TV Ads Secrets for DTC Ecommerce Growth


Greg Schwartz, Founder of Household

In this episode of Minds of Ecommerce Podcast, Raphael Paulin-Daigle hosts Greg Schwartz, Founder of Household, to discuss how DTC brands drive growth through TV ads. Greg reveals the TV ad strategies of top-performing ecommerce brands, common mistakes in TV ads, and how to know if your brand is ready for this marketing approach.

Suzie Cyrenne, Buster Fetcher, Zumalka, Remotely Cultured, Jeanna Barrett
Apple Podcasts

Greg Schwartz is the Founder of Household, a boutique TV consultancy that works with direct-to-consumer brands on creative, media planning, and overall TV growth strategies. Passionate about transforming brands into household names, Greg has created over 150 TV commercials and helped many eight-figure brands, such as Moon Pod and Solgaard, profitably scale using TV as the main growth engine. Before Household, he helped run and launch many ecommerce brands. With a robust skill set that includes direct-response advertising, growth marketing, video production, and performance marketing, Greg contributes valuable insights to the industry.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Greg Schwartz talks about TV advertising trends for DTC in 2023
  • Streaming and programmatic options for ecommerce ads
  • Greg addresses TV ad misconceptions
  • At what point in a brand's life journey should TV be considered?
  • TV ad strategies, performance measurement, and attribution tips
  • Why should you optimize your organic funnels before launching TV ads?
  • Common mistakes in TV advertising
  • Greg shares brand success stories

In this episode…

When it comes to marketing, most DTC brands use social platforms to build relationships and social videos to communicate product offerings. However, TV advertising has found its way into the DTC conversation over the past years, with brands embracing the channel to expand their reach. How can you diversify ad revenue streams by leveraging the growing opportunities of linear and streaming TV platforms? But before you take this approach, it's essential to consider whether it's the right fit for your business.

According to advertising expert Greg Schwartz, TV ads have become a definite consideration for DTC brands in reaching high-value customers and boosting sales through direct-response advertising. Clearing the misconception that TV ads are costly, Greg reveals that they’re more affordable than many brands realize, with average CPMs of less than $2 and the potential for massive audience reach. However, an adaptive and reactive approach is critical to tailoring your TV strategy. He illustrates that true mastery of TV advertising entails identifying the right platforms for your products and budget, optimizing organic funnels to maximize brand exposure, and having a creative team specifically for video. In addition, it’s crucial to apply performance measurement best practices, such as measuring TV performance through post-purchase surveys, comparing results from different networks, and optimizing ad spend on winners.

In this episode of Minds of Ecommerce Podcast, Raphael Paulin-Daigle hosts Greg Schwartz, Founder of Household, to discuss how DTC brands drive growth through TV ads. Greg reveals the TV ad strategies of top-performing ecommerce brands, common mistakes in TV ads, and how to know if your brand is ready for this marketing approach.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by SplitBase.

At SplitBase, we design, test, and manage high-converting landing pages and on-site experiences for fashion, luxury, and lifestyle e-commerce brands. Our optimization program pinpoints exactly where your store is losing money most, and then we help you fix that.

The result? Increased conversions and profits for our clients.

With our team of conversion optimization specialists, performance marketers, and conversion-focused designers, we've got your back when it comes to testing and optimization.

Request a proposal on SplitBase.com today, and learn how we can help you get the most out of your marketing spend.

You can find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t miss out on our exclusive podcasts at Minds of Ecommerce.

