Youtube Contest Rules – How to Run a Giveaway/Contest On YouTube?

YouTube promotional campaigns like contests, competition, and giveaways are a great way to increase user engagement, build greater audience loyalty, collect valuable marketing data, find new customers, and drive sales and leads. The right mix of content and promotional campaigns can also encourage comments, likes, and shares, all of which positively affect your YouTube search rankings.

So can you run a contest or giveaway on your YouTube channel? Of course, you can. But the process of hosting a competition or giveaway must comply with YouTube contest rules. The contest should also be run or conducted in a way that adheres to YouTube’s Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Community Guidelines.

In this blog, we discuss several best practices for running a giveaway on YouTube and explain the Youtube Contest Guidelines.

YouTube Contest Rules

YouTube allows you to engage your users in contests, competitions, and giveaways through the content on your platform provided that the promotional campaign comply with YouTube contest rules. Worth noting is that the online video-sharing platform does not allow contests to be run through ad units.

Below is a quick rundown of the YouTube contest rules, guidelines, and requirements.

The guidelines YouTube contest are divided into two. The first set of policies and guidelines are general and apply to every promotional campaign hosted on YouTube. The second set of YouTube giveaway rules and guidelines relate to your specific contest.

General Restrictions and Requirements

  • You should take sole responsibility for your giveaway or competition.
  • The YouTube contest must comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations including sanctions of the U.S.
  • Do not infringe upon (or encourage other people to infringe upon) any third party rights or participation in unlawful activity.
  • You cannot ask participants to give you rights for, or transfer of ownership of, their entry to you.
  • Entry to the giveaway must be free (be sure to check your local lottery laws.)
  • You or any third party should not manipulate or unnaturally boost your metrics, this includes artificially increasing the number of likes, dislikes, views, comments, subscribers, or other metrics by serving up videos to unsuspecting viewers or through the use of automatic systems. The metrics on the YouTube service must reflect genuine user engagement.
  • You can affiliate or associate YouTube with your giveaway only with YouTube’s prior written consent. This means you are prohibited, among other things, stating or doing anything that suggests that the video-sharing platform is involved with or has endorsed your promotional campaign in any way.

Your Official Contest Rules:

These are your own official rules for hosting your giveaway. These guidelines YouTube contest include:

  • Having a set of “Official Rules” which:
    • State all legally required disclosures including local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
    • Are compliant and consistent with the YouTube Terms of Service.
    • Link to the YouTube Community Guidelines and explain how entries that don’t meet guidelines will be disqualified.
  • The competitions must be held and prizes awarded according to your Official Rules.
  • You are responsible for your giveaway rules and all aspects of administering the contest.
  • You must not insinuate that YouTube endorses your giveaway in any way. This includes clearly stating in your rules that YouTube is not a sponsor of your giveaway and require users to remove the video-sharing platform from any liability related to your promotional campaign.
  • Your Official Rules must include a legally compliant privacy policy which explains how you intend to use any personal data collected during the giveaway.

Consequences for Violating YouTube Contest Rules and Regulations

So what happens if you do not follow the rules, regulations, and guidelines for hosting a contest on YouTube? First, pre-recorded content and live streams will be flagged down if the content is found to violate the community guidelines of YouTube. While old URLs will still work, they will show a notice to viewers letting them know that the video has been removed for violating the platform’s policy on scams and spam deceptive practices. Not only is this embarrassing but it can hurt your business’s reputation. Second, failure to comply with YouTube giveaway rules and guidelines could result in your business being fined.

How to Run a Giveaway/Contest On YouTube?

10 tips for hosting a successful YouTube contest, giveaway, promotion or competition.

  1. Define goals of the contest
  2. Understand YouTube promotional guidelines
  3. Choose giveaway prize(s)
  4. Create Partnerships
  5. Pick a type of YouTube contest to run
  6. Create your Contest Rules
  7. Pick hashtag for giveaway
  8. Announce your contest or giveaway
  9. Choose and announce the winners
  10. Evaluate contest goals

1. Define goals of the contest

Be clear on why you want to run a YouTube contest before you start planning it. Understanding your goals will affect how you prepare, host, and promote your online video content. Additionally, it will make measuring your success easier when the contest is over.

To make setting your goals, use the SMART framework. This means you set goals that are:


Make a clear decision on what you want to get from the contest. This could be more traffic, more followers, more subscribers, more sales, or better user engagement (more views or more comments).


