Yesterday afternoon, I attended an outdoor recreation convention down in Del Mar. Featuring about a hundred exhibitors showcasing hunting and fishing gear, the convention turned out much more entertaining than I had anticipated – good food, good shows, good products. And like every other convention, exhibitors were handing out free samples like lures, bait, and promotional stickers.
I had my backpack on throughout the entire convention. When the convention began to draw to an end, my friend and I picked up what we needed and started heading towards the parking lot. When we approached my car, I took off my backpack to toss it into the back seat when I noticed a promotional sticker slapped onto the front zipper compartment.
After seeing the sticker, I asked my friend if he saw it there the entire time. My friend nodded and said “Yeah, I thought to myself ‘ Delbert must really like Fish Hound…’” Seeing the look of bewilderment on my face, my friend started cracking up and said “Dang Delbert, you got owned!”
I did get owned. The Fish Hound exhibitors must’ve slapped the backpack on while I was browsing their inventory, and their devious deed accounted for probably about 50 people who took notice of the sticker – 50 impressions.
I then began thinking – Did Fish Hound make a good investment on their advertising spend? These promotional stickers don’t come cheap. The price is always dictated by the amount of stickers a company orders. For the sake of this convention, let’s say Fish Hound ordered 1,000 of these 4×4 promotional stickers for $100, or $0.15 per unit.
If the average lifetime impressions per sticker happened to be 50 (which I think is a very generous number), then the average cost per thousand impression (CPM) would be $3.00. Also, keep in mind that in this case, like every other case, the quality of the impressions will differ. The 50 impressions Fish Hound got by slapping that sticker onto my backpack were quality impressions because I was at a fishing convention. However, the 50 impressions that other stickers will receive may fall on disinterested eyes.
With the CPM at $3.00, let’s say 10 people will find the promotional sticker attractive enough to visit the website. If we were thinking in terms of digital advertising, that’s a 0.10% click through rate (CTR), and a $0.30 cost per click (CPC).
So in essence, Fish Hound is paying $3.00 for ten people to visit their website. Will these ten visitors account for at least one conversion? Well, if I could answer that, then I’d never have to worry about money for the rest of my life. But a sticker listing only the home page of a website listed calls for the reader to explore the website herself. There wasn’t one product or one call-to-action which guides the customer through a buying process. So the promotional stickers do not place Fish Hound in the best spot for conversions.
But not all campaigns are designed to generate hard sales. Promotional stickers are mostly campaigns aimed towards building brand. And I’m certain Fish Hound ordered these promotional stickers for just that.
This write-up wasn’t to assess whether promotional stickers are effective or not. I doubt I’ll ever suggest promotional stickers to clients because I think it’s a traditional form of advertising that is difficult to manage and scale. But I will never dismiss the effectiveness of this form of advertising because I know that many prominent companies spend big budgets investing in it. I also can imagine that in the right hands or situation, promotional stickers can be a very effective way to advertise.
Lastly, I can’t say for certain that it was Fish Hound who slapped that promotional sticker onto my backpack. It could’ve been some random kid, or maybe my friend caught amnesia and forgot he did it. But it tickles me just imagining some Fish Hound executive without a conscience sneaking up behind me like a ninja and placing it there to generate some business.