When and How Should DTC Brands Make the Leap to Programmatic?

Direct-to-Consumer Strategies You Need to Know

 

Transcript

 
David McBee:
Hello and welcome to the Simpli.fi webinar series. I’m David MCBE, director of training. Thanks for joining us on the second Monday of each month for industry news, interviews, product rollouts, and training on all the things related to targeted advertising and connected TV. If you miss us live, you can visit the webinars page of our website or request access to our learning management platform for all of our previously recorded episodes and other valuable resources. It’s May of 2022 and this month I have the great pleasure of talking with Simpli.fi’s D2C direct-to-consumer team of e-commerce specialists. Allow me to introduce Sandra Sareyko, Jana Teague, and Jack Heilpern. Thank you, guys, for joining me today.

Sandra Sareyko:
Super excited to be here, David.

Jack Heilpern:
Yeah, thanks for having us on.

Jana Teague:
It’s always great to talk to you. Thank you.

David McBee:
Thank you, guys. Before I start hitting you up with the questions about how advertisers can get the most out of the programmatic space for their businesses, could I talk each of you into taking just a moment to introduce yourselves and share with us why you’re a good fit for the D2C team?

Sandra Sareyko:
David, for me, I’ll go first, I mean, really, I’ve been involved with performance-driven brands my whole life, my entire career here at Simpli.fi the past eight years, and in my past tenure also with cable networks at networks like CNN, Weather Channel, and TNT.

Jack Heilpern:
I can jump in. Basically, everything I’ve done in my career is focused around e-commerce. I spent five or six years at Criteo. I work with hundreds of different brands all focused on performance marketing. Everything that we do and everything that we’re doing here is focused on helping brands drive more sales and my entire career has been focused around that.

Jana Teague:
I love being with you, too, because I feel like we’re such a great complement to each other. My sales career has been strongly centered around national sales. I have worked with brands and large verticals for many years across the US and internationally from companies like Nielsen, the TV ratings company, Kantar, with competitive media, and Comcast that has been rounding out my experience with brands, and now most recently at Simpli.fi. It’s been my pleasure to be working directly with these performance brands.

David McBee:
Awesome. Sounds like a group of great minds. This is going to be awesome. Thank you guys for taking some time out of your schedules to talk to our advertisers today.

David McBee:
All right, so I’m going to start out with hitting you with a big question and it all starts with some of these headlines that I’ve been reading lately, Apple’s App-Tracking Crackdown is Costing Facebook and YouTube Billions, Advertisers Caught in the Middle of the Apple-Meta Battle as Traffic from Facebook Drops. Then I saw one that said, “Apple’s Stunning $10 Billion Blow to Facebook.” I’m sure most of our listeners are familiar with what’s happening, but I’ll briefly get us all on the same page. After Apple made some recent changes to its new iOS, Facebook’s ad targeting became less accurate because it now knows less about its users, which means Facebook advertisers are having to spend bigger budgets in the hope of reaching people on iPhones, and that advertisers who had been measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns down to the penny now have to make much less informed guesses about whether or not they are accomplishing theirs ROAS goals. Sandra, tell me what you are seeing and how Simpli.fi can offer a lifeline to these advertisers who have been affected.

Sandra Sareyko:
Yeah, David, I mean direct-to-consumer brands, they’ve had to face tremendous challenges the last couple of years between shortages of inventory and supply chain issues, and like you mentioned, loss of signals, right? What’s cool about us is that we’re able to step in immediately and help them bridge that gap, so basically, we can find a shopper audience in real-time that’s looking for their product and help complement really the strategy that they’ve relied on for so long, which is a social strategy and one that is fundamental for them, and that we actually also provide in our omnichannel platform, so we’re able to help them expand their audience, and we’re able to also support D2C brands at any level and meet them where they’re at, right, so they might be launching, they might be on their first or second round of funding, they might be larger, and we’re able to help them with cashflow, right, and issues and meet those goals, but also provide and extend a longer lifetime customer value.

David McBee:
How does attribution play into all of that?

