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DTC Brands Boost TV Ad Impressions in 1H 2020


With consumers stuck inside for much of the first half of 2020, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands became the only game in town for many industries. While on the one hand, economic uncertainty made it more difficult to embrace new TV ad spending for these younger brands. But on the other, impressions were also up, creating more opportunities to place messaging in front of more viewers.

Though DTC brand spend decreased slightly (down 2.6% year over year) in the first half of 2020, impressions showed a 13.7% increase compared to the same time period in 2019. All of this, despite a lack of tentpole events on TV, showed how DTC brands were being smart about still finding their audience amid the scatter.

Key Takeaways

  • Carvana led all DTC brands in both TV ad impressions (9.42 billion) and estimated spend ($76.6 million).
  • Nearly 25% of all 1H DTC ad impressions on TV came from five brands — Carvana, Wayfair, Grubhub, Peloton and Noom.
  • With consumers not eating out at restaurants, delivery services increased impressions in 1H 2020 by 34.3% YoY.
  • Cable news networks (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC) were three of the top four networks for DTC brand impressions.
  • Health & beauty brands (including wellness apps like Headspace and Noom) made up over 21% of all DTC brand impressions on TV, leading all industries.
Most-Seen DTC Industries

Why It Matters

DTC brands are a growing part of TV advertising, and also represent new arrivals to the medium. Even with spending cutbacks, the fact that DTC brands had more TV ad impressions year-over-year shows a roadmap for how TV advertisers of any experience level can find audiences even without tentpoles.  

Want to learn more about how DTC brands succeeded in the first half of this year? Download iSpot’s new report below: