Direct-to-Consumer Marketers Seek Social Media Alternatives

Direct-to-consumer startups that previously relied mainly on Facebook and Instagram to reach customers continue to adapt strategies more than a year after Apple’s privacy policy revisions forced massive change on the digital advertising sector. Brands that were marketing before Apple’s privacy changes took effect last year had an opportunity to build customer bases using the uniquely specific targeting opportunities once offered by social media. Newer entities, however, are struggling to get a toehold as they search for comparable tools, looking well beyond the traditional social platforms.

“Jones Road Beauty, founded in 2020 and officially named Just Steven LLC, has shifted spending away from Facebook and Instagram ads to TikTok ads, while trying to reach consumers with more content it produces on its own for its website and to post across social media,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Jones isn’t the only one. Veterinary telemedicine firm Dutch Pet, founded in 2021, is exploring ways to expand its marketing beyond Google and Meta, “and is considering influencer marketing and direct mail,” according to WSJ.

Seven-year-old clothing brand Feat Socks has cut its current advertising budget for Facebook and Instagram by 20 percent, and is doing more marketing using TikTok, LinkedIn and social influencers as it seeks retail distribution for the first time.

“It seems like in the past five years we forgot all other marketing channels existed,” said Feat Socks CEO Taylor Offer. “Now it is back to all those other opportunities. You might not get that same-day attribution that you used to get on Facebook and Instagram, but it is building the brand over time.”

While most DTC brands continue include established social platforms as part of their marketing mix, the current advertising environment is full of opportunity for new players and different approaches. Meta Platforms, for one, is hoping it can appeal in the latter category.

“As reported by Business Insider, Meta is reportedly developing a new, privacy-friendly Facebook ads offering which would use a lot less user data for targeting,” writes Social Media Today, noting the technique — referred to internally as “basic ads” — uses an algorithm that ties ad performance and reach “to how much engagement it generates.”

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