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Ace Back to School Advertising with the Power of Context |   31 May, 2023

Reach back to school shoppers with contextual advertising

It’s time to secure an A+ in your back to school advertising! Captivate your audience and establish your brand as the go-to choice with contextual advertising.

As students in the United States prepare to say goodbye to their summer freedom and head back to school, parents are bracing themselves to say goodbye to their paycheck.

Returning to school after a refreshing and long summer break is one of the most important times of the year for both students and parents.

Whether it’s stocking up on stylish new school clothes to checking off every item on the school supply list, the retail industry recognizes the excitement and significance of this time of year, which requires loads of preparation.

As the school bells ring and summon students back to the back-to-school premises, it’s time for the brands to return as well.

Seizing the opportunity during this prime time, amidst the return of rival brands armed with improved targeting strategies and ads, how do you plan to connect with your targeted back-to-school shoppers precisely at the right moment, place, and with the perfect message? Look no further than Mirrors AI-powered contextual advertising to guide the way!

Who are the Back to School Shopping Audiences?

1. Parents
2. College Students
3. Teachers and Educators
4. School Administrators and Decision-Makers
5. Online Influencers and Bloggers
6. Early Childhood Education Centers
7. Adult Learners

Also read: Targeting Back-to-School Shoppers with Contextual Advertising

What are the Back to School Shopping Trends of 2023?

Some back-to-school trends advertisers should consider while creating this year’s seasonal marketing plan.

1.  The increasing popularity of online shopping. More and more consumers are choosing to shop for back-to-school supplies online, as it is more convenient and often offers better deals.

2. Another trend is the growing importance of sustainability. More and more consumers are looking for sustainable options when shopping for back-to-school supplies. This means viewing sustainable ads or choosing products that are made from recycled materials or that are produced in an environmentally friendly way.

3. Shoppers are starting much earlier. Although the summer months still draw the heaviest activity, the back-to-school season now spans six months or even longer as many shoppers are:

    • Buying early to avoid the pandemic-driven product supply issues of recent years.
    • Taking advantage of sales events whenever they may occur.
    • Trying to spread out their expenses over a longer period of time.

4. Parents have returned to physical stores. In-store shopping was expected to garner 49% of back-to-school sales in 2022 (versus 43% in 2021) when 42% of consumers told Deloitte they would only shop in physical locations (vs. 17% who would do it all online). That share of seasonal sales will likely increase again in 2023.

5. Finally, there is a growing trend towards personalization. More and more consumers are looking for back-to-school supplies that are personalized to their child’s interests. This means choosing products that feature their child’s favorite characters or sports teams.

Importance of Back to School Advertising for Brands

Types of products bought by back to school shoppers

Back-to-school shoppers spent $168 more on school supplies in 2022, presenting a significant opportunity for the brand to expand reach and ROI. The compelling statistics will speak for themselves.

1. In 2022, the back-to-school season generated around $37 billion in sales in the United States.

2. The average family in the US spends $600 on back-to-school supplies.

3. 41% of shoppers planned an omni-shopping experience for desk/locker accessories, 35% in-store, and 25% online purchases.

4. 56% of back-to-school shoppers will start searching for supplies in early July and 88% of consumers are still waiting for their official school supply lists.

5. 8 in 10 consumers plan to use mid-July’s sales and events to shop for back-to-school supplies specifically.

Reach Where Your Targeted Back to School Shoppers Areback to school shoppers are on multiple platforms

1. YouTube and Google are the top research platforms for shoppers before making purchases.

2. 25% of parents consult Facebook for BTS shopping inspiration.

3. US advertisers prioritized increased spending on social media (44%) and CTV/OTT (39%) for their back-to-school campaigns.

4. 62% of in-store purchases were consumables, compared to 10% online, with 28% of shoppers opting for an omnichannel shopping experience.

5. 41% of shoppers preferred an omni-shopping experience for desk/locker accessories, while 35% opted for in-store purchases and 25% chose online purchases.

Challenges of Using Traditional Methods for Back to School Advertising 

1. Ad waste: Traditional advertising methods are exposed to a vast number of ads, making it difficult for advertisers to capture their attention and stand out from the competition.

2. Fragmented Audiences: Back-to-school shoppers can be found across various demographics and platforms, making it challenging for advertisers to reach them effectively using traditional methods. With the proliferation of digital channels and social media platforms, the audience is fragmented, and targeting specific segments becomes more complex.

3. Limited Targeting Options: Traditional advertising methods may offer limited targeting options compared to digital advertising. Advertisers may struggle to reach specific subsets of back-to-school shoppers based on their demographics, interests, and online behavior, resulting in wasted ad spend and reduced effectiveness.

4. Lack of Interactivity and Personalization: Traditional advertising methods typically lack interactivity and personalization, which are crucial for engaging back-to-school shoppers. Advertisers may struggle to create tailored and interactive experiences that resonate with their target audience, limiting their ability to establish a meaningful connection and drive conversions.

5. Difficulty in Message Customization: Traditional advertising methods often have limitations when it comes to customizing messages based on the unique needs and preferences of back-to-school shoppers. Advertisers may struggle to deliver personalized and relevant content that effectively communicates their value proposition.

Silverpush's Mirrors AI-powered contextual capabilities

Mirrors, Silverpush’s advanced hyper-contextual advertising technology, effectively targets and engages back-to-school shoppers. By intelligently identifying key contexts like celebrities, brands, texts, objects, and actions, Mirrors strategically places ads that deeply resonate with your desired audiences, reaching them at the right time and place with complete brand safety and suitability.

different contextual triggers to reach back to school shoppers


Final Words

The back-to-school season is an opportune time for brands to reach their targeted audiences at the time when they are most likely to engage with the ad and convert. Mirrors offers the solution you need to effectively engage with back-to-school shoppers. Simply fill out the form on the right, and our team will be in touch with you shortly to help you seize this valuable opportunity.

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