As the pandemic continues to force many countries into further lockdowns, brands are pivoting to adopt a stronger focus on e-commerce initiatives.
In the UK, it took a decade for e-commerce to jump from 10% to 20% of total retail sales – this year, in only eight weeks, it grew to 30%. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are at the forefront of this online retail boom, with some reporting a huge 452% increase in customers between March and May 2020.
One major factor for DTC success lies in their uptake of TV. On screen ad performance for the DTC and e-commerce retail sector grew 101% during lockdown, demonstrating that brands can make sure they’re not only seen, but also thrive despite present challenges. So, what are DTCs doing with TV that all brands can learn from?
Driving e-commerce success with TV as businesses pivot
Digitally native DTCs have established themselves as staple brands in their own right. Couple this with how businesses are pivoting to an e-commerce-focused model – as a result of the ongoing pandemic – and the digitally-led experience has fundamentally altered shopping habits for millions of consumers. Name any type of product and there’s now a corresponding DTC brand, if not multiple, for it.
DTCs have also become one of the fastest growing groups of TV advertisers, embracing TV’s role as a powerful performance-marketing channel. TVSquared data shows that some industries have actually profited from new consumer behaviours in light of the pandemic. For example DTC fitness brands saw TV-driven performance increase by +200% during the first lockdown while DTC online education experienced a +120% response increase following the closure of schools and universities.
It’s time to test and learn
When analysing this data by daypart, later in the day is better for DTC brands to achieve optimal consumer response to linear TV ads, with the afternoon producing the highest response rates (+30%) and late-night being the most cost-effective (+35%). While for OTT the most cost-effective time to drive response is 4pm at +15% uplift. Considering not only the time of day, but also which creative lengths, genres, programmes and channels work best for their brand, helps DTC brands capture the biggest share of web traffic and response.
For DTC brands, the most common ad lengths are 15 and 30-second spots, with 15-second spots the most cost-effective at +29% response. While Fridays see the highest response at +32% and is the most cost-effective at +28%, the most common day for DTC brands to place a linear TV ad is actually Thursday. On OTT, Friday is the least cost-effective at -7% and also draws the least response at -4%, with Wednesday being the most cost-effective day (+7%) for OTT, and Monday receiving the highest response (also at +7%).
Using these baseline insights, DTCs can then test and learn on an individual brand level to get in front of the most effective audience for their brand goals.
Taking TV campaigns to the next level
DTC brands, digital natives, and those pivoting their e-commerce offerings can all utilise TV to boost their online traffic and engagement. However, brands must ensure they aren’t simply airing on TV for the sake of it – they need to optimise TV for performance.
Thanks to lower inventory costs, TV is currently more accessible, especially for younger brands who have yet to air their first TV ad. Whether a brand is new to TV advertising, or is seeing some success but not hitting the desired response levels, attribution is crucial for meeting brand objectives. To find the right mix, brands need to measure TV how people watch it; by combining measurement with business outcomes and identifying the audience most likely to not only view an ad, but also take action. On average, DTC advertisers are tracking four KPIs across TV everywhere and with the most competitive retail season of the year underway, brands need to prioritise sophisticated and scalable attribution techniques.
TV measurement that works across time, platforms and devices is the solution to gaining a consolidated view of ad performance. Leveraging different datasets and turning them into valuable insights quickly, brands can then act on consumer patterns throughout key shopping periods and change campaign outcomes in real time. DTCs are used to having these types of digital insights readily available, but all brands should expect the same from traditional media. TV is able to prove reach, frequency, outcomes and unique incremental reach by channel – and do this at scale.
By deploying effective, high-performing TV campaigns, DTC brands can generate online response and drive revenue. The dramatic shift toward e-commerce presents an opportunity for advertisers to reinvent how they reach and engage customer bases, as well as measure their business outcomes.