Thursday, 5 January 2017

2016: The Final Analysis

I’m no statistician, but I do love needless extrapolations, so to wave one last final farewell to 2016, here’s the year in numbers.

2650: Total prize value (£). That’s a complete stab in the dark, of course. For example, I won a BFG DVD & merchandise set plus boxed set of Roald Dahl books that the promoter valued at nearly £300. It’s an awesome prize, but I'd respectfully suggest that someone has their numbers in a knot if they think it's worth more than a ton. I’ve also won a couple of tickets for a circus performance at next year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival, but as these aren’t yet available for purchase, I can only guess the retail price.

71: Total prizes. My sister lives in the USA, so if I stumble across any low-entry US giveaways, I invariably always enter them, even though the prizes are unlikely to make it to this side of the Atlantic. Case in point, in 2015, I netted some fish fingers and $100 of fancy chocs which my sister consumed on my behalf. In 2016, my US prizes comprised a hoodie, a t-shirt and a Rogue One popcorn bucket (complete with tickets to watch the movie). Again, I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing these, so I’m excluding them from the rest of my prize analysis.

270: Value of largest prize (£). This was a £200 Virgin Experiences voucher and £70 camera. The following graph shows the distribution of prize value, providing a textbook example of the financial significance of the so-called long-tail. In case you can’t see, the lowest value prize was zero.
37: Minimal effort wins based on nothing but luck (including draws, Rafflecopters, Follow/RTs, and in one case, a dog eating a biscuit from a Post-It note with my name on it). This figure could actually be larger - I had a further seven wins from “comment below” comps where it was unclear whether the comment was judged. The pie chart below illustrates how often my efforts were rewarded. NB: “Tie-break” is used as a blanket term for any kind of judged short-form content, such as story, poem or even (wait for it…) tie-breaker.

35: Percentage of wins from Instagram. As the pie chart shows, Instagram was my most successful source of wins both modest (seeds!) and marvellous (tickets to see Beyoncé!). NB: The “web” heading comprises not only web form entries, but also Rafflecopter/Gleam and any comps requiring entrants to e-mail their entries. I make no apologies for the lack of academic rigour.

9: T-shirts won. More than anything else, I won t-shirts. Most of these were merchandise-related (Jack Daniel’s, the X-Men etc) so I wasn’t given a choice about size, which explains why at least four were too big for me (two are yet to arrive). Still, they’ve made other people happy, which is always a good thing. And, to be fair, they all wear black better than me anyway...

2: RT wins. To be honest, I enter so few RT comps that there was never going to be many wins here. Both of these wins came from low-entry comps I found on obscure hashtag days. Trust me: in 2017, #EdBallsDay is going to be HUGE.

1: Comping wife. Remember the Chicago Town dance competition? I didn’t stand a chance, so I recruited my wife. Her second attempt scooped a runner-up prize of a £50 iTunes voucher and a load of pizza vouchers. She stopped comping immediately afterwards, thus retiring with a win rate that I will never top. Even better, she said I could spend the voucher on her behalf.

I hope you also got a chance to look at your prize spreadsheet in more detail over the Christmas holidays - do let me know if you spotted any unanticipated patterns! 


  1. this is brilliant - it's really given me a giggle. Love that you got your wife involved - don't worry she'll be back for more comps I'm sure! My husband always moans about my comping habit but he loves the wins and I get him to do anything technical eg any videos etc for me using my ideas and I'm sure he actually secretly enjoys it. Off to look at my spreadsheet now - I need to set one up for 2017 as I've just had a nice low value prize win of elastoplast plasters!!!

    1. Winning already? That's brilliant! And useful - anyone with children needs plasters on tap!

  2. Especially loving the distribution of prize value graph! I need one of these for my evaulation next year! Good luck with your Januray wins, hoping to have my first win of the year soon :D (

    1. So glad you like it! - I'm just chuffed I'm not the only infographic fan out there :D

      Just for you, I've done my wishlist in graphic form too - keep an eye out next week ;)

      I'm waiting to break my 2017 duck too - Be lucky!