One thing that’s guaranteed to leave a mark on your virtual event is the notorious swag bag. Event swag bags have evolved from miscellaneous trinkets that collect dust on your desk to curated, instagramable gifts. They’re more than just a nice-to-have: swag bags for virtual events break the digital barrier and provide a humanized gesture that people welcome.

So how do you go about crafting the perfect virtual swag bag?

In this gift guide, we’ll look at different ways you can build swag bags for just about every attendee and virtual event. Rather than a laundry list of sweaters and notepads, we’ll bundle swag items into themed sets. You can then add your company and/or virtual event branding for a personal touch.

So…what is a swag bag?

A swag bag refers to a collection of promotional items that typically promote a company, brand, or product. Some examples could be a keychain, magnets, or a zip-up hoodie. In the events industry, swag bags are synonymous with in-person trade shows or conventions. They are either passed out at the welcome of an event or later when each vendor offers their own swag to convention booth visitors.

It’s not exactly clear where the acronym SWAG, “stuff we all get,” originated, but its meaning is ubiquitous. With the rise of virtual events and hybrid events, general swag items have become curated packages shipped straight to participants with additional customizations.

A little swag goes a long way

In an event setting, swag bags are a great way to introduce your audience to your virtual event theme or purpose.  The best swag can tell a story about the event while also complimenting your event brand. Ideally, every item will include your brand logo, colors, in addition to representing the physical experience of your event. Much like souvenirs from vacation, swag is part of the holistic event experience. Instead of sharing with family, more often than not, attendees share their swag with colleagues. And really good swag can be the envy of the office. 

Custom swag bags are critical when producing a virtual event as they bridge the gap between the digital and human experience. In the days leading up to the event, attendees can receive a physical gift to create anticipation. To maximize the reach of your event and event swag, consider adding a welcome note with your event hashtag and/or handle to optimize social shares. This is a great way to encourage social shares as it can help attract your target audience in addition to providing some creative content for promotional channels.

Think of swag as the new call-to-action for virtual events. When crafted strategically, they can actually drive audience engagement and ultimately, fun. For example, before the start of a keynote, host a virtual yoga session where all attendees can use their branded yoga mats to participate together. In a virtual networking event or happy hour, attendees can use cocktail kits to craft the perfect drink from their swag bag. 

No matter what, swag bags are guaranteed to surprise and delight your attendees and get them even more excited about your event.

30 virtual swag bag ideas

We’ve curated a list of 30 themed swag bag ideas for your next event. From on-the-go travel essentials, cocktail kits, to wellness and self-care ideas, we’ve bundle up some of the best swag (and where to buy them) for every event attendee.

1. Travel essentials

If your virtual events were previously in-person experiences, consider offering travel essentials as swag. This is a great idea for event planners who are exploring hybrid events for attendees. These travel essentials are fun, useful items to get attendees revved up about traveling to your event.

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2. A traditional welcome

This is the most traditional swag bag. Offer welcome bags with popular office supplies to familiarize attendees with your brand and help them get the most value from attending your virtual event.

  • Wireless charger to watch seamlessly.
  • 3-in-1 pen & stylus.
  • Coffee mug to refill and stay focused during the event.

3. Games on-the-go

In-between virtual sessions or breaks, give your attendees something fun to pass the time. These can be used as part of  virtual networking and when branded, make for great instagram photos. 

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4. Cozy Kit

For events that take place during winter months, keep attendees warm and cozy with seasonal treats and all around hygge style comfort.

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5. First timers

If you are stuck on a theme and want to play it safe with your attendees, the standard swag bag go-to items will never let you down. These ideas are good especially if it’s your fist event and you are testing the swag bag waters.

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  • Branded notepad for note taking.
  • Designed statement Socks.
  • Branded tote to carry all the things.

6. Suns Out Kit

For events that take place in summer months, equip your attendees with outdoor games and essentials to enjoy the sun post event.

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7. Fitness fanatic

For virtual events based on or around wellness, practice what you preach with tools to drive attendee participation and help them sustain a healthy lifestyle long after the event is over.

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8. Tech it up swag

When it comes to tech events, the swag back can be a bit more challenging. A tech audience tends to be up-to-date with all the latest gadgets, so you’ll want to complement their existing gadgets with swag items.

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9. Get your grill on

July tends to be a popular month for summer social events.  If your virtual event takes place during this time, give your attendees a swag bag they can use during the peak of barbecue season.

