Some influencers earn money in exchange for a sponsored post, while some others receive free products instead. You have probably seen videos and posts of small influencers saying “I received a free product in exchange for an honest review.” If you are a micro or nano influencer, you might have experienced this yourself.
Known as influencer product seeding or influencer gifting, this strategy makes up the cornerstone of social media marketing tactics by several brands, especially ones that are not very well known. But are they effective? The State of Influencer Product Seeding Report 2023 by Traackr gives us key insights into this strategy as well as some insider tips.
Traackr is an influencer marketing platform that helps brands run successful and data-driven affiliate and influencer marketing campaigns with its intelligent tools. Brands can use the platform to discover influencers, run campaigns, and get reports about their performance. Traackr also helps set up workflows and ensure compliance with guidelines.
Traackr conducted a survey about influencer gifting with a sample of 305 individual marketers from US, France, Germany, and UK. The data was collected between February 13, 2023, and February 21, 2023.
To analyze trends, Traackr pulled the data from 58,534 lifestyle influencers across Europe and the US.
Key Statistics From The Influencer Product Seeding Report 2023
#1 Brands Continue Investing in Influencer Product Seeding
Influencer gifting has been a major part of the influencer marketing industry, and data reveals that that is likely not going to change anytime soon, which means brands are continuing to budget for it.
Top three industries spending the most on influencer gifting:
- Beauty and personal care
- Consumer packaged goods
An analysis of the content posted by beauty influencers on TikTok revealed that posts that mention “gifting” or other terms related to influencer product seeding have been increasing by 87% year on year.
The report revealed that 28% of marketers spend $10k to $50k a year on influencer gifting, while 25% spend $50k to $200k. A very small percentage of marketers (4%) spent as much as more than a million every year! This reveals that most brands understand the importance of influencer gifting and are willing to spend accordingly.
#2 Impact of Influencer Product Seeding
The report found that influencer product seeding not only raised brand awareness, but also directly drove sales, leading to impactful results. This means it is no longer only a top-of-the-funnel strategy, but can impact all stages of the funnel.
92% of marketers said that influencer gifting helped increase their brand awareness, while 76% revealed that it had helped their brand drive actual sales.
#3 Marketers’ Influencer Gifting Volume and Frequency
Most brands revealed that they send out less than 100 packages in total to influencers in a year. This is most likely due to an effort to be more sustainable and be intentional in choosing who to send products to. In fact, several influencers have publicly asked for brands to send them less packages to reduce waste.
As much as 38% of marketers agreed that they send out less than 100 packages a year. This volume remained the same even when surveying marketers from big brands that have thousands of employees. Only very few brands claimed to send out more than 100 packages in a year.
#4 Influencer Gifting Strategy Breakdown
More than 50% of the surveyed marketers agree that they prefer quality over quantity when it comes to influencer product seeding, and as much as 82% of brands revealed that they personalize the gifts they send based on the influencers.
The report revealed that tailoring of gifts led to two outcomes:
- More than half of the brands (55%) were only sending out 1-5 packages a year per influencer. This shows that the improvement in personalization has led to a decrease in the quantity of gifts.
- Brands were seeing better responses to their influencer product seeding campaigns as personalization fosters connection and a genuine relationship with the influencers, and also lets the influencers know that the brands care about them.
A good example is Bite Toothpaste Bits, a personal care brand that found a 67% increase in influencer responses when it tailored its influencer product seeding strategy to the influencers. It also sent the influencers a small toolkit of all the things they could do with the gift products. This shows the importance of fostering connections.
#5 Inefficiencies in Influencer Gifting
Not every influencer who receives a free product is rushing to social media to post about it. In fact, 61% of marketers reported that less than half of the influencers who receive a product end up posting on social media. But this does not stop brands from sending them more products. At least 65% of brands agreed that they will send free products again even if the influencer does not share on social media.
This leads to product wastage and does not even bring any benefits to the brands. By researching what an influencer likes and sending them similar products will not only lead to less wastage, it will also prompt more influencers to share on social media.
#6 Top Challenges Marketers Face
When it came to influencer product seeding, here are some of the challenges faced by brands:
- Finding the right influencers to send products to
- Finding out how to contact influencers
- Coming up with an effective outreach message
- Keeping track of, and managing, inbound gift requests from influencers
- Managing the logistics (such as packaging, shipping, tracking who they sent what to)
- Tracking social media posts by influencers and their impact
Despite influencer product seeding being a complicated process, the report found out that 56% of marketers use a mere spreadsheet to keep track of the whole process.
Now that we have taken a look at the report, here are some amazing tips from Net Influencer to take your influencer gifting strategy to the next level!
Best Tips For Your Influencer Product Seeding Strategy
- Use a data-driven methodology to scope out influencers who would love your products. This means looking for people who have a hyper-focused audience within your niche.
- When reaching out to influencers, give them the option of opting in to your product seeding campaign. This way, only those who are actually interested will participate, which reduces wastage and increases your chances of getting a post on their social media.
- Spend some time getting to know the influencers’ likes and dislikes and send them products that they are more likely to enjoy. Alternatively, you can also ask them to choose their own gifts from your catalog.
- When an influencer uses the gift product to post a review, engage with their posts and re-share it on your official brand accounts. You can also go further and repurpose this content as a testimonial (with their permission, of course!)
- Set product seeding campaign goals.
- Measure the returns you get from your gifting campaigns using metrics such as post engagement, increase in sales, increase in number of visitors, and so on. You can use a social media analytics platform to give you a detailed performance report.
When used correctly, influencer product seeding can boost your brand performance. After all, there is a reason this strategy has been a cornerstone of social media marketing for so long.