How to Run a WhatsApp Contest with a Bot + 9 WhatsApp Chatbot Contest Ideas

Illustration: Jana Pérez
whatsapp contest

WhatsApp Business API is a powerful marketing tool but building your contact list requires an active opt-in. Today, we will show you how to boost the growth of your contact list and generate new opt-ins (and ultimately clients) with a WhatsApp contest.

Moreover, we will share 9 specific WhatsApp chatbot contest ideas for some INSPIRATION.

Contests are a very effective strategy to acquire new leads, gain fans and followers and expand your reach but chatbots take it further. They make it easy and fun to participate, capture the lead information instantly and make overall management and follow-up a piece of cake.

What Makes WhatsApp Chatbot Contests Such an Effective Marketing Strategy?

Contests? Are they still relevant?


Some things just don’t change.

People love contests.Who wouldn’t like the prospect of getting something of value for free?

Besides the promise of a prize though, contests are fun. They gamify brand interaction and get consumers involved in something much bigger than a transaction - an experience.

But don’t just take my word for it! Statistics are pretty persuasive too:

  • 94.46% of those who do share the contest/promotion do so right after participating thus aiding the spread of the campaign.

While the numbers are quite catchy, there are other more qualitative benefits to running a WhatsApp contest:

A. Contact List Growth

Running a contest is a powerful tool for building an audience base.According to Hubspot, companies running contest-driven marketing campaigns gained an average of 34% new fans/contacts per campaign.

Just by launching a basic opt-in-to-win contest that’s easy to join can provide a significant amount of contacts and WhatsApp engagement. But, with chatbots and the input you can get from different WhatsApp bot examples, your WhatsApp contest can go much further...

B. Quality Audience Research

Contests are the perfect way to learn more about your customer base.


When a prize is involved, consumers are far more willing to answer questions and share information. Hence, it’s a perfect opportunity to make some good old research and collect a lot of valuable information on your target audience at scale.

On a more basic level, you can collect more personal data like email addresses and other contact information you might need to reach customers in the future.

But, more importantly, you can ask qualitative questions about consumers’ habits and interests which you can later leverage in the creation of hyper-personalized marketing and outreach strategies.

The key role of bots in all this? Let’s put it simply. When it comes to collecting information, chatbots have a much better conversion rate than any online form. Furthermore, the are able to save responses in real-time, even from incomplete conversations and so, enabling you to send reminders or retarget the “almost-participants” later.

C. Boosted Audience Engagement

One of the best aspects of contests is their ability to engage an audience.A contest is often more interactive than the rest of the content brands usually put out.So is messaging.And so are chatbots.

All of the channels above push users to interact with your brand not only because they anticipate fun or instant gratification but also because these approaches are interactive by default. They require the action and reaction that makes up engagement.

So, no wonder combining all of them has the potential to take your engagement rate to a whole new level. It’s a great way to get your audience responding and creating positive content related to your brand in an environment that encourages conversation.

D. Lower Marketing Costs

Contest marketing - compared to other marketing methods and despite requiring you to offer a free prize - can be executed at a fairly low cost and offer a great value.

Contests bring exposure to your brand and raise your value in the eyes of your (potential) customers for just the cost of the prize and a little bit of time investment on the part of your team. Even if you do invest in campaigns to give the contest an initial boost, it’s likely to spread on its own.

Still, not every contest will end up being inexpensive. Like with any campaign the success depends on your research, prep, and execution.

E. Ever-Present Terms and Conditions

Having a WhatsApp bot in charge of the competition means having a 24/7 user support available to all participants.In other words, people can use the bot not only to submit their entry but also to get more information on the underlying terms and conditions, deadlines, winner announcement date, etc.

WhatsApp Chatbot Content Ideas

With the power of contests in mind, here are 10 WhatsApp-chatbot-driven contest ideas.

Remember, there is no single type of contest that works better than others. What works depends on the objective of your campaign.

1. Share-to-Win AKA How do I run a Referral Contest on WhatsApp?

What to reactivate not-so-active contacts on your business profile as well as go viral on the dark social?

