Direct-to-consumer brands are growing, and they want more ad exposure. So how should TV platforms best exploit that opportunity?

In January, eMarketer counted more than 400 D2C brands operating in the US. IAB analyzed 250 of them.

Commonly described as including Casper, Dollar Shave Club and Chubbies, they typically got their early lift by leveraging targeting online ads, but many have come to view TV advertising as the next stage in scaling their business.

An umbrella group, the VAB, in a new report, has observed how D2C companies it tracks hiked their TV spending by 60% last year, bringing the total up to $3.8 billion.

In a panel interview at Beet Retreat in the City, “We’re Going Local!”, led by EY media and entertainment practice lead Janet Balis, two executives were asked how they are reconfiguring to service D2Cs…

  • Brian Norris, NBCUniversal, Senior Vice President, Direct to Consumer, Ad Sales
  • Frederick Lee, WideOrbit, Director of sales, Programmatic TV

Serving growing D2Cs

In October, NBCU partnered with the agency Giant Spoon, whose core offerings are media strategy and making premium video advertising on linear TV and digital media more accessible to direct-to-consumer businesses, to start Direct To Scale, an advertiser offering specifically geared toward helping D2Cs.

Norris says it “is really designed to help brands that were typically born in social scale beyond social – they hit a ceiling and they need something a little bit bigger.

Doing D2C right

“What we ended up finding is that these brands spent so much time on segmenting their audience, coming up with a really sound strategy for growth,” Norris said. “They spend a lot of time, money, effort, consideration, and then when it’s time to execute, they go buy a DR (direct response) schedule.

“The brand will have to retrofit their strategy to fit the inventory that’s available. We kind of didn’t think that that was the right way to go about it.”

Precision – but not too much

Norris and Lee agreed that, just because ad buyers can now laser-target ad campaigns at cohorts of individual households, that doesn’t mean they always should – at least, not in isolation.

WideOrbit’s Lee said: “We’re allowing you to buy by daypart, by specific market programme, and it really is getting a lot more granular and giving them the capabilities to really see how they want to carve up their campaign based on the results they’re seeing.”

Norris said: “There’s a place for both (precise targeting and mass reach). Especially with direct-to-consumer brands, it’s not just good enough to do one.”

Lee agreed: “We can get too granular with that data. I think we have to find that balance. The more precise we get, you’re shrinking that funnel and you’re missing that whole audience… You need to make sure that you’re not trying to get so precise that you’re missing out on the big picture.”

This video is part of a series from the Beet Retreat in the City, “We’re Going Local!” hosted by GroupM Worldwide and sponsored by Amobee, Comcast Spotlight, TVSquared and WideOrbit. Please visit this page for additional segments.