3 questions you ask yourself about Gifting Strategies

For a few years now, the notion of product gifting has burst into the strategic discussions of marketers. Having become a real visibility tool for brands, this practice is becoming more and more widespread until it becomes a notion that is crucial to master.

November 2, 2022

👉 For a few years now, the notion of product gifting has burst into the strategic discussions of marketers. Having become a real visibility tool for brands, this practice is becoming more and more widespread until it becomes a notion that is crucial to master.

At the origin of gifting, there is a need: to find alternatives to optimize product campaigns. Whether it's off-line campaigns (posters, TV ads or press ...) or more recently digital campaigns (Facebook or Google Ads) the increase in acquisition costs, as well as the difficulty to maximize the results has become a major issue.

So the product gifting strategies are developing.  This practice consists in offering a product for free to an influencer or any other person with a visibility platform, so that they can promote this product in exchange.

This is how we could see several social network stars talking about different products, services or even experiences.

It is then that we must differentiate 2 types of partnerships to really grasp the nuance.

The paid/sponsored partnership:

Very common among macro-influencers, this is a monetization of the audience composed of their followers. The influencers in question get paid to talk about a product or brand to their followers.

The Gifting partnership:

Which increasingly concerns micro and nano influencers, is more an exchange of goods and services. The influencer receives a product for free and in exchange he tests it live, makes a post or a story for his community!

Instagram story of the micro-influencer @abyseck on the tea brand CHITOU

So, after these few more details, there are still some unanswered questions. We will give some answers in this article.

1/ What strategies does Gifting fit into?

The micro-influence strategy

As opposed to macro-influence strategies, which consist in looking for influencers with the largest communities, micro-influence targets influencers with smaller, but more engaged communities. As much as macro-influence aims at visibility, micro-influence aims at relevance and qualification of the target. It is a tool that allows you to refine your targeting strategy by choosing influencers on niche topics for example.

63% of influencers with between 10K and 50K subscribers and 80% of those with 5 to 10K subscribers are almost exclusively rewarded with free products. The others (over 100K and over 50K) are the ones who are most often rewarded with money. Product gifting is therefore the prerogative of micro-influence, in fact.

And this does not make it any less effective, quite the contrary. Finding 30 to 40 micro-influencers with a community of 15K subscribers is sometimes more effective (in terms of visibility) and more profitable (since it's only a product donation) than finding a macro-influencer with 100,000 subscribers for a paid partnership.

The product launch strategy

For product launches too, gifting is a winning bet. It aims to multiply the number of people talking about the new product, thus facilitating its adoption and recognition by its target.

Its adoption first of all because to increase the credibility of a new product on the market, consumers are often looking for a reason to believe, elements to be convinced, reassurance elements. Seeing a photo or video content from an influencer they trust, giving them more explanations about the product, reinforce its credibility in their eyes. They then have an additional reason to believe that the product is effective, profitable, cool, that it keeps its promises!

Then, its recognition because betting on the product gifting is also multiplying the visibility channels. Thus, the targeted consumer may have heard about the product in different places, from different people and in different contexts.

Indeed, targeting several influencers can also allow brands to differentiate and segment their message. They can then target niche markets, adopt the tone and take the angle that speaks to this target. By multiplying their speeches to different communities, they can multiply their chances of appealing to the consumers and identifying with them.

Collecting UGC

One can also choose to bet on the diversity of the messages. Gifting with micro-influencers, like with loyal customers or ambassadors, can also allow brands to ask them in exchange for a video content or a photo that they will use later. Once these contents are collected, they can make an ad that will be used for Youtube, Facebook ads or other! These UCGs (user generated contents) are valuable for brands and allow them to create a more authentic message.

Indeed, 70% of millennials say they trust the opinion of micro-influencers more than celebrities.

2/ Gifting, a scalable strategy?

Gifting strategies can be applied at scale. First of all, it should be noted that micro-influencers are more numerous than macro-influencers and that it is therefore possible to make test. For example, a brand can start by sending 10 products to 10 micro-influencers, analyzing the results, refining its research, and then expanding this process.

Sending samples rather than the product itself, to customer ambassadors rather than influencers can also help you to set up real product tests. This way, customers receive samples, test the product, fill in your questionnaire giving you feedback, and even create UGC by sending you a photo, a video or by leaving a review or a rating. This process can be extended endlessly and is a mine of precious data for your brand, whether it be for collaborative marketing, collecting testimonials, getting feedback, etc. Moreover, it gives you the opportunity to involve your customers in the creation of the product, thus increasing the attachment to your brand.

Better than a strategy at scale, gifting is a long-term strategy. By distilling your actions you can create longer campaigns and lasting engagement!

Finally, when it comes to implementing this strategy, there are several tools that can also help you scale. The Wiink SaaS platform allows you to automate your influencer selection, ugc validation and product sending processes from the same place thanks to a program feature entirely dedicated to Gifting. The same goes for the automation of your campaigns, creation of ads or videos, several tools will save precious time and reduce your repetitive tasks.

3/ What is the cost of a Gifting strategy?

The initial cost of a gifting strategy is often much lower than other campaigns. It is often a matter of sending products already in stock and using a limited budget. Thus the initial investment is quite reasonable with important results. On the other hand, other advertising campaigns require a much higher investment without any guarantee of results.

To ensure good results, the gifting strategy must be prepared in advance. You must communicate to the influencer the value of the product, the initial intention and the essential information. The goal is for your product to be understood and expected, in order to deliver relevant ugc's.  It is with this information that they will be able to provide detailed information to their community, give good advice on how to use it and maximize the chances of reaching your target.

The cost of a gifting strategy depends on the cost of your products. Depending on the results you can decide to increase the investment. This is the case for 62.5% of brands in 2019, who would like to increase their influencer marketing budget the following year.

Finally, when it comes to ROI and engagement, the average is also higher than for some classic campaigns. To quote a few examples, we will notice the pronounced gifting strategy of the watch brand Daniel Wellington, which offered in 2020 nearly 500 watches to micro-influencers for results twice as high as their classic campaigns in 2019. Similarly, the company Cheerz claims to have had a 17x higher ROI with their Gifting campaigns.

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