Facebook Photo Contest Case Study – Engagement and Reach Results


If I run a Contest on Facebook, will I see a return on the investment?

Small business Case Study: Here’s a case study on a business that ran a photo voting contest on their Facebook Page and the results that they achieved.  The bottom line is that Facebook Contests can be a key tool in marketing efforts.


Facebook Photo Contest Case Study

Stephanie DeBolt is a photographer, an entrepreneur who is also her only employee. She photographs weddings, engagement shoots, high school yearbook portraits and family portraits. She has a limited marketing budget, and she can devote limited time to marketing. In those ways, she’s an archetypal small business owner. Using her Facebook page as a springboard, she wanted to grow her business through a Facebook contest.

Her goals were straightforward, and similar to those of a lot of small business owners:


DeBolt spends her days either in photo shoots or processing photos for clients.  As such, she need a simple Facebook App that  allowed her to quickly and easily create and execute a Facebook-approved photo contest.  She selected TabSite.

Her vision was to use her own photos of weddings, tie into the enthusiasm of the couples she had captured on their big day, and showcase her talents via a photo contest as a way to increase awareness of her business and services.


By contest’s end, DeBolt saw a 46% increase in Likes of her Facebook page, going from 803 fans to well over 1100 Facebook fans. Amid the 15-day period of the contest she executed, she more than met her goal for reach — in fact, she saw nine days when her Facebook page’s reach topped 9,000, more than 60% higher than her average before the contest.

 “I’m ecstatic with the Page growth in Likes and the reach that the

contest helped me achieve on Facebook” DeBolt said.

Ultimately the bottom line is whether it yielded new clients.  Debolt’s response:

“I received a lot of new inquiries from friends of those entered and I’m now booked out four months in advance on photo shoots!” 

As a photographer, DeBolt had ready access to one of the most potent assets for anyone looking to drive engagement on Facebook: images.

“A key for me was making sure I pinned a image post to the contest with a link to it and then I added a update every one to two days about what was happening in the voting,” she explained.  “I found some tips online on how and when to post about the contest while mixing in some of my most recent work photos in my Facebook News Feed helped me get newcomers more familiar with what I can do.”



DeBolt created a two-stage Facebook photo contest based around photographs she had taken for her clients. First, she loaded a photo entry featuring each of her 21 weddings she had photographed since the start of 2012. She alerted each couple to the fact that a photo of them was in the contest, and she encouraged each to share the photo and the contest with their social networks. She also pinned a large view of each of the 21 photos to her Pinterest page, and she shared an image on her Facebook Timeline with a description and a smart URL link to the tab where people could vote. The first  stage of the contest lasted seven days.  Voters were allowed and reminded to vote 1x per day.

DeBolt posted a link to the Facebook contest on her blog, but only three visitors came to the contest through her blog. Facebook was responsible for bringing almost all voters to the contest. As well,  Debolt used no paid advertising whatsoever to promote the contest.

DeBolt estimated it took her about 30 minutes to set up the Facebook contest in TabSite and load the corresponding images. Nearly every day, she took five minutes to post a Facebook update and a reminder to vote.  She always posted on her Page and added a few posts on her Facebook profile.

Contest Specific Settings:

  • A two-stage Facebook Contest – As noted earlier, Debolt chose to limit the entries to her own Admin uploaded entries featuring the 21 weddings she had done to that point in 2012.  A 2 Stage contest enabled a main round of voting and then brought viewers back for the finalist round of voting.  This meant more traffic and more exposure.
  • Ability to vote once per day. Her goal was to gain new Facebook fans and entice those to return to her page, so voting was set to once per day as a strategy to increase fan connection and affinity with her page, which would in turn make posts from her page appear in their News Feed in the future.  Voting through the tab at least 1x per day and interacting (Like’s, Comments, Shares) meant  more traffic and more opportunity for voters and commenters to use the tab’s social sharing tools (Like, Share, Tweet, Google+ and Pin It buttons) to further share the contest.
  • Like Gate on the Facebook Contest Tab. There was a Like Gate image on the tab — in order to vote, new visitors needed to Like the Page first. That’s a basic tool that helped DeBolt boost the “Likes” count on her page and allow her page posts to be seen by all of those people who now “Liked” her page.


  • A Finalist Round. The finalist round lasted from a Saturday until midnight on the following Friday. The three highest-voted couples from the first round escalated to the finals, and TabSite’s tab calculated the results and bumped up the finalists automatically. DeBolt didn’t need to do anything to start the final round as TabSite automatically advanced the top 3 on the date she had set.  This reset the voting so that the finalists all started out equal again. All she had to do was post updates to Timeline at her convenience to get the word out.


After a neck-and-neck race between the two highest-voted couples during the last few days of the final round, voting closed at the predetermined time and the couple with the most votes went live as the winner on the tab. The winning couple netted 143 votes, to the second-place team’s dramatically close 132 votes.


Statistics for the Entire 15-Day Facebook Photo Contest:

DeBolt’s Facebook Page Fans Before Contest:  803
DeBolt’s Page Fans at End of Contest: 1173
Percent Increase of Facebook Fans: 46.1% (370 fans)

“People Talking About This” Metric at Start Date: 617
“People Talking About This” Metric at End: 829
Percent Increase: 34.45%
“People Talking About This” Peak during Contest: 912


Stage 1:  354 total votes.  The top four vote-getters received 90, 54, 52 and 31 votes respectively.

Stage 2:  310 total votes. Winner ended with 131 votes, with runner-up netting 117.

Case Study Contest Summary:

The Stephanie DeBolt Photography Facebook Page saw a significant increase in Likes and visits during the Facebook Photo contest.  In addition, there was a tremendous increase in overall reach while the contest was live.  The “vote once per day” strategy  worked well in generating  return traffic to the Facebook page, during which time the visitors were able to see other recent image posts of her work while building Edgerank affinity for those users to her Page.

The 46% growth in Likeson the Facebook Page helped DeBolt expand her audience, so she can reach to more potential clients going forward, and she met her goal of boosting engagement to extend viral reach, with nine days netting a reach greater of more than 9,000 users (over 60% higher reach than she’d hoped for each of those days).

I plan to run more Facebook contests,” DeBolt said. “ I think one thing I will change is to run the contest in a shorter time period overall , like seven days total, as the Facebook attention span is short.”

I’m not a computer geek,” DeBolt said, “so having something that was simple to set up and that did the work for me of determining finalists and a winner was great! I recommend a Facebook Contest as a great tool to help build your community and bring in more business.”


TabSite offers Facebook contest tools at the Gold and Platinum Plan levels starting at $19/month.  Learn more about TabSite contests and promotion tool options at link below:




Author: Mike Gingerich,  TabSite Co-Founder.  Facebook and Internet Marketer. Part geek, part marketer, total social media junkie. TabSite is a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with apps, contests, and promotion tools.

This Case Study is about Facebook Photo Contests.  Facebook Photo Contest results can vary from this Case Study based on a number of factors.  Case Studies are intended to show real examples from a Facebook Page.

Further Information:


About Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich, President of Digital Hill & TabSite is a business blogger Marketer and Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, part strategist, total fitness and running junkie. Mike is an author and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. Mike is a marketing, social media, and business startup enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.