DTC Brands Bounce Back with Big Q3 on TV


As direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands keep growing in the U.S., many are fueling that expansion with TV advertising. The trend continues in 2020 as well, despite the pandemic and uncertainty around ad buying. Comparing the first three quarters of 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019, estimated TV ad spend is down less than half of a percentage point for DTC brands. However, impressions were also up 17.8%, and a greater number of DTC brands appeared on TV as well (168 vs. 160).

The third quarter of 2020 also saw a resurgence in both estimated TV ad spend and impressions after a dip in Q2, as DTC brands flocked back to TV as live sports also returned. From Q2 to Q3, estimated spend rose 15.8%, while impressions increased 6.3%.

Key Takeaways

  • Chewy.com led all DTC brands in both TV ad impressions (5.47 billion) and estimated spend ($42.3 million)
  • Nearly 21% of all DTC ad impressions on TV in Q3 came from four brands — Chewy.com, Carvana, HomeAdvisor and GoodRx
  • Impressions for delivery services rose 28% compared to the previous quarter, and the restaurant industry made up 13.4% of all DTC impressions in Q3
  • Cable news networks (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC) made up three of the top four networks for DTC brand impressions for Q3, similar to what was seen during the first half of the year
  • Retail stores rose to the top spot by industry, with 18.94% of Q3 DTC ad impressions — powered in part by Stitch Fix, which more than doubled impressions from Q2

Why It Matters

While many brands had to pivot business models away from the norm in 2020, DTC brands had little to adjust. As a result, TV ad impressions for these brands have shown little change this year, and many in the DTC space have actually been fortifying their presence on TV despite continued uncertainty around ad buying.

Want to learn more about DTC growth during Q3 2020, and how your brand can find similar success on TV? Download iSpot’s new report below:

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