“Share-to-win”, “Invite-to-win” (or improve your chances of winning) and other variations of the contest can really super-charge your contact acquisition as invited friends will be asked to opt-in and then share the promo further.

I get that the Share-to-Win concept isn’t the most creative out there. BUT, it is incredibly effective. As you’ve seen above, there’s a 99.31% probability people will share a promotion or contest incentivized by recruitment.If you are thinking that this won’t work because opt-in has to happen outside of WhatsApp, that’s not a problem with Landbot.


Your contest promo can include a clickable link that can lead to a static WhatsApp opt-in popup or, better yet, conversational opt-in via a chatbot landing page. Both versions can be done in minutes and without coding.

2. One-Chat Participation: Opt-in from a Landing Page

Compelling landing pages, especially the conversational ones, are a great way to engage people, get them to answer the follow-up questions to participate and earn the chance to win!

Once again, the WhatsApp opt-in can be smoothly incorporated into the conversation.Potential contacts start from the Landbot conversational landing page and chat up the bot to start their entry.

We used a similar strategy for our Secret Santa past year. 👇👇👇

This strategy can easily be adapted to any WhatsApp chatbot contest scenario as the opt-in is part of the conversation on the landing page.

3. Guess the Outcome

Prompting people to guess the outcome of a specific event is a great way to engage your audience, not just via WhatsApp but pretty much any channel.

The good news is, with Landbot you can create a conversational contest entry on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger as well as various formats on the web. Also, the conversational format allows for easy implementation of rich features like images, videos, gifs, and (outside WhatsApp) button and carousel responses.As the contest progresses you can share some of the most daring guesses in your WhatsApp and Facebook stories.

4. Product Launch Contest (Name It!)

Product launch is an excellent opportunity to improve your engagement as well as generate new leads.

Running a WhatsApp contest can help capitalize on that opportunity and build hype around the product/product line. For instance, you can employ a WhatsApp bot to run a “help us name it” contest giving your customers a chance to build a more personal relationship with the brand.


If you want to push the engagement through the roof, you can use the bot to run a post-deadline poll letting your audience vote for the winner from the top three entries.

5. "Caption-This" Game

Want to have some fun as well as build a greater sense of community?Captioning some silly, strange or disarmingly cute pic, GIF or video can be a really fun way to entertain and engage your customer base.


Launch a WhatsApp chatbot contest to collect the captions and share the winners and honorable mentions on all your channels!

6. Fill in the ______

Well, this one is quite self-explanatory.

Fill-in-the-blanks contest is fairly fast to create and easy to deploy.

Plus you can take either the educational one-right-answer approach or more fun, looking for the funniest or the most clever submission.


You can promote:

  • Activities and Places ("If I could have brunch at BrunchSocial, I would eat _______.")
  • Events and Contests (Use it in relation to a specific event like a festival... "This year at X Festival I will ______ with_____ and I am looking forward to see_____")
  • Creativity ("If I were a lipstick I would ______" or "My superpower would be _______ becuase_____.")
  • Engagement (Find any little reason to get people talking and sharing "My favorite crime show is_____")
  • Your Products ("I became a Magnum-lover when I tasted _______ for the first time.")

7. Riddles & Puzzles

Another great way to get people involved and interacting are riddles and visual puzzles. They are attention-grabbing as well as easy to adapt to any industry or product range just by changing some of the elements AND people are proud to share if they crack them!

And, WhatsApp bot is a great way of deploying a riddle or puzzle-driven contest as you can further reinforce the fun by chatbot personality.

8. Knowledge Contest

In this type of contest, there is/are the right answer(s) but it’s not exactly common knowledge.

This piece of knowledge can be something related to your company, past campaigns or products to help you zero in on the true fans and grasp a chance to turn them into ambassadors.

Alternatively, you can make the contest about something your customer base finds interesting and so would feel prompted to test their knowledge for a promise of a prize.

