For Marshall Rule, president of web-only apparel e-retailer ScotteVest, adding TV advertising to the company’s marketing mix in 2015 was an experiment. “We basically put a bet on TV,” he says.

The brand spent $6,000 to produce the advertisement in house, and another $150,000 buying air time on cable networks airing nationally. Then it crossed its fingers. “Overnight we had our best day of the year,” Rule says. ScotteVest is No. 871 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000.

The ad sparked orders from new customers during the critical holiday period—the first ad aired in November—and ScotteVest immediately bought more air time, spending $250,000 to re-air the ad during December. The ad included a unique promotion code so the e-retailer could draw a direct line from the ad to sales, and the marketing team continues to study the patterns of how customers introduced to the brand via TV advertising behave versus customers who find ScotteVest another way. For instance, Rule says the brand has found the lifetime value of customers introduced via TV is greater than the lifetime value of customers introduced via an ad on Facebook.

“Ever since we started TV, our business in 2017 doubled in top-line sales and it’s 100% related to TV,” Rule says. It continues to actively market on TV, running ads primarily during sports and news programming on cable channels. The e-retailer also uses direct mail advertising to reach customers when they are offline.

While digital marketing certainly is booming, many online retailers and brands are factoring in the mass exposure more traditional media channels like TV can deliver. Among the 50 largest web-only retailers in North America ranked in the 2017 Top 500, 40% ran TV ads in 2017. That percentage increases to 70% when looking at the 50 best digital marketers in e-commerce in Internet Retailer’s recently published Best Digital Marketers in E-Commerce Report. Internet Retailer used iSpot.TV Inc. analytics to identify active TV advertisers in 2017.

The largest retail chains spend the most on TV advertising, with…

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