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Brand awareness has been all the rage for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands spanning across industries and verticals. D2C brands like Glossier and Outdoor Voices have not only found success in building awareness but also in creating communities of faithful customers. While any business would envy these brands’ abilities to turn fans into loyal customers, there are a few obstacles keeping them from doing so. Chiefly, knowing how to increase brand awareness.

There is a lot that goes into a brand awareness strategy. For one, there needs to be a clear understanding of how competitors are positioning themselves in the market. D2C brands also need to know, with almost complete certainty, who their ideal customers are. But some specific tactics and initiatives can attract more eyeballs. Let’s go over three things that can help D2C brands increase brand awareness.

1. Video

On average, customers see between 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day — that’s an insane amount to expect them to remember. Couple that with the fact that they have very short attention spans (Facebook estimates that their users only spend 2.5 and 1.7 seconds on desktop and mobile content, respectively) can make you think twice about advertising online. Video is the perfect antidote considering that it stands out in the ocean filled with regular display ads. When executed correctly, video both boosts customer engagement and helps to increase brand awareness.

According to a report from Contently and Libris, 29% of those surveyed rated short-form video as the visual ad type that drives the most engagement. Here are a few tips for creating video content that resonates with new target audiences:

  • Stick to short-form videos. It’s no coincidence that over 69% of marketers are planning to create more short-form videos in the next year. Facebook recommends that advertisers keep in-stream videos between 5-15 seconds long, so make sure to keep them snappy.
  • Make videos readable. Subtitles aren’t just for foreign films anymore. Audiences aren’t always able to listen to video content, so make sure that they can understand what you’re trying to convey, with or without audio. Including captions not only makes it easier for audiences to intake information, but it also makes it more likely that viewers will stick around until the very end. Based on Facebook’s internal data, captioned videos have a 12% higher view time than those without captions. 
  • Tell audiences what to do. Not including a call-to-action (CTA) in video content can limit the effectiveness of the ad type. Ensure that CTAs are easy to hear, read, and see throughout the entirety of a video so that audiences clearly understand what they stand to benefit from the action. Video-hosting platforms, such as VimeoYouTube, and Wistia, all have the functionality to add CTAs to videos.
  • Use the right tools. One of the biggest barriers to creating video content is a lack of resources, but there are plenty of tools that marketers can use without breaking the bank. Some platforms allow D2C brands to create videos with still photography alone. Mobile phones are now equipped with superb video-making functions. Companies like LemonlightVidMob, and Vidbuild can help you create professional videos on a budget. Marketers have plenty of options when it comes to video production tools.

Guide to Building a Video Marketing Strategy

2. Social Media

Social media platforms have tried to democratize the space for smaller D2C brands and advertisers. While it’s getting easier to argue that the likes of Facebook have made it more difficult (and expensive), the fact remains these are still channels that offer access to plenty of customers. It’s estimated that 2.65 billion people are using social platforms globally, and that number is expected to rise to 3.1 billion by 2021. As a result, D2C brands looking to grow their customer base naturally gravitate towards advertising on social media. There a few things that marketers should do when trying to increase brand awareness on social: 

  • Focus on the right channels. Different audiences live on different channels. B2B and sales audiences frequent LinkedIn. Fitness, beauty, and retail influencers practically live on Instagram. Community marketers continue to tap into Twitter to mobilize their audiences. Make sure to do your due diligence and find out the social channels your audiences spend most of their time on.
  • Update your profile page. Social media algorithms function in a similar capacity that search engines, such as Google, do. Adopting a similar optimization strategy for social profile pages can help make D2C brands more discoverable. Simple fixes like using default and cover images that are the right sizes, adding focus keywords, and filling out every form can increase the likelihood of audiences discovering your D2C brand.
  • Post during optimal times. Social feeds are a lot like highways in the sense that there are high- and low-traffic times. Some channels see higher traffic on certain days and times than others. For example, the best days to post on LinkedIn are on Mondays and Wednesdays. Conduct an audit of past social posts to see when audience engagement is at the highest and incorporate those findings in future social campaigns to ensure you’re reaching the most people possible.

5 Tips to Build Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

An essential part of any marketing strategy, an SEO-focused approach has been known to help D2C brands increase brand awareness. SEO is so effective that more than half of D2C brands have named it their number one acquisition channel. The only trouble with SEO is that most people don’t understand much about it. Let’s go over a few things that D2C brands can do to help them get started with SEO:

  • Audit your website traffic. Before beginning any sort of competitor analysis or keyword research, D2C brands need to know where their website traffic is coming from. By adding the Google Analytics integration to their website, D2C brands can get a clear view of their channels that provide the most volume of site visitors and the words or phrases that they are associated with.
  • Conduct competitor analysis. It’s always a smart move to keep tabs on competitors. SEO tools, such as Ubersuggest (it’s free!), MozSEMRush, and Ahrefs, shed light on everything from organic keywords, organic monthly website traffic, domain scores, and more.
  • Find your focus keywords. As you go through the process of finding out what’s resonating with target audiences and how competitors are positioning themselves, it’s time to begin zeroing in on your focus keywords. When exploring potential keywords, make sure to consider when and why a customer may search for them on Google. This makes it easier to identify opportunities to target keywords that don’t have much competition.

How to Build an SEO Strategy for a Direct-To-Consumer (D2C) Brand [TEMPLATE]

Better now than never — if you haven’t already put an emphasis on brand awareness, now is the time. It’s easier than ever and requires just a little bit more focus on some of the channels you’re most likely already using. For more info, check out our blog on why brand awareness matters.


Since joining AdRoll in 2017, Giulianno has regularly produced content that explores how professionals can improve their digital marketing strategies and emerging industry trends. When he's not working, you can find him at Golden Gate Park training for his next marathon.