Is Swag Effective? (Promotional Products' Impact on Marketing, Part One)

Part one examines if swag is effective in of our look at the 2023 Ad Impressions Survey, examining promotional products' impact on your marketing efforts.

If it’s swag, or stuff we all get, is it even an effective marketing channel? The Advertising Specialty Institute researched whether swag is effective in their 2023 Ad Impressions Survey. The survey takes a look at the value and effectiveness of promotional products to consumers.  Read part one of our take on how effective promotional products in marketing can be. Part two will examine impressions by item type, giving guidance on how to take your marketing next level and evaluating cost per impression when selecting company branded merch.

The Most Liked Form of Advertising

First up, how do promotional products stack up against other forms of advertising? They’re the crowd favorite. It doesn’t matter your gender, your age, your geographic location, promotional products were ranked as the favorite form of advertising. It makes sense, right? We may find a digital ad useful. Certainly with the tracking and retargeting capabilities available there’s a pretty good chance the thing you just thought of is about to be served to you in the form of an ad. So that’s cool. But do we like be trailed around the internet and shown advertising at every turn? Turns out, not as much as we like other things. And for marketers, an important thing to note is that if you make a positive impact on someone, it influences their buying behavior. So while it’s all a very valuable part of the marketing mix, we love sharing with you that promotional products top the list of favorite ways consumers want to receive advertising.  At Williams Advertising we run full digital marketing campaigns, social media marketing, and traditional advertising – we understand the mix better than your average promotional products seller. We’re certainly not discounting any segment of the mix. What we are suggesting is making strategic decisions and considering branded merchandise as much as you consider your digital marketing strategy could have huge implications for your business. Request our Guide to Branded Merchandise to learn more about that.


Is Swag Effective? A look at the 2023 Ad Impressions Study.

Promotional products rank as the most liked form of advertising.

Promotional Products Made in the USA

 54% of consumers would feel more favorable about an advertiser who gave them a promotional product if it was Made in the USA. How does that break down by generation?

  • Two-thirds of consumers ages 65+ would feel more favorable about an advertiser if the promo product was US made. This age group favored Made in the USA the largest percentage of all age groups.
  • 60% of consumers ages 55-64 felt more favorable about manufactured in the US products.
  • Bringing down the average of importance placed in USA-made products is age group 35-44, with nearly half of that age group (45%) saying they would feel more favorable about an advertiser if the product they gifted were made in the USA.

Environmentally Friendly Promo Products

Sustainable branded merchandise is a growing trend year over year, one that quite honestly we hope becomes more of a mainstream staple than trend. Nearly half of the respondents in the Ad Impressions Survey said that was important to them too, at a rate of 46%. Interestingly, the age group breakdown shows little variance across generations. All age groups were within a few points of each other, with ages 25-34 showing the least impact of advertiser perception from product sustainability at 39%.

Which Products Having Staying Power?

Here’s the really good stuff! Which promotional products can you choose to make the biggest impact on your recipient? No surprise it’s the ones with staying power. At Branded by Williams Advertising, we believe a lot of that has to do with not only product type choice, but design, quality, and more. We'll look at CPI next, but we know the longer an item is kept and more importantly used, the better return on investment it has.

  • 61% of consumers would keep and wear promo outerwear for 2 years or longer. Need inspiration? Check out some of our branded outerwear.
  • Here’s a favorite of ours, because there are so many great options! 63% of consumers use promo drinkware and keep branded drinkware for 1 year or longer.
  • Is this surprising to you, in this digital age? 62% of consumers keep and use a promo calendar for a year (or longer!).
  • 54% of consumers would keep and use a promo umbrella for not one but two years or even longer.
  • 62% of consumers would keep and wear a promo polo for one year or longer.
  • Over half of consumers would keep a promo power bank for 2 years or longer.
  • Promo t-shirts are still popular! 47% of consumers would keep & wear a branded t-shirt for 2 years or longer. We know longer the softer and better the design!
  • So we’ve highlighted polos & t-shirts, but did you know performance material is making a bigger impact? 59% of consumers would keep and wear promo performance apparel for a year or longer.
  • Branded desk accessories are still tops too, coming in at 58% of consumers keeping and using a promo desk accessory for one year or longer.
  • What the study doesn’t touch on here? That same merch is usually donated after use. People share their promo items with others or donate it for a good cause so that it continues to be useful to someone else.
  • We have stats on many item choices. We’ll share with you during your branded merchandise search if you're interested - just reach out.

Is swag effective? Outerwear is a consumer favorite. Read our part two recap of statistics showing the effectiveness of promotional products in your marketing next where we share the research on impressions and costs per impression, as well as how that impacts business.

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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