You should be able to measure and record the results of your giveaway. This may include how you will count the total number of followers you’ve gained from the contest and how you will track clicks from the contest.

Great ways to measure the success of your campaign include Google Analytics, contest tool reporting, YouTube’s Analytics, manual reporting/exports, and contest reporting tool.


Are the goals achievable? The smaller the goal, the easier it is to achieve it. Make sure you create goals that you create will be achievable, don’t create unrealistic goals like going from 100 subscribers to 100.000 subscribers.


Is the contest relevant to your audience? There is no point in running a giveaway for a gaming console when you have a cooking channel. At the end of the contest, you will have a lot of users from different demographics, but only a handful that is interested in your channel (and products).


How long will the contest run for? Is there a brand deadline to meet that influences how quickly the contest needs to be completed? Most contests last a month, but you can set a time frame based on how you want your channel to grow.

2. Understand YouTube promotional guidelines

The vast majority of YouTubers are so eager to grow their channels that they forget about the rules and guidelines for running campaigns on YouTube. Understanding what is allowed on the video-sharing platform is crucial in deciding how to run the contest.

There are two different guidelines that apply to promotional campaigns depending on how you administer them. These policies have been described earlier in this post.

3. Choose giveaway prize(s)

The prize can be almost anything, but it is important to choose one that your audience will want. A desirable prize will result in the levels of engagement you need to grow your channel. While products are an obvious choice, you could try offering a service or experience. Just make sure that the prize is relevant to your channel.

4. Create Partnerships

Partnerships offer exciting opportunities for both creators and brands. For creators, partnerships help expand their reach and their budgets. Brands in turn get to foster audience awareness. This becomes a win-win for both parties involved.

Some ways to run a partnered YouTube contest include combining prizes with a partner, collaborating with a brand that will provide free prize(s), or promoting another YouTuber’s campaign in exchange for the same.

Whatever kind of partnership you choose, make sure that the target audience is similar to that of the partner’s. Also, talk through your goals to ensure you are on the same page before signing off the agreement.

5. Pick a type of YouTube contest to run

There are several contest types that you can host on YouTube. But what you choose depends on the outcome you want or your desired goal. Contest types you can host include sweepstakes, partner/collaboration contests, subscriber contests, video voting, comment contests and user-generated content.

6. Create your Contest Rules

After choosing the type of YouTube contest, start defining your YouTube contest rules what users should do to get participate. Examples subscribe, like and comment.

Adding maximum participation will result in maximum engagement. This means you need to make the YouTube contest easy so that more people can participate. For instance, asking participants to submit short videos can pay off, but simpler tasks like comments, subscribes and likes are more effective. This works well if you’re looking to grow your subscriber base.

7. Pick hashtag for giveaway

A contest hashtag works for video submission giveaways. If you ask your audience to create and submit their videos, be sure to use a hashtag. This makes it easy to keep track of submissions and helps generate more interest. Maybe you giveaway will go viral with a great hashtag.

8. Announce your contest or giveaway

Creating a video is the most obvious and effective way of launching your YouTube contest. When creating the announcement video, remember to show off the prize(s), share the contest rules in the video, add calls-to-action to encourage submissions, and keep the details brief.

Other ways to announce your giveaway is to post it on your social media channels, email your audience, and use YouTube cards on older videos that generate a good deal of traffic.

Use different analytic tools to monitor the progress of the giveaway and measure your contest results. You could use Youtube Analytics to measure. You can amp the promotional campaign if it is not getting the attention it needs.

9. Choose and announce the winners

When the contest is ended its time to pick random winners. You can use our FREE YouTube Comment Picker if you want to pick a winner from comments. If that’s not suitable for your contest, there are a lot of other paid tools out there. After choosing a random winner, it’s time to announce the winner. You should craft an amazing video announcing the winners. Be creative to help you get more views.

10. Evaluate contest goals

After contest is ended and winner is announced its time to evaluate your contest goals. Did you reach the goals? Did you overachieve your goals? Was it successful? Did you get positive feedback? After evaluation you could think of setting up new contest goals or deciding that contest or giveaways are not successful for your business.

Any other tips for running a successful Contest or Giveway on Youtube? Please leave a comment below and we will add them to the article. Don’t forget to share the blog with tips for running a contest with your friends and partners.