Cost Per Impressions: Does Promotional Merchandise Beat Paid Search?

Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Marketing [ 2 Comments ]

On strictly a cost per impression basis, promotional merchandise is as cost effective, if not more, than paid search. Promotional materials, used to increase brand awareness have been compared lightly to the cost per impression model of online advertising. Both are relatively inexpensive methods for getting a businesses name out there, but it seems by some standards that the cost per impression of “ad specialties” is lower than the US Internet average for online advertising.

Now the difference is minimal but according to the Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, “When measuring an ad’s effectiveness on a cost per impression basis, on average, hats cost $.002, bags cost $.002 and pens cost $.002 per impression.” This is in direct comparison with comScore’s US Internet average of .00252 per impression ($2.52 per 1,000 impressions), making some forms of promotion cheaper than CPM based paid search.

TOTAL 0.004
Caps 3380 $ 6.00 0.002
Bags 8927 $ 15.00 0.002
Writing Instruments 1561 $ 3.00 0.002
Calendars 1725 $ 5.00 0.003
Glassware/Ceramics 1782 $ 8.00 0.004
Shirts 2482 $ 13.00 0.005
Other 1498 $ 8.00 0.005
Desk/Office/Business Accessories 1676 $ 12.00 0.007
Other Wearables 557 $ 9.00 0.016
Recognition-Awards 1635 $ 35.00 0.02

This data is rather interesting because based on this report, not only is ad specialties cheaper than online ad models, but it is less expensive per impression than nearly every type of media.

Prime Time TV (1) $0.019
Syndicated (Day) TV (1) $0.006
Cable TV (1) $0.007
National Magazine (1) $0.033
Spot Radio (1) $0.005
Newspaper ad (1/2 page BW) (2) $0.019
Billboard (city/national) (2) $0.003

Now, obviously paid search is much more targeted than impressions from promotional merchandise, but promotional items definitely have their place in the marketing mix.

According to the same study, “consumers made a purchase after receiving a promotional product (20.9 percent) more often than after viewing a print ad (13.4 percent), TV commercial (7.1 percent) or online ad (4.6 percent).”

Some other key findings:

  • 84% of people remember the advertiser on a product they receive
  • 42% have a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving an advertising specialty
  • 24% indicate that they are more likely to do business with an advertiser on items they receive
  • 62% of respondents have done business with the advertiser on a product after receiving it
  • Writing instruments are the most commonly-owned advertising specialty, followed by shirts, caps and bags

If you are developing a marketing campaign you should integrate multiple vertical channels within a single campaign. You may be surprised at where you see an ROI. To get price quotes from merchants selling promotional items, click here.

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