Back-to-school season is ramping up, with millions of students returning to school both in-person and virtually. It’s primetime for marketers to reach back-to-school shoppers, as sales before the school season are expected to reach $67.46 billion.
Marketers are ready to make a big push this season – but brands need to optimize targeting strategies for these consumers who have dollars to spend.
Back-to-school consumers look to online channels for their shopping
According to IAS’s Back-to-School Advertising Agenda research, 72% of U.S. back-to-school shoppers use social media to consume school-related content. Consumers agree that social media advertisements are helpful when researching products before shopping, and 51% will use social media to research their purchases.
Marketers have a massive opportunity to use the back-to-school season to increase brand awareness and acquire new customers while selling school-specific products. Additionally, research shows that online shopping is the clear winner among back-to-school shoppers, with most consumers indicating that they plan to purchase from retailers and e-commerce sites.
Considering budget, more than 8 in 10 consumers will increase or maintain their shopping spend compared to last year, but inflation and economic hardship may impact how they approach their spending. Back-to-school consumers will seek out sales and promotions to offset rising school expenses, especially for shoppers with students returning to in-person classes. Marketers, therefore, should take particular care when navigating their campaign approach and consciously appeal to shoppers’ frugal mindsets.
Marketers can experience 417% improvement in ROI by expanding campaigns to target contextual back-to-school segments
Back-to-school consumers are ready to spend, but 96% of those surveyed agreed that products and promotions should be easy to find, emphasizing the need for marketers to consider shoppers’ time.
So with consumers less willing to dig deep for back-to-school products, contextual relevance proves to be crucial. In fact, IAS found that consumers prefer to see ads that are relevant to the content they view while shopping.
Context yields massive improvements for marketers too. Research shows a colossal 417% increase in ROI by expanding campaigns to target contextual back-to-school-segments. These contextually relevant ads are also more favorable and memorable among consumers, influencing brand favorability during the back-to-school season and beyond.
Shoppers are looking for relevance and convenience, no matter the season
Kids are soon-to-be back in the classroom, but advertisers shouldn’t wait until next year to apply the lessons learned from this back-to-school season. Other major retail events, like Black Friday and holiday shopping, are just around the corner, and based on IAS’s findings, marketers should target seasonal shoppers as soon as possible — no matter the time of year.
Looking for more insights on how marketers can optimize back-to-school opportunities? Download IAS’s Back-to-School Advertising Agenda for more.