Monday, February 3, 2020

Trivia Contest Participation Continues to Dwindle

I feel like I need to ask Mindee's Magic 8 Ball for answers.

Two days ago The Annual Soles of Silk Trivia Contest: 2019 Edition came to an end. These contests have been a tradition on the site for years now. A number of you participate in the contest each and every year, and from your accounts, you very much look forward to and enjoy taking part in them. The sad reality is, however, there has been a steady decline in the participation of the contest over the last few years. This year a total of six people sent in entries. Yes, just six.


Naturally, when I see this decline, I figure that I am doing wrong. But am I? Let's take a look at some of the things that I have thought about when trying to determine why less and less people are taking part in these annual contests.

Am I Getting the Word Out Effectively?
On the Blog: The contest page, during the time that it was contest was active, had just under 700 views. So, people are seeing it. 

Social Media: I post about the contest regularly on Twitter (@SolesofSilk), with those Tweets getting their fair share of views. In years past, when Instagram still allowed pictures of bare feet to be on their platform, I used to post about it there and that account was approaching 50,000 followers. Social media doesn't seem to be a culprit.

On the Site: With this contest open to both members and non-members, there are links constantly listed at the top of the recent site updates during the entirety of the contest. Anyone coming to the site as a member or a guest can easily see and head over to the contest page. Not only is this linked in the text area, I also post banner links in both areas to draw some extra attention to the fact that the contest is underway.

Members Don't Take Part
One thing that I have definitely noticed in the past few years is the lack of members that take part in these contests. When I began doing them, I did get some member participation and many of them would be the ones winning the larger prizes. As the years went by, however, the entries were non-member heavy - probably along the lines of 80-90 percent non-member. This year it was 100 percent non-member.

Being totally honest with all of you, members have an advantage (by design) with these contests. A lot of the easier questions anyone can find the answers to. Some of the tougher questions, however, only a member could find. That was evident this year with Question #23 which asked,

Which model said this as a reply to a question in one of my 15 Year Memories interviews: "I eat up all the attention you give my feet. I should hire you for foot affections. I'll pay you well. Quit your job! Ha!"

Only a member would have been able to go through the interviews and find that it was Leah who made those comments. Since not a single member took part this year, no one answered that question correctly. It's the only question the entire field of entries missed as a whole.

Is it Too Hard?
I have struggled with this the entire time I have been running these trivia contests. I feel like if I make things too challenging, then no one will enter. I don't want to make it a cake walk either. So I try to balance the questions out and that is why I came up with the idea to have five levels of questions, with each level becoming more challenging and worth more points (1 point - 5 points). I also work multi-level questions into the multi-point tiers so I can award partial credit should someone not get the entire question correct. For example, Question 21 listed a bunch of cereals and asked you to name the five cereals that were not used during October's Cereal Killers Month event. The majority of people nailed all five cereals, but 17 percent of the field received partial credit for getting some of these correct.

When I grade the entries each year, I'm usually shocked at how well many people tend to do. This year 90 was the top score, accomplished by two different people. As I stated above, this year's entire field of entries was non-members, so two non-members were almost able to obtain a perfect score.

The more I think about it, the more I think that these aren't too hard. I think it's what I'm about to cover next...

Too Much Time/Effort?
Without going on a tirade here, I think people are becoming less and less patient and don't want to take the time to do anything these days. I see it at my job, on social media, and I think that this contest might fall under this idea.

Let's be honest, the contest looks long and daunting. It it really? Depends on how much of a fan you are, I guess. Or if you feel that the prizes are worth your time. As I see each and every year, a handful of you think so as you participate every chance you get. For others, however, I think they just can't be bothered. 

Over the last few years I have tried to entice people by changing up the rewards slightly to make it more "worth their while" if they felt like it wasn't. Instead of just one or three month prizes, I added in the two month bracket. I also added in the extra month being tacked onto anyone with a perfect score.

Moving Forward
I'm not going to lie. I really enjoy creating these contests at the end of each year. It's a fun way to explore everything that happened and even draw some attention to some fun facts about the site. I know many of you love these contests and I wouldn't dream of ending them while this site is still up and running. So please, don't think that I'm going to stop doing them.

What I would like to know, however, even from those of you who send in your entries every year, what do you think I could to make this better? Does it need a format change? Is it too hard? Am I getting the word out enough or in the right places? I'm up for trying some new things and seeing some entries from new people - especially all you members who have been fans of Soles of Silk for many years.


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