Since I started the switch to running my contests from Rafflecopter to PunchTab primarily I have worked with the PunchTab team to help get 3 new features implemented into the PunchTab contest service. These additional features just added recently are:
Export to CSV
Now you can export the entries to a CSV file which you can open in Excel and filter your entries to get the total counts you need for various entry types. This allows you to give your sponsors an exact report on how many follows, fans they received, which methods generated the most entries…etc.
Now after you email confirm the winner in the PunchTab contest you have the option of announcing that winner in the widget. This allows you to showcase the winner to everyone in the widget itself to add legitimacy and showcase the winner publicly and automatically.
Actual Entry Count
Now if you manage to get more then 1,000 entries in a PunchTab contest you can hover over the 1k or 2k number and see the exact number of entries you have. Previously you had no way of knowing if you had 1,200 or 1,800 entries, all it would show is 1k until it hit 2k.
Contest Start Date
Punchtab has now added the Contest Start date option to contests, where you can specify the specific date/time that users can start gaining entries. This is ideal to allow your posts to be published and age in the SERP and have users come back to enter when the contest goes live. This is an update I was greatly waiting for and once again reduces the features that Rafflecopter has that Punchtab does not.
Punchtab is also working on adding a “subscribe to YouTube” video integration feature as well which will be coming soon! So far PunchTab is free for all of these features but who knows for how long?
Now you can +1 Items on Pinterest as an entry option. Punchtab has had this option for quite a while.
Add Prize Photo
Previously you could do this with img src doe inside the contest title, but I think they removed that functionality and now give you the option to upload an image directly for the prize photo. Punchtab offers this for free, though it is a very small 100px by 160px prize image.
Real Time Analytics
This is basically analytics showing you the entries as they are collected in real time, this was previously free and now only being offered as part of the business package. This is free in Punchtab.
Email List Integration
With the business plan you can have contestants directly join your mailing list and it integrates with MailChimp, Aweber and Constant Contact. Punchtab currently only offers Constant Contact integration but does it for free.
Refer a Friend
Viral entry options that allow people to refer/share a link and gain more entries for helping spread your contest to make it go viral. This is a great feature and one of my favorite in Punchtab. Rafflecopter allows only 10 extra entries for refer a friend so only up to 10 friends can be referred. Punchtab offers unlimited so the incentive never ends, but this means that some big time marketers can get thousands of entries as I have seen in my previous contests. If you want refer a friend with limited # of extra entries, then Rafflecopter is the choice. However this is only part of their business plan which is $59.99 per month.
Punchtab or Rafflecopter?
Rafflecopter still adds custom entries (choose your entry) but still requires more manual moderation for entries and the fact that they make all of the extra features as only part of the premium blogging plan ($7.99 per month) or business plan ($59.99) per month in my opinion lower them as a choice to use compared to Punchtab. At least while Punchtab is free and Rafflecopter has the monthly plans.
Unless Punchtab starts charging a monthly fee for contests and features, Punchtab is the preferred service I would go through at the moment. Though if you want to specifically grow your mailing list the Aweber and MailChimp integrations are nice in Rafflecopter. However I get around this in Punchtab by asking a question if readers want to be added to my newsletter. If they say yes, then I will import their email addresses into my SimplyCast mailing list when the contest ends. Sure it’s a little manual, but a few manual steps save me the $59.99 per month cost of the Rafflecopter business plan to do the same thing.
Will Punchtab Charge?
In the end I think there may be a charge/subscription for both contest services, they are becoming popular and they offer a ton of features. If they do I may end up signing up for one of them, and will likely do the one with the most features for the cheapest monthly plan. For now while Punchtab is free, I choose Punchtab. Rafflecopter is however the only one that allows custom entries at this point and allows you to list more than 5 accounts to like/follow in social media in the same contest. Rafflecopter is also the only one that gives you a custom # of entries for the contest entry method, so you want to give 5, 10 or 25 entries for the really important entries you want to collect.
In the last 13 months when I started giving away contests I started paying close attention to the offerings and will continue to report on which contest service has the best features/price offering in my opinion for bloggers. Punchtab and Rafflecopter are pretty much the main two contest services that integrate easily with any website or Facebook fanpage. There are others specific to Facebook contests, but I prefer ones where readers have to enter my blog to join the contest rather than stay on my Facebook page.
Let me know if you like PunchTab or Rafflecopter more or just don’t care which one as long as prizes are being given away and you can enter!