Strike Social Blog Header - Kickstart Your Back To School Advertising Campaigns This 2024

Kickstart Your Back To School Advertising Campaigns This 2024


Given the significant spending of $41.5 billion last year, coupled with the projected influx of approximately 300,000 international students, brands have a prime opportunity to capitalize on back-to-school campaigns effectively. With the back-to-school season set to be another peak retail period this 2024, brands should start planning their marketing strategies now. 

As the saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm.” By launching your campaigns ahead of time, you can ensure your brand stays top of mind for consumers, positioning yourself as the top choice during the back-to-school shopping period.

The Latest Back-to-School Marketing Trends for Your 2024 Strategies

Before finalizing your 2024 back-to-school campaigns, review how the 2023 season unfolded to gather advertising ideas. Examine the trends and assess whether your media plan aligns with previous seasons, identifying the top strategies to implement.

Timing Your 2024 Back-to-School Campaigns

To successfully target shoppers during the back-to-school season, you must begin your campaigns well before the season starts in early July. Statistics show that 55% of consumers start shopping around this time, making it essential to have campaigns up and running or in the learning phase before that. Additionally, many parents take advantage of Amazon Prime Day for back-to-school shopping deals, making it a strategic point to engage potential customers.

NRF Back to School Campaigns Guide - When Customers Make Their Back-to-School Purchase

However, don’t exhaust your budget early on. Keep your campaigns running through the school season and even afterward. Despite the initial rush, 85% of shoppers still have half of their shopping left after the first weeks of July. Notably, one-third of US students return to school in mid-August, presenting further opportunities for your back-to-school advertising efforts.

What’s on the Back-to-School Shopping List

Spending per household is expected to rise, with electronics and computer-related accessories in high demand for up to 69% of back-to-school shoppers.

Additionally, big-ticket items such as dorm and apartment furnishings are popular this year, driven by a projected increase in college enrollment. Public college enrollments are expected to increase by 230,000, while private college enrollments are expected to increase by 80,000.

Drivers of 2024 Back-to-School Spending 

In addition to higher prices, 43% of shoppers want to purchase new items this year. This gives your brand a chance to attract new customers with innovative products and compelling campaigns. 

Moreover, big-ticket items and additional school supplies are major drivers of spending during back-to-school season. Hence, brands offering packages or promotions on these items should expand their advertising efforts to highlight them effectively.

NRF Back to School Campaigns Guide - 2022-2023 Drivers of spending

How to Prepare Back-to-School Campaigns That Hit the Marks

Will your back-to-school advertising campaigns pass the checklist for effective ads that will excel this year? Here’s how your back-to-school social campaigns can pass with flying colors and achieve the metrics you’re aiming for.

Prioritize Mobile Optimization

In the 2022-23 school year, 47% of U.S. parents shopped exclusively on mobile devices. Use short-form videos for Meta Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok. Using the 9:16 ad format, you can take advantage of mobile-first placements and gain better visibility among mobile users. Check out the TikTok benchmarks for this time of year:

With 40.9% of YouTube watch time on mobile devices, YouTube Shorts is a prime spot for ads. The latest Google Marketing Live update allows landing pages to be viewed in-app, boosting user engagement.

Quick tip for your back-to-school campaigns: Ensure your landing pages and websites are mobile-responsive to maintain a consistent layout across all devices.

YouTube ShortsMeta Reels
Back to School Ad YouTube Shorts Mobile
Back to School Ad YouTube Shorts Mobile Landing Page
Back to School Ad Campaigns - Instagram Reels Mobile
Back to School Ad Campaigns - Instagram Reels Mobile Landing Page

Maximize Reach with Cross-Device Targeting

In addition to the standard contextual or audience targeting options available for YouTube ads, you can also target specific devices such as computers, mobile phones, tablets, and TVs. Interestingly, despite desktop computers only accounting for 23% of retail website traffic in Q1 2024, they were responsible for 34% of all purchases in the United States.

Quick tip for your back-to-school ads: Use Product Studio to enhance the backgrounds of your back-to-school ad creatives without needing entirely new content. Ensure your Shopping ads are optimized for desktop viewing as well.

