In a recent podcast interview with analytics and tracking platform Elevar, Ron Jacobson (Co-Founder and CEO of Rockerbox) sat down with Brad Redding (CEO of Elevar) to discuss attribution measurement beyond traditional channels like Facebook and Google. The tide is rapidly shifting for modern DTC brands, and smart marketers must stay attuned to how diversification impacts measurement and brand growth.
Although Facebook once reigned supreme for DTC advertising, new platforms and methods are staking their own claims to fame. With the right data, growing brands can even benefit from advertising on “hard to measure” channels like linear TV and OTT.
In this post, we’re recapping this important conversation with Elevar and extracting key principles that marketers and advertisers can use in 2022 and beyond. Keep reading to explore the evolution of DTC marketing in today’s market.
How DTC Brands Evolve Over Time
Many DTC brands start small. Consider the ways that an early stage Shopify brand, which may advertise primarily on Facebook and Google (or through influencer and affiliate campaigns), starts to pick up traction. New and emerging brands often start with a limited marketing team, in which a few individuals are focused on multiple strategies at once—including organic reach and retention.
In the earliest stages, there's no data science organization, no internal analysts, and no business intelligence framework. But as brands begin to scale, the marketing organization becomes increasingly sophisticated and verticalized.
Diversified growth becomes a vital part of scaling the brand. Different channel and channel managers must start to pay attention to granular strategies, analysis, APIs, and automation. It’s in this next phase of growth that channel diversification becomes even more significant.
Moving Beyond Facebook and Google
Despite the prominence of Facebook and Google in recent years, a growing number of DTC brands are taking chances and investing in other avenues. Diversification is coming naturally on the heels of factors such as:
- iOS 14 changes and associated privacy updates (such updates make it harder to glean measurable first-party data from platforms like Facebook)
- The overall high cost of advertising on Facebook and Google when compared to other effective platforms
- Rising success on other platforms and social channels as brands eventually catch on to the untapped potential of new outlets
Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are rising in today’s digital marketplace. When DTC brands maintain a narrow perspective on customer acquisition, it’s much harder to compete on the market, win advertising bids, and target new customers effectively.
Do Third-Party Cookies Play a Role?
There have been many recent changes that impact the prominence of third-party cookies in channel attribution. From Apple's iOS 14 updates, to Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), to the deprecation of third-party cookies, DTC brands need to revamp their strategies.
These realities point to a significant truth—in today’s business climate, brand leaders must anticipate that data can (and will) be taken away from them.
Although this doesn’t imply that brands will be left without any data whatsoever, it does mean that “business as usual” will shift and evolve. This has already happened with the depreciation of third-party cookies, and it’s likely to impact other key areas as well.
Diversification protects against the loss of reliable, foundational data when it comes to brand growth and success.
Which Channels Are Next? Potential, Growth, and Popularity
Although a greater number of DTC are branching out beyond Facebook and Google, it doesn’t mean that digital advertising and other methods are vanishing completely. New platforms are always rising to meet the challenges of new brands that want a slice of the pie.
Staying ahead of the diversification curve means keeping up with new trends. For DTC marketers, that means trying out new and rising platforms and methods. Choose one or more outlets to see how your audience responds:
- Podcast advertising
- Native advertising
- Cable television and OTT
Rules and Best Practices for DTC Brands
Regardless of which school of thought your brand subscribes to, there are a few best practices to keep in mind for both emerging and established DTC brands.
- Stay sharp – With digital growth and advancement, trends never stay the same for very long. We’ve already witnessed this truth with the breakaway from two giants like Facebook and Google. Agile brands need to stay focused on their objectives, while maintaining a keen awareness of the digital world around them.
- Remain adaptable – When you’re receiving incredible return rates on a particular platform, it’s hard to imagine that circumstances could quickly change. But as we’ve seen in the past few years alone, brands that adapt are more likely to scale. Diversification naturally requires a willingness to shift, pivot, and accept new demands.
- Invest in growth (and data) – Even when the rate of brand growth changes, the importance of investing in that growth is essential. Data infrastructure matters. When you want to diversify, you must be willing to invest in the tools, people, and data that are required to diversify successfully.
What Does the Future of Ecommerce Measurement Look Like?
Measuring audience growth and return on ad spend (ROAS) is never static. The dynamic nature of ecommerce marketing means that brands need to diversify now more than ever before. As Rockerbox CEO Ron Jacobson says–
“Good brands are going to have to diversify their mix more than ever, and they're going to have to spend more money on trying to capture that first-party data. This allows them to re-engage customers in pseudo-free channels like email and SMS and to better connect the dots.”
In today’s business culture, marketers are becoming more data-oriented, and some of the strongest brands know the importance of relying on underlying datasets. This enables and empowers those brands to be fully data-driven.
Plus, as brands become more data-driven in their decision-making, budgeting, and testing, they have a better grasp of how conversions flow between platforms. Having access to more consistent datasets is one aspect of the next wave of digital marketing.
The sooner that brands invest in an established data infrastructure, it becomes possible to make decisions that are based on real, actionable data. For today’s DTC brands, transitioning to a data-backed marketing strategy is one way to stay ahead of a very crowded pack.
Diversify Smarter with Rockerbox
At Rockerbox, we understand that every brand has a unique story with individual growth goals, hurdles, and mindsets. When you’re at a stage where diversification is critical, you need reliable data to help you make the most informed decisions possible.
Are you looking for a platform that makes diversification seamless? Rockerbox is helping hundreds of brands diversify, measure, and scale.