9. User-Generated Content Competition

Last but not least, there is the most creative of contests, a one where you don’t have to be the one to do the creative thinking.

WhatsApp contest driven by user-generated content is a fantastic way to inspire unique engagement and build hype around your brand.

The best part is, there are plenty of formats to choose from. You can launch a photo, video, gif or drawing contest…. Or leave a loose format and focus on the theme.

Absolut Vodka launched a one-of-a-kind WhatsApp chatbot contest when launching its new limited collection Absolut Unique.

Absolute organized an epic VIP party to celebrate the launch and offered 2 tickets for grabs to its customers.

Anyone wanting to win the tickets had to get in touch with Sven - Absolut’s virtual bot-bouncer - via WhatsApp and go above and beyond to convince him they deserve to be at the party. The campaign produced hilarious results with people sending incredible messages, pics, voice recordings, and videos.

How to Share Contests and Giveaways on WhatsApp?

To create a chatbot contest of your own, you need to set up a WhatsApp Business Manager by Landbot account and do the following.

1. Choose contest objective

The first step on your agenda should be clarifying your contest objective. It will be the key factor in making subsequent decisions.Potential objectives may include:

  • Brand Awareness - Increase the visibility of your brand
  • Attracting New Customers: Closing a sale with a new WhatsApp contact or collecting data about them to close it later
  • Reward Loyalty: Reward your current audience and customers with a special promotion or prize
  • Launching a New Product: Advertising and raising awareness (hype) about a new product or service offering
  • Increasing Opt-ins/Followers: Getting new opt-ins on WhatsApp who can then become part of the contest (e.g. customers must opt-in for your WhatsApp channel to enter or win).
  • Market Research: As mentioned, chatbot-driven contests make collecting information easy and fun for the user so sometimes a contest is a great tool to learn more about your audience.

2. Define Your Audience

For a contest to be successful it needs to land on a “fertile soil”.Take time to consider what is your ideal customer demographic. Alternatively, if you are already clear on who your target audience is, think whether you want to target everyone or focus on a specific segment of your general customer demographic you would like to target specifically.

Once done, think about how you can tailor the WhatsApp contest to them in terms of the type of contest, prize, contest duration, timing, etc.

3. Settle on a Type of WhatsApp Contest

Taking into account the contest objective and audience, you need to choose the type of contest you want to run.You need to consider:

  • How much work does your contest require of your audience? (the easier to enter the contest, the more participation you’ll get)
  • Are there barriers to entry for the type of contest you want to launch?
  • What is your budget?
  • How much time and how many employees you’ll need to prep and launch the campaign

4. Decide on the Entry Point & Contest Rules (by platform)

What is an “entry point” for a competition? It’s the way your target audience can enter the contest. There are plenty of ways to set up a WhatsApp chatbot contest entry point (leading first to opt-in in this case - naturally):

5. Create Contest WhatsApp Message Template

In terms of the contest, WhatsApp message template (or else HSM) will be the automated notification your users (or those who just completed the opt-in) will receive on WhatsApp to kick start the competition and possibly the conversation with your bot.

Remember, the HSM template needs to be approved by WhatsApp and this can take a few days. Be sure to keep this in mind when planning your timing.Landbot makes template message submission pretty simple. All you need to do is click “Request New HSM” on your WA Business Manager dashboard.

whatsapp web for business message templates

The button will take you to our WhatsApp template submission bot which, by the way, can also refresh the HSM rules and regulations for you:

6. Create the Entry Point(s) for the Contest

WhatsApp chatbot contest user experience starts with the entry point. (Naturally, if you are targeting contacts you already have, this would be WhatsApp and you can skip to the next step.) It’s what gets people’s attention, so do think it over.Your entry point can be static (button, link) or off-the-bat conversational (bot).