Jana Teague:
I’ll talk about that one. Attribution is key because it is the fundamental proof of purchase basically, right, and it is also the way of being able to see, “Am I targeting the correct audience, the right shoppers, or am I wasting a ton of my marketing dollars?” For us, our attributions have probably only grown stronger over the last couple of years. We can track your shopper anywhere, so we do that with online and offline attribution, so we can follow them through the whole entire sales cycle, wherever a brand’s ad is running. We can tell you who’s seen it, even on CTV, the large screen down to a display social ad, that’s running on a mobile app. We can tell you where they are and we can even tell you where they interacted with it down to the day and time and even the amount of money they purchased when they were on your site.

Jana Teague:
What I love most about post-campaign breakdowns with my clients is that we have some great analysis that tells the whole story and you can even see things such as where your top-performing areas in the country were down to what creative asset performed best, so you name it, we can tell you where they are at every turn, and the beauty of it is it’s completely, totally a granular, specifically targeted shopping experience that you can validate through us.

Jack Heilpern:
Just to jump in, look, it’s all about performance and driving sales. Based on our combos with many different brands, you hit a point of diminishing returns to a degree on social. That’s not to say that it’s a bad tactic for D2C brands. It’s absolutely 100% necessary, but when you reach shoppers so many times in the same way in the same fashion, you kind of get to that breaking point of, “Are we driving more sales? Or are we just spending more money for the sake of spending more money?”

Jack Heilpern:
One of the things that we’re doing now, it’s a program called Social Display, which basically augments your audience, utilizing your existing social creatives. It’s really a seamless transition from the social world into the programmatic world that many of these D2C brands have used with us and have experienced really strong returns. It’s a good lifeline to reach more targeted audiences using existing creatives.

David McBee:
That sounds amazing. I’m going to shift gears just a little bit to talk about CRM data because I know a lot of the advertisers that we work with have this kind of first-party data, usually a client list or a prospect list they’re trying to reach. How can Simpli.fi help advertisers leverage their CRM data to achieve those goals?

Jack Heilpern:
Yeah, I can take this one. Basically, look, all of these D2Cs, they have so much information and so much data, and a lot of it is address-level data, right? Because they’re purchasing on your site, they’re plug and they’re info and they’re shipping the product, so you have all these addresses. What we do, we have the state-of-the-art technology where we can upload these addresses and convert them into household-level audiences that are reachable. We’re unique because we have a 95% match rate on these uploads, which is almost twice as effective as you know, other channels that offer this. There’s really no waste in the way that we upload CRM data.

Jack Heilpern:
Once we match it, we could do a number of different things with it. If you want to reach net-new shoppers only, we can suppress your existing addresses and build an audience of unique shoppers that haven’t purchased a product. That’s a key piece to growing your market share and driving incremental revenue. This really cool way that we could create upsell audiences is taking a segment of your shoppers that purchase one product or one type of subscription and then serving them an ad to a different product. Say you sell mattresses, for example, and you know that a certain shopper purchased one of your mattresses, we could serve that shopper pillows, so you end up selling more and more products to your loyal shoppers, and then obviously, matching all of that back. The real point here is we could do a lot with first-party data and it ultimately leads to growth.

David McBee:
Let’s talk about another cool strategy that works well for D2C advertisers and that’s campaign audience retargeting. Simpli.fi, obviously, we have the ability to show a CTV ad to a targeted relevant audience, and then follow those big-screen commercials with ads delivered on the internet. What is the value of following up the CTV audience with online video and display advertising?

Jana Teague:
I would love to talk about this one. One of the things that I love about Simpli.fi’s platform is that it was purpose-built. What that means to a brand or an advertiser is that you’re never going to outgrow our solutions. I’ve got a client running a Mother’s Day campaign right now and specific to the campaign audience retargeting question, David, one of the keys to success for them right now has been the way that we incorporated a full-funnel audience-retargeting approach. What we did is we started at the top with a CTV piece that you talked about just for pure awareness and prospecting. Then we were able to capture those audiences for a couple of weeks.