Episode Transcript

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  0:06  

Welcome to the Minds of Ecommerce Podcast, where you'll learn one key strategy that made leading e ecommerce companies grow exponentially. We cut the bullshit and keep the meat in a 15-minute episode, founders and executives take us through a deep dive of a strategy, so you'll get to learn and grow your online sales. Alright, in the last episode, you heard from Steve O'Dell from Terenzo T, who shared four strategies they've used to increase LTV by over 50% In the past few years. Now, today on episode number 31, get ready because we're doing something a little different. Usually I chat with founders and executives from ecommerce brands, but from time to time, there's people in this space that aren't specifically working in a store, but that are still working on really cool things I believe you'd get a ton of value from and well that's the case today, because I'll be chatting with my friend Greg Schwartz, who's helped run and launch many ecommerce brands. And today though, he's the founder of Household, which is a boutique TV consultancy for direct consumer brands. Now, TV is definitely a growing channel for ecommerce and yet so few people talk about it. So we'll dive right in and we'll have Greg reveal all the TV Secrets You Must Know about. I'm your host, Raphael Paulin-Daigle, and I'm the founder of SplitBase. This is Minds of Ecommerce. Now this episode is brought to you by SplitBase. And that split base we help direct consumer brands such as Dr. Squatch, Hyper Ice and Mica, AB test, design, build and manage high-converting landing pages and on-site experiences. Our optimization program pinpoints exactly where your store's losing money most. And then we help you fix it. The result increased conversions, ao V and of course, improved marketing efficiency, request a proposal on splitbase.com today to learn how we can help you get the most out of your marketing spend. All right, Greg, thank you for being here. Welcome to the show.

Greg Schwartz 2:10  

Yeah, thanks, Raph. Great to Great to be here with you heard a bunch of these and you have great guests on and a lot of actionable advice. So pumped to be here. Yeah.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  2:19  

Awesome. I mean, Greg, we've worked together on many brands, we still share clients as well. So I'm super excited to have you talk about TV because I don't think it's really a topic we've talked about yet on the podcast. Yeah,

Greg Schwartz  2:31

I mean, it's it seems like very abstract for direct-to-consumer brands, just because everyone's been spending on Facebook and getting really good at it for the last 10 years. And it's just it like people think of TV as like top of funnel or just only brand awareness. And it's, it's really a lot more than that, but it's really finding its way into the DTC conversation. Like, obviously, for me, and the brands I work with, but it's, yeah, it's an expanding topic. So excited to dive on it. Yeah.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  3:01  

Well, so maybe just to provide context for people because it does seem sometimes a bit esoteric for a lot of people. What is TV advertising in 2023? Are we talking streaming sites, cable, other things, give us a little overview before we dive right in?

Greg Schwartz  3:19  

Yeah, so there's basically just for just for sake of ease, there's three ways where we're that you can really buy TV. So streaming, which would be sort of, you know, direct to publisher, which means you can buy a specific, let's say, the MSNBC app on your Roku TV, you could buy specific impressions there. That would be one way you can buy programmatically, which is basically dumping your ads in a in a big black box and basically saying, you know, to the algorithm, decide where to put my to put my impressions on TV to find my customer. I don't like that way for what it's worth, but needed to mention it because it's fairly popular. And then the third is buying straight-up linear cable. So this is like or linear TV impression. So this is Cable or broadcast TV. So this is your, you know, your standard cable box instead of your Smart TV. So you know your ESPN HGTV, Bravo like those specific channels on on a cable box. And just to expand on that. A lot of people think that nobody watches linear TV anymore. But actually still about half the minutes watched on TVs, or on cable TV. And this is like it might be a coastal elite thing where we just forget. We forget about about the people in the middle and then also the older population that still has cable boxes but a lot a lot a lot of people a lot of households are watching on a cable box still amazing.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  4:56  

Now would you say that those different methods Kids target specific age groups in particular, like I'm thinking linear, I'm sure the audiences are much older. So is that how you think about each of those? Or is there something else to add to it?

Greg Schwartz 5:10  

So to some degree, yes, yes, the linear viewer is going to skew tightly slightly older, the streaming viewer is going to skew like, somewhat younger, just like Tic TOCs. got, you know, teenagers primarily to some degree. And then Facebook and Instagram skew older, it's sort of that's a similar split and TV. However, the thing that we look at the most is, is price, the average streaming impression, depending on where you buy, it is going to be minimum six to let's say, 20 times more expensive than your linear than your linear impression. Your linear CPM. So when we're talking about how to launch a brand, cost, cost is usually one of the biggest parts of the conversation. And then obviously, we do want to make sure that you're you're you're, you're showing the ads to your demo, but but cost often tips the scale. Awesome. Now, he

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  6:10  

this is something that I have, I really wondered myself, and I'm sure a lot of listeners are thinking like TV, like we're talking about cost here. And my first impression is TV, no matter what is really expensive. Is that always the case? And if so, when should a TV start thinking around, you know, putting some of their ad budget towards that? What point in a brand's life journey, whatever, should they start thinking about TV?

