📦 2022 In The Rearview
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

But those 6-7 things, we know like the back of our hands.

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Pure Luxuries, Ananday, Impact Coffee, and Clarks. 👟

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Rootd, Ania Wysocka: Helping a million users in the age of anxiety

📦 The magic of push notifications and how they help grow your brand

📦 The Pilothouse team’s favorite ads from 2022

📦 DTC 2022 in review

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


🎧 Today on the DTC pod, we’re finding our center with Ania Wysocka, CEO and founder of Rootd, an app designed to help people cope with anxiety and panic attacks.

After experiencing a panic attack herself, Ania developed Rootd when she was unable to find any helpful resources that were readily available in that moment of extreme vulnerability.

Today, Rootd has been downloaded by over two million people and has been translated into 10 languages.

‍The takeaways 👇

😰 Facing an anxiety epidemic

Because of her personal experience with anxiety and panic attacks, Ania focused on creating features within the app that were based on cognitive behavioral research, making sure that each feature served a useful purpose to the user.

“[There is] an SOS button in the app and that walks [users] through a panic attack. It's based on cognitive behavioral therapy and it basically is interactive depending on how you're feeling. Sometimes you might want to actually challenge the anxiety because that can ultimately help heal, but sometimes you just want it to go away so you can feel better [and] you don't want to deal with it at the time… That's the most popular tool for panic attack-experiencing people.”

🔍 The road less traveled searched

When the conversation around mental health and anxiety started to become more mainstream, anxiety resources and apps proliferated left and right. Ania noticed this volume. And because her app had unique features in comparison, she decided to deviate from a typical search term strategy.

“I focused on ‘panic attacks’ even though that was a way lower search volume keyword than ‘anxiety.’ It's kind of interesting because when you're a founder and you know your [product] works, you do want to use the most active keyword, right, but then I also knew that I was going up against venture-backed startups and I'm like ‘Yeah I'm probably still too new.’ Not so many apps were out about anxiety yet because that discussion about mental health didn't happen until later, but it was enough that focusing on ‘panic attacks’ just worked better and I was able to rank high with ‘panic attacks’ first and then overtime with ‘anxiety.’”

💰 What Ania would do with an extra $50K:

Optimizing the app experience for users and getting the word out to new users is a big focus for Ania and her team.

“It would be split between working with the developers on some new features that I have planned and ads.”

👉 Listen to the full episode with Ania Wysocka here!


Push Notifications: The Magic Solution to Boost Conversions 🪄

Getting mediocre marketing results? Want to take your brand to the next level?

Well, buckle up!

Mobile apps will take over in 2023, and the best part? You can send push notifications to seriously boost your conversions. In fact, push notifications are so effective, they're basically magic. No, seriously, check this out. 👇

  • They're 177% more effective than email (which is already pretty cool).
  • 159% more effective than digital ads (now we're talking!)
  • And 78% more effective than SMS (yeah, it's that good).

And the rabbit in the hat is...

Tapcart! The #1 mobile app builder for Shopify brands, and it lets you send unlimited push notifications for free. 📱

Plus, you can add GIFs and images to really make an impact and stay on-brand.

As a DTC subscriber, you can even get your first month free.

👉 Check out the magic of push notifications and watch your brand grow!


2022 in the Rearview

What a year to be in DTC:

  • The economy put us all through the wringer.
  • There was much lamenting over iOS updates and Meta costs.
  • A debate raged over whether eCommerce is a business model or growth channel (and whether DTC is “dead” in general).
  • Merchants diversified their revenue streams via Amazon sales, wholesale deals, retail pop-ups, brand collaborations, and direct mail campaigns.
  • Sean Frank declared war on multiple Twitter rivals. 😂

It’s been a simultaneously long and short wild ride.

Here are just a few of the year's highlights, in no particular order, inspired by Daniel Okon’s DTC Unwrapped recap.

1️⃣ Ju Rhyu’s Hero Cosmetics brand is acquired by Church & Dwight for a mind-bending $630M after an amazing 5-year run.