Jana Teague:
Then from there, because we have a household level device graph behind the scenes, we’re able to retarget these people in their home on any device that they’re on, whether it’s mobile, a laptop, a tablet, you name it. The key here for them was is after a few weeks of collecting this information, we were able to go in and target whether or not… Okay, so say this. You’re a shopper, you went to their site, you’re looking at their products, you’re thinking about your mom for Mother’s Day, or your you’re a man, you’re thinking about your wife, and then you bounce. We were able to retarget that shopper with a CTV ad.

Jana Teague:
Then we do it the other way, too. You go to the brand site, you bounce, then we use bottom-of-the-funnel tactics, too. That’s going to be your pure display site retargeting, that’s the stuff that’s going to really drive ROAS. It’s really going to help the CPAs stay low, your efficiencies are enormous. But you can’t do that alone with just site retargeting. You really need the ability to go back and retarget in that full-funnel approach, or you’re going to run out of shoppers just at the bottom of the funnel, so it is a flowing effect, if you will. It’s refilling the funnel at all times because we’re constantly retargeting that audience in many different ways, across all devices, across the large screen, and the small screen. It’s a really cool tactic.

David McBee:
I love that, absolutely. Thank you, Jana.

Jana Teague:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David McBee:
All right, so Simpli.fi often talks about transparent reporting. You guys mentioned that already, everything from single geofences and search retargeting using the individual keywords that people were doing research on. Tell us how transparency can be useful in enabling these mid-funnel campaign optimizations that you’ve been talking about.

Sandra Sareyko:
I’ll take that one. If you think about it, and like I mentioned at the beginning, direct-to-consumer brands are data-driven. They’re all about what’s happening today. In real-time. Their decisioning is based on data. That’s the difference that direct-to-consumers and the leverage that they have over legacy brands, right? They can shift very quickly. A platform like ours that can provide transparent reporting on over 40 or 50 variables is basically a direct-to-consumer’s marketer’s dream. So much data that we can also help package and digest in a visualization that they can implement then in their strategy. What’s cool, David, is that we have been able to help these companies that are looking to see where they expand products, or how do they shift because of inventory issues, or discover new markets, and even new audiences. They’ve been able to draw those conclusions from our transparency and our reporting. It’s been probably one of the most important things that we can provide to them, to companies that have teams that are lean and mean, right, and able to provide all those insights.

David McBee:
Of course, guys, obviously, most of these D2C advertisers are tracking their results in one way or another, so before we wrap things up, can you take the last few minutes to share one key takeaway that each of you want D2C brands to know?

Jana Teague:
I have an example of a strategy that worked for… We’ve got a celeb workout client running right now, and obviously, the goal for any brand or anything that’s running with us basically is strong performance and large ROAS. For this particular client, they were running into a challenge because they were basically exhausting their social audience. That is one of the things that this celebrity is keen on is really watching the progress of the follows that they get, how that’s interacting with anything else that they’re doing in different strategies.

Jana Teague:
One of the things that we were able to provide for them is something that we call our “high-impact audience.” What that means is it is a custom-created audience specific to that brand, this particular brand, for instance. With this one, we were able to use our household addressable data and other data points that we have in our DMP to create a brand-new audience for them, along with something that Jack talked about earlier, which was utilizing their current CRM, loading it into our system, suppressing it so that we’re only going after brand-new shoppers, right?

Jana Teague:
The beauty of this was that not only were we able to go after new shoppers, just by the suppression part, but with the high-impact audience that we created, we were bringing in fresh new shoppers every single day, because the way our technology works is we update our audiences on a daily basis, so they’re never stale, and you’re never going to be served shopping ads to any audience that’s older than 30 days. What it is for this particular client and everyone else that we create these audiences for is that you’re just guaranteed qualified shoppers that are looking for your product and you’re not going to waste your marketing dollars. It’s completely efficient, and also to tie in attribution-wise, completely trackable, too.

Jack Heilpern:
I’ll go next. I think this is something that we’ve talked about throughout this webinar here, but it’s a very important aspect of marketing that is often overlooked because everyone is so focused on performance and growth and it makes sense and you need that, right? That’s how you drive your business. You have to sell products. One of the things that you need to have in place is some sort of prospecting tool, right? You have to run across the full funnel. That’s one thing that I think gets overlooked often.

