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How Blackbough Swim Used Rewards To Maximize ROAS


Surviving in ecommerce means you need to acquire customers, and the go-to method of letting more shoppers hear about your brand is digital ads.

The trick 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 to increase its ad spend by nearly double sustainably. Now their ads aren’t just getting clicks – they are converting 130% more sales and 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 your social feeds to see what that looks like. Most brands make a graphic or video that they hope will be eye-catching, which is the strategy's extent.

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


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

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a friend's recommendation, so Blackbough used its rewards program to motivate its customers to leave reviews. The points they gave customers for the studies would be a significant investment in the short and long term. The testimonials encouraged future customers to take the plunge.

If you were even thinking about getting a new swimsuit, ads like this would feel valuable because of how great the product looks. The added value of so many delighted customers would surely motivate a click, 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 your content will resonate with them and prompt engagement that leads to more.

You have a list of all your existing customers, so getting that list uploaded to Facebook can create a lookalike audience of users 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 to your website and re-engage with your brand.

To take these ideas a step further, Blackbough Swim 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 dedicated 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 them 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” 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 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 also of the experience. 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 customers to take action creates a two-way exchange of value, giving them more reason to complete the action and return to gain additional weight. 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 purchasing 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 assets.

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

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

To have excellent results like Blackbough Swim, you must ensure that the content is customer-focused, the audience is as tailored as your messaging, and you create a rewarding experience for every user who sees and interacts with your ads.

Combining these three things with a customer experience-enhancing loyalty program from Smile will have ads and ROAS that make more than just a splash.

This article originally appeared in the MuteSix blog and has been published here with permission.

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