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10. Music Box

For virtual events that revolve around music, marketing, or pop culture gift ideas that complement the content.  This also give you a clearer direction into the interest of your audience. 

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11. Swag with sustainability

Many virtual events pride themselves on being more economically efficient and environmentally conscious. Reducing travel footprints and minimizing wasted resources should also be reflected in these particular swag bags. 

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12. Rainy day swag

The seasons can always offer ideas when it comes to swag.  During or in preparation of April showers, give your attendees the gift that keeps on giving with everyday items they’ll need to stay dry.

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13. Tea time kit

To offer moments of relaxation or an alcohol free networking hour, a tea party can be great fun. Make attendees feel like they are at a cafe in Paris with a variety of tea time essentials.

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14. Namaste at home

Meditation events are all about setting the tone and environment for optimal reflective practices.  Crafted a swag bag that helps participants re-create this relaxing and peaceful environment right from home.

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15. Cocktail craft kit

Get the party started with a cocktail kit for the thirsty attendee.  Educate attendees with a professional mixologist to virtually walk participants through a classic cocktail favorite or have them make their own as part of a networking session.

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16. Coffee cafe kit

For virtual events that take place early in the day, keep attendees focused and ready to engage. Create a virtual cafe during session breaks or host a coffee themed lunch and learn.

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17. Self care essentials

Show attendees that you care about their well being. Gift up a swag bag that will encourage them to nurture themselves on a regular basis. 

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18. Furry friend kit

For this type of swag bag, you’d need to be hosting an event on animals or ask questions in the registration process to know the ratio of fur parents attending your event.

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19. Runner’s Bag

Virtual marathons have made their debut this past year. A swag bag dedicated for runners can be intended to be used the day of the marathon. In this case, not only winners get medals, everyone gets a reward.  

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20. Welcome baby kit

Keep in mind, this may be a super targeted swag bag. However, if your virtual event covers topics around parenting, and your attendees are primarily new parents – this is swag bag is for you. This bag could be great for remote lamaze classes and early parenting courses online.

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21. Movie night bag

A fun swag bag that attendees can enjoy with family, friends, or even with a virtual community is a movie night treat kit.  Send a box of classic treats to enjoy a film viewing night as part of your virtual experience or post-event.

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22. The Happy Desk

For many remote workers, the home office has gotten more use over the past year than ever before. Send a swag bag to enhance their desk space and make their work area a happy one.

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23. Sanitized swag

In a day and age when cleanliness is of the utmost importance, make it easy for attendees to stay protected from germs. They may be participating virtually, but encouraging in-person interaction safely is still a must.

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24. Socially focused

For virtual marketing events, gift swag they can use on the job…and for tiktok. These gift items should enable both creativity and be functional.

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25. Sleep easy kit

Another spin on a self care approach is a swag bag dedicated to better sleep.  For stressful days and make a swag bag that gives gifts for a sleep-filled night. 

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26. Wellness box

Wellness events are dedicated to educating attendees on how to live a more healthy lifestyle. Give swag bag items that compliment this way of living with sustainable resources.

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27. Sundae swag

A virtual networking session that calls for fun interactivity screams ice cream! Send ice cream sundae kits to craft the best treat for a summer virtual experience.  For instagrammable photos, have ice cream topping match the colors of your event branding. 

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28. Breakfast bag

Kick off your virtual morning keynote with a side of waffles. For the virtual event early starters, have attendees participating from the very start with a breakfast made for champions.

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29. Kid friendly

Gift participants with fun for the entire family. For those who don’t have kids, these items can still  bring out the child in them.

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30. Give back with donations

Sometimes instead of giving out gifts that may be eventually thrown out, give your audience an option to give back.  Donating to charity can bring new meaning to your virtual experience and overall brand. Fundraising platforms like Raisly help grow your cause, campaign, or charity for free. Have attendees donate during the virtual event and announce the progress regularly to reach your goal.

4 tips to help you pick the right swag bag

  • Expect to spend more on swag items for virtual events.  Factor in the savings from a physical venue and catering costs. 
  • Ask questions during the registration experience to help get a sense of what interests attendees and any potential allergies.
  • Allow for ample lead time to order swag and send to attendees in time for the event.  The last thing you want is to have your swag arrive late. 
  • If your budget is not as much as you’d like, save swag for targeted attendees or those who are existing customers.

Take your virtual event live