Greg Schwartz  6:41  

Yeah, there is a bit of a misconception about TV, that it's that it's expensive, you need to hire, you know, Apple's creative team to to produce something, you know, mind blowing, like the think different ad or, you know, the, the agency that does, you know, makes McDonald's Whoppers look absolutely gorgeous and pristine, you don't need that, to some degree for the, for the most part. And also, generally speaking, TV, TV spots aren't as expensive as you think. So just just to get down to the nuts and bolts. The the average CPM that you can run a legitimate TV campaign for on average is less than $2. So you're showing you're showing ads to impressions to a lot, a lot of people, I think the average that I'm seeing these days from from brands or telling me on Facebook is something like anywhere between 15 or $30. You're you're getting a massive audience for an extremely cheap cost on, especially on linear TV. So that's where I like to start. Yeah, no, it's a it's a surprising number of people just it's just not really talked about much. It's kind of funny. Just to the second part of the question, in terms of when in the lifecycle, is it right? I do think that there is a bias toward a bigger brand. bigger brands typically will do better, they have more Halo spend around TV, and this isn't because TV is just a brand awareness play. It's because TV works best when there are other channels that are that are also firing. So for example, if you just are, you know, let's, let's say if you're, if you're spending, I don't know, 100 or 250 grand a month on on etta, you're gonna have a much, much, much greater ability to succeed on TV than if you're spending one or 2k. One or 2k a day and sort of ending the month around around whatever, 3030 or 40. The I think that brands and that's why I don't think it's the it's not necessarily the size of the brand, because it's sort of the the spend level to some degree, if we were to say like, what is the size of the brand, I would say anything under $10 million in revenue would be a bit of a financial risk, because you are for a pilot on TV to get a good clear answer. I believe you need to spend about 100k on media.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  9:13

Awesome. Now, how does the brand start with TV obviously, like they can go to you but outside of that, how do they start thinking around that? What's the first step that they need to take in order to get in?

Greg Schwartz 9:28  

Yeah, totally. Um, so the first the first thing I would say is, like, make making sure that your organic funnels are ticked untied. And they can go to you for that actually. Yeah, but the but but no, but really, honestly that is a truly important detail that that I will tell brands prior to taking anybody on is how's your organic funnel looking? Do you have landing pages that convert does your homepage convert? How does your funnel look? or, you know, cold traffic for, for ad traffic etc. So if you do have funnels, organic funnels, Google funnels that that are already working with keyword search, then you're, then you're in good shape. And the reason behind that is because that's how people find you from TV and watch a television ad. They're not clicking, they're not clicking anywhere, they're actually have to physically pull out their phone or remember, remember your brand the next time they go to your computer. So you have to make them care enough to actually search you on Google. It's kind of a funny thing, because it's, obviously it's not that hard to do something like that. But it is much more labor intensive than clicking on a social ad. And people forget that. So often, these people are more considerate more qualified users, than actually the people that are clicking from Facebook. So you can actually be higher. However, you just need to make sure that you have your, your organic funnels really ticked and tied prior to prior to launching. Yeah, I guess in like, along the same vein, you need to have creative that is native for TV. So I was gonna ask you about that next. Yeah, yeah. Like, like a social creative, a YouTube creative. Those are two different things. A TV a TV creative is also different. When when I work with, when I work with clients on TV, I, I tell them, these are going to be, you know, these are going to be beautiful commercials, but they're gonna look more like an infomercial than like, you know, a brand spot where there's a, you know, a car driving over a cliff, or, you know, an ocean with, you know, the this, this, you know, the sun going down in the background, like, these are direct response commercials, this is still performance marketing. And that's how I work with brands on TV, because every brand I work with, still, like still needs performance, they're spending to have an outcome, and they're spending to have a return on investment. Okay,

