How to Spend Less Money and Increase Audience Engagement

We know how to ball on a budget, and we love to find ways for you to get the most bang for your buck while achieving greater audience engagement at events.  So how can you increase audience engagement without increasing your current budget?  Let’s look at three simple ways.

Layer Your Prizes

What we’ve found at FanUp is that people love winning, no matter the prize.  They don’t necessarily expect to win a car or a fancy vacation.  Sometimes even winning a poster will make a fan’s day. So much so that they will mention it on social media, giving you publicity you couldn’t buy.

Rather than giving out multiple high level prizes, consider one premium prize, followed by non-winner prizes that drive revenue in other channels.  Examples include:

  • Same day only coupons for food and beverage
  • Same day only coupons for merchandise 
  • Time-limited discounts on future events


People value anything of perceived value that was given to them for free. 

The Endowment Effect

In a famous study done by Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel prize for psychological insights as applied to economic theory, people who are given something for free are reluctant to trade it for another good of similar value.  In this and in other related studies by Kahneman and his colleagues, people were given mugs, pens, or chocolate bars and then were put into situations in which they could sell or trade for the other items.  What was found consistently was that people endowed the object they were given with value that was even greater than the “market” price of the object.  They hated the idea of losing the object at even the market rate - despite the fact that they had received the object for free and hence would be making money anyway!

This concept relates directly to in-stadium giveaways.  Fans are in their seats enjoying the event.  They have a chance to participate in the giveaway, and while they don’t win the big prize you were offering, they do win the non-winner prize you are offering. 

They were going to get a beer anyway.  But you’re offering a 2-for-1.  Then they might want something to eat to go with that beer.

They were going to stop by the merchandise booth/store anyway, just to browse.  But now they’ve got a 20% off coupon from you.They might bring a friend along to help them choose.

By layering your prizes and giving significant numbers of non-winner prizes, even when people lose, they “win.”

Take Advantage of Theme Nights

Theme nights are popular because they add an extra layer of enjoyment to something that people are already looking forward to.  All of the effort to get into costume and lean into the theme is already handled by the audience. You can leverage their effort, time and money spent on those details by offering opportunities for them to show it all off during the event.  This could be with best costume or best photo contests.

You and your team will have to decide  whether these theme nights should be deployed for events in which you’d like to boost turnout or for events that always perform well that you want to make special.

Once again, due to the prevalence of social media, posts from theme nights are going to be everywhere, publicizing you and your brand!

Social Media

We can’t say it enough, social media has to be monitored before, during, and after an event.  You can’t choose when the public decides to engage with your brand, and if it’s days and weeks later that you respond, you lose tremendous opportunities.

Going back to the Endowment Effect, what are you “giving” a fan when you engage with them on social media?  Attention.  People love to feel “seen” by a brand that they care about and simply acknowledging or engaging with their social media shares can be very powerful, and once again, lead to more engagement beyond the reach of your original event.

Whether you use one or all three of these methods,  collecting data about your audience allows you to know them better.  The better you know them, the better you can serve them, and the better you serve them, the more they will respond. 

Like what you’re reading so far?  We’ve got all sorts of knowledge about how to help you engage more effectively with your audience.  Let us know how we can accelerate what you’re already doing.