Do Event Swag Bags Really Work for Businesses?


Stocked swag bags have become a modern-day event staple that all hopeful attendees anticipate receiving. But let’s talk about what really matters here: Do the promotional products that fill these bags actually make any sort of an impact? 

Survey Says…

Recent studies concerning the topic of swag bags’ and promotional products’ effectiveness have concluded the following:

  • 83% of Americans report that they like to receive promotional products with advertising messages on them
  • 25% of people report having more positive impressions of companies after receiving their promotional products via swag bags
  • 50% of people report daily using the promotional products they have accumulated from swag bags
  • 85% of consumers admit to doing business with a company after receiving a promotional product from them
  • 89% of people who received a promotional product in the last 24 months remember the name of that company
  • 67% of people pass promotional products on to someone else, providing further exposure
  • Consumers report holding onto promotional products for an average of 6.6 months
  • 6 out of 10 people report keeping promotional products for up to 2 years

Say “Yes” to Swag

If the statistics above were not convincing enough, here are several more points that reiterate the positive impact of including promotional products in an event’s swag bags.  

  • “Persistent marketing.” Promotional products are designed to last. They work “behind-the-scenes” for businesses by repeatedly delivering a brand’s message, even throughout the busyness of life. They are subtle, yet persistent, reminders of a business’ existence.
  • People like presents. This seems elementary, but it is worth mentioning: People just simply like free stuff! As a matter of fact, PPAI recently found that when it comes to events, over 25% of respondents claimed that they would collect free promotional items, regardless of what they were. Businesses who choose to give away free promotional products are appealing to one of the simplest human instincts: “We like people who like us enough to give us something for free!”
  • “Reciprocity Effect.” Gifting promotional products to event attendees triggers an inherent human response that social psychologists have termed the “reciprocity effect.” This phenomenon can be described as “the conditioned cultural response to return the kindness of a gift.” Psychology studies have proven the legitimacy of this effect time and time again. This is great news for businesses who contribute their promotional products to an event’s swag bags. In business terms, the “reciprocity effect” can manifest itself in better response rates, repeat business, and referrals.
  • Personality. Promotional products give businesses the chance to show off their unique personalities. They take a brand from being boring and impersonal to fun and relatable. Creative, colorful, humorous, or useful promotional products can really make a lasting impact on an impressionable event attendee.
  • Memorability. As the statistics above illustrated, promotional products have a lifespan that lasts long after an event is over. These items are transported to some of the most personal of places: bedrooms, bathrooms, desks, cars, etc. This keeps these products (and the businesses promoted on them) top-of-mind for these consumers for months, or even years, to come!
  • Pass along rates. Without even realizing it, consumers who collect promotional products from event swag bags have personally converted themselves into brand ambassadors for these businesses. As demonstrated above, the pass along rates for promotional products are high, meaning that multiple eyes (even the eyes of people who did not attend the original event!) will see these businesses’ names. This creates a cycle of repeated exposure and an increased number of new brand ambassadors.

Swag Bag Checklist

Now that we’ve shared statistics and further illustrated the effectiveness of including promotional products in event swag bags, it’s time for your business to determine what you’ll be giving away at your next event marketing opportunity! Whatever you choose, keep the following key points in mind:

  • Give away something meaningful that people will actually want to use.
  • Remember the event’s target crowd and give away something relevant to that.
  • Remember your target market and give away something relevant to your brand.
  • Choose a product that will last a decent amount of time.
  • Don’t spend a fortune: Purchase quality items, but in bulk and at a low cost.
  • Put the most important information you want to convey directly on the products.

Swag bags allow businesses to gift event attendees with meaningful promotional products that work overtime to convey their business’ selling message, even when they are not present! They promote goodwill and even cause consumers to feel the need to “return the favor” to the business from whom they received these products. Your business would be wise to take full advantage of such a unique and statistically effective opportunity! 


Some information adapted from

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