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  12:02

so let's talk about that return on investment. So obviously, it's a little less linear, you know, then meta ads, or Google ads or anything like that worth tracking is, is, I don't want to say flawless. But compared to TV, I'm sure it's a little more, it's a little easier to track. But tell us more about tracking performance and ROI for a TV spot, considering that a lot of people are going to search for your site gonna come through organic traffic sources or direct, right. Yeah, how do you how do you measure performance at the end of the day? So

Greg Schwartz  12:34  

there are a few ways. And I basically talk, I tell brands and work with brands on not leaning on any, you know, any single point of attribution in its entirety. Because everything tells a different story, as we know, the I would say the most interesting philosophy that I that I have for, for measurement, and the one that I think actually is most resonant with brands is through survey through the post purchase results that you get. So when you begin TV, you should see a an immediate uptick in responses to the How did you hear about us question? When you're in the pilot phase, and you're spending on you know, you know, Bravo one week and ESPN the next week, go in and different, basically different networks each week, you're gonna get inconsistent results, but you should see, you know, plus numbers, and you should see numbers that sort of can make sense of the fact that you are running TV ads. That's the first way over time, once you optimize, you cut out the losers, you spend more on the winners and you get more frequency, you should see a compounding effect of these answers as well. And what I also talked to brands and sort of preach, preach to brands about is compare the post purchase survey numbers from a percentage basis and from an actual numerical basis to also those the same way of looking at attribution to meta. So let's say Mata gets 100 responses, week one after the pilot and TV has 25 continue to measure those exact things because that's the only way you can look at your big spending channels, apples to apples. And it's actually a popular way to, to see and sort of understand your results on TV over time.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  14:27  

So let's say you have two TV spots going on at the same time, but both are different. How do you usually determine performance in between those two is?

Greg Schwartz  14:37  

Yeah, yeah. So so the, the platform we use we use for buying media is is to Tari. They're there. They're a partner of ours. Simply because they have the best platform. They give the best analytics next day, and that's the best way to buy TV is to have the fastest understanding of what works and what doesn't mean most reliable technology that I believe that they have is their spike measurement. So the spike measurement technology, which is basically when you Aaron AD, the point at which you are the ad to five minutes after you basically measure the lift in organic traffic from before the ad aired to, during and after that technology has been around since not the beginning of time, but a while for a very long time. So if you're running to different creatives, you can, you can actually parse out which spot Did you know had a bigger lift in similar rotations, and then overall over a certain number of impressions. So on a creative basis, it typically takes, let's say, a few million impressions, even on TV to sort of understand and decipher. Between either it's between concepts are between durations, or both, what is going to be the creative or creatives that you lean more into and apply more budget to, and it's a lot of it is based on Spike measurement, which backs into another batch or another measurement, which is response rate, similar to click through rate on Facebook. So the response rate is the number of people who see it and the number of people who actually act on it come to your site.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  16:21

Super, super interesting. Now, Greg, what would you say are some of the biggest beginner mistakes that brands that are getting into TV advertising are falling into?

