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How to Measure ROI on your Promotional Products


Every now and then, businesses rely on promotional products as a viable marketing strategy. Whether the giveaways are at tradeshows or employee events or as appreciation, recruitment or holiday gifts, promotional products help in creating goodwill.

The measurement of Return on Investment (ROI) on promotional products, however, has been a subject of debate among experts. Despite the advancement in technologies, many of the leading marketing firms struggle with calculating the effectiveness of a promotional activity and expressed it in quantifiable terms. Here’s a look at some of the ways to measure ROI:

Incremental Margin Approach

One of the many techniques used to measure ROI on promotional products involves the calculation of an incremental margin supported by the promotional products. This means that you should check whether your investment in promotional products added value to the company or would it have yielded higher returns if invested elsewhere.
For this purpose, the incremental promotion expense is deducted from the incremental variable margin that the products have generated. The resulting figure is then divided by the expense figure. The formula becomes:

ROI = (Revenue Generated – Promotion Expense) / Promotion Expense

Other KPIs

It should be noted that the incremental margin approach is neither the only approach to measuring ROI, nor is it used by all the industries. There are several other key performance indicators that help you measure and monitor your returns and provide a comprehensive feedback on revenue generated per unit of the promotional product sold.


Almost all promotional offers and products have a definitive call-to-action. These include the website name, email address or social media page link. ROI and effectiveness can be measured by the number of people who respond to the call-to-action.

Unique URL

A unique URL is very similar to having a custom landing page. If you print a special Google phone number on your promotional products, it’ll make it easier for you to measure your calls. Same goes for unique URLs. Google Analytics provides detailed reports on traffic counts and other measurable results to help you determine the effectiveness and ROI on your promotional products.

A/B Tests

You can test various aspects of your promotional products and their impact on ROI through A/B tests. For example, you can study the impact of a change in product type, color, packaging etc on consumer behavior. Bear in mind that the ROI needs to be tested on a continual basis so that it can be improved over time.

Multi-part Programs

This approach is well-suited for trial products. Most of the modern mobile applications work on this principle. A demo version (or lite version) is offered free of cost. For full product, the customer needs to make a purchase. By comparing the number of demo version installations with actual purchases, you can easily determine the ROI on promotional offers (demo versions).

As mentioned earlier, there is no one-shoe-fits-all approach to measuring the ROI on promotional products. Businesses develop their own models and techniques to calculate the effectiveness of all promotional activities. So make sure that the ROI measurement method chosen is in conformity with the scope and objective of your business and the nature of your product(s).

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