The important part when working with API for WhatsApp is asking for the WhatsApp opt-in in a correct way before adding new phone numbers to your contact list.Your opt-in must clearly:

  • Display WhatsApp name and logo;
  • Say what kind of messages & interactions the users are signing up to receive;
  • Allow for an active opt-in (meaning the user must complete an action like filling in the phone number or ticking a box)

Whether you decide to go static or conversational, Landbot has a pre-built solution you simply need to configure and embed (copy-paste) on a page or inside the bot:

  • Enter WhatsApp Business Manager in Landbot dashboard and select "Get Subscribers"
  • Create Snippet Name (be specific so it's easy to identify when the number of your snippets grows)
  • You can also already associate an HSM message and bot to be associated with activating WhatsApp subscription via this particular snippet
  • If you want to use a static snippet, simply copy the highlighted code and embed it on your website.
  • To make the snippet part of the conversation, look up and insert the snippet brick when in the builder - to customize it all you need to do is copy your snippet code into the "Type the value" field inside the first "Set Variable" block.

Once the opt-in is done, the signed up contacts will receive the HSM contest message you designed.

7. Create WhatsApp Conversation Flow

Now it’s time to connect your HSM with a virtual assistant.

In Landbot, building a WhatsApp bot is a no-code process.You click to create WhatsApp bot and start building your conversational blocks.

Now, there are two ways to go about it.You can build a:

  • Rule-based chatbot - This type of chatbot is faster and simpler to build. Do not underestimate it though, it can be very powerful! Under normal circumstances (on a different interface) this bot relies on button answers and multiple-choice quite a lot. So, when adapting it from WhatsApp, you need to be aware of and follow WhatsApp dialog design specifications. Remember to keep the questions clear to not give users too much room to speculate! (See example below)
  • Intelligent NLP chatbot - NLP chatbot is able to understand natural human input and basically carry out a fairly normal conversation. Landbot enables you to use NLP with its no-code interface thanks to Dialogflow integration. You train your bot in Dialogflow (free version available) and link it with the visual builder allowing you to do pretty advanced things in a simple way. (See example below)

Tip: Other elements you should consider when building your bot are integrations that will allow you to harness the data collected automatically. For instance, you can use a Mailchimp integration to expedite new emails directly to your list; or you can use the simple Google Sheets integration to export and store all user responses and/submissions.


8. Set Goals and Metrics

To track the outcome of your contest campaign, set a few benchmarks you want to achieve.

They should be directly related to your contest objective and be clearly quantifiable, such as the number of contest entries, new WhatsApp opt-ins, new email list subscriptions, discount code redemptions.

Identify your most important metrics beforehand, so you are ready to track them easily once they start rolling in.

9. Build Urgency

After launching your WhatsApp chatbot contest, you’ll want to follow up with participants as soon as possible.

WhatsApp makes that very easy.Your bot can keep the people involved in the loop about contest progress and even offer some consolation prizes (e.g., discount codes) to the participants who didn’t win. Make sure that the offer is time-sensitive and motivates them to act right away!

10. Monitor, Track, and Analyze

Once the contest is over, take time to analyze those results.When your metrics are in line with your contest objectives, it should give you a good idea of how well you have met the key goals once it’s over.Nevertheless, don’t hesitate to dig deeper into the data for more insights.

For instance, Landbot allows you to see statistics of the chatbot conversation flow. This way you can see which conversation paths were most used and which experiences the greatest drop-off.


In any case, learnings from your first WhatsApp contest should feed directly into your larger branding and marketing strategy as well as help you run future contests.

11. Engage with New Contacts

Follow up with your newly earned contacts by nurturing your new relationship and connection.

For instance, schedule a sequence of nurturing campaigns for this audience. They’re excellent for better introducing your brand as well as educating and/or onboarding customers. This can happen via WhatsApp or other channels, depending on what kind of contact information you were able to collect.alternatively, you can send new template notifications corresponding to a different bot which will let your leads choose what they want to learn about your company and products as part of a natural conversation.

To Sum It Up…

WhatsApp chatbot contest is a powerful way to jumpstart your WhatsApp marketing. It attracts attention, motivates engagement and has a decent potential to go viral and advertise itself.

If you are not a Landbot customer yet, be sure to apply today!