Is Challenge based content making a comeback?

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Challenge based content

Mitchelle Carvalho, CEO of CogMat Digital Media Marketing shares how challenge based content is far from fading away in the socialverse.

Years come by and go, and with every passing #challenge that appears on our social media timelines where we're unsuspectingly tagged by a bunch of friends or acquaintances asking us to dance or sing or run or perform weird calisthenics, we all let out a silent groan and say "this trend better die a quick death." But, what we've witnessed thus far is anything short of it. Yes, challenge based content might be making a comeback.

If I were to pinpoint the one that had set the ball rolling on this trend last year was the “#HumFitTohIndiaFIt” challenge ignited by the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who posted a video of himself on social media, doing push-ups in his office. He then challenged his followers on twitter to post pictures and videos of them engaged in fitness activities. He also put out a #FitnessChallenge to film and sports celebrities Hrithik Roshan, Virat Kohli, and Saina Nehwal. The challenge was acknowledged by none other than the PM Narendra Modi on television.

This was followed by many social media challenges, one of them these days being the “#BottleCapChallenge" where a person trying it out is required to untwist the cap with a roundhouse kick. The challenge that originated sometime mid of this year was started by Taekwondo instructor and fighter FarabiDavletchin. Ever since the video went viral, many celebrities followed the trend, including action icon Jason Statham and of course our very own challenge maestro Akshay Kumar.

All of us remember one of the most famous and the trendsetting challenges, the ALS "#IceBucketChallenge", a fundraiser campaign to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig's disease. This #challenge has by far remained the most notable, viral campaign. A simple video of people pouring ice-cold water on themselves and nominating their friends to follow suit saw participation from mammoth celebrities like Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg in the West as well as many Indian celebs.

Even CogMat tried its bit to create awareness about the rising rate of cardiovascular diseases by creating the #WalkbackwardsChallenge.

What petered out as too repetitive by many marketers, #challenges are seeing a comeback again in 2019 with IT and other tech companies in India doing the #OneMinutePlankChallenge.

So what is it that makes this

type of content a recurring theme in social media marketing plans and why

embracing it every now and then makes for a good marketing tactic?

Room for organic conversation and engagement: The very nature of #challenges is that once you're done attempting it, you nominate people in your circle to partake in the exercise. With or without an additional influencer push marketing budget, the right kind of challenge or content has a certain novelty factor for users to try it out without any gratification. This creates a stream of organic content that benefits brands, offering great insight into participation, real-time conversations and engagement with users.

Great source of User Generated Content: With every new entry or participation on social media, brands get a hold of a substantial bank of rich media or content that is fresh, unique and genuine. Such UGC can be used by the brand time and again as a means to promote their offerings or talk about their brand philosophy and it makes for an excellent content strategy.

Platform to create awareness or raise funds: While we talk about the engagement value it creates for brands, NGOs and other not-for-profit organizations can use #challenges to create awareness about a cause they want to promote or raise funds for. Successful campaigns like the #ALSIceBucketChallenge show us that not only is raising funds a possibility but with simple ideas, it can also become a viral sensation.

Over the years, brands have created or participated in #challenges to promote causes or even their brands or services on social media. The format appeals to users and generates participation; however, before adopting such a content tactic, brands need to ensure that the challenge aligns with their ethos, story and overall social media marketing strategy to create a truly meaningful campaign.

This article is authored by Mitchelle Carvalho, CEO of CogMat Digital Media Marketing Agency, for a monthly column on

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