Chicago-based social gifting service Boomerang, which has been inching away from its consumer-facing product over the course of 2013, is now expanding its B2B platform with today’s launch of Boomerang Rewards. An extension of its previously launched gifts platform for business, the new Rewards service now brings similar gift-card sharing options to publishers, including those on web and mobile.
Boomerang arose from the ashes of Gtrot, a social travel planner later turned local discovery service, and then a consumer-friendly gifting service similar to competitor Wrapp. But while the Boomerang counterpart to Wrapp still lives on iOS, the focus for the business as whole is no longer primarily on being a consumer service.
Instead, explains CEO Zachary Smith, the consumer app is now “just another channel for distributing gift cards. Although, he adds, it helps to show Boomerang’s capabilities to the company’s B2B partners.
But the real movement now is in working with businesses, including as of today, publishers. With the recently launched business platform, brands have been able to send out gifts directly to their established customer bases via email, social media, or both. At launch, the company was working with around twenty businesses, including Ghirardelli, BeautyBridge, Diamond Candles, Vlado, City Winery, Urban Adventures, and others. Today, it’s grown to 60 businesses, adding Seamless, ModCloth, Shutterfly, ProFlowers, One Kings Lane, thredUP, MeUndies, and many more who are participating directly.
Now with Boomerang Rewards, the company wants to put the distribution of those same gift cards not only in the hands of the brands and businesses themselves, but also with publishers.
“We said, ‘if advertisers can use this, why can’t publishers use this as a way to better engage and monetize their audience?’ Instead of Ghirardelli Chocolates sending out a Ghirardelli gift card to their existing customers, why not go to ChocolateBlog.com and Foodie.com and get them to send out the gift cards to their customers?,” explains Smith. (Side note: sadly, ChocolateBlog.com is not a real thing.)
Publishers who promote Boomerang Rewards – whether it’s in a blog post, a sidebar, or as a tool to get users to compete online surveys, perhaps – get a portion of the revenue share of the purchases made by converting customers. Smith says Boomerang passes back on average 4%-5% of the net sale.
While Boomerang’s business platform has been shown to boost campaign revenue by 80 percent on average, compared with an brand’s previous promotions, the company claims, not as much data was available regarding the new white-labeled Rewards option. Smith cited one case study involving Jebbit.com. where 10.5 percent of the publisher’s user base made a purchase on ModCloth. “On a CPM basis, they made 8 to 10 times the normal CPM,” he says. “That was really powerful.”
The site is now doing a full Rewards integration along with launch partners, Jebbit, Lab42, Squarz, and RIVS.
“Anyone who wants to monetize a user base can find an excuse to give away gift cards as a reward,” says Smith of the product. “It doesn’t feel like an ad – it’s not replacing any of your existing ad space – we’re simply providing you new tools to generate incremental ad revenue.”
Going forward, the focus will be on expanding distribution and improving the APIs for better use on mobile. Currently, the platform is mobile-friendly, but the APIs aren’t quite there yet. But the plan is to make it possible for mobile publishers to distribute gift cards via apps – for example, as rewards in a game for beating a level. That would put Boomerang up against others doing similar things, including Kiip and more recently, Gyft.
More details on Boomerang Rewards are here.