Product Seeding: The 7-Step Strategy that Works [An Influencer Platform’s Perspective]

Daniel Cruz

By Daniel Cruz
12 min READ | Apr 8 2024

Table of contents

Product seeding is on the rise as many brands gift their products to influencers to build brand awareness.

However, we’ve seen many of our clients fail to pick good seeding samples while others send good products to the wrong people.

To avoid any mistakes, start by reading this article.

You’ll find out what product seeding is and how to leverage it as we discuss studies, examples, and strategies that work for your brand.

Let’s get started.


  • Product seeding entails giving products to influencers for authentic content creation.
  • Choose influencers who appreciate your product, write about it, and have an audience interested in your brand.
  • Product seeding builds trust and authenticity, it’s cost-effective, creates word-of-mouth spillovers, and fosters long-term relationships with content creators.
  • There are three phases to a solid product seeding campaign:
  • Preliminary steps. Determine the number of influencers to send products to. Consider budget and influencer selection. Choose the top influencer database for influencer selection.
  • Actual product seeding. Focus on standout packaging. Personalize influencer experiences based on their needs. Send high-quality products. Engage with influencers before and after product arrival.
  • Evaluate results. Use influencer tracking software for campaign analysis.

Pro Tip: Work with a top product sampling agency for better results.

What Is Product Seeding?

Product seeding is a marketing strategy that involves providing free or discounted products to individuals or influential figures, such as bloggers, social media influencers, or industry experts.

The concept behind product seeding is to distribute products to key individuals who can reach a large audience and sway their purchasing decisions.

These are called seeds, which may (or may not) sprout.

The aim, of course, is for your kind gifts to sprout, thus generating positive reviews and buzz that increase your brand visibility, conversions, and ROI.

Giving your product to influencers may also result in other influencer marketing campaigns or even a long-term partnership.

Warning: Brands often set expectations for recipients to share their experiences and provide feedback, either directly or indirectly, through social media posts, blog posts, or other forms of influencer content.

However, not all influencers or recipients will fulfill these expectations.

That’s why you should pick people who already love your brand and products.

These are likelier to generate organic, authentic endorsements and recommendations.

Insider tip: From our experience as an influencer marketing platform, the best influencers for product seeding:

  • Align with your target audience.
  • Are active in sharing their experiences and opinions with their audience.
  • Have a significant influence in their respective communities.
  • Have a genuine interest in the product.

Product Seeding vs. Product Sampling vs. Product Gifting

Product seeding, sampling, and gifting are distinct tactics in influencer marketing.

Each method serves a different purpose in a marketing strategy, from broadening brand awareness to fostering future collaborations.

  • Product seeding involves sending items to influencers without explicit content creation expectations, aiming to build organic brand visibility.
  • Product sampling, on the other hand, entails providing influencers with smaller, sample-sized versions of products, often in hopes of generating specific content or reviews. This approach can sometimes include products from multiple brands and may involve direct requests from relevant creators.
  • Influencer gifting is similar to seeding in that products are offered for free, but it typically involves targeted outreach to new influencers with the anticipation of content in exchange. This necessitates coordination and focuses on establishing new relationships. Plus, you’ll likely need an influencer gifting contract.

Why Product Seeding?

Studies prove that product seeding works and can actually increase sales by 3-18%.

That’s because this tactic offers several advantages in terms of return on investment when compared to costlier methods like paid ads:

  • Targeted reach: Product seeding allows companies to selectively choose influencers or individuals who closely align with their target audience. This targeted approach ensures the products reach the right demographic, maximizing the chances of resonating with potential customers. In contrast, paid ads often have a broader reach, which may result in reaching a larger audience but with a lower conversion rate.
  • Authenticity and credibility: Product seeding thrives on the authenticity and credibility of influencers. When relevant influencers genuinely endorse a product, it carries more weight and trust among their followers. This authentic word-of-mouth marketing leads to higher engagement and conversion rates than paid ads, often viewed as inauthentic.
  • Cost efficiency: Product seeding can be a cost-effective marketing strategy. While paid ads require substantial financial investments, product seeding involves providing free or discounted products to influencers. The cost of the products is generally lower than paid advertising costs, resulting in a higher ROI.
  • Long-term impact: Product seeding has the potential for longer-lasting effects. When influencers receive products and create content around them, it remains accessible to their audience for an extended period. This longevity can result in continuous brand exposure and ongoing product adoption. In contrast, paid ads have a limited lifespan and require constant investment to maintain visibility.
  • User-generated content: Product seeding generates high-quality content that can be repurposed and shared across various marketing channels (if you have permission). This content provides additional value and exposure for the brand without incurring extra costs. Paid ads, on the other hand, rely on professionally created content, which can be more expensive to produce and maintain.