Greg Schwartz  16:33  

So there's a the first one, which I think is the most common is? Well, it's the one that I see the most is is sort of a creative mistake. I think that I've you know, I've made over 150 TV commercials in the last year and a half, there is a right and a wrong way to make performance TV commercials at this at this point, I can pretty firmly say that I know that the things that I see that are sort of wrong are creative, that's cut too quickly. So in in a social ad, you're trying to interrupt you're trying to pattern sort of like pattern interrupt somebody that's doing scrolling on a on a on a device, on TV, you're not trying to interrupt somebody, you're not trying to distract somebody, you're trying to tell a clear, cohesive story in the 15 to 30 seconds allotted, the more clearer and more concise and the more coherent that your message is, the better it's going to resonate, and the more likely they are to act. The other creative mistake that I see and then I'll say like a sort of a bigger one, the other creative mistake that I see is being almost overly salesy for for sort of overly kitschy. So, if you are, I've seen sort of cases where brands have launched only in November to just Hawk their sale, they have no idea what to spend on, they don't know where to place their media. And in frankly, they might be showing a sale to a lot of new, new people who have never seen their brand before. The first thing you don't want to see is basically, hey, we're new and we have a sale, it's like I have no context on you as a brand. I'm not going to act on that. And I've seen that I've seen that happen a few times with brands, where they'll spend on TV for a month during the sale, and they'll be afraid of it. And they'll never do it again. And it's because it's because basically they did it at the wrong time with the wrong strategy. The third thing that I that I see is basically trusting algorithms. Way too heavily. And this is this is the one where it's like, you know, companies like mountain, in particular, I think are doing a disservice to a lot of smaller brands. I think they're basically saying, oh, yeah, there's no minimums, you can learn about where your customer is on TV very quickly with you know, 5k or something, I just don't fundamentally believe that's true. Going back to the point about like the bigness of the size of the brand, size and revenue, I believe that you have, you're at a disadvantage, the smaller you are, and the less that you spend on TV, as well. And as a result of both of those things, I think it's a little bit it's tough to see success. And I don't think algorithms are very trustworthy and very good at what they claim that they do yet. On TV, in particular, and may in this will change and this isn't like a, you know, a PSA or a hard stance that I only believe in one way of doing things. I do think that algorithms will get better. But there's there's been proven to be a lot of fraudulent fraudulent impressions. Also, when you are like have you ever just personally, have you ever seen a like watching streaming? Have you ever seen an ad two or three times in a row?

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  19:50  

I have all the time. That's because that's

Greg Schwartz  19:53

because algorithms don't know what the hell they're doing sometimes. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't, but I wouldn't think that that's the best Best way to air ad placements in my humble opinion. But those are sort of three common mistakes that I can sort of that I can share off the top of my head. The last being sort of the the most difficult one. Yeah,

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  20:16  

Greg, this is this is amazing, you've given so much value, it's incredible. I think there's like three big takeaways, I think that I have. And there's more than I could name in the, like 20 seconds that we have left. But I think one, if you want to get into TV advertising, the bigger you are, the better be at least, you know, $10 million a year in terms of a brand just to minimize the risks and make sure that you're able to do it well. Second, make sure you have creatives that are made for TV specifically, don't just reuse creative that you're using on YouTube or meta or whatever. And then third, have a strategy. Don't just go in thinking you can milk sales by doing TV ads in a month, make sure that you're actually thinking through this and you know how you're going to place your ads, and how you actually want to run those campaigns. Now, Greg, in the maybe 15 seconds or so that we have left? Who's one brand or two brands that you think is doing a phenomenal job at TV?

Greg Schwartz  21:18  

Yeah, I guess I mean, I could, I could, I could name a few of my few of my own that I think are doing particularly well. One that I believe so one that one that actually I admired prior to doing TV for my own brand, which was Moon Pod was Purple Mattress, I thought they did an incredible job of telling stories very quickly, but also focusing almost entirely on the product. They had the sort of the purple grid, that sort of squishes it just looks incredibly comfortable. And they just they just prove that over and over again in the ad. And it just looks it just looks kind of amazing and ideal. And they they only focus on that. And that was sort of the brand that I admired, sort of even before starting a TV agency. Amazing.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  22:07  

Greg, thank you so much. Now, if people want to hear more about you, your agency, where should they go? Where can they learn more?

Greg Schwartz 22:16

Yeah. So you can just go to our website@household.tv. And I sort of chatter on LinkedIn a bit about TV when I have time. So you can connect with me there. And that's yeah, that's about it.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle  22:31  

All right. Awesome. Well, that's it for today's episode. Greg, thank you so much for your time. Super excited to have everyone listen to this show. All right. Well, that's it for today's episode. And thank you so much for tuning in. Now, if you like what you've heard, and you don't want to miss any of the new episodes that are about to come out, make sure you subscribe to the podcast. And, well bonus points if you also leave a review in the iTunes Store, or wherever you're listening to this. Now, if you're working on an ecommerce Store that has over a million dollars in revenue, and you need help with conversion optimization or landing pages, well, I've got some good news because there's a pretty good chance we can help with that. Go to splitbase.com To learn more, or even to request a proposal. If you have any guest requests, questions or comments, tweet me @Rpaulindiagle, and I'll be super happy to hear from you. And again, thanks again for listening. This is minds of ecommerce