See how this online learning & education company collected over 57,873 emails, 7,035 app downloads and 27,920 social engagements (followers & shares) running a referral contest.

Replicate this campaign and similar results for your business!


Testbook is a platform for the complete preparation of 100+ government exams. They focus on education and test-taking.

It’s not easy building a massive database of courses and practice tests. That amount of content takes a long time to put together.

What takes just as long is building the email list, traffic, social following, and audience to pay and consume all that content.

That’s where referral marketing comes in. Once you have students taking courses and doing test exams, they are bound to know others in need of this service.

This case study will show you how Testbook generated over 57k emails (28,944 of them being referrals).


Reached over 325,007 pageviews


50% of participants referred 1+ person


The landing page converted at 18%


Generated 57,873 new email leads

referral contest case study testbook.png


The goal was to generate as much social buzz as possible and bring some excitement into the Testbook learning community. It would also help bring awareness to their new payment plan, which was being introduced to give back to the community.

A lot of Testbook’s success can be attributed to the community they build around their product. These communities and audiences do not come from anywhere. It takes time hard work and time to build, but one of the fastest ways is to leverage referral marketing through contests.

Testbook solves a great pain point of helping people pass tests. They go well beyond that with additional services like courses, quizzes, live coaching, and practice tests.

None of this product expansion would be possible without a passionate audience to consume the content. So an expanding community is vital to their growth. 

By building their social following, email list, and app downloads. They are able to funnel more people into their products and continue to grow. The audience and community is a key part of their company.

Using a referral contest can be an excellent seed campaign to get your audience started if you are just starting out. Just look for companies like Testbook to partner with 😉

referral contest youtube.png

ABOUT THE BRAND is a personalized learning and assessment platform providing a full-stack portal to prepare for employment from anywhere in the country.

The EdTech platform provides live coaching, online Courses, mock tests, and doubt solving support that ensures 360 degrees learning at one place for the students preparing for public sector jobs & respective tests.

Testbook’s target audience

A referral contest needs to attract the right people so that those people can refer others like themselves. Lucky for Testbook, that their audience is quite engaged and learning is a product that is relevant to a lot of people.

The training they offer is giving access to those who might not have schooling opportunities. They have classes in Banking & Insurance, SSC & Railways, Engineering, Teaching, Defence & Police, Civil Services, and State Exam industries.

Marketing tactics they employ

1. Leverage their current community using gamification through a contest.

2. Utilized their current video channels like TikTok and YouTube to get more sign-ups and social reach. Double down on what works!

3. Partnered with influencers on Instagram and TikTok to share and promote the campaign, which generated a lot of referral sign-ups.

Influencer marketing tip

Sending influencers free content in exchange for content (images and videos) is a good trade-off. Make sure that you get the influencers posting the content to social and sending you the original files for advertising material.

Another way to get user-generated content is to include it as a bonus action in your contest.

For example:

  • Upload a video of you using our product for 100 points.
  • Upload a video letting us know how Testbook changed your life.
  • Upload an image of you doing XXX for 100 points.
  • Post a photo to Instagram of you doing XXX for 100 points.
  • Etc. Etc. This can work for any type of content or channel and most niches.


Type: Digital Product & Courses
CMS: Custom
Founded: 2013
Industry: Education & Learning
Campaign Type: Referral Contest

This is their first VYPER campaign Testbook has ever run.

A few stand out facts that make this website successful. You can take some of these points and apply them to your store.

  • Created an engaged community
  • Tests their pricing models and price points
  • Uses influencers to build top of the funnel awareness & traffic
  • Uses video content on preferred channels (YouTube, Tik Tok & Instagram)
  • Expanded product offering and selection as the company grew


Using referral marketing to expand your audience, following or email list is a great keep acquisition costs low. The beauty of a referral contest is the compounding effect. Testbook generated 28,944 referred leads (leads they paid $0 to reach). 

When it comes to setting up a referral contest, you need to consider the incentive behind the referral. People are not going to share your brand and products with all their friends, family, and co-workers for nothing. No such thing as a free lunch!


