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How Blackbough Swim Used Rewards to Maximize ROAS

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Surviving in ecommerce means you need to acquire customers, and the go-to method of letting more shoppers hear about your brand is with digital ads. The trick though isn’t just to run ads and hope for the best – going that route will lead you to massive overspending and little to show for it. Instead, brands like Blackbough Swim have used their well designed and relevant ads with an engaging loyalty program to create a holistic rewarding customer experience from the first touch to complete customer retention.

Ultimately, Blackbough put its rewards program to work so they could sustainably increase their ad spend by nearly double. Now their ads aren’t just getting clicks – they also are converting 130% more sales and are keeping their customers engaged between purchases.

Here are the three most important things they did to make their ads and rewards work as part of the complete customer journey

1. Create content that is customer-focused

The most successful advertising strategies should start with empathy, but the reality is that they usually don’t. It just takes a scroll through any of your social feeds to see a glimpse of what that looks like. The majority of brands make a graphic or video that they hope will be eye-catching, and that is the extent of the strategy.

In order to actually stand out from the crowd, you need to focus on the type of content that adds value to your shoppers’ Facebook feed, and content that adds value no matter what industry your business in social proof. Coined in 1984 by Robert Cialdini, social proof is the idea that the actions of others influence our own decision making. Or in this case, the actions of your past customers can influence new potential customers to make a purchase.


Blackbough knew that this type of influence is exactly what their audience would want to see in ads. To make the most of their ad spend, they made some of their over 800 customer reviews and testimonials the focus of many of the ads they served.

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend, so Blackbough actually used their rewards program to motivate their customers to leave reviews. The points they gave customers for the reviews would end up being an incredible investment in both the short and long term the testimonials encouraged future customers to take the plunge.

Now, if you were even just thinking about getting a new swimsuit, ads like this would feel not just valuable because of how great the product looks, but the added value of so many delighted customers would be sure to motivate a click and ultimately a purchase.

2. Tailor your audience for high impact content

Anyone can run ads with a massive audience, and sure, they might get clicks, but in the end, the purpose of ads isn’t to get clicks – it’s to generate sales. By creating a tailored audience you can significantly increase the chances that the content you create will resonate with them and prompt engagement that leads to something more.

You have a list of all your existing customers, so getting that list uploaded into Facebook can create a lookalike audience of users that are similar to your customer base. Not only that but with the right tools and partners, you can even target your existing customers with emails that drive them back into your website and re-engage with your brand.

To take these ideas a step further, Blackbough Swim actually used their Tropical Soul Circle loyalty program (powered by Smile) to target ads to their program members! Not only are their members all customers, but they are a loyal part of the Blackbough brand community. Targeting their already loyal members helped them increase link clicks by 104%, adding to the multiplying power of rewards and a great advertising strategy and making it retention, not only acquisition, focused.

Whether you’re creating lookalikes, remarketing, or re-engaging your repeat customers to prompt even more purchases, tailoring the audience to content like Blackbough will motivate your customers to take the next step in their journey with your brand.

3. Make your CTA and landing page add even more value

More often than not your ad CTA is focused on a single ask from the customer instead of offering an exchange in value for that ask. “Buy now” just screams “Give us your money” and while the sense of urgency might be there, it isn’t going to help build the relationship with your customer that keeps them coming back.

Adding value to your total shopping experience with a value-adding CTA will show customers that you’re invested in more than just a sale.


Everything that happens immediately after clicking your CTA is all part of the experience as well. You can start add-value to your post-click ad experience by using the ad and the CTA to show the value of your rewards program.

Offering an incentive for a customer to take action creates a two-way exchange of value, giving them more reason to complete the action and return to gain additional value. When customers feel like they’ve got something to gain from placing an order, they’ll be more likely to convert.


Blackbough Swim offers Blackbough Bucks for new shoppers who place an order and create an account. On top of their other rewards for product reviews and social engagement, they let these welcome points demonstrate the value of joining their program and making a purchase before the sale. The Blackbough Bucks give them valuable digital currency that they can use towards another purchase in the future, making them more likely to place that initial order and stay engaged with the brand between purchases.

4. Maximizing your ROAS starts long before you draft your ads

Like any form of marketing, digital ads are only going to give you as much as you put into them. It’s easy to think that since the barrier to entry is so low that you don’t need to put much effort into them to succeed, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In order to have amazing results like Blackbough Swim, you need to make sure that the content is customer-focused, the audience is as tailored as your messaging, and that you create a rewarding experience for every single user who sees and interacts with your ads.

If you put these three things together with a customer experience enhancing loyalty program from Smile, you’ll be sure to have ads, and a ROAS, that make more than just a splash.

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