What is a Swag Bag

November 2, 2021

Here's what you need to know about swag bags and how to best stock them.

Swag Bags Deconstructed

Ever attended a friend’s birthday as a kid and ended up leaving with a goodie bag? It’s a perfect example of what swag bags are. The only difference is that, in this case, they’re swag bags for adults. 

From customized power banks to branded T-shirts to sports gear, swag bag items come in distinct forms. Therefore, we see people and brands infusing creativity and innovation into their swag bag ideas.

The bottom line is that swag bags are a constant reminder of either a brand, an event, or a special occasion. Best of all, you can find memorable, useful swag, like custom sanitizers without breaking your budget. 

Shown: Touchland Sanitizer

Brief History of Swag Bags

Swag bags aren’t a new concept. In fact, studies have shown that its practice has been long established since the 1700s and at funeral events. However, the practice of handing out swag handbag has become popularized over the last 20 years. Swag literally means “Stuff We All Get,” giving credence to some of the popular stuff you can find when you unpack them.

For instance, prominent events such as the Oscars and Emmys are notable for gifting nominated actors with event swag bags loaded with several goodies for their nominations in the award categories.

These days swag bag meaning has evolved to several functions. We now have unique swag bags for events, fundraisers, conferences, and everything else. If you’re looking for a creative way to get people talking about your brand, swag advertising is one unique way to go about it. For ultimate swag that gets results, customize yours by name brands for an easy win!


Shown: Miir Bottle  

Benefits of Giving Away Swag Bags at Events

If you’ve got an event lined up, one of the best ways to improve perception is by incorporating swag giveaways ideas. It’s a term everyone’s familiar with due to social media. Some people see this as an extravagance for brands. However, the mere action of gifting business goodie bags comes with several benefits: 


  • Brand recall. It’s almost impossible to forget a brand that gifts you promotional goodie bags at any event. According to a report from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), 85% of people can recall the company's name that gave them free items. Companies that donate swag bag items do so to get their name out there. 
  • It’s cheaper than traditional advertising. When you consider the cost of running adverts on TV and radio platforms, printing handbills and posters, plus countless social media campaigns, cheap swag bags do the trick in reducing expenses. Investing in a few items that you can gift to influencers and social commentators can help get your brand name out there. 
  • It helps target your specific audience. Investing in unique swag items for your marketing strategy places you in the mind of your target audience. You get to critically think about what they genuinely like to see in such packages and how you can piece them together. Thinking about what your audience needs helps you get an outer scope of your brand values and take the necessary steps to blend with your audience. 
  • Promoting goodwill. Everyone loves getting something for almost nothing these days. That’s why we see people quickly jumping on promo codes to slash down the price of ordered items. It’s the same thing with free swag bag items. Handing out swag bags goes beyond creating brand awareness. It promotes a cohesive relationship with your audience, which is good for business. 
  • Pursuing a long-term marketing strategy. Swag bags do all the talking that most businesses can’t. While some conference swag bags come with perishable items inside, you can invest in sustainable items that will last for a long time. These products will announce your brand for a long time – as long as they exist. Thus, it is essential to bring swag bags to be social and corporate events. 
  • Brand loyalty. Apart from promoting brand recall, swag bag items also help to encourage brand loyalty from your customers and even your employees. Think about it for a bit; when you gift your workers target swags for their hard work, it motivates them to do more, crossing off the likelihood of them jumping ship at the slightest opportunity. Gifting such items to your customers via giveaways keeps them at your corner always! 
Shown: Baggu Reusable Tote 

4 Things to Consider For Your Promotional Goodie Bags

1. Know Your Budget. 

Just before you start making moves on swag bag items, you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend. You don’t want to make the mistake of implementing an enormous financial commitment that you cannot fulfill at the end of the day. So you'll want to make sure you know what you plan to spend per invitee.

Shown: Escuyer Socks


2. Choose Good Packaging 

As soon as you have worked out how much you’re going to spend, the next step is choosing a bag. You don’t want to choose a pack that will not convey the items with convenience. There is a wide range of swag bag options available that you can use. 

Shown: Pocketo Classic Slim Metallic Pens 

3. Maintain Simple Design 

If you’re on a tight budget, print the promotional swag bags using fewer colors. Featuring designs that will require multiple colors is going to cost you a lot. 

Shown: Custom Cap

4. Keep it Lightweight

Make sure your swag bag is light so and easy to transport, otherwise, it may be difficult for your audience to take home. Heavy bags are no fun. It is essential to keep the weight of your swag bag gift ideas lightweight. 

