10 Best Practices For A Branded Scavenger Hunt


Social Media Scavenger Hunt Best PracticesScavenger hunts are, by no means, new.

In fact, if you’re like me, you probably remember participating in scavenger hunts throughout school – or maybe even as a team building exercise. But with the introduction of geo-location apps like Foursquare and SCVNGR, brands want in on the digital action.

Scavenger hunts are a form of contest that get very immersive, especially when a good bit of offline activity are included. But they can be a bit tricky. If you want to do a scavenger hunt campaign with any of your clients or brands, here are some of the current best practices to help guide you.


  • Stay true to your brand’s equity. This means the scavenger hunt, while providing fans an incentive to participate, shouldn’t feel like a gimmick.
  • Keep it simple. Make sure that there’s an easy way for consumers and brand fans to participate or opt-in. The goal of the scavenger hunt (as well as the participation method) should be clear for the user to understand at first glance. Stay away from technology or terminology that could alienate your consumer.
  • Know your audience. Before building a scavenger hunt for your brand, you need to really know who your audience is and where they are – online or offline.
  • Be flexible. We’re no longer in the wild west of  social media, but we still need to make sure our plans are fluid.
  • Build in sharing. To increase the popularity of the campaign, give fans an easy way to share their involvement with friends. If possible, reward them for sharing.


  • Reward many. Consider a tiered structure for rewards. You want the prizes to feel attainable for all participants. Think about Foursquare mayorships: When you see someone is 267 check-ins ahead of you, you may not want to keep trying. But if the venue rewards you for every third check-in, you’re back in the game!
  • Surprise and delight. The rewards don’t have to just be at the end of the hunt. Instead, build in rewards for certain actions that aren’t published – The user will only discover the reward when they complete the specific action.
  • Make the prize meaningful & newsworthy. Scavenger hunts require a good deal of work for the consumer. This means the reward has to be significant.


  • Timing is everything. Tease the hunt before it starts. Space out the promotion so that it’s not running while numerous other promotions are ongoing.
  • Support your activity. Make sure you have a plan for getting the word out about the activity, whether it’s through a new media spend, digital outreach or even changing existing media assets to support the scavenger hunt. [Consider an influencer strategy. Beyond mass media, influencers can tip the scale in the digital arena. You may want to reach out to digital influencers before your campaign launches to get their thoughts or you may just want to give them a heads up.]


To see these best practices in action, check out:



Image source: Shuttermonkey




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