Surprise! It turns out that online consumers like to receive free stuff and discounts from advertisers. Recent studies have shown that discounts and free promotional products drive e-shoppers to make purchases and enroll in subscription services quite often.

Other than creating brand awareness and allowing advertising messages to resonate with their audience, surveys show that consumers are willing to pay more and expose themselves to more advertisements in exchange for free or discounted goods. Small, branded gifts and minor discount incentives go a long way towards converting site visitors into paying customers.

Boosting Consumer Impressions

Overall, free promotional products and discounts have a positive effect on consumers’ views toward a brand. While other advertising media may seem imposing to consumers, free promos seem to be the only medium most can embrace:

While the above stat might not be too surprising, the gift’s effect on a brand’s image is a testament to its effectiveness:

Online Marketing

Getting consumers to willingly engage in email subscriptions is a top priority for most internet marketers. Even harder is getting those consumers to open the message and perform an action. But gifts and discounts have proven effective catalysts in increasing subscription and open rates.

  • 43.9% say promotional product giveaways have the greatest ability to provide incentive to take action

A successful call to action is a win for any marketer, and the studies reveal that specific actions taken by consumers allow the advertisers’ messages to spread organically. Word-of-mouth recommendations and social media postings were the most common actions taken:

  • 41.8% will like a brand on Facebook after receiving a promotional gift

Beyond that, discounts and gifts prompt consumers to engage even more with a brand; in many cases, they allow retail shops to conduct impromptu research on their target audience, allowing a company to leverage engagement to hopefully improve the consumer experience:

And most importantly, the incentives have shown to increase business with online shoppers:

  • Before receiving promotional gifts, about half the consumers had done business with the advertiser (55%); after receiving promotional gifts, 85% did business with the advertiser

Shopping Habits

Once engaged, the studies show that consumers are even willing to spend more money to receive discounts. In particular, shipping charges influence shopping decisions more so than efficiency or ease of use.

  • Consumers’ top consideration when it comes to shipping is price (23%), higher than shipping speed (13%) and delivery flexibility (10%)

There’s a fine line between effective and excessive discounts and freebies, and as such, it’s vital to understand your target audience and market reach before investing in a promotional program. But as the highlighted surveys above reveal, promotional programs can go a long way to increase engagement and sales, and for businesses that are trying to expand their reach in the online marketplace, promotional gifts and discounts are effective ways to market advertising messages that truly resonate.




Promotional Products Association International (“Influence of Promotional Products”)

Promotional Products Association International (“Effectiveness of Promotional Products”)

Advertising Specialty Institute