Blog Giveaways – How People Lose

Did you know that by sharing a blog giveaway, you're REDUCING your chances to win!? Sounds nuts - but there's math behind it! http://mathfour.com/?p=9844 This morning I entered a blog giveaway. But I didn’t enter in all the ways I could.

I stopped when I was prompted to “share this on Facebook” to get an extra entry.

I thought, “I don’t want more people to enter. I want me to win. And if I share, I’ll let others in.”

Bad Bon! I know – but that’s how I am.

Which sparked me thinking about the math behind winning – and losing – if you get more entries.

Entering a blog giveaway is easy.

In blog giveaways you enter by commenting on the post. The blogger also gives you the opportunity to earn more chances of winning by doing other things.

These include following her on Twitter or Pinterest, or liking her Facebook fan page. And you get even more chances to win by sharing the giveaway.

And that’s where things start to go bad for you.

Increasing your chance of winning actually decreases your chances!

The more you share, the more you water down your chances to win. Here’s how:

Suppose you find a blog giveaway with five entry opportunities. One of those requires you to share the giveaway on Facebook.

You do everything that’s required. You even posted on Facebook, “I just entered this giveaway, you should too!”

So you got all 5 chances. Yay you.

At the time you entered, there were 19 other people who entered, and each got five chances, too.

You + 19 = 20 people entered

20 people \times 5 chances each = 100 entries.

So now you have 5 chances out of 100 to win the giveaway – that’s a 5% probability of winning. Not bad.

But wait… you shared on Facebook!

Since you shared this on Facebook, tons of your friends saw the giveaway. Five entered and got five chances each. (Which means they shared on Facebook too.)

Your friends changed your chances to win:

20 people before + 5 more people = 25 people entered

25 people \times 5 chances each = 125 entries

So now you have 5 out of 125 chances to win – bringing you down to a 4% probability of winning.

Okay, sure. That’s still not bad.

But your friends shared on Facebook, too!

Supposed the Facebook “share” from your 5 friends got five more people each. So that’s 5 \times 5 = 25 more people. With 5 more entries for each of those!

Now the numbers are:

25 people from before + 25 more people = 50 total people entered

50 people \times 5 chances each = 250 entries

So now your chance is 5 out of 250 – a whopping 2% probability. You’ve more than chopped your chance of winning in half – just because you wanted another entry!

Am I pessimistic?

I’ll admit that this sounds very negative.

What’s the real point in sharing something? Human connection.

Bloggers have good stuff to offer, and their readers know it. And they want to share with others.

But there is math behind all this.

Just don’t forget that part too.

Post your thoughts in the comments. And share via Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook – you won’t change your chances to win anything!



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3 Responses to Blog Giveaways – How People Lose

  1. Karleen Mauldin says:

    Bon, I’m in no way a “math” person, but yes, I figured that out a long time ago!! I’m like you — why do I want *more* people to enter since that will *reduce* my chances of winning?! Ha! Plus, I don’t like my FB newsfeed clogged with “so-n-so entered a contest–you can too!” so I really don’t want to do that to others. So even trying to be nice & considerate will reduce the number of times you are entered in a contest.

  2. Bad Bon. I love the article, now I don’t know what to do. I host giveaways myself so I better keep sharing. Now I will think of you every time I enter (and share) a giveaway and the math behind it!
    Rene Qpon Junkie recently posted..PetSmart In-Store Freebies (with purchase) & Ad Coupon Matches

  3. T. says:

    Evil, evil social media…

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