Digital Marketing Redux   //   January 4, 2024

Brands like Francesca’s & Care/of are betting on connected TV in 2024

Apparel brand Francesca’s first started experimenting with connected TV ads in late 2022. Customer research surveys showed that many shoppers were scrolling on their phones while streaming shows or films, presenting a new opportunity beyond the static digital paid ads that had been targeted on platforms like Facebook.

“We had really been looking at our overall media mix and recognize that we need to diversify, and understand who our customer was,” said Traci Graziani, vp of marketing and brand partnerships at Francesca’s.

One year later, the brand’s campaigns had yielded 12 million impressions, reached 4.6 million households and delivered a 3.2 ROAS. During the holiday season, the brand even reallocated some of its budget to put out two new spots to fuel both personal spending and gift-giving. Next year, it’s committing to more connected TV buys in addition to a roster of paid social, affiliate marketing and creator partnerships.

“We’re really pleased with the results from CTV for the full of the year. So that will be a priority in our mix,” Graziani said.

The connected TV ad space is poised to grow tremendously in 2024, with Amazon slated to start running ads on Prime Video in the early part of the year. Insider Intelligence forecasts that connected TV ad spending will account for nearly 10% of all digital ad spend in 2024, slated to rise from $24.6 billion in 2023 to $30.10 billion.

And as more viewers abandon linear TV, advertisers will follow. Insider Intelligence also found that TV ad spending will grow by about $17.84 billion from 2023 through 2027, offsetting a $5.64 billion loss for linear ad spend along the way.

For brands divvying up their ad budgets, connected TV is playing a bigger role as they veer away from Meta. It’s also helpful from a demographic perspective, with brands like Hoka and Claire’s tapping connected TV to reach more Gen Z and millennial shoppers. The format also allows for better targeting than linear, whether that’s honing in on a specific audience or retargeting costumes who’ve already interacted with the brand. Graziani from Francesca’s said that the brand’s loyalty program helps them capture customer data that can be helpful in developing customer profiles.

“We can look at and understand who our current customer is, and reach out and identify based on all the analytics that [ad agency MNTN] is providing us what other audiences might have that high propensity to purchase,” she said.

Despite the benefits that it can reap, brands getting into streaming must put in more time and investment in order to get their campaigns off the ground. Graziani said that Francesca’s has put effort into making sure its campaigns are “cost-effective.” One ad spot that aired in 2023 was shot using content from an event that the brand hosted with creators, helping to cut down on extra set or actor costs.

Nutrition and wellness company Care/of launched its first-ever TV commercials on January 1. The “Feel Your Youest” campaign is split across linear and connect TV, and also comes with a social media component. Lucas Gottlieb, the brand’s senior director of growth and lifecycle marketing, told Modern Retail that planning for the campaign started about a year ago.

While a social media campaign could be drafted in a matter of weeks — or hours, for a trending topic — there’s a highest cost of entry to TV that merits more time and planning. That includes production, and an agency to coordinate the ad buys, Gottlieb said.

“Spending money on TV, connected or linear, is a pretty expensive leap of faith,” Gottlieb said. “Because of limitations with measurement, you have to commit to a fairly large investment in order to actually see any impact all.”

Care/of, founded in 2016 and acquired by Bayer in 2020, has grown from a DTC subscritption-style business to also being available via Target and Amazon. It largely grew its brand based on digital marketing channels, Gottlieb said. And while those prove “great at capturing demand of people who are already aware,” Gottlieb said that they’re not as effective for generating new demand.

TV, with the potential to reach millions who have never heard of Care/of, has the power to do that. “As Care/of is growing, we need more diversified channels to reach a more diversified audience,” he said.

With this first campaign, Care/of decided to split its budget “about 50/50” between linear and TV in order to see what works best. It’s also airing across a mix of channels to tap multiple demographics, from Peacock and Hulu streaming platforms, as well as the likes of CNN, Bravo, BET and TLC. That ratio and makeup, though, could change moving forward based on performance, Gottlieb said.

“It’s more diversified than we normally would want to do in the future,” he said. “The idea is to figure out what works best, and honing in.”