This article will outline how to get started creating virtual challenges on Pacer. Follow the simple steps below to start publishing your own customized fitness challenges.
Why Pacer Virtual Challenges?
✔️ Engage and inspire your community
Pacer’s virtual challenges engage communities and groups and motivate them to be more active together.
✔️ Create customized experiences for your participants
Wide range of challenge types and built-in customization options to make challenges look and feel like your brand, club, organization or community.
✔️ Set up and on-board easily
Set up takes just minutes, and you'll get a unique, shareable website for promoting your challenge.
Note: Challenges must be hosted by a public Group (you can’t throw a party without a host, right?). If you don’t already have a group, you’ll be prompted to create one before you can publish your challenge. However, we won’t cover how to create a Group in this article.
- 1. Get Started
- 2. Set Basic Info & Rules
- 3. Customize your Challenge appearance
- 4. Preview your Challenge
- 5. Publish & Share
Get started creating a challenge by opening the Pacer app and navigating to the "Explore" tab. Here you'll find a sub-tab called "Challenges" where you can directly create your public challenge.
Set Basic Info & Rules
You’ll need to give your challenge a title. This can be anything you want as long as it fits within the 50 character limit and abides by our Community Guidelines.
Choose your challenge type. Pacer offers a number of different challenge types:
- Step Challenge - participants compete for who can take the most steps
- Distance Challenge - participants compete to see who can go the farthest
- Pace Challenge - participants must use GPS to complete a qualifying activity (like a 5K or a 10K), and they are ranked by their best pace.
- Daily Step Goal - participants must reach a daily step goal (like 10k steps) to score a point, and they are ranked by number of points accumulated in the challenge period.
- Route Challenge (coming soon) - participants have to complete their activity at an actual real-life location (like a local park) by following one or more pre-defined routes.
Each challenge type may have advanced settings that allow you to further customize your participants’ experiences.
Set a Total Step Goal (optional) - If you set a total step goal, each participant will see a progress bar showing their progress toward the goal. Step goals can only be set in 10,000 step increments. Cannot be changed after challenge is published.
Set a daily step limit (required) - This is the maximum number of steps a participant can add to their challenge score each day. This setting is to prevent overexertion and cheating. The default setting is 30,000 steps per day, but you may wish to adjust this up or down depending on your audience. Can be changed after challenge is published.
Set a Total Distance Goal (optional) - If you set a total distance goal, each participant will see a progress bar showing their progress toward the goal. Participants will see the goal in their preferred distance unit (miles or kilometers). Pacer will automatically handle unit conversion. Cannot be changed after challenge is published.
Set a daily distance limit (required) - This is the maximum distance a participant can add to their challenge score each day. This setting is to prevent overexertion and cheating. The default setting is 20 kilometers per day (~12.4 miles), but you may wish to adjust this up or down depending on your audience. Can be changed after challenge is published.
Choose to only allow GPS-tracked activities (optional) - This option allows you to require participants to record their challenge activities using Pacer's GPS tracking feature. Enabling this feature would ensure that challenge activities are from purposeful outdoor activities, and would not include data recorded by Pacer's 24/7 pedometer feature (i.e., normal daily activity). This option is disabled by default.
Set a Minimum Qualifying Distance (required) - Pace challenges require participants to record at least one outdoor activity of a minimum distance using GPS tracking (excluding cycling). The default distance is 5 kilometers (~3.1 miles), but this can changed to a higher or lower value depending on your challenge requirements and audience capability. This cannot be changed after the challenge has been published.
Set daily step goal (required) - This type of challenge requires participants to meet or exceed a daily step goal to earn a point, with maximum of one point earned per day. The default value here is 10,000 steps. This cannot be changed after the challenge has been published.
Every challenge needs a start and end date. Start date must be today or later. Challenges are inclusive of end dates, so challenges end at 11:59:59 PM on the end date.
Handling timezones - challenge start and end times are based on the creator’s time zone. Participants in other time zones can still join, but their scores will begin and stop counting based on the creator’s time zone.