Understanding your customer and the needs, wants, and desires is a good starting when choosing a prize for your referral contest. There is no way Testbook could have generated that many referral leads by giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

Invest some money and effort into creating a prize that is worth participants’ time. If you want them to rave about your brand, make it share-worthy. Think about perceived value, not just monetary value as well.


It’s always a good idea to position your campaign around an event so that you can have a meaningful purpose around your campaign.

For example, Testbook launched this around the Exam taking time and positioned the campaigns as “win everything you need for your exam preparation?”.


When you are trying to leverage referral marketing, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to share. Using something like VYPER allows all participants to have dashboards and unique URL’s. Remind them to share every chance you get.


Running a contest is a great excuse to reach out to partners like influencers or publications. It gives you a reason to pitch your campaign and get them to help share it. This can sometimes cost a few $$$. 

Referral contest screenshot-04

Portions are not 100% accurate as this was a large screenshot.


If your brand relies on a community or audience to monetize, engagement should be one of your key growth measures.

Some of the largest brands in the world are built of a strong brand, community, and audience. These brands engage people, which generates word of mouth and referrals.

The easiest way to grow is to lean on the people who already like your product and brand. They are the best brand advocates. You just need to give them a little incentive to do so.

Referral marketing is nothing new, but if you can engage and incentivize your customers or website visitors to just tell 1 or 2 other people about your brand, you can start growing at exponential rates.

For example, Grow your communities on channels and get them to engage with each other. Testbook incentivized people to download their app, join telegram, follow on social, upload content, tag friends, and repost on Instagram. All these actions help build communities.

Below is an example of a confirmation email to increase engagement of participants in you referral contest campaign.

Hey <<NAME>>,

Congratulations, you are in! 🎉  Welcome to the VYPER Mega Contest!

What Next? 

  1. Confirm your email & get 10 points!
  2. Refer friends and co-workers using your invite link <<INVITE URL>> to get 100 points.
  3. Complete bonus actions to earn even more points.

As you collect points in our contest you will unlock prizes.

Check out all the awesome prizes and how many points you need HERE.

Good Luck, let us know if you have any questions at all.


As mentioned, it’s essential to create engagement. A few ways Testbook did this using a referral contest & bonus actions are below.

  • Focus on your core channels. Choose 2-3 channels you want to grow and make them all about your referral contest before, during, and after your campaign launch.
  • Incentivize people to tag friends. This is a great way to get people to introduce your brand to their friends without being pushy. Create a social post about your referral contest, then a bonus action to get people to tag others in that post.
  • Focus on the share and tag. This will generate “earned impressions”, which means your brand getting shown to people for $0 cost!
  • Use personal images and videos to build a connection between you and your community. This is much easier when your product is courses and training as they can all be taught in person. If you are an eCom brand or SaaS company, it’s a good idea to go tip videos or company updates in video format.
  • Engage with your community. Once you bring all these people into your social channels, talk to them. Tag them in posts, generate discussions, reply to all comments. Over time this engagement will build and automate itself as your community builds.

So focus on building an audience and community, then monetization. As we showed you with Testbook, using giveaways and contests are a great way to engage and grow these audiences.

If you have limited bandwidth, focus on just a few channels that fit your brand and niche. We would strongly suggest putting your email list at the top of that.

Then Choose 1 or 2 social channels that you can really commit to. Most brands will be tossing up between Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

Then make your campaign and bonus actions around those channels.

You can see the Testbook referral contest thank you page below and all the different types of actions they incentivized with their bonus actions.

Referral contest screenshot-05

Portions are not 100% accurate as this was a large screenshot.



Check out VYPER for free or sign up to a live webinar to see how the tool works and how you can use it to build contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, leaderboards, and reward programs.

  • Increases social followers
  • Increases social engagements
  • Incentivizes sharing + referrals
  • Collects user-generated content
  • Reward Options = Milestone, Placement, & Random
  • Generates reviews & feedback



Creating a contest that generates a strong referral system is not easy. There’s an art to building up enough incentive to make someone tell everyone they know about your brand, let’s see how Testbook did this!

In this example, Testbook decided to use the embed option to run their referral contest.

