US direct-to-consumer mattress brand Purple is shifting its media strategy toward building top of mind awareness through TV while scaling up online shopping feeds in a trajectory illustrative of the wider DTC space.

Speaking to Digiday, a spokesperson for the three-year-old brand explained that TV “is competitive on a CPM, even compared to most digital channels”. The magazine also reported that Purple is scaling up its shopping feeds on both Google and Facebook’s platforms, where the brand is finding some success. Other video-only digital platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat are currently in testing.

Like other DTC brands, Purple has cultivated a robust visual brand built on video, which has up until now been served online. Part of the company’s investment decision stems from the sheer crowding in the DTC mattress space which has led to mattress-related search terms becoming extremely expensive (roughly $20 per click). Though more difficult to attribute, video was a better way to stand out.

In addition to the TVCs that began running this week, Purple has also worked with the YouTube comedy group JK Studios to create a branded content series. The group is gaining in popularity, and Purple is betting on riding in its wake as JK’s new show Bring the Funny comes to NBC this season.

Such a wide array of channels has made measurement complex, especially as the company’s mattresses are available from several sources both online and in over 1,000 stores across the United States.

“You have multiple places where people can buy your products – they might see an ad on YouTube, they might see it on TV, then see some retargeted ads on Facebook and then they go on to buy in the Mattress Firm. We lose that attribution,” said Dan Bischoff, senior director of acquisitions for Purple.

According to Kantar Media, the brand has ramped up its investment from an estimated $1.6m in 2017 to $17m on media across channels. Along with a handful of agencies, in-house buyers, and its data team, the company is working through the attribution problems that have long been a concern of more established brands.

The need for TV is also apparent to other DTC brands: data released last month by the Video Advertising Bureau showed that 125 DTC brands in 52 different categories spent 60% more on TV ads in 2018 versus the year before.

“DTC strengths are that you can build up a sense of loyalty and engagement that’s intensely personal and almost pure in its connection with consumers,” wrote Nazia Du Bois, a strategist known for her leading work on Harry’s Grooming, in Admap. But the flipside of these narrowcast wins is you lose the broadcast buzz of universal recognition and salience.

“After all, we now know that while consumers love the personal touch, there’s a big part of them that also loves and gets reassurance from the broadcast feel of a brand that’s entrenched in culture.”

Sourced from Digiday, Adweek, WARC