BarkBox has joined the growing group of direct-to-consumer companies that are redistributing their Facebook spending to traditional channels.
The subscription service, which delivers boxes of dog treats and toys starting at $21 per month, has spend around 75 percent of its ad budget on Facebook since launching in 2012. In April, it cut that to 25 percent to spend more on TV, direct mail, events and retail, with plans to add radio and out of home.
Facebook in January prioritized user posts over brand and publisher content, leading to increased competition for ad inventory in the feed and causing CPMs to shoot up 122 percent year over year, according to AdStage data reported by Recode. BarkBox is still using pet influencers with organic posts on social media. But it sees traditional media, especially TV, as a better deal than Facebook and a way to expose the company to a wider audience.
Other DTC companies like Brooklinen, Thinx, Roman and Curology have cut Facebook ad spending in favor of traditional channels, citing high inventory costs and cluttered Facebook feeds.
“Smart companies will always be looking to find eyeballs in other places at lower costs,” said Jay Livingston, CMO of Bark, the company behind BarkBox. “I’ve had conversations with CMOs who’ve said they wished they would’ve moved money away from [Facebook] sooner. That’s similar to us.”
BarkBox experimented with traditional media last summer when Livingston joined the company, partly because he had experience in TV and out of home as the former svp of global marketing at Bank of America. “We always knew we didn’t want to be at the mercy of one platform,” Livingston said.