The Value Of Low-Costs/High Returns Experimentation In The Lottery Industry

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to speak at the Lafleur’s 2015 Lottery Conclave & Interactive Summit in Orlando about “Succeeding In Today’s Multi-Channel Environment!”.

During my presentation, I shared the idea to create a little online quiz to help people find out what type of Lotto billionaire they would be. We all know that people want to speak about themselves first and foremost in social media, which also explains the appeal and success of these little personality quizzes. In fact, people love these little “who am I? What city should I live in? What word best describes me?” quizzes and they love to share them on their social media platforms.

When I asked the audience (several hundred lottery reps) if they thought this would be a  good idea, most of them raised their hand. As a joke I told the audience that if I didn’t see this type of quiz being launched within the next 6 months I would create one myself. And so I did. Then life took over and I got distracted for a while.

A few weeks ago though, as the Powerball jackpot was about to hit $700 mio., I decided to bring this idea back to life and test my hypothesis. So I recreated the quiz “What Type Of Lotto Billionaire Would You Be?” using the free App Playbuzz. It took me a total of 10 minutes. Players had to answer three simple questions which would then tell them what type of Billionaire they’d be (choices ranged from the” Heart of Gold”, the “Bon Vivant”, the “Globetrotter”, the “Me Inc.’, the “Uncle Rich” and “the “Next Door Neighbor”). I posted the quiz on Facebook and spent $100 to promote it focusing on lottery players.

The quiz can be played here.

Frankly, the quiz could have been done better:

  1. The quiz wasn’t a piece of brilliant creative frankly. But the point was to test the format more so than the creative execution.
  2. My targeting approach on social media (unlike most lottery agencies, I didn’t have any followers to reach out to) was limited to identify layers based on a few key works (lottery, jackpot, etc.) which is fairly rudimentary, but sufficient to give the quiz a basic lift.
  3. The Playbuzz quiz lacks an essential social sharing button which usually helps organic growth. Further, my original prototype allowed the quiz takers to use their own profile picture in the results description when posting it on their social media (which is known to promote sharing), which was lacking here. Last but not least, my quiz didn’t include any promotional information or call- to-action (which I would have added if I were to actually drive business results).  

Despite all these shortcomings, the results speak for themselves, I think.


  1. The quiz reached 12,005 people, out of which 757 decided to engage (comment, like, share, etc.) with it. That’s an engagement rate of 6.3%. A quick scan of various state lottery agencies’ Facebook post about the $700 million Jackpot shows an average engagement rate of 1%. That is 6 times higher.  
  2. The CTR for the quiz was 1.7%, almost twice the average CTR on Facebook of 0.9%.
  3. And while the average cost per click on Facebook is $1.72, I paid $0.49 per click or less than a third.   

So what can we learn from this little experiment?

  • Most brands, including many lottery agencies, still need to learn how to best engage people in social media. The misleading part in the term “social media” is the word “media. Most social media channels follow their own rules and yet are still all too often used just as a paid media channel. Sure this approach is more predictable and easier to control, but it also doesn’t fully utilize the potential (and effectiveness) of these channels. Why does it matter?  Because “social” is now the #1 source of referral traffic to content on the web (surpassing “search”, i.e. Google) so understanding its rules of engagement becomes crucial.  I’ve recently written a piece entitled “Social Media, You Are Doing It Wrong If…” which sheds some light on the malpractices in social media.
  • Innovation doesn’t have to be expensive or slow, especially in social media. It’s not expensive to create content for social media and it doesn’t take long. Or at least it doesn’t have to, to be effective. Creating the quiz took me a couple of hours and promoting it cost me $100. Sure, you can also spend months creating something similar but that wouldn’t necessarily make it better or more effective.
  • Innovation is a frame of mind. The resistance towards innovation is primarily in people’s attitudes and mindsets, not in the structures or processes. That’s true for most companies. In fact, the barriers to innovation and experimentation are quasi non-existent in social.  
  • Innovation is (almost) risk free in social media. Experimenting with formats and experiences in social media is a low-risk/high-reward undertaking. In the world of investment, this would be the dream scenario for most investors. Worst case, nothing happens, really. Best case, you’ve found an effective and efficient way to grow your business, that can be amplified across product initiatives and media channels. In social media in particular, the opportunities to learn what resonates with consumers are endless, easy to implement, cheap to implement and risk-free.

What can we learn from this? Experimenting is easy, fast and very cost efficient. There is no real risk involved and apathy is the only reason not to do it. So “Just Do It”.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the majority of players who responded to my quiz have a “Heart Of Gold”.

Ulli Appelbaum is Founder & President of brand strategy and innovation firm First-The-Trousers-Then-the-Shoes ( specialized in brand growth, (product) innovation and brand storytelling. He has extensive experience in the Lottery industry having helped lottery agencies re-position their brand for growth, develop new white space opportunities and new product ideas, optimize their internal innovation and go to market processes and develop communication strategies for a variety of new product launches. He’s also a regular contributor to the Public Gaming Magazine ( and speaker at conferences. Feel free to contact me to explore how I can help you grow your lottery and/or gaming business and shed a new and fresh light on your opportunities.


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