Customize your Challenge appearance
Each public challenge must be hosted by a public Pacer group. If you do not already have a public group, you will be prompted to create one. See here for details about Groups.
- You can add your own 400 x 400-pixel Challenge Icon. Choose from your phone's photo album, take a photo with your phone's camera, or use our default icon.
- You can add your own 1440 x 708-pixel Cover Image. Choose from your phone's photo album, take a photo with your phone's camera, or use our default image. There is a 10 MB max file size limit.
- You can also add a Brand Color that will be featured throughout the virtual challenge. Enter the corresponding hexadecimal color code (ex. #000AAA). If you don't have an official brand color, choose 'Use Default Color'
Add a brief message to participants. Up to 255 characters long. Optional
If you are creating a virtual challenge in conjunction with a cause or charity, feel free to tell participants about it here. You have up to 1000 characters to describe your cause, and you can add a link to your cause's website if it has one. Optional
Preview Your Challenge
Here you can preview what your challenge would look like to participants before you choose to publish. At this point your challenge has not been published and you can still go back and change any details that you'd like. After publishing, however, some aspects of your challenge cannot be edited:
- Challenge type
- Start and end dates
- Total step goal (step challenge)
- Total distance goal (distance challenge)
- Allowing GPS activity only (distance challenge)
- Minimum qualifying distance (pace challenge)
- Daily step goal (step goal challenge)
- Challenge title
- Daily limits (step and distance challenges)
- Cover image
- Brand color
- Short description
- Cause or Charity
Publish and Promote Your Challenge
Once you tap the "Publish" button from the challenge preview page, your virtual challenge will be live and visible within the Pacer app. The only thing left to do now is to start promoting your challenge to participants:
If you already have Pacer Group members, they will automatically receive a notification that a new challenge has been published. They will see this notification in their Pacer app's Message Center, Feed and your Group's page. They will not be signed up automatically.
Non Group Members
Pacer provides several options to invite participants who are not already members of your Pacer Group or have not yet installed the Pacer app:
- Share a link: every Challenge has a unique website that participants can visit from their smart phone. If a participant has already installed Pacer, the website will automatically open the Pacer app and take the user directly to your Challenge page. Participants who have not yet installed the Pacer app will be directed to the Pacer download page on the iTunes App Store (iPhone) or to the Google Play Store (Android).
- QR Code: QR codes can be printed out and put in prominent locations that your participants are likely to see. They can be scanned by most smart device's camera apps. Once scanned, QR codes behavior similarly to share links.
- Challenge Key: Participants who have installed the Pacer app can directly search this unique Challenge Key to find and join your challenge.
What do participants see?
Joining a Challenge
There are three ways that participants can find and join your virtual challenge: (1) by opening your challenge's share link in a mobile browser, (2) by scanning your challenge's QR code with their mobile device, or (3) by searching for your challenge key within the Pacer app.
Via Share link:
When a potential participant opens your share link on their mobile device, they will be directed to your challenge's web site. This site looks very similar to how your challenge will look within the Pacer app, but it does not contain a leaderboard or scores.
If participants tap the "Join" button, the website will automatically detect if they have the Pacer app installed or not. If they have the app installed already, the participant will be taken directly to your challenge's page within the Pacer app. If they do not have the Pacer app installed yet, they will be directed to our download page on either the iTunes App Store or the Google Play App Store.
After installing and opening the Pacer app, if we are able to detect that this user previously visited your challenge website, we will automatically them them to your challenge page within the Pacer app. Otherwise, the user may need to go back to the website and tap the join button one more time.
Via QR Code:
Potential participants can also use their smartphone's camera app or dedicated QR scanning apps to scan your challenge's QR code. Once the QR code is scanned, users will be redirected to your challenges website. In this regard, QR codes act essentially the same as share links (above).
Via Challenge Key:
We understand that not all social media platforms will allow you to conveniently share a website url or QR code. In these cases, you may also share your Challenge Key with participants. In order to join via challenge key, participants must first install and open the Pacer app.
From the Pacer home screen, participants can directly search for your challenge by tapping the search icon on the home screen of the app.