Shown: Custom Pop Socket 

Characteristics of Swag Bag Items

Just before stuffing your swag bag with various items, you need to look at and incorporate some of these qualities: 

  • Useful. The item you’re presenting to your customers, guests, or employees should be helpful in their daily life. Think of something they might use daily. 
  • Durable. It’s also essential to get the items that are bound to last for a very long time. By so doing, they can always talk about the item and your brand to their friends and relatives. 
  • Good Packaging. Your swag bags should come in good packaging that your customers will love and cherish. 
Shown: Custom Enamel Pin 

How Many Items Should Be In a Swag Bag? 

Ideally, the number of items on your swag bag depends on the purpose you’re doing so, as well as your customers. A swag bag company who adds up to 4 to 5 items in a swag bag will be seen as generous. However, if you invest in one high-quality swag item by a high-end brand, you will also set your company apart. Remember, it’s more about the product and purpose of your swag bag than the quantity. 


Shown: The North Face Jacket 

4 Swag Bags & Ideas for Employees & Teams

The life force of any business is the employees, and it’s important to recognize them for their dedication and hard work. When it comes to unique swag bag ideas for your teams, you can’t go wrong with the following. 

1. Give Them Essentials

All employees can benefit from essential swag items like a tote bag, water bottle, branded socks, phone charger, coffee mug, or customized polo. 

Shown: Hasami Mug

2. Onboarding Swag

For your new recruits, you can include the following into your bulk swag bag items: a notebook, stickers, tumbler, branded t-shirt, backpack, and a hat. 

Shown: Custom Tee 

3. Health & Wellness

You can also incorporate wellness swag bag ideas such as candles, bath bombs, essential oils, face masks, or customized soap. 

Shown: Custom Candle

4. Remote workers

Some of the snack bags for virtual meetings may include a desk lamp, a notebook, a pair of anti-blue light glasses, desk organizers, a mouse pad, or branded clothing for your remote workers.

Shown: Public Supply Notebook 

5. Holidays

The holiday seasons are usually cold. You can include branded sweatshirts, hoodies, and even customized blankets for fun and cozy swag bags for adults. 

Shown: Next Level Sweatshirts

Swag Bag for Events

Planning an event soon? You should consider the following theme options for your small business goodie bag ideas:

  • Self-Care. Include branded skincare products, safe snacks, and a bottle of wine
  • Conference gear. You can include stickers, branded backpacks, notebooks, or anything related to the conference. 
  • Kiddies. You can include stationery, clothing, or customized toys. 
  • Sustainable products. You can include a reusable water bottle, lunch box, tote bag, and cutlery sets. 
  • Techies. You can include Bluetooth speakers, a USB drive, phone accessories, headphones, etc. 
  • Beauty. Some of the selections may include perfume, body spray, roll-on, and beauty soap. 
Shown: JBL Headphones 

Swag Giveaway Ideas

If you’re looking to organize a giveaway event online, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Techies. You can include laptop or laptop accessories, phone chargers, power banks, cell phones, etc. 
  • Fitness. You can include protein bars, a reusable water bottle, sporting gear, or a yoga mat for workout lovers. 
  • For influencers. For social media influencers to promote your business, you can include a ring light, gimbal, and branded t-shirt. 
  • Adventure. You can include a branded backpack, socks, hiking boots, a towel, and camping gear for the adventure seekers. 
  • Bookworms. You can include a reading light, bookends, or branded bookmarks. 
  • Skincare. If your customer loves skincare products, you can include sunscreen, face masks, body cream, and lip balm. 

What is a Digital Swag Bag?

You may have probably heard about it. However, if the question on your mind is, “what is a virtual tote bag?” we’ve got your back.

Digital or virtual swag bags are virtual gifts that companies or celebrants send to their guests, attendees, employees, or customers to attend a virtual or physical event. Snack bags for virtual meetings include audio or visual content, eGift cards, virtual wine tasting, online courses, eBooks, premium app subscriptions, prize draws, cryptos, and many more.

Virtual swag bags are suitable since they’re sent and received electronically. They do not require shipping, and they’re eco-friendly. If you’re planning a virtual tailgate or event soon, you should think about handing out virtual swag bags to your audience. Digital swag bags and virtual swag bags are one and the same and are a fun alternative to in-person events and swag. 

Everyone loves freebies these days. That’s why promotional goodie bags are a fantastic way to connect with your audience. You should incorporate swag bags as part of your online and offline marketing strategy if you're running a business. Swag bags help promote the aspect of brand recall. It’s difficult for someone to forget a brand when they are constantly reminded of the gifts (especially those that are branded!) presented to them.

You get the same effect when you throw birthday parties and conferences. You connect better with your guests and audience, knowing that a meaningful relationship has been established.

While some people see the gesture of handing out promotional swag items to customers as a sign of extravagance, it is an effective tool you should consider for brand awareness and penetration. Major brands in the B2B and B2C industry have implemented this relatively untapped strategy, and it has been working out for them. You should, too.

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