DTC advertising in the coronavirus pandemic

A few days ago (which is an eternity in the coronavirus era), we read an article about problems that direct-to-consumer brands face with digital advertising.

Here at <intent> the article led to a lot of discussion and a bit of hand-wringing.

Here’s why:

On March 23, ModernRetail published an insightful, well-reported piece on a shift in digital ad spending by DTC retailers.

In that article, titled DTC brands are tightening up how much they spend on digital advertising, the reporter notes two ongoing trends.

  • Many brands are slashing their digital spend on Facebook and Google as the coronavirus wreaks havoc across the economy.
  • As a result of the declining spend, costs per click and CPM on Facebook in particular have also fallen. That “may also lead to some brands advertising more on Facebook, in order to take advantage of it becoming a less popular advertising channel,” the article said.

Both trends are to be expected and are in keeping with what we see.

The article also notes that DTC brands are seeing wildly different results from their digital spend in this environment. Conversions are up for some, down for others. It appears a bit haphazard and chaotic.

Yet as the article says in the first paragraph, it has “become even more important for them (DTC brands) to be more efficient with their advertising spend with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Improving efficiency of DTC advertising

So here’s the thing: improving the efficiency of digital advertising spend is one of the things we do at <intent>. We have a product designed for that called <intent> Target. It uses machine learning and first-party data to predict in real-time how likely any given individual is to convert. A brand can use it to stop wasting money on people who won’t buy while increasing spend on those likely to convert.

But no one, including us, wants to be seen as profiting from the coronavirus crisis.

So we’re in a bit of a quandary (hence the hand-wringing mentioned above.) Because this doesn’t seem like the time to be selling solutions to problems that aren’t life threatening.

If you’re a DTC brand, you likely know exactly what we mean. Unless you sell medical supplies or other essentials, you’re in this situation too. You have a business you want to preserve and a product you believe in. But you’re worried that talking about it in the wrong way will come across as tone deaf, out-of-touch, and unseemly.

So let us leave it like this:

We want to help. We can if you will let us. Just drop us a line at predict@intent.com