Product Seeding 101: The ‘How to’ and Benefits of Gifting at Scale
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If the term “product seeding” leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone. It’s a term that feels intuitive, yet can be difficult to describe in practice -- and the truth is, it has changed depending on the era. In the pre-digital age, “seeding” often meant gifting celebrities through stylists, or contributing product to gift bags at events such as Fashion Week. Given the expense and poor tracking tools, the strategy was often limited to brands with large budgets.
Influencers have changed that. Now, “product seeding” refers to any campaign that allows a brand to quickly reach a wide, targeted audience of potential consumers by gifting product to influencers without any payment to post.
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Unlike celebrities, bloggers speak directly to a dedicated audience that has “opted in” to view their content, and in many cases are directly seeking advice and inspiration on fashion, beauty and style. This gives influencers a far greater ability to convert followers into shoppers, making influencer product seeding one the most cost-effective marketing strategies available to brands of all sizes.
Leveraging our ability to provide brands with detailed information about bloggers, we have introduced a dedicated Product Seeding collaboration type that allows brands to gift influencers at scale, offering guaranteed results and real time tracking. Here’s how it works:
Using our subscription-free, ‘on demand’ service, brands and agencies may use our Product Seeding collaboration type to select 10, 25 or 50 influencers for a flat rate, starting at $895 USD for 10 influencers ($89.50 per influencer). For brands looking to secure qualified influencers for future campaigns, our 50-blogger option provides the best value at $2,995 ($59.50 per influencer). Since you need not activate influencers all at once, booking 25 or 50 influencers allows you to cost-effectively secure qualified bloggers for multiple campaigns. Brands who run dedicated influencer programs often use this option to secure their roster for the quarter, or even the year.
All influencers shown in Product Seeding collaboration opportunities are Fashion, Beauty and/or Lifestyle influencers who have a minimum of 10k+ followers on Instagram. They are required to post on Instagram within 30 days of receiving product, tagging your brand handle. If a blogger does not post within 90 days, you can select another influencer at no charge, offering you guaranteed results. With every collaboration, you also receive complete delivery address details for all bloggers you engage and full campaign results for three months.
The full benefits of a Shopping Links Product Seeding collaboration include:
- - Campaign Analytics. 3 months of tracking, showing engagement, reach and sales (if using an affiliate network) by individual influencer.
- - Influencer Insights. You are able to review the profiles of each influencer (including their social engagement and blog demographics) before selecting them to ensure a good brand fit. Our blogger profiles feature engagement levels, social following across multiple channels, and examples of past content. We continue to encourage all bloggers to connect their Google Analytics, giving you even deeper insight into their audience demographics beyond the basic social metrics.
- - Direct Contact Details. Brands receive full contact details for every blogger they select making it easy to ship product.
- - Guaranteed Results. Bloggers are required to post within 30 days of receiving their gifted product or service. Brands may select a new influencer, no questions asked, if one does not post within 3 months of receiving your gift.
The Benefits of Gifting at Scale:
Gifting influencers at scale, whether it’s 10 bloggers or 50, allows brands to manage selection, product fulfillment, and relationship management at a single time, rather than diverting resources over several campaigns. Viewing the results of several influencers at once over a single time frame also gives you an opportunity to see which demographics, geographic areas and niche audiences perform best for you.
Moreover, you receive the benefit of having multiple conversations take place about your brand at once, which boosts your overall brand awareness while creating a feeling that ‘everyone’ is talking about you. The repetition also leads to easy recall when customers are ready to make a purchase. Shoppers often buy what’s top-of-mind.
Gifting at scale also increases your chances of securing additional, complimentary posts as influencers leverage their content through Instagram Stories, additional Instagram images, or even blog posts. The inbound links you receive from these posts can give your SEO a significant boost, since bloggers often have high domain authorities. We have seen brands continue to receive organic mentions weeks or even months after a collaboration, resulting in thousands of dollars in added value.
MARKS & SPENCER recently discovered the value of Product Seeding with a large-scale gifting initiative over the holidays, sending personalised M&S gifts to 20 bloggers in the US and 20 more in Australia. For Arielle Charnas of Something Navy, the brand sent Pepper Pig pajamas, along with a Paddington Bear doll and a handwritten note. The thoughtfulness earned MARKS & SPENCER an organic Instagram Story with a swipe up to shop the PJs and mentions long after the holidays, including comments from readers asking where to buy the PJs.
By taking that mindset to all bloggers on their list, sending monogramed stockings and personalised notes, M&S received ongoing exposure and traction among their target audience.
One of my favorite surprises during the holidays this year was my @marksandspencer holiday hamper, chock full of heartwarming goodies - from custom stockings for Nikko and me, to my favorite Brit teas and treats to this adorable Paddington Bear that made me feel like a kid again - who else grew up on Paddington Bear? ?? thanks @marksandspencer and @shoppinglinks for making this holiday season a very special one for us ?????? #merrychristmas #happyholidays #gifts #paddingtonbear
Although you cannot require content beyond an Instagram post as a guaranteed deliverable when you post your Product Seeding collab, many bloggers are happy to create additional pieces if you ask. A recent Product Seeding collaboration by Kate Somerville, for example, resulted in 3 complimentary Instagram posts and 10 complimentary Instagram Stories from bloggers with an average audience of 53k followers each -- more than doubling the amount of contracted content, while adding a potential 712k impressions. Laura Rivas (lauriir18) and Tori Lesikar (@torilesikar) are among the bloggers who posted complimentary Stories:
San Diego Hat Co. received 23 complimentary Instagram posts from bloggers with an average of 63k followers, giving the brand 1.5 million free potential impressions, counting valuable repeat impressions to bloggers who trust influencer recommendations. Tienlyn Jacobs (@thoughtfulmisfit) included multiple Instagram posts, and Juan Jose Rancel (@juancherangel) added multiple Instagram Stories:
Between the ability to swiftly raise brand awareness, compare the effectiveness of various influencers by demographic and geographic region, and the potential for complimentary content, we have found gifting at scale to be one of the most impactful and cost-effective ways that brands can leverage influencer marketing today.
To see how Product Seeding can help your brand, schedule a free demo and our team will walk you through your first collab. We look forward to sharing some more examples and case studies of how this tactic has added value for our brand partners.