Can a swag campaign drive social media engagement?

A little bit of swag has the power to go a long way. Distributing free promotional gifts to your audience shows that you value their support while also increasing engagement and brand awareness. But can a swag campaign go so far as to increase engagement on social media platforms? Let’s take a look at a recent campaign Slingshot helped Adobe launch for their Illustrator for iPad beta release.

Adobe Illustrator has been performing swag giveaways the same way for many years: they purchased and gave away branded material without a certainty that it had a real impact other than brand awareness. The reason for this is that Adobe had no way to measure the success of their swag campaign.

By partnering with Slingshot, Adobe Illustrator was able to see hard evidence that exactly 302 Adobe Illustrator for iPad beta users claimed their free gift. Out of those individuals, 65 felt compelled to go above and beyond by tweeting about their experience.

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that cannot be understated – especially when hashtags are implemented into a campaign and are utilized correctly. As you can see from the tweet below, Gabe Bush used the #IllustratoroniPad hashtag and expressed his excitement for receiving a free gift from Adobe. The use of the hashtag makes it easier for Adobe (and Slingshot) to check in on the campaign, see what people are talking about, and measure success.

Analytics found that 21.5% of people who received a free gift from Adobe chose to tell others about it. Imagine if you could get that kind of conversion rate out of any other paid media or advertising.

Promotional merch has the ability to act as “free” advertising. Of course, a company has to pay for the merchandise initially (and perhaps there will be distribution costs) but once the product is made and out there, the people who are in possession of the merch do all of the advertising work – whether they are actively talking about a company’s swag or casually walking down the street, wearing a branded t-shirt.

We sat down with the Illustrator team to get a better idea of their goals and desired outcomes with a swag campaign. After our conversation we got to work, and they got back to focusing on their product without having to worry about being overwhelmed by another task.

Here’s a breakdown of the campaign:

1. Slingshot and Adobe worked together to come up with a free giveaway campaign that focused on promoting the Adobe Illustrator for iPad beta release by creating a sharable swag experience. Together, we brainstormed the types of products Adobe fans would enjoy, who to distribute them to, and how we would measure the campaign’s success

2. Slingshot took care of ordering the products and making sure they arrived in perfect condition. We had our photographers take beautiful photos of the merch, and then we launched the campaign for Adobe.

3. As individuals started claiming gifts, tweets with the #IllustrationiPad hashtag started rolling in, further sharing the excitement around the campaign and therefore spreading the word about the Illustrator for iPad beta release.

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Happy customers with extra time and empty swag closets.