Want to insert other brands into your packages? Here's how.

Inserts are a great, relatively low-lift way to drive incremental revenue.

Let’s face it.  With Apple’s privacy changes and Google getting more competitive, every brand is looking to squeeze out as much incremental revenue as they can these days.  One way that hundreds of eCommerce brands do so is with package inserts.


At a basic level, inserts are when you open a package of something that you ordered and there are offers from other brands inside. Brand #1 pays to be able to insert those inserts into Brand #2’s package, and Brand #1 hopes to acquire new customers just like they would in any other marketing channel, while Brand #2 gets to make additional revenue that goes straight to the bottom line for allowing that brand into their package.  Sounds like a win-win right?

Well, if you want to start your own package insert program, there’s a few things you need to align on before you do so.  Check out the exact questions we use when onboarding a new brand to start accepting inserts in their packages.  

Process: These are usually answered by the marketing or business side of the company.  

1. Is there a specific person who would have to review and provide approval on a brand who is interested in inserting into your packages?

2. How long will it take to approve or deny a brand?

3. What is the CPM brands will have to pay to insert into your package?

--> This is excluding printing and freight to ship the pieces to your facility.  Brands will handle that themselves.  

4. Are there any minimum quantities that are required to test your program?

--> Most programs have a 50k minimum requirement, but some can be as high as 100k-250k depending on their volume.  

5. Do you send your customers any other type of marketing materials?

--> Things like catalogs and billing statements can potentially incorporate inserts too.

Want to share your thoughts or pick the brain of the author of this piece?  Email Eric Smith at esmith@incrementalmedia.com.

Logistics: The Operations team typically handles these questions.


1. What is the monthly volume in your packages?

--> The insert media industry typically expects about 25,000 packages per month. If you are less than 25,000 per month but still want to participate in inserts, the best way to do so is through swaps where you print some inserts and swap it with another like-minded non-competitive brand.  

2. How far in advance are pieces due at your warehouse?

3. What is the max size of the piece that you take?

--> Most insert pieces are 5.5” x 8.5”.

4. Can you take more than one piece per package?

--> Most brands accept a maximum of four brands if they are hand-dropped into the package.  

5. When would you like to start accepting inserts in your packages?

--> Assume about a two month lead time from the moment you are ready to move forward to inserts actually going in your packages.  This time is for brands to be approved by your team, print the pieces with a printer, and then shipping them to your facility.  

Distribution: The final step in the process.

1. Do you put any of your own inserts/collateral into your outgoing packages?

2. Is there a packaging difference in any outgoing packages that would prevent certain packages from receiving inserts?

3. How are inserts put into the packages – via a machine or via a person?

4. Is there anyone at your facility that the inserts should be directed to?

5. Are there any specific months where a distribution center may not be able to handle putting inserts into packages(black out months)?

6. How many distribution centers do you use?

7. Do you have any requirements on how inserts arrive for distribution at the facility?


Inserts are a great, relatively low-lift way to drive incremental revenue, but as you can tell if you made it this far, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch and starting to accept inserts.  So, use the above checklist to get your ducks in a row, and then get your insert program out into the world!


Eric Smith is the SVP of Growth at Incremental Media.  Want to share your thoughts or pick the brain of the author of this piece?  Email Eric at esmith@incrementalmedia.com.

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