Are Contests Good For Your YouTube Channel?

YouTube is full of contests, and in the Lego YouTube community you can find loads of giveaways, MOC contests, animation competitions, and contests of many other kinds. On Gold Puffin, we have more than our fair share.

We have a giveaway on the first Monday of every month. We have the “Where in The World is Samson” challenges. And we have the “Face Reveal Game”. On top of that, there are stop motion competitions and MOC contests when we reach subscriber milestones.

Some of these contests have been really popular – like the “Heroes” stop motion contest, which got 113 entries. Throughout the contest, I brought out regular updates so that everyone could watch all the entries on the “Heroes” page of this website. It created a real buzz in the community, and loads of people tuned in to the premiere of the top 20 and winner announcement video. Not only that, the winners of the contest, Animated Brick Builders, were invited onto TV in the US to talk about their triumph.

Below: The "Winner announcement" video for my 2500 subscriber contest currently has around 3000 views. Stop motion contests on Gold Puffin have created a real buzz.

But other contests have been less popular. For example, the “Where in the World is Samson” series videos often get only two or three hundred views within their few days. Even some giveaway videos have only reached around 500 views. And looking across the Lego community on YouTube, I see that some channels have a hard time with hosting stop motion contests and MOC contests, only managing to get one or two entries by the time the contest closes.

What’s more, I found that when I hosted the “Heroes” competition, the growth of my channel actually slowed down for around a month, and I was getting around half the number of new subscribers per day that I was getting previously.

So are contests actually bad for your YouTube channel?

I think it depends. Here are a couple of reasons why you might not want to host a contest:

1. It takes too much time:

Hosting a contest could be bad for your channel if it takes up a lot of your time, and stops you from making other content. That’s what happened to me – I was so busy reviewing dozens of animations, making update videos, and adding content to my website, that I had no time left to make content that would interest new subscribers.

2. If you don’t have enough subscribers

Hosting a contest might also not work out well if you have very few subscribers. Unless you’re lucky, your contest announcement will probably only be seen by your subscribers and a handful of other people. And usually you’ll find that only a small proportion of them will be interested in entering and able to do so. For my 2500 subscriber special contest, I had around 60 entries – which sounds like a lot, but it’s only around 2% of my subscribers. For my 7500 subscriber special, it was around 1.5% of my subscribers who entered. Based on this level of participation, you would need 100 subscribers to get just two entries into your stop motion contest.

But it’s not all negatives, because there are at least 3 great reasons why hosting contests could be good for your channel.

1. Subscriber participation

YouTube subscribers don’t just want to watch your videos – very often, they want to get involved as well. Hosting a contest is a great way for your subscribers to feel that they are part of your channel, and for them to get to interact with you. This helps to build loyalty and support for your channel, and gives people a reason to stick around.

Below: The winner announcement of my MOC Contest. For this contest, I chose my top 10 MOCs and then let viewers vote on which one they thought should win.

2. It’s fun

Fun should always be an important factor in whatever you do with your YouTube channel. If you think you would enjoy hosting a contest, that’s a good enough reason to do it. And hosting contests is fun, and a good experience. Just remember that some people might put in a lot of effort to take part in your competition, so be sure to acknowledge that and give folks the appreciation they deserve.

3. It helps other channels

Taking part in stop motion contests or MOC contests is a great way to get feedback on your videos, and to get new people watching them. It can also motivate you to make a video within a particular timeframe, giving you that all-important nudge to get started. Another positive is that it can be good for people to compete against other channels, as a bit of friendly competition can get everyone to improve. So hosting a successful contest is actually a great way to help out your community on YouTube.

All in all, I would say that hosting contests is not likely to boost your channel popularity, but I recommend doing it if you enjoy it and if you have the time.

I’ve certainly had a lot of fun hosting stop motion and MOC contests on my channel, but I’ll be waiting until I reach 9000 subscribers for my next MOC contest, and until at least 10,000 for my next stop motion competition.

Find out more about contests on Gold Puffin here.

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