The Rise of D2C

Feb 06, 2019

Over the past few years, a consumer desire for more authentic brand experiences and a marketer desire for closer relationships with consumers have converged, resulting in an explosion of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands entering and disrupting almost every industry. D2C brands started mainly as digital natives, which not only made them nimble and fast-moving but also extremely data-driven, gaining access to customer insights that help improve the customer experience across channels and screens.

As D2C brands grow, they’re looking to compete with more traditional brands, and in order to do this, are expanding their marketing efforts into formats like TV. Using Teletrax, 4C’s global TV monitoring network, we found the top 10 D2C TV advertisers in the US in 2018. Wayfair, Uber, and Peloton saw the most TV ad time in 2018.

Charts showing 2018 D2C TV ad rankings


We also looked into total 2018 TV ad time for incumbent advertisers in the same industries and categories as the top D2C TV advertisers. While some D2C brands like Wayfair and Uber aren’t running quite as many TV ads as their more traditional counterparts, HelloFresh is more on par with the supermarket chain Kroger.

The D2C trend has infiltrated marketing to the point that LUMA Partners unveiled a D2C LUMAscape late last year. Because of their direct, and often digital, relationship with customers, D2C brands possess a large amount of first-party data that can be leveraged to create ad targeting across channels, inform creative, and provide audience insights deeper than traditional demographic data. Using 4C’s Brand Compass, we looked into a selection of brands from the D2C LUMAscape and uncovered audience insights that both D2C and traditional brands can leverage in their campaigns.


Top audience personas and interests for leading D2C brands


4C Brand Compass audience data shows that there is not one single audience profile for D2C brands, emphasizing the importance of each brand understanding the personas, values, and interests of its unique audience. In fact, even brands that offer some of the same products, like Wayfair and Casper, have audiences with different interests: Wayfair’s audience is interested in fitness gear, values world hunger relief, and engages with Shepard Smith Reporting while Casper’s audience prefers financial planning and Shark Tank and values clean water access.

Top audience personas and interests for leading D2C brands

As D2C brands continue to grow and look for more opportunities to reach their audiences across channels and screens, their more traditional competitors will be looking to take on D2C-inspired strategies for data-driven campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more about how your brand can leverage 4C Brand Compass to have a deeper understanding of your audience, visit 4Cinsights.com/brandcompass to get started.