Brands and influencers have learned that the best way to build their YouTube audience is to run a sweepstakes or giveaway on YouTube. A giveaway is the perfect opportunity to ask people to like, comment and share your content with the world in exchange for an entry. You must use caution when running a giveaway, however, to ensure you do not get into any trouble with YouTube or the law. Here are some simple things to check to make sure you stay out of trouble.
First and foremost, if you are doing a giveaway, you must follow the YouTube community and promotion guidelines. They were last updated a few years ago but are still in effect. We have a whole post available in what those mean – and pay attention because YouTube can shut down your account if you do not play by their rules.
Be sure not to break any state, federal and international laws and follow all special legal guidance. Check when running your giveaway that you have official rules that state where your giveaway is available, and the dates and entry requirements, very clearly.
If you are running your giveaway in the United States it also means you should follow native ad guidance for disclosures if you have been paid to promote any products or services, you talk about those products or services in your video, or if the prizes for the giveaway were provided as an endorsement. A good rule of thumb is to verbally disclose endorsements in any video you post regarding your giveaway and use hashtags that show if your post is a paid endorsement or advertisement. If you are asking people to enter by commenting or posting their own content, be sure to ask them to use the #sweepstakes or #giveaway hashtag in their entries, along with another unique hashtag, so you can both track entries AND meet compliance standards for disclosures.
If you are keeping track of entries by tracking hashtags, then make sure you use a unique hashtag. A generic hashtag could accidentally award your prize to someone that never heard of your brand! Test out potential hashtags to make sure no one else is using them before you start your giveaway.
A giveaway should have a winner randomly selected from all entrants – so make sure your winners are selected randomly. If winner selection is based on skill or popularity, then it becomes a contest which has its own set of legal implications.
The value of your giveaway prize should also be considered before you start your giveaway. If you give away a prize valued at $600 or over in the United States you must have tax paperwork filed. And in other countries certain prizes cannot be used at all. Research what your local prize laws are first. And do not undertake an international giveaway unless you consult a lawyer or promotional marketing specialist first.
If you need help with your next giveaway on YouTube, contact us. We can help!
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