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How Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Branching Out Beyond TV

The direct-to-consumer industry has exploded in recent years with startups offering meal delivery services, mattresses and everything in between — and TV advertising has been a staple in generating awareness. And if it feels like you’ve been seeing more ads from DTC brands these days, you’re right: a recent study from always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv revealed that from Jan. 1 through Jun. 30, estimated TV ad spend increased 15.29% to $1.7 billion from the same period in 2018, airings increased 41.93% to 1.4 million and TV ad impressions were also up 10.68% to 176 billion from the same timeframe in 2018.

Innovations across the TV industry are enabling DTC brands to leverage the same savvy thinking they did on social and thoughtfully engage with consumer segments in the living room. 

But TV isn’t the end-all, be-all anymore: a strong social presence is crucial to upping consumer awareness and engagement. One way to do that is partnerships with influencers or organizations, bringing in an already-dedicated fan base primed to receive a brand’s message — provided it’s relevant to their interests, of course. Here are just a few examples: 

Warby Parker oftens takes an organic approach with this tactic, spotlighting influencers who already wear their glasses on their social channels, like this Instagram video post featuring writers, musicians, photographers, actresses and other notable people. 

Another example comes from Chewy.com: this month, the pet-supply delivery company is working with Tough Mudder (that organization that creates insane obstacle courses where you and your friends can challenge yourself and get filthy in the process) on a series of social videos promoting #ChewyRuffMudder for people with pups. The most-viewed video so far was posted to Facebook and showed how it took a three times for adorable three-legged dog Brewski to make it over a hurdle. 

So far the clip has generated nearly 73.4K views, with 73.1K occuring in the first seven days, according to social video analytics company Tubular Labs’ V7 rating. Other equally fun and cute videos have been posted to Instagram. 

When it comes to partnering with individual influencers, it’s not just mega-celebrities that brands are seeking out — creators with more modest followings (think under 1 million) can have solid engagement and make a positive impact on advertising campaigns as well. 

Smile Direct Club is harnessing the popularity of gaming videos with by partnering with gamer NoisyButters. The video on YouTube where she talked about gaining confidence in her smile has generated nearly 184K views with a Tubular V7 rating of 160K. She also posted a picture to Instagram talking about her use of Smile Direct’s clear aligners, which has racked up over 13.3K likes. 

According to CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators, NoisyButters has 719.8K connections across social platforms, which makes her a “medium-sized” influencer. CreatorIQ considers her YouTube engagement rate of 5.54% on recent videos to be “mainstream,” but on Instagram she impresses with a “good” engagement rate of 17.07% on recent posts. Her social audience is predominantly male (as you may assume given the gaming focus), with 58% between 18 and 24. 

Casper also works with medium-sized influencers like family/lifestyle blogger Liz Adams. She has 130K followers on Instagram and a “mainstream” engagement rate of 2.48%. Adams’ audience is overwhelmingly female (89%) with 43% between the ages of 25-34, and most come from the U.S. 

Photo by rupixen on Unsplash