Download Free Guide - Creating Back to School Ad Campaigns with YouTube Product Studio

Engage Repeat Customers

Don’t neglect visitors who didn’t convert on their first visit. Retargeting on social media helps remind them of your brand, especially during peak shopping. According to Mintel research, dads primarily rely on brand familiarity (32%) and social media (33%) when shopping for back-to-school supplies. On the other hand, moms prioritize school recommendations (41%) and promotions or coupons (40%).

Incorporate discounts and coupons in your retargeting ads. A discount can drive an initial purchase, and a coupon for future use encourages repeat business. Additionally, loyalty or reward programs should be offered to incentivize frequent purchases further.

Quick tip for your back-to-school advertising strategy: To effectively target dads and moms, consider incorporating discounts, coupons, loyalty programs, and rewards into your back-to-school retargeting ads.

A discount can encourage a one-time purchase, while a coupon for a subsequent purchase can increase customer loyalty. A loyalty program or rewards system for frequent purchases can be the cherry on top, further incentivizing customers to continue buying from you.

Facebook Image Ad for 2024 Back to School Campaign - Desktop View

Additional Strategies for Your Back-to-School Ads

Promote Inclusivity in Your Back-to-School Campaigns

While Americans with disabilities constitute a significant consumer base, only approximately 1% of advertisements feature them.

Both students with disabilities (54%) and typically developing students (51%) spend over two hours on social media, highlighting the importance of inclusive advertising. Surprisingly, few back-to-school advertising campaigns highlight individuals with disabilities.

Creating inclusive ads demonstrating how your products or services benefit this demographic can help close this gap. By doing so, you’ll align with the values of diversity and inclusion and tap into a significant and often overlooked consumer base.

benefitcosmeticsuk Instagram Ad Kate Grant

College students consider personal care items a significant part of their back-to-school shopping, comprising 30% of their shopping lists. Hence, brands need to understand how to showcase inclusivity effectively. Benefit Cosmetics has set an excellent example with its ad featuring Kate Grant, a woman with Down syndrome, as the lead role. This ad garnered 5K likes and positive engagement on Instagram, demonstrating the importance of celebrating diversity and inclusivity in marketing campaigns.

Appeal to Price-Conscious Shoppers

With a consistent presence in the market, discount stores continue to attract price-conscious buyers, accounting for approximately 40-50% of shoppers for the past three years. Furthermore, up to 46% will purchase pre-configured back-to-school kits this year.

Your back-to-school campaigns should emphasize discounted bundles and promotional packages to stand out and capture the attention of budget-minded shoppers. This approach effectively appeals to consumers seeking cost-effective and convenient shopping solutions during the back-to-school season.

Tap into the Millennial Parent Demographic

Millennials are now entering the phase where they have children of school age, which means they are a key demographic for back-to-school campaigns. 71% of millennial parents prefer to purchase back-to-school supplies online, with YouTube and TikTok being popular platforms for influencer marketing. The convenience and wide selection of online shopping, coupled with the influence of social media, have made online shopping the preferred choice for many millennial parents.

Pew Research Center - social media platform usage by age of % of U.S. adults

Advertiser’s Notes for Your Back-to-School Social Campaigns

Don’t wait for the peak period to prepare your media plan and launch your back-to-school campaigns on paid social media. With the help of this Strike Social guide, we’ve compiled key takeaways to ensure your campaigns are a success this peak advertising season:

Keep Your Ads Active Before, During, and After the Back-to-School Season

With the right campaign pacing, maintain a balanced budget and ad delivery throughout the entire campaign period from early July to late August or early September.

Refresh Your Creatives Without Taking New Images or Videos

Google’s AI has made it easier for advertisers to keep their creatives fresh without constantly creating new content. Using Product Studio, you can optimize your back-to-school ads with captivating backgrounds and designs for desktop and mobile placements.

Refine Your Audience Targeting

Age and country demographics are just the beginning of audience targeting for paid ads. Use keywords, retargeting, affinity, and live events to refine your audience and improve conversion rates.

Strike Social helps brands optimize performance without exceeding costs. Contact us now to learn more about Strike Social’s services and