The influence of rewards in online campaigns

Every consumer will recognize it: “That is a nice prize, I would love to win that.” Exactly, that is the effect of a reward on the motivation of a consumer. But what is the reason for it? In the next paragraphs, we will give you an answer on this question.


What is a reward?

A reward is ‘something’ that you earn or give away for a service or action provided. Earning a salary is the most known form of a reward. An employee earns a certain sum of money for work related activities carried out in that month. Other kinds of rewards are receiving a golden medal at the Olympic Games or receiving a treat when you had tidied up your room when you were younger.


In literature, the term ‘reward’ is often split up. Both tangible and intangible rewards exist. Tangible rewards are salaries or products that you receive for a specific action carried out. A pat on the shoulder, on the contrary, is an example of an intangible reward. In addition, a reward can also be expected or unexpected.


Rewards and consumer motivation

One of our earlier blogs on consumer motivation (link) described the difference between itrinsical and extrinsical motivations. Intrinsical motvation means that the consumer is carrying out an action for the joy and challenge that he or she feels inside. In case of extrinsical motivation, a consumer is being influenced by external factors such as rewards in money or products.


Rewards actually undermine the intrinsical motivation of the consumer. In other words, a suitable reward causes that a consumer with a low intrinsical motivation still gets motivated (extrinsically). However, the consumer only takes part in the contest to win the prize.


It is important to note that there is a difference between expected rewards and unexpected rewards. Expected rewards are announced in advance; something is promised to the consumer. Unexpected rewards, on the contrary, only follow (unannounced) after completing the activitiy. Expected rewards have a direct influence on the extrinsical motivation of the consumer, the intrinsical motivation is in this case of a minor priority. This is in contrast with unexpected rewards, where you only remunerate consumers that carry out an action as a result of intrinsical motivation.


Rewards in online campaignsLike share and win

A lot of online campaigns use rewards. Take for example the ‘like, share and win’ contests, they are widely known. In this kind of contest, durable consumer goods, such as iPads, are often used as a ‘prize’. But what is a good reward for an online campaign?


When setting up and continuing accounts on social media channels, every organisation defines the goals that need to be achieved. There are various goals that companies might want to achieve with social media. Some examples are improving brand awareness and brand knowledge or maintaining customer relationships. Usually, the intention is to achieve these goals by online campaigns.


An organisation or brand prefers to only have intrinsically motivated followers or fans on its social media channels. In general, the best way to realize this is to keep the rewards close to the core of the brand (link). Make sure that the reward is relevant for the target group. In case of a shoe brand, reward your fans with a free pair of shoes. Consumers will easily connect the name of the brand to the type of product when you use highly relevant rewards. This is in favor of both the brand awareness and the brand knowledge.


Mainly expected rewards

Brands often use expected rewards in their online campaigns. The reward is in this case communicated ahead of the campaign. For bigger brands, it is advised to work with unexpected rewards. This makes that only the real fans, the brand ambassadors, will take part in the online campaign of the brand. In this way, you will reach the intrinsically motivated consumer. A consumer that is of a high value to your brand. Besides, it is recommended to stimulate intrisical motivation by creating a unique and creative campaign for your target group. Generally, Boring Facebook contests (link) are only effective when they are announced in combination with a very popular reward.


Pepsi Like Machine

A good example of a unique Facebook campaign is ‘The Pepsi Like Machine’. The visitors of Beyoncé’s concert in Antwerp were given the possibility to drink a free can of Pepsi Cola if they liked the Pepsi Facebook page. As a result of this campaign, Pepsico collected a large amount of extra likes on Facebook. The real brand frans could enjoy their drink and new consumers were introduced to the Pepsi drink.


Rewards in the research

The content of this blog is derived from a research on Facebook campaigns, that is currently carried out by LiveWall. ‘Rewards’ are one of the independent variables in the model that is centralized in the research. The goal of the research is to find out to what extent a reward encourages participation of the consumer in Facebook campaigns.