Jack Heilpern:
One of the issues is if you just focus on the bottom of the funnel, there’s only so many times you can reach those shoppers before you hit that point of diminishing returns. I had a very interesting conversation last week with a sports apparel brand and they mentioned to me that once they turned off that mid-to-upper funnel tactic, they actually saw less sales in their bottom-of-the-funnel performance tactic and less scale, so that’s something that all brands really need to consider. You need to fill the bottom of the funnel by running upper and mid-funnel tactics.

Jack Heilpern:
We do this in many different ways. One of the things that I think makes the most sense for brands is our keyword targeting, right? We could run contextual and behavioral keyword targeting. It could be fully custom to each individual brand. You could load in thousands of keywords. One thing that’s also unique is we could do competitive keyword targeting. That’s super valuable if you’re thinking about a D2C brand jockeying for a position for market share against all the other D2C brands. If you could serve your ad and try to steal a sale at the point of purchase from a competitor by targeting their brand name, I mean, that’s super valuable. You take someone who’s at the bottom of the funnel, say, for one brand, and now you made them into your pool at the bottom of the funnel for your own brand. That’s one of the very unique things that we could do to help drive shoppers from the top of the funnel down to the bottom and grow that audience pool that is now in the conversion phase versus the consideration phase.

Sandra Sareyko:
I would have to say, I mean, first of all, I just love what we do, helping founders grow their company, y’all are the best. I would say the one thing that we haven’t touched on that would be important for these D2C companies, direct-to-consumer new companies growing, is they need a team that can help support them and service them because you can have technology all day long, you can have, really, but if you cannot implement that and you don’t have a partner that can help you support your growth, it’s going to be very difficult, and perhaps overwhelming.

Sandra Sareyko:
One thing that I love about us is that we have white-glove service, we’re known in the industry for that but we also customize and meet the client where they’re at. Depending on what they need, anywhere between manage and self-service, it’s really more of a custom setup for that brand. I think that’s super key to be able to then turn that corner into the next level because that’s what they’re trying to do, right? Companies who launch their, they’re trying to get to their first million, then their five million, 10 million. We have been doing that for 11 years, so I think that would be a key takeaway is to make sure that the partner that you work with, perhaps us, can provide that.

David McBee:
Guys, I got to say, this little last section I think was the best part of the entire webinar. I didn’t even ask a specific question, I just asked you a takeaway, so I should have maybe just set you guys free from the beginning because that was fantastic.

Jana Teague:
I don’t know.

David McBee:
We are out of time, but I want to thank you guys for sharing all your valuable insights with us today. I’m sure everyone in attendance is feeling a little more knowledgeable about ways that Simpli.fi can help the D2C businesses. Sandra, hey, if anyone wants to get in touch with you or Jana and Jack on your team, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Sandra Sareyko:
You can always email us at hi@simpli.fi., but just LinkedIn with us. We would love to link in, connect. Let’s have conversations, let’s talk about it, and yeah, we’re always available.

David McBee:
Awesome. Thanks so much. Thank you, listeners, for joining us today. If you have questions about Simpli.fi’s offerings, please reach out to your Simpli.fi account manager, or if you’re new to Simpli.fi, as Sandra mentioned, you can email us at hi@simpli.fi. If you have questions about training and in our webinars, please send them to training@simpli.fi. A copy of this webinar recording will be available along with a complete transcript in Simpli.fi’s learning management portal and on our website at simpli.fi/webinars. You can go there to see all of our archived webinars from the past. In the future, please join us on the second Monday of each month for the Simpli.fi webinar series. Sandra, Jana, Jack, any parting words or goodbyes before we wrap up?

Sandra Sareyko:
I mean, let’s go do this. Call us. Let’s work together. Have some fun.

Jack Heilpern:
Yeah. That was great.

Jana Teague:
We’d love to help you, yep.

David McBee:
You guys were great. Thank you so much. I’m David McBee. This is the Simpli.fi webinar series. Be awesome and we’ll see you next time.

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