2️⃣ Beloved apéritif company Haus folds due to a halted Series A raise and unsuccessful auction (hats off to co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht for her candid Twitter updates throughout the whole process).

3️⃣ Jones Road Beauty’s Facebook community crosses 8K members in 4 months.

4️⃣ 2-year-old home cooking brand Omsom brings its unique blend of Asian-influenced spices and sauces to Whole Foods.

5️⃣ Liquid Death collabs with Martha Stewart on a $58 candle called “Dismembered Moments.”

6️⃣ eCom founders and operators make audio waves with several notable launches on Spotify and Apple:

👉 Bonus: For a masterclass in DTC strategy, check out Karly McFarland’s genius new book Email Is Not Dead.

7️⃣ eCom industry founder and CEOs Kimberly Wilson, Sandra Velasquez, Jaclyn Fu, and Autumn Adeigbo get a well-deserved spotlight as Cosmopolitan’s C-Suite Class of 2022 honorees.

8️⃣ TRUFF sauce collabs with Taco Bell on loaded nacho fries after selling out of its mashup with Hidden Valley Ranch in less than 24 hours (you can find it on eBay for $50).

9️⃣ Seltzer brand Aura Bora launches a sick secret menu for superfans and has its limited edition Green Bean Casserole flavor scooped by Drew Barrymore.

🔟 Oui the People is one of seven beauty brands accepted into Sephora’s accelerator program.

Another major DTC trend this year? The domination of celebrity and influencer-led brands in the news.  

Check back on Monday for an interview with Celebrity Packaged Goods founder Dhruv Patel!


🏆 We don’t play favorites, but…

With so many end-of-year roundups online, we thought it was only fair to invite the Pilothouse team to join the fun! We asked the creative teams which ads were 2022 fan favorites.

🟩 RUX and the green screen CGC

One of Pilothouse’s full-time in-house creators created this content to showcase the utility of RUX’s products.

The creator highlights the product as being the perfect gift for the outdoorsy person in your life who needs to carry all of their camping gear out to the middle of nowhere a couple of times each year.

It’s a simple effect to achieve (this ad was created entirely through mobile devices!) but packs the ad with useful information and product demonstration.

🧺 Marquis’ Lifestyle Flatlay Hero

It’s important to like something just because…You like it. You know what we mean. 🤷‍♀️

Pilothouse got this feeling after creating the beautiful hero image for Marquis. The goal was to emulate a warm summer day within the studio environment – and what better way to do that than with the flatlay style? All of the props were chosen specifically to work within the brand’s color story.

The team made the call to increase that contrast to make everything really *pop*. It’s definitely an attention-grabber and works so well with the idyllic vision of a warm afternoon social with friends.  

🍷 Kind of Wild Wines

Pilothouse leaned into this trending gif format for Kind of Wild Wines for a Black Friday ad. There’s no harm in experimenting with trends for your brand. In fact, we encourage it so you can craft your unique spin on them to make something special!

In this case, a previous version of this creative performed so well in the previous month that Pilothouse made this revised version for Black Friday 2022.

Kind of Wild Wines appear confident and proud of their product thanks to high-quality product images and bold copy in this ad – and sometimes that’s all a consumer needs to convert.

With so many clients, it’s difficult to only pick a few but we’re thrilled that these stunning ads made the list of Pilothouse’s favorites from 2022. Each one has something special that drives the brand closer to their goals which is why alignment is so important in partnerships.

Do you have a list of your favorite ads from 2022? Did inspiration strike when you saw that one ad that stuck with you? Send them our way – we’re constantly amazed by your creativity and can’t wait to see more amazing work to come in 2023. 🥂

Quick Hits

⚡️ Canada’s bold stance on electric vehicles.

💰 RBC’s takeover of HSBC.

🪄 Become a tech support wizard.

🍎 Apple’s most downloaded apps in 2022.

📺 YouTube’s new accessibility feature.

🗒 Microsoft enhances productivity on Notepad.

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