Direct to consumer (DTC) brands have long relied on social media platforms to create awareness and grow their customer base. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are highly-effective for most businesses, but especially for early-stage DTC brands because of their consumer scale and focused reach through rich targeting and measurement.
Recent events, however, have disrupted the strong relationship between DTC brands and social media. The pandemic significantly accelerated ecommerce growth, creating a surge in demand for digital media inventory ─ along with increased media rates. This coincides with Apple’s privacy-driven iOS changes that restrict apps’ abilities to track consumer behavior – something that’s been so valuable for targeting. The result was a decrease in campaign performance and increase in customer acquisition cost ─ unwelcome news if your 2022 plan is dependent on high customer growth rates.
Seize the opportunity to diversify media strategy
Concentration of any business operation with a single channel creates significant risk when the market changes. It happened during the pandemic as consumers quickly shifted spending to ecommerce. DTC ecommerce companies faced higher shipping costs and capacity constraints. Now these companies are focused on diversifying their parcel network over a greater number of carriers to manage costs and build resilience against future turbulence.
Diversify your ad spend
There are parallels between shipping and DTC marketing. While COVID-19 was the primary cause for shipping disruption, consumer privacy was the tipping point for marketing disruption. Similar to how companies became overly dependent on a small group of parcel carriers, many DTC brands have leaned too much on social platforms like Facebook. As these platforms undergo privacy and demand-driven turbulence, they're creating a need for DTC marketers to broaden their horizons and diversify their partner and ad spend mix.
Take the control of audiences
A key precursor to diversifying your mix is taking control of your audience strategy and creation process. Defining and enriching audience segments in-house, provides the intelligence for connecting with the right consumers and freedom to reach them across any channel or platform. It also means having transparency into what attributes make up an audience, with the ability to include or exclude attributes that may skew or conflict with your company’s values or inclusive marketing policies.
Define audiences that span platforms
Audiences built and targeted within a social media platform that leverages data and identifiers are only available within that partner’s media ecosystem. As a result, the attributes might not be portable to other channels. This approach may work in a DTC brand’s early years, but scaling requires a more strategic approach.
Defining audiences in a separate, non-media platform gives you:
- Transparency regarding the characteristics of the audiences you’re advertising to
- Control over how audiences are built across a mix of data sources, including your own first-party data and a wide range of third-party data
- Flexibility to use audiences across any mix of channels, including social media that has driven success
- Broadened reach to streaming and connected TV platforms, open web display, email, or even direct mail
- Intelligence to test, learn and shift investments to where performance is greatest
More specifically, DTC marketers can utilize the TruAudience® Platform to:
- Mitigate conversion decreases from paid social by creating an audience based on organic social traffic conversions
- Target that audiences across other media channels such as connected TV
- Find more best and high-potential customers by building and targeting lookalike audience segments using seed lists from existing customers
- Expand insights used in planning by appending additional consumer attributes such as demographics, financial data or geography to your existing CRM or customer data platform records
TransUnion is a trusted ally for DTC marketers ready to diversify
Our marketing solutions expand on the large-scale consumer dataset we’ve been optimizing over the past 50 years. Our legacy business as a steward of data means we’ve spent decades analyzing an ever-growing supply of consumer data to gain a more robust understanding of identity while navigating highly regulated industries.
To address the significant role increasing data and privacy regulations will play, we empower DTC brands to gain insights and build advanced audiences with a view to managing compliance. If your 2022 plan includes diversification and growth, taking control of audience creation will be key — and we can help.
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