This meant that they designed their own landing page then embedded the VYPER contest sign up fields on that page.

Brands will usually do this when they have a developer and designer on staff. It gives you the maximum customizability.

Most brands starting out will use the VYPER hosted campaign pages. This does not require a dev or design skills, so is super easy to use.

In the screenshots of the contest sign up pages, you can see that they did a few things really well to help get them an 18% conversion rate.

 This means pretty much 1 in 5 people that visited their referral contest participated.

Then for every 2 people that entered, 1 of them referred a friend!

That’s a pretty good conversion rate backed out to a great referral funnel.

The incentivization is what really makes this system work well. Not to mention offering a sing up bonus could have boosted these stats even more. 

Below is a breakdown highlighting a few things Testbook did well to make this referral contest campaign a success.




Make sure you pick a prize that is unique and has a high perceived value to your target audience. This will improve the quality of your leads. Give out your product, experiences, trips, other brand products, etc.

Testbook – Picked a really good prize that aligned with their target marketing. They gave students all the tech and gadgets they needed to improve their exam preparation.



Use multiple rewards to keep everyone engaged and motivated. Placement rewards (1st place) help competitiveness, milestone rewards (100 points unlock X) help progress, and random winner rewards keep all entrants hopeful.

Testbook – Used competitiveness really well by award the best prizes (computers, etc.) to the top 10 ranking people in the contest (most points).

They also made sure everyone had the option to win something, so included some milestone prizes giving away their own product.

It’s a good idea to use your own product so that you do not have to pay for these prizes. ‘Milestone’ means that if someone reaches XX number of points, they unlock the prize.

If your campaign goes viral, you still have to fulfill all these prizes, so buying milestone prizes is not a great idea (gift cards, your own product, digital products, etc. are best).



It’s a good idea to tailor your bonus actions and messaging to the device your customers are using. If all your customers are on mobile, make the mobile experience really easy to use.

Testbook – Focused on mobile to match there customer’s user activity. Getting people to add them on TikTok, download their mobile app, and message them on Telegram where all additional communication channels as email might not have been the best way to communicate their users.

You will want to connect with your participants on multiple channels. Ideally the channels they prefer.



The design of your giveaway will help get people excited, include images and videos on the landing page to increase conversion rate. Clearly show what people can win!

Testbook – This was very important in this campaign as there were so many prize types. Communicating this clearly required infographics and clear messaging on the sign-up page.

They focused their design and messaging on the prize as this is the most important thing to the participants, they don’t want to know about your company. They want to know what’s in it for them.

Once you have created your landing page, make sure to share it with a few coworkers and friends to see if they understand what you are trying to do and what the benefit to them (giveaway contestant) is.

You must make your contest clear as to what the benefit is to the contestant.

Once they understand the value your are offering, it is much easier to ask them to share your brand, engage with your social content, and refer their friends.

Before you launch, think: Does the effort = the value of the reward?

For example, would you spend 5 hours trying to win a $5 gift card? Probably not.

You can see the full Testbook sign up and thank you flow blow.

STEP 1 – Referral Contest Sign Up Page

testbook referral contest

STEP 2 – Referral Contest Thank You Page

referral contest thank you page


Marketing is one of the most important steps when launching a successful contest, but it can also be the most challenging. See how Testbook marketed their way to 57k new email leads.

The success and growth of the Testbook contest came from a few things which we will highlight below.

Just because Testbook already had an audience so not mean that new brands can not replicate these tactics.

If you do not have your own audience, think about how you can leverage someone else’s. Partners, influencers, ads, etc.

    The easiest way to kickstart a contest is through your immediate network. That’s your email list, social channels, and direct contacts.


    A referral contest is very effective if you can get people to engage and refer others.

    To do that, several things have to happen as people do not just share brands for no reason.

    1. The incentive needs to be there (a good prize).
    2. The brand has to get the “offer” (contest sign up page) in front of as many people as possible.
    3. The share option has to be easy (unique referral URLs or bonus actions to tag friends, etc.).
    4. Once someone enters, the brand has to keep encouraging people to share and take action.