Insider Case Study [with Actual MATH]

Hurom is a brand of cold-press juicers that partners with different Instagram influencers to promote its products.


They went from being a discount-oriented brand to revamping their image to a health-focused juicer.

And that decreased their CPAs by 65%.

Now, let’s look at the math.

A Hurom juicer is $400-$600.

The nano-influencer above, athlete Kamryn Blackwood, has a 4.5% engagement rate, according to this awesome free Instagram engagement rate calculator.

Based on her 34,300 followers, that means she can reach 1543 people with this message.

More importantly, all of them are very health-focused and interested in fitness.

And since nano-influencers have a 3.69% conversion rate, this post likely generated 57 sales.

Therefore, Hurom could have sold each $400-$600 juicer with a minimal $7-10 investment per buyer in a product seeding campaign.

Our Influencer Marketing Platform’s Product Seeding Plan

Okay, now it’s time for you to get the same results.

Here are the steps we recommend to our clients.

1. Determine the Number of Influencers to Send Products to

Determining the ideal number of influencers for your product seeding campaign is crucial for its success and efficiency.

Overextending by targeting too many influencers can dilute the campaign’s impact and stretch your resources thin, reducing the personalized attention each influencer receives.

Conversely, targeting too few can limit your campaign’s reach and potential impact.

To find the right number, consider:

  • The level of engagement you aim to achieve: It’s not just about reaching a broad audience but engaging the right audience.
  • Your product’s nature and availability: High-value or limited products might necessitate a smaller, more curated list of influencers, while more accessible products can afford a broader reach.

Insider tip: Use free data-driven tools to analyze potential influencers’ reach, engagement rates, audience demographics, and alignment with your brand values. This analytical approach will enable you to create a shortlist of influencers that align with your campaign goals and budget constraints.

2. Consider Your Budget

Crafting your budget for a product seeding campaign requires a strategic approach.

When our clients ask our help in setting their product seeding budgets, we advise them to follow these steps:

  • Determine your marketing budget to understand what portion you can allocate to the campaign.
  • Recognize costs involved beyond just the product, including shipping, packaging, and agency fees.
  • Set specific objectives for your campaign. These will guide how you distribute your budget, whether for broad awareness or targeted engagement.
  • Include a variety of influencers to balance reach and engagement, keeping in mind the cost differences between these groups.
  • Allocate funds for tracking and measuring the campaign’s ROI, using tools to assess performance.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to account for the actual cost of the products you’re seeding, especially if they’re high-value items.

3. Do Influencer Selection

Take it from us:

When you want to find influencers for product seeding, pick creators who operate within niches relevant to your product or brand.

Pro tip: These can be direct or adjacent niches.

That’s why, for example, Lululemon works with influencers in the health and fashion niches like Shay Mitchell:


One of our clients, the kids’ fashion brand Deux par Deux, has been gifting mom influencers to create desire and social proof.

Besides, these mom influencers create in-depth product reviews for Deux par Deux, helping their followers make faster purchase decisions:


Pro tip: Use the Instagram and TikTok influencer database to find and compare influencers using a slew of filters, such as region, language, number of followers, and engagement rate.

You can also filter these creators by the keywords you’re most interested in.

To pick the best influencers:

  • Evaluate engagement rates: An influencer’s engagement rate is arguably even more important than their follower count. High engagement rates indicate an active and involved audience, which can lead to better campaign results.
  • Assess content quality and relevance: Review the influencer’s content to ensure it aligns with your brand’s values and aesthetics. The influencer’s content style, tone, and quality should complement your brand identity.
  • Check for Audience authenticity: Be vigilant about influencers with artificially inflated follower counts. Use this free fake follower checker to assess the authenticity of an influencer’s audience and ensure they are engaging with real, active followers.
  • Consider past collaborations: Look at the influencer’s history of brand partnerships. Successful past collaborations, particularly within your industry, can indicate the influencer’s ability to deliver results.

4. Ask Each Influencer for Approval Before Sending the Products

Before dispatching products, it’s essential to secure each influencer’s consent. This step involves reaching out to each chosen influencer with a personalized message outlining what you envision for their involvement.

