Virtual Events


Virtual Swag Bag Ideas: Creative Goodies for Your Events


Ashley Levesque


Pop quiz - what keeps virtual event attendees engaged from start to finish? If you answered "valuable content," you're only halfway there. 

Yes, people show up for the knowledge. But let's face it, in our distraction-prone world, even the most insightful webinar won't stop folks from swiping over to online shopping or getting lost in a social media rabbit hole.

Focus is lower for live events compared to on-demand (74.2% vs 86.3%).* So, to capture and keep attention at virtual events, you need the X-factor: anticipation and delight.

That's where virtual swag bags work their magic. Thoughtful giveaways elevate the attendee experience. Surprise gifts add an element of surprise and fun while incentivizing participation. 

But coming up with virtual freebie ideas that genuinely appeal to your attendees is a challenge. 

This guide explores creative virtual swag bag concepts to excite and engage your remote audience. From exclusive content to eco-friendly gifts to good old-fashioned freebies, you'll find inspiration to engage audiences before, during, and after your virtual event.

Want to create virtual event communications that drive buzz just as much as a swag bag?  Download our free, customizable email templates to drive attendance and streamline virtual event follow-up. 👇👇

*2024 Guide to Webinar Insights, Banzai  

Virtual Event Swag Explained

Virtual events have boomed in recent years, with more companies than ever hosting webinars, conferences, and other online gatherings. But you’ll need creative tactics to drive a memorable virtual experience.

Enter virtual swag bags, the digital answer to the classic conference freebie.

What Is a Virtual Swag Bag? 

A virtual swag bag is a curated collection of free digital items, such as downloads, subscriptions, discounts, vouchers, or branded perks given to attendees of a virtual event. Just like the physical swag bags handed out at in-person conferences and expos, virtual versions aim to excite and delight the audience while reinforcing the host company's brand messaging.

Common virtual swag items include gated content like whitepapers and ebooks, limited-time software/app access, digital gift cards, promo codes, and custom webinar backgrounds or branded video filters. Some companies get even more creative, mailing out physical swag boxes with t-shirts, snacks, branded merch, and more.

Why You Should Follow the Virtual Swag Trend

Well-executed virtual swag bags drive excitement and buzz before, during, and after your event. They encourage social sharing about your event and brand. And they leave a lasting positive impression, making it more likely that people will attend your future virtual events. 

From a practical standpoint, virtual swag is also an effective way to capture valuable first-party data about your audience. You can capture emails to access gated content or have attendees fill out a survey or refer you to a friend to claim a freebie. 

In fact, just knowing which of your webinar attendees made use of your freebies already helps you to identify hot leads. This allows you to enhance your contact lists and better segment attendees based on their interests and engagement levels.

Great virtual events software like Demio, part of the Banzai family, will include interactive features like polls, featured call-to-action links, and timed downloads — for both live and on-demand events. That makes it easy to keep attendees engaged — and give out downloadable goodies.

Take a look at our product demo game show to see how we gamified the virtual swag experience by giving the audience a chance to win freebies by participating in all challenges — boosting their focus and engagement.

Banzai’s product demo webinar used polls, calls to action, and virtual giveaways to keep audience engagement high.

👀 If you're looking to take a comprehensive deep dive, check out our in-depth handbook for effective virtual events from start to finish.

8 Virtual Swag Bag Ideas to Wow Attendees 

Drab corporate freebies won't cut it in today's virtual world.

Mix and match these ideas to curate a truly memorable swag experience.

1. Exclusive Content

Gated downloads, whitepapers, e-books, and other premium content tap into attendees' innate desire for insider access and new knowledge.

By giving your virtual event attendees the opportunity to unlock content downloads, you incentivize engagement while providing true value-adds.

Decide which exclusive content freebies you’ll include in your virtual event swag bag based on your specific product and audience. A business coaching service could include a full goal-setting workbook, while a health tech company might provide a free research report on trends or a free mini- course.

You may even want to offer goodies as prizes or rewards for attendance or audience participation.

Banzai's Demio platform lets you schedule timed downloads directly in your webinar room — or you can add calls-to-action to direct attendees to a gated content download link. 

A Demio webinar showing a slideshow presentation alongside polling, resource sharing, and live chat
Demio’s webinar solution helps you share virtual swag and resources during your event.

👀 Unsure which virtual summit platform will give you the features and functionality you need? Check out our guide to the top five.

2. Webinar and Virtual Event Replays 

Offering session replays or on-demand webinars with expert content extends the value of your virtual offerings and gives attendees a great refresher resource. It's a giveaway that keeps giving long after your event ends.

Dedicated virtual event platforms like Demio let you record all sessions and automatically share replays, segmenting your emails by attendees and no-shows. 

You can also create dedicated on-demand webinars (or rework your webinar recording as an on-demand event). With Demio, it’s easy to make your on-demand, recorded webinars interactive with polls, timed downloads, and featured action CTAs, and options for hosts to join the chat live at scheduled times or use AI chat functions.

Demio AI chat responding to questions posed by webinar attendees during an event
Demio AI chat provides 24/7 virtual event context and support.

3. Digital Wellness Gifts 

Wellness-focused gifts show you care about your attendees' overall wellbeing. They're feel-good freebies that leave a positive association with your brand.

Ideas include subscriptions, vouchers, or access codes for online fitness, mental health, nutrition, meditation, and wellness services. 