    We see the most successful brands emailing their participants and posting to social multiple times throughout the contest campaign.

    As mentioned a few times, if you do not have a large audience to share your referral contest with. You can always borrow one!

    Use partners, influencers, ads, forums, or any other channel that has groups of people that would be relevant to your brand and want to win free stuff.

    Below are 5 marketing tactics and strategies that Testbook used to  get viral results from their referral contest. Really pay attention to the social channels they use and why.

    Check them out!


    Emailed Their List

    It’s super important to start your giveaway with a big bang. The easiest way to do that is to share it with your immediate audience. Sharing it with your email list (people who are already familiar with Testbook) are much more willing to share their referral link with their friends, family, and co-workers.

    Not only that, but they are more than likely to hang around people similar to themselves, so you are still attracting new leads and customers.

    It’s a great start to get the referral train going!


    Leveraged Instagram

    Instagram is a wonderful channel. However, you do face some limitations with links. You can not add links to posts. However, you can use Story Swipe Up links if you have 10k followers (Here are all the details about using IG stories).

    If you do not have 10k followers, run multiple contests to get to 10k followers or check out this video.

    The main reason that Instagram was an excellent channel for Testbook is they had already warmed up their audiences with other great content and games.

    This helps as people are already expecting to engage with their content and play games.

    So a tip for you and your brand is to make your content more than just a beautiful image or video.

    How can you answer or ask questions, create engagement, get your followers involved instead of mindlessly scrolling past your posts.

    referral contest announcement instagram

    referral contest instagram post winner

    referral contest announcement instagram


    Shared to TikTok

    TikTok can go either way at the moment. It has the potential to become a huge success and the next big social channel or flop as it struggles to figure out user engagement, monetization, and keeping legal issues at bay.

    None of this matters to you, the thing that matters is that this channel has HUGE organic reach right now.

    So take advantage of that like Testbook did.

    They created engaging video announcing their contest as well as keeping people up to date with regular posts.

    testbook tiktok 01 testbook tiktok referral contest


    Created a competitive environment

    It was important to make the referral contest competitive, but not too competitive that it would turn people off.

    So Testbook created prizes for the top 10 ranked participants (most points = 1st). But they didn’t show the leaderboard. 

    This kept the everyone incentivized to collect points, but not know how many they needed to rank in the top 10.

    This also was a great reason to get in touch with participants. Sending out an email teasing the leaderboard and their point levels. 


    Leveraged social with bonus actions

    Bonus actions allow brands to incentivize pretty much anything. It’s a great way to generate a lot of likes, shares, comments, and tags on social media.

    These actions usually take a LONG time to build, but as soon as you add points and rewards. People are more than happy to tag away!

    This was used extremely well by Testbook as they created bonus actions for — subscribe to our YouTube channel, like & comment on Facebook posts, repost on Instagram, comment & like on videos, like & share TikTok videos and tagging friends.

    All these actions create a huge amount of engagement and shares across multiple channels.

    Not only does it create engagement, but it naturally introduces your brand to a lot of people who are not even participating in your contest.

    As you can see, engagement was through the roof!

    facebook referral contest bonus actions
    facebook referral contest bonus actions



    Using Social Media Influencers

    A big part of the referral contest’s success was the use of influencers. We asked Neer a few quick questions to learn more.

    How you found them: Since we have a very defined target audience of students preparing for particular exams, all the relevant pages on Instagram directed towards exam or subject categories can be found easily. No individual influencers.

    What you were looking for: Word of Mouth, social engagement created a lot of buzz in our case. The contest coincided with a new product launch.

    Any big wins: Virality of the contest, 50% of participants were referred from other participants.

    Any mistakes: Pre-planning & collaboration of contest content with a pool of YouTube influencers. Also, more lead up hype building to the contest with our existing email list should have been done.


    Now the moment we have all been waiting for. The cold hard metrics and stats from the Testbook Referral Contest. What worked and how well it worked!

    Pay attention to the ongoing engagement and the high referral/share rate of this contest.

    You can learn a lot from their social channels on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Testbook do a lot of video content, which is one of the key factors for such an engaged audience.

