away, which frees us up to make more aggressive proposals."