February 14, 2024

What Are NFT Airdrops and Why Do They Matter?

min read

Few things in the NFT space excite a community like an unexpected airdrop.

NFTs showing up in your wallet without spending a fraction of your precious ETH enforces the !vibe of the collection. Some airdrops can even turn into blue-chip pieces that can make holders substantially wealthier than they were before (Mutant ape serum, anyone?)

But we're getting ahead of ourselves because there's much more to airdrops than just an NFT randomly showing up in your wallet and making you rich.

The basics of an NFT airdrop

If you're a newcomer to NFTs, an NFT airdrop is a gift or reward that holders get as a sign of appreciation for being in a project or community.

In other words, airdrops are a way projects can say "Thank you, fren" to their community. Airdrops also aren't limited to just NFTs; projects can send holders free crypto, access to something exclusive, or even other forms of tokens.

Why would a team give away free tokens and NFTs to their community?

Illustrations of NFT airdrops

For one, the team behind an NFT project has either a big event or an important announcement to make. Airdrops, in this case, can be both a little gift to the community and a promotional tool for the announcement.

Apart from generating hype, some airdrops are rare and even super valuable (don't worry, we'll touch more on this later). This added value benefits not only the holder that's receiving the airdrop but the community as a whole.

For those starting to conjure up ideas for airdrops that'll take your projects to the moon, you'll first need to know the difference between the types of airdrops.

Most commonly used NFT airdrops

Airdrops can fall into three categories: Standard airdrops, exclusive airdrops, and holder airdrops. Here's how each one works:

  • Standard airdrop: These types of airdrops deploy when someone completes a task. It can be as simple as joining a Discord community or even retweeting a particular post. Standard airdrops are a convenient way to reward people for promotional interactions.
  • Exclusive airdrop: As the name might suggest, this type of airdrop is for the VIP amongst Web3 and NFT communities. To receive a drop on this level, you'll have to be a longtime member of the NFT community or somehow demonstrate that you've earned this exclusive status.
  • Holder only airdrop: This is standard practice for many NFT collections. They often appear in new owners' wallets after they've purchased an NFT. Think of these as bonus rewards for aping into a project.

Choosing what airdrop is best for a project is a matter of the team choosing what they believe is best for the community. But in most cases, airdrops continue to be a standard marketing technique for NFT collections looking to connect with their community.

What makes airdrops so effective?

One obvious answer is that people love free stuff. Who wouldn't be hyped on receiving a perk for aping into a project or doing a simple task? So in terms of building a happy community that feels appreciated, a friendly airdrop can go a long way.

But aside from simply being a nice gesture, airdrops are remarkably useful for branding and incorporating utility. A great example of a project that continues to master branding via airdrops is Deskheads.

In a matter of months, Deskheads launched a collection and built an enthusiastic community of over 25k followers across multiple platforms. While the art in this project is next-level awesome, the way they deploy their airdrops is nothing short of marketing brilliance.

Here's one of the ways they used the potential prize of a airdropped Deadfellaz to promote a derivative NFT they made:

Based on the amount of interaction, it's clear that an airdropped Deadfellaz was worth retweeting. It's further evidence of the branding power that a quality project can tap into with a strategically placed airdrop.

Adding to Deskhead's marketing savviness is how they mix exclusive, standard, and holder's-only airdrops. Not only are they incentivizing those who HODL with the possibility of dual community utility, but they're also using the methods of a standard airdrop to generate social media interaction.

While Deskheads shows the powerful marketing side of airdrops, a look at Gary Vaynerchuck's VeeFriends shows a prime example of using airdrops to add monetary value to the community. VeeFriends holders get access to exclusive mini drops, including artistic collaborations, partnerships with games, and other NFTs with varying utility.

VeeFriends airdrops

These NFTs can then be sold on OpenSea and other markets, allowing holders to make financial gains from their drops. While holders can reap the reward for their rewards, the community also benefits from the added value of these secondary sales.

These are just two examples of projects creatively using airdrops to enhance communities, but as the NFT space grows, businesses and creators are finding more ways to use airdrops. Even law firms are using NFT airdrops to strengthen their legal toolkit!

Of course, quality airdrops are a great way to enhance an NFT project, but to use them effectively, you have to know how to deploy an airdrop.

Incorporating airdrops into your project

There's a lot to consider when it comes to maximizing their effectiveness, but the first step you should take if you're a creator and planning to incorporate airdrops into your projects is deciding how you want them to be triggered.

  • Do you want all token holders receiving an airdrop when they ape into your project?
  • Do owners have to hold more than 1 token?
  • Do owners have to hold their tokens for a specific time?

These are the questions you need to consider when creating a marketing plan for your project.

Next, whether sending or receiving, there needs to be a wallet to deploy an airdrop. If you plan on creating a collection and rewarding your community with airdrops, you'll need to have their wallet addresses.

Another critical factor to consider is the utility that comes with your airdrop: will holders be able to resell them? Access other perks if they hold them? Again, having a plan for your airdrops is the best way to increase their effectiveness.

Another project that crushes their airdrops, and is a prime example of how to incorporate them into a marketing scheme, is BFF Friendship Bracelets. Each NFT from this collection has unique perks and utility, including its airdrops.

NFTs from the collection BFF Friendship Bracelets

Some airdrops, for example, act as mint passes only holders can access, while others grant access to other perks. However, the team at BFF will often give airdrop holders options for how they want to use their airdropped tokens. So, no problem if you don't want to use your airdrop for a mint pass.

BFF Friendship bracelet airdrop

The main takeaway from BFF airdrops is that they can be highly versatile. Depending on your goals and plans for your community, airdrops have the potential to be the factor that turns a good project into a great project.

Don’t be spammy with airdrops

While airdrops are an awesome way to show a little love to your community and generate some buzz, you don’t want to get carried away and start spamming people. Getting flooded with valueless airdrops is a quick way to annoy people who might have otherwise been pumped about a community.

It’s why it’s so important to plan on when and how you airdrop an NFT, and have a strategy for how it will add value or utility to the community. In fact, OpenSea often will send airdropped NFTs to a hidden tab, specifically to limit real spam airdrops from filtering through.

Enhancing your NFT projects one airdrop at a time

You'll have to #DYOR to find your project's best options and airdrop strategies. If you take the time to think about how they will benefit your community, team, and project, there is always the opportunity to add value.

Learn how to market your NFT projects. Read more
Share this post