    Below you can see some of the stats achieve during the contest.

      referral contest results

      A few things from the results above stand out. First off, that’s a lot of emails but also a huge amount of bonus actions.

      Almost every single person who entered completed 1 extra bonus action on average.

      When you run your own referral contest, watch these metrics.

      If you see your conversion rate is under 20%, think about how you can improve it. Or if your virality score is under 20, how can you make your participants refer more. And finally, if your social engagements are less than 50% of your total entrant number, reconsider the bonus actions you are using. 

      “VYPER’s platform gamifies the contest unlike other contest builders where the user doesn’t feel engaged in the campaign.”

      Neernidhi Samtani,

      Entrepreneur-in-Residence, TestBook

      Timing is everything, and Testbook nailed it. They timed their referral contest around student exams. This is a key period of the year for their business as it plays into their product offering of test exams and preparation material.

      If you are planning to run a referral contest, try and plan it around a date, event, launch, or special occasion.

      In the US, there’s some sort of holiday or major event every 2 weeks pretty much. The more specific the event or date to your niche and product, the better.

      For example — If you sell dog products, run your referral contest around world dog day, adoption day, or any other major event in the dog community and niche.

      Another thing that Testbook did really was keeping people engaged, all the spikes below correlate to marketing efforts (emails, social posts, and influencer posts).

      You can see a drop over the 16th and 17th when they were not posting or promoting their contest.

      So before you start, plan out your dates, campaign length (suggest 30-40 days), emails, brand, partner and influencer social posts.

      referral contest over time

      This next chart is one of the most important. It breaks down all the bonus action results. You can see some were more popular than others.

      This will sound repetitive but lean into the channels your brand is good at and present on. You can see that Testbook really leaned on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

      It was a good idea to use the bonus actions not only to get more app downloads and Telegram group members.

      Most products or services will take 8+ touchpoints before a conversion (purchase mostly) takes place. It takes a long time to rack that up on 1 channel.

      If you are connecting with your audience and potential audience across 3 or 4 channels they can consume a lot more of your content quickly. Please don’t go too crazy with this as we usually see brands only do 2-3 channels well. Focus on your strengths!

      referral contest stats

      One of the reasons Testbook added in bonus actions to like, comment, and share on social posts was to increase the social validation to improve the rate of engagement but also make their posts more attractive in the newsfeed when they run ads using those posts.

      There are a few benefits to this technique.

      1. People are much more likely to stop and look if there is a lot of commotion (like a crash on the other side of the highway causing traffic jams).
      2. A good way to show the ad networks that your promoting quality content is through engagement indicators. The ad networks then reward you by decreasing your CPM.

      So, a big part of this referral contest was not just the individuals sharing their personal links, but also the bonus actions helping spread the word on social media.


      A common question we get is, “how do I monetize and convert all these new leads?” It’s a valid point as there is a lot of factors that go into nurturing a lead into a customer.

      The easiest way is to add all your new giveaway leads into a lead nurture email drip.

      Before you add all your leads, make sure you run the exported list through a list cleaning service, here are a few to choose from.

      Here are a few more tips to improve your email marketing campaigns.

        Create a compelling title for the winner announcement email

        Writing something like “The Winner of Our Contest….”. This will get better open rates!

        Leads will not convert right away

        Make your email drips are 2-3 months long. Clean your list of non-openers every 4-8 months.

        Keep entrants engaged the entire time during the giveaway

        Make your email drips 2-3 months long. Clean your list of non-openers every 4-8 months.

        Types of Emails to Send

        Your lead nurture email drip would look and include emails like the ones below. It’s important to have a variety of emails to keep people engaged. Sending them 2-4 days apart is a good rule of thumb.

          Giveaway Follow-up Email
          It’s important to provide value to your leads, then pitch for the sale after the lead feels like you have given them something, and they know you a little better.

          We usually suggest you include a sales pitch email ever 2-3 emails you send out.

          The winner announcement email is also a good time to pitch a sale as you have got such a high open-rate. You can see this in the example email we sent for one of our contests.

          This action-packed email should include a number of things.

