Though digital ad spending in the US is projected to reach $129.34 billion in 2019, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are seeing major uplifts in response and sales from television ads—according to a report from TVSquared, “Direct-to-Consumer Brands: TV Performance Benchmarks.”

Via an analysis of data gathered over 15 months, from January 2018 to March 2019, for 18 US-based DTC brands, the report provides key trends for DTC campaigns that aired on broadcast, cable and satellite. The findings are based on four DTC verticals—retail, subscription services, food and high-end—among a collective $138 million in television ad spend, 749 billion ad impressions and 1.9 million spots.

Despite the success that DTC brands have experienced with television ads, the performance of television marketing is harder to track compared to social and digital. The report notes that on average, DTC brands track four key performance indicators (KPIs), such as immediate business outcomes like purchases and conversions, and longer-term response, such as app activity, site traffic and search.

Food delivery brands’ primary three KPIs are orders, sessions and first response. Retail brands, on the other hand, track purchases and conversions, registrations and cart size. Subscription services measure performance based on acquisition versus repeat customer, purchases and conversions and basket size.

In terms of length, traditional 30-second television ads performed the best, generating response rates 50 percent above average and four times higher than any other ad length. The poorest performing ads were 60 seconds or more in length. Among all television programming genres, the brands analyzed saw the most successful performance with Talk, Children and Spanish Language.

Insight from ratings historically show that prime time (evening) is the ideal time for television ads, but TVSquared’s study revealed otherwise—morning and daytime ads averaged significantly better response rates than prime. When it came time to the day-of-week effectiveness, the performance was nearly equal across verticals, with Thursdays and Fridays driving the most response.

Given that 94 percent of US viewers keep a phone on hand while watching television, DTC brands deem television marketing an effective means for driving brand awareness and optimizing reach.

Still, until deeper analytics tools for measuring performance of television ads become readily available, digital ads will continue to dominate. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report on video advertising spend in 2019, more than eight in 10 advertisers agree that a unified multi-platform buying solution, namely television and digital video, is important.