This communication is crucial:

  • For logistical reasons: It’s wise to ensure they’re ready and willing to receive your product, thus minimizing budget losses.
  • For building a rapport and aligning expectations: It’s a gesture of professional courtesy that sets the stage for a successful collaboration, ensuring both parties are informed and enthusiastic about the partnership.

5. Focus on Standout Packaging

We always advise our clients to focus on standout packaging for their product seeding campaigns to make a memorable first impression.

Here’s how to approach it:

  • Brand alignment: Ensure your packaging reflects your brand’s identity, values, and aesthetics. Cohesive branding helps reinforce brand recognition and builds a stronger connection with the influencer and their audience.
  • Personalization: Add personalized touches to the packaging, such as the influencer’s name or a handwritten note. This demonstrates thoughtfulness and can significantly enhance the unboxing experience, making it more likely for the influencer to share it with their followers.
  • Visual appeal: Design your packaging to be visually appealing and photogenic. Influencers are more likely to feature attractive packages in their content, which can increase the visibility of your campaign on social media platforms.
  • Unboxing experience: Design the packaging and unboxing process to be an experience in itself. The way the product is revealed and presented can add excitement and intrigue, making the influencer more engaged and enthusiastic about sharing their product reviews.
  • Inclusion of extras: Include additional items or branded merchandise that complement the main product. This can add value to the unboxing experience and provide influencers with more content to share.

Pro tip: Send high-quality products, not cheap ones.

For example, St. Martin’s Press frequently sends books to Instagram creators who are social media influencers in the reading niche.

But just notice how beautiful their books are:


Also, these are books the influencers are likely to devour so they can write better reviews.

6. Engage with Influencers After Product Arrival

Engaging with influencers after the physical product arrives fosters a strong relationship and ensures the success of your product seeding campaign.

Here’s how to approach this:

  • Confirmation of receipt: Follow up to confirm that the influencer has received the product safely. This is also a courteous check-in that shows you care about their experience.
  • Solicit honest feedback: Ask for their initial impressions or feedback on the product. This shows that you value their opinion and are open to constructive feedback, which can enhance product or campaign strategies.
  • Content coordination: Discuss any content they plan to create, offering support or additional information they might need. Solid communication ensures that the resulting content aligns with your brand’s messaging and campaign goals.
  • Engage with their content: Actively engage with any piece of content they create related to your product by liking, commenting, or sharing. This not only shows appreciation for their effort but also increases the visibility of their content.
  • Build a long-term relationship: This is the part where you transform your product seeding into a larger influencer collaboration. Influencers can take an active role in promoting your brand and products using affiliate links or UTM codes.

7. Use Influencer Tracking Software for Campaign Analysis

Campaign analysis is essential because it shows you the best and worst-performing product seeding strategies.

As a result, you can remove the bad ones and hone in on the awesome ones to skyrocket your results.

But first, you should track these key performance indicators in your product seeding campaign:

  • Outreach rate: Monitor the number of influencers you’ve contacted and the number of those who accepted your products.
  • Post rate: See how many influencers have created posts about your brand.
  • Types of content: Track the content types in your product seeding campaign, from authentic reviews to Instagram posts or Reels.
  • Reach: Measure the overall reach of the influencers’ content featuring your product. This includes the number of impressions, views, or unique visitors exposed to the content. It provides insights into the campaign’s initial exposure and potential brand awareness.
  • Engagement: Track the level of engagement generated by the influencer’s content, such as likes, comments, shares, and saves. This metric indicates the audience’s level of interest, interaction, and connection with the product and brand.
  • Brand mentions and sentiment analysis: Track the number of times the influencer mentions your brand or product and the sentiment associated with those mentions (positive, negative, or neutral). Analyzing brand mentions and sentiment helps gauge your brand’s overall perception and reputation among the influencer’s audience.

To follow these KPIs:

  • Choose the right software: Select a tracking platform that aligns with your campaign needs. Look for influencer discovery, campaign management, engagement tracking, and ROI analysis features. Popular options include Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and AspireIQ.
  • Set up campaign tracking: Configure the software to track your specific campaign. This might involve setting up unique hashtags, tagging influencers, or integrating your social media accounts and eCommerce platform.

For easy campaign tracking, you can try influencer tracking software.

Wrapping Up

Follow the steps above, and your product seeding campaign will be a success.

And remember, if you select the best influencers from the start, you are likelier to see good results, saving money and time in the long term.

Try the inBeat influencer platform for an efficient influencer campaign that includes a product seeding strategy and other online services.

inBeat, for free

Get your Influencer campaign started.

Book a demo