          • The winners’ list
          • A free prize (content, access to something, discount)
          • A reminder of what your brand does
          • Preparation that they will be getting more emails from you
          • An easy opt-out if they don’t want emails from you
          • Request to whitelist your email (move to primary folder)

          More Email Ideas

          •  Announcement of winner & Runner up (them).
          • Positive customer stories and use cases of your product.
          • Answer FAQ’s about your product or service.
          • Send exclusive offers for people who entered the giveaway only (sales, product announcement, bundle sells, open the box, pre-orders).
          • “Trust builder” emails such as screenshots of social proof (Facebook posts, reviews etc).
          • Share you top blog posts.
          • Offer something of value. A free content such as checklists, guides, or downloads.
          • Offer them free shipping.
          • Fun facts, stats, and knowledge about your product or industry.
          • Send them more content from your blog (tips, funny, curated content they will like).
          • Testimonials, publicity & social validation.
          • Send buy 1 get 1 free offer.
          • Debunk risk or objections that customer might have. For example, answer the question that usually stops people from buying.
          • Link roundups from the top blogs or writers in your niche.
          • Send discounts or give the product away for free if it has a refillable aspect to the product (For example, anyone who refers 5 people gets a free [loss leader product] to get the customer interested in restocking or repeat purchases).
          • If they have not converted by now you can start giving $ or % discounts.
            Announce that you also have a referral program.

          We help brands build viral contests, giveaways, and reward programs. Create a FREE account (no credit card required) today to test out some of our amazing campaigns and features!

          Use the short code to dynamically populate someone’s name as the “runner up” or “random winner” this makes everyone feel like a winner.

          Offer those winners a $20 gift card, but have conditions that they must spend over $50 to use it.



          To help you run a successful referral contest campaign, we have outlined the top takeaways and learnings Q&A style with Neer from Testbook.

          This is so you can understand common questions for running a similar campaign and also learn from the success of Testbook.

          If you have any additional questions you would like answered about this case study or running a giveaway yourself, just add them in the comments at the bottom of this page and we will add them to this section.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            Why did you decide to run a contest?

            We wanted to bring some joy and excitement in our student community during the upsetting times of COVID-19 by giving away huge prizes coinciding with launching of a new subscription-based product called Testbook Pass, which gives access to 100+ learning courses on our platform.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            Tell us about your business, what you offer, who your target audience is?

   is a personalized learning and assessment platform providing a full-stack portal to prepare for employment from anywhere in the country.

            The EdTech platform provides Live Coaching, Online Courses, Mock Tests, and Doubt Solving support that ensures 360 degrees learning at one place for the students preparing for public sector jobs & respective tests.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            What prize did you offer, and why?

            We wanted the prizes to feel like a package where students have everything they needed to prepare for a test- laptop/mobile device + Yearly access to Testbook pass + yearly internet connection.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            How did you display/implement your contest, and why?

            We used the embed option to match our design standards on our own landing page, and Vyper gave us that flexibility to implement this easily.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            What was your most important metrics?

            Since we wanted to create a buzz, social engagement was the most important metric. We got 44778 actions across all our social channels.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            How did you promote your contest and what worked the best for you?

            Our existing email list, tiktok community, and Instagram influencers worked best.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            3 things that made your campaign successful?

            The prizes were apt for our community. Students also loved this referral contest initiative as it brought them joy and excitement in tough times.

            We have a very engaged student community across all our channels. VYPER’s platform which gamifies the contest, unlike other contests where the user doesn’t feel engaged.

            Q&A WITH NEER

            3 things you would avoid for your next contest?

            I don’t know but we will definitely use influencers at a bigger scale next time.


            VYPER works with eCommerce brands that are doing at least $50k/m in revenue and helps them get to $500k/m using referral marketing, incentivization (VYPER tool) and paid social ads. Get in touch HERE if that’s you!

            Not ready for that, but still want the results? Create a free account below.


            We help brands build viral contests, giveaways, and reward programs. Create a FREE account (no credit card required) today to test out some of our amazing campaigns and features!

            Jack Paxton
            Jack Paxton

            Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.

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