Case Study

In 2017, Chloe Marie Songer and Stuart Ahlum founded Thousand Fell with a singular vision: to  create a more sustainable vision for footwear. Their journey began in China, where the two worked and witnessed the broken clothing production system firsthand. Problems abounded; from product design and material sourcing to manufacturing and delivery. For them, the most poignant issue was post-use waste — the typical white sneaker spends up to 100 years languishing in landfill once it has worn, scuffed, or simply outlived its season.

So Thousand Fell set out to champion the circular economy by integrating a fully transparent recycling program called SuperCircle. Their new age footwear manufacturing and sustainable material development follow circular design principles, allowing sneakers to be disassembled and repurposed. Thousand Fell sneakers have a bioleather fabric made from corn waste components and structural details derived from coconut husk and recycled plastic bottles.The company also closes the loop by recycling used shoes for a $20 rebate making it easier than ever to avoid a trip to the landfill

Still, a grand vision isn’t enough to break through in the crowded footwear market. Thousand Fell needed to get its name out there, but beyond awareness, they needed a runway to tell the brand story. Its simple product line wouldn’t drive distinction with looks alone, so Thousand Fell needed to incentivize customers to become evangelists.


Total Conversions


Cost per click

A lean team with a big dream

What better way to jump-start word of mouth than to increase exposure through different channels? Thousand Fell covered the entire digital gamut, advertising on Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest. This strategy served them well, since their target audience of Gen Z and Millennial consumers spends plenty of time on social media. But as for all DTC brands, testing and diversification was the name of the game.

“We’re a five-person marketing team,” Charlie Rubin, Thousand Fell’s Head of Growth and Performance shared. “Our size makes us agile, but it also means we need to invest where it counts and be discerning about where we spend our time and energy.”

Meanwhile, the brand encountered a lot of fluctuations and headwinds. Channels that had previously delivered value often became saturated or costly, due to increased competition. Driving consistent growth would be impossible unless Thousand Fell diversified to channels outside of the mainstream. Staying below their target cost-per-acquisition would also mean they’d need to find a way to guarantee their ad dollars were well spent.

“Mainstream channels had become crowded and inconsistent in terms of ROAS. We were looking for solutions that could give us a competitive edge while making the most of our budget.”

- Charlie Rubin, Head of Growth & Performance at Thousand Fell

Rewards attract loyal customers

Thousand Fell reached out to Tapjoy to explore mobile game advertising. Tapjoy’s mobile strategists recommended a Cost Per Action (CPA) campaign to drive sales over the holiday season. Thousand Fell’s campaign would pair product and lifestyle imagery with an enticing in-app offer to earn rewards for shoe purchases. The ads would appear on the Tapjoy Offerwall, an offer hub natively embedded into leading mobile games, and reward consumers with in-game currency after their purchase. The CPA model would allow Thousand Fell to pay only for completed actions, easily staying below their acquisition ceiling while driving ROAS.

After launch, the Tapjoy team worked closely with Thousand Fell to optimize the creative and bidding strategy. First, they A/B tested product and lifestyle imagery to understand which seasonal images resonated best with the brand’s target audience. Lifestyle imagery proved to be the winner. Next, the teams collaborated to shift the bidding strategy, reacting to changes in the market and season. “We played a lot with the CPA bid, putting gas on the fire at the right moment and reacting in real time.,” Charlie Rubin said.

In the end, the campaign saw 863 total conversions over November and December 2021 at a cost-effective $2.05 CPC. December 3rd showed particularly strong performance, with over 100 conversions clocking in a single day. The brand also saw considerable success in using codes associated with Tapjoy. Overall, mobile game ads proved highly scalable, indicating that there would be plenty of room for future growth.

A record quarter and consistent growth

Overall, Tapjoy proved to be a reliable partner and consistent contributor to growth. The quarter during which the holiday campaign ran proved to be Thousand Fell’s biggest yet. “Tapjoy was a huge part of our success that quarter. We see it as one of the big channels, and we continue to talk about media planning for the future,” Charlie Rubin said.

Thousand Fell stakeholders also shared very positive feedback regarding the campaign. They have big growth goals for the coming years, and they plan to see how far they can push Tapjoy and the CPA ad format. The company wants to focus on attracting quality customers who will become repeat buyers. So far, new customers from Tapjoy have proven the most eager. “Personally, I see Tapjoy as a key to cost-effective customer acquisition that also drives value for customers. This is the kind of strategy that gets people talking, transforming consumers into evangelists,” Charlie Rubin shared.

Thousand Fell makes three types of sneakers right now, with plans to expand. In their view, in-app has considerable untapped potential as a growth channel. They will continue to test and explore, while investing in their partnership with Tapjoy.

“Tapjoy showed us that the sky’s the limit when it comes to in-app advertising. CPA ads consistently deliver engaged customers, contributing to our growth and our mission.”

- Charlie Rubin, Head of Growth & Performance at Thousand Fell

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