What's the Cost Per Impression of Branded Merch? (Promotional Products' Impact on Marketing, Part Two)

Part two of our look at the 2023 Ad Impressions Survey, examining promotional products' impact on your marketing efforts. This time we're talking cost per impression of branded merch.

In part one of our look at if swag and promotional products are an effective form of advertising, we talked about likability, environmentally friendly & USA made promotional products’ impact on consumers, and how long on average promotional products are kept. For most marketers, decisions are made based in part on cost, part on effectiveness.  With marketing channels like digital ads and social media marketing, impressions, reach and costs can easily be tracked against those metrics. With promotional products, often we know we’re spending as part of an event marketing goal, to build brand awareness, or to thank someone. What we don’t always know is that cost per impression or ROI down to the cent. The 2023 Ad Impressions Survey researched and presented some of that information.

What Promo Product Gets the Most Impressions?

Branded Outerwear

If you caught which promo product that got the most use for the longest in part one of our look at how effective swag is in marketing, you know outerwear is our winner. It’s no surprise that the longer an item is kept, the more impressions your brand receives as a result. Outerwear/fleece came in with top impressions in the 2023 research with 7,856 impressions.  If that’s the average impressions, here are a couple of scenarios to help decide what spend level you’re comfortable with on outerwear.

This rain-repelling shell has a refined, easy-moving shape and technical DWR-finished fabric. Reverse coil zip pockets keep essentials dry, safe and in place while the black, oxidized molded zipper extends through the collar. This ladies fit jacket has a slightly longer length (we love that!), it’s 77/23 nylon spandex bonded to a water-resistant film insert and has a 100% polyester jersey lining. It’s from one of our favorite lines. Depending on stitch count, quantity, decoration locations and all the variables your investment could be about $75 a jacket for this branded outerwear choice.  Going by 7,856 impressions for outerwear, that $75 jacket’s CPI is $0.0095.  Even if your branded item comes at a fraction of the cost based on your choices, or if just a fraction of the impressions are achieved, it’s a great return on investment.

Here are some other impression stats to consider:

  • Branded writing instruments generate 2,436 impressions over their lifetime. We love a good branded pen drop (where appropriate!) as a cost effective way to get your brand out in the world a step farther. Life hack: Make sure it’s an awesome pen to make the most of your brand impressions.
  • Logo drinkware generates 3,162 impressions over its lifetime.
  • Umbrellas not only have staying power, they generate 1,760 impressions over their lifetime.
  • Headwear generates 3,380 impressions over its lifetime. Again, think design & quality especially on headwear, but ultimately know your audience and what they’ll wear for this branded item to be most effective.
  • T-shirts generate 5,053 impressions over their lifetime. We’re going to trust the study on this one, but we bet that skews even higher & has a greater ROI when your shirt becomes someone’s new favorite tee.
  • Desk accessories generate 2,314 impressions over their lifetime.

Cost Per Impression

We mentioned we run digital ads & social media marketing campaigns over at Williams Advertising right? So we can be a little tight when it comes to budgeting for things that we can’t see a direct ROI on for our clients.  You’ll hear us suggest campaign marketing tie-in’s all the time over here on the Branded side of the business. But what’s the cost per impression of branded merch with some of these top impression-getting promo items?

  • A pen that costs $1 will have a cost per impression (CPI) of less than 1/10 of a cent.
  • An insulated travel mug costing $10 has a CPI of 1/3 of a cent.
  • That umbrella? A $10 umbrella has a cost per impression of ½ of a cent!
  • A moisture wicking performance polo that costs $20 will have a cost per impression of less than 1 cent.

Moisture Wicking Branded Polo Cost Per ImpressionAnd the examples continue on and on for costs per impression on branded merchandise. We always advise to spend what you’re comfortable conveying your recipient is worth, as a starting point. New employee? What is that onboarding kit reflecting to them that their value is? Customer around the holidays you’re thanking? What’s that business worth to you, and what is an appropriate amount to spend in appreciation of that customer? We are all drawn to the nicest branded items, but budget doesn’t always allow for extravagant spends in either of these branded gifting scenarios.  Our hope is that by looking at the expense relative to the recipient, relative to the cost per impression, you can make a case for investing in the experience your company is providing to build its brand.

Next up, in part three of promotional products' impact on marketing, we’re sharing about how influential promotional products are as a marketing channel.

Branded by Williams Advertising creates branded merchandise that allows companies to show appreciation and build brand loyalty. Our capabilities include everything from ideation to production of promotional products. We simplify your life by handling everything from creative through fulfillment for all custom items. If you need help showing appreciation, please reach out & we’ll build personalized promotional products' recommendations for your brand.

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