Sending product samples–instead of a paycheck–to content creators is a proven way to inspire social media posts and user-generated content for your brand. How does it work and what can you expect?
What is influencer gifting?
Sending influencers free product to inspire social media posts about your brand is known as influencer gifting, influencer sampling, or trade collaboration. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, brands paying influencers with free product samples (34.5%) is as common as brands paying influencers with money (34.5%).
What are the benefits of influencer product gifting?
Influencer marketing programs can generate a wide range of results from awareness to sales–regardless of whether you pay influencers or send product gifts only.
Specific benefits of sending product gifts instead of a paycheck to influencers include:
Authenticity: When influencers agree to accept your product gift, they typically have a genuine interest and need for your product. You can expect personalized, genuine content. The social post also appears more genuine. The required FTC disclosure for a product gift is “Thanks to Acme for the free product gift” is more authentic than #ad or #sponsored.
Affordability: When a brand sends a gift instead of a paycheck, the actual cost of the gift is less than the retail value–or the value to the influencer. This reduces your influencer compensation costs.
Scalability: Gifting is typically done with micro and nano influencers. These influencers, with their smaller followings, are more willing to accept product gifts. Micro and nano influencers have higher engagement rates than influencers with more than 100,000 followers, and thus offer more impact for the reach. You’ll also get more user-generated content for the cost when you work with micro and nanos rather than working with just a few macro, mega or celebrity influencers.
What is the difference between product gifting and a paid campaign?
While product gifting and paid campaigns share some similarities, the key difference is that in a paid campaign, the influencer is compensated for their promotion. In a product gifting campaign, the product gift is provided without a requirement for a promotion.
How will a product gifting campaign benefit my brand?
Product gifting campaigns are an excellent way to promote your brand. From increased brand awareness and engagement to generating leads and sales and building trust with customers, product gifting campaigns can provide your brand with a range of benefits.
Product gifting campaigns can also help to generate more leads and sales. As customers open and use your gifted products, they are more likely to spread the word about your brand to their friends and family. This can lead to increased brand visibility and increased sales.
The user-generated content produced by influencers is highly valuable when reused throughout your marketing strategy. Traffic, conversions, average order values, and sales can all be significantly increased with influencer UGC.
What value of gift should be offered to influencers?
When deciding on gift value, consider factors such as the deliverables you are requesting and perceived value of the gift to the influencer. While each campaign is unique, we do recommend a minimum gift value of $100 (retail value).
Also consider your marketing goals when selecting the gift. Consider the target audience's preferences and interests, the overall budget, and the perceived value of each item. Conducting research and testing different bundle options may also help you find the sweet spot for your gifting campaigns.
What percent of influencers will participate in a gifting campaign?
When launching a product gifting campaign, it's important to have clear expectations on outcomes. The participation rate (i.e., percent of influencers who post) varies for each brand, and is based on many factors.
Factors that impact participation rate:
- value of the gift
- presentation of the gift
- deliverables requested of the influencer
- the influencer’s experience with your product (i.e., did it arrive broken, did it work)
- timeliness of shipping (i.e., did the item ship when promised)
- clarity of communication with the influencers
If you are working with an influencer marketing agency or partner, be sure to ask what percent of influencers to expect will create content and share a post.
What content will influencers create for a gifting collab?
To generate the most authentic content, we recommend giving influencers creative freedom. They know their audience best. They know what generates engagement with their audience.
- let them know your goals for the campaign.
- educate them about your product and it’s features and benefits.
- let them know if there are product claims that cannot legally be made.
But do not give them a script or your content will not be the genuine, authentic type that is highly engaging.
Can I reuse the content generated by a gifting campaign?
Influencers are an excellent source of user-generated content (UGC). UGC is highly effective to use through your marketing mix: website, product pages, newsletters, ads, social accounts. It’s important to negotiate the licensing rights for your content upfront if you plan to use it again. We highly recommend this!
If you are working with an influencer marketing agency or partner, be sure to ask whether you will have right to reuse the content wherever, however, and forever.
My product can't be shipped. Can I still do a product gifting campaign?
Yes, it's possible to do a product gifting campaign even if your product can't be shipped. One option is to ask influencers to go to the retail location where your product is sold to purchase the product.
ApexDrop is an influencer marketing agency in the United States specializing in product gifting campaigns. Our creators love product gifts. We offer industry-leading participation rates and we guarantee content that converts. Chat with one of our brand specialists today.