A Lesson in Free Vitamins

Photo: bradley j

A friend mentioned an interesting way that the Internet can reduce cost, raise output, and that uses incentives cleverly. Her company created an educational ad campaign to encourage young women to engage in healthy activities. On several occasions various unrelated blogs mentioned that free vitamins were being given through the campaign’s website linked to the ads. Using Google Analytics she discovered that the website’s hits went up over tenfold after each mention on the blogs; but the data also showed that most of the new hits were by people who got onto the website just long enough to get the freebies.

In the next round the offers will be restructured so the freebies are available only after the person has watched an online educational video—and thus imbibed the health-promoting knowledge that was the purpose of the campaign.

[HT: CS]

Dan B

Same thing occurs with using widely-valuable incentives to get Facebook likes. Trick is to give away something that only actual target customers would want. In this case, people who want free vitamins are not likely the target dem.

Another example is that, in high school, my friends and I would go into Gracious Home to get free samples of coffee to encourage us to buy a $200 machine that we would, of course, never purchase.


Requiring someone to watch the video will have the same result of requiring someone to read through all of the terms of service. In the case of terms of service, people will just scroll to the bottom and click next. In this case people will just jump to another tab until the video is complete.

It would be interesting to see how many people click to the site, then "spend" many hours watching the video. I would likely click over, see that it was forcing me to watch a video, click play, then go get a hamburger with a large milkshake. If I remembered about it after my milk shake, I would redeem my freebie.


Maybe there could be a short quiz at the end that tests the knowledge of the user.If they fail, they would have to do it again.


could you supply the link to your friend's company?


I'm missing the lesson. Is it that people typically choose not to pay what they are expected, rather than required, to pay, especially when the price is non-monetary and the takers stay anonymous and don't need to communicate with the givers in any way?