You can partner with wellness apps like Calm, Headspace, or Noom or invest in voucher codes for virtual services like online yoga, life coaching, virtual workouts, and more.

4. Gift Cards 

Who doesn't love free money to spend? Digital gift cards provide maximum flexibility for your attendees while feeling like a treat. 

You can work directly with popular digital gift card brands and resellers to purchase and distribute gift card codes via email to swag recipients, or share cards for specific products and services relevant to your brand or event. 

For example, you could offer Uber Eats or Doordash food delivery gift cards, so your attendees can order something to eat during a virtual lunch session. A marketing event may give away gift cards to creative software brands like Canva or Adobe you can use to streamline your work, while for a tech developers event, gaming platform gift cards or cloud service credits could be a hit.

5. Promotional Products

Branded promotional products make for fun, memorable virtual swag bag additions. 

These can range from custom emoji packs, webinar backgrounds, and animated stickers all the way to branded video filters and more.

Promo products keep your brand top-of-mind while adding delight to the attendee experience.

You can get creative with current trends and cultural reference points in your promo picks. Digital temporary tattoos, branded trivia game filters, and custom Bitmojis or avatars are all engaging options.

6. Eco-Friendly Gifts

As environmental consciousness and sustainable marketing strategies increase across industries, eco-friendly virtual swag bag options are in high demand. 

Try gifting a donation to an environmental cause in each attendee's name or pledging to offset your event's carbon footprint.

Digital gifts like certifications for planting a tree also make for easy, environmentally-friendly giveaways. So do e-gift cards for ethical or zero-waste retailers. 

Explain your sustainable swag clearly during your virtual event, underscoring how gifts align with your company's environmental values.

7. Freebie Incentives 

This swag bag concept taps into people's inherent love of referral rewards and gamified goodies. Incentivize attendees who promote and drive new registrants to your virtual event with discounts or premium gifts. 

Banzai's Boost tool makes it easy to execute this referral-based swag model. 

With Boost, you arm attendees with a unique sharing link to your virtual event and reward them with points/prizes for each new signup they drive. The earned rewards could be e-gift cards and premium products or subscriptions.

Screenshot showing Banzai and Demio Boost add-on promoting social sharing and virtual event promotion
Boost lets your attendees win swag by referring others to your event

8. Physical Items 

While virtual swag bags are digital-first collections, you can absolutely incorporate tangible physical items into the mix as well. This provides an extra dose of delight and leaves recipients with long-lasting branded reminders.

The classic option is to assemble and mail physical swag box packages filled with promo freebies like t-shirts, drinkware, stickers, tote bags, snacks, office supplies — you name it. Time the arrivals for just before your virtual event so recipients feel that unboxing excitement, building anticipation for the event itself.

You can also ship standalone physical gifts that amplify specific parts of your brand or event experience, like:

  • Mailing a free book or product sample to attendees of a panel discussion
  • Sending spa or self-care items tied to a health/wellness brand
  • Desktop putting greens or golf tees for a sports/recreation company
  • Eco-friendly gifts like tree starters or bamboo utensils for sustainability events
  • Notebooks or planners for a productivity app's power user workshop

This list is just the start: the options for memorable virtual swag bag giveaways are limitless. 

With some creative spark and your personal knowledge of your audience, you can dream up truly personalized, exciting virtual swag bags.

Virtual Swag that Boosts Your Brand 

An exceptional virtual swag experience does more than just engage attendees in the moment. It reinforces your brand value and messaging while extending the lifespan of your event content and nurturing attendees along the buyer's journey.

With Banzai’s engagement marketing tools, you can strategically incorporate virtual swag into a holistic, revenue-generating event strategy. 

Our webinar platform Demio empowers you to run engaging, interactive virtual events; add featured actions and downloadable content; and automate your swag-filled follow-up. You’ll also get powerful analytics on webinar KPIs and exactly how each attendee engaged, helping you to segment your audiences. 

Our Boost solution lets you turn your attendees into brand ambassadors by giving them swag for sharing your event. 

And with our Reach tool, we can take care of driving registrations and attendance from your ideal audience — for both virtual and field events. 

With the right tools and a well-executed virtual swag strategy, you'll have a complete system for attracting, engaging, and nurturing your audience. That's how you transform virtual events into a powerful revenue engine.

Ready to level up your virtual event invites, reminders, and follow-up? Download our proven, customizable email templates. 👇👇

Frequently asked questions about virtual swag bags

What makes an effective virtual swag bag?

An effective virtual swag bag strikes the right balance between providing genuine value to your attendees and promoting your brand/products. 

The best ones include a mix of helpful gated content (whitepapers, guides, tutorials), premium freebies (software trials, gift cards), and some branded surprises (e.g. custom virtual backgrounds). Personalizing your virtual swag bags to your specific product and audience is key.

What are some best practices for distributing virtual swag?

Best practices for virtual swag bag distribution involve finding opportunities to add surprises at every stage of your event. 

Build anticipation by promoting your virtual swag pre-event or offering freebies to early bird signups. 

Then, during your virtual event, schedule freebie downloads and calls-to-action. You can even use gamification and point-scoring, where attendees unlock different swag levels based on participation, quiz answers, etc. 

Finally, once the event is over, you can follow up with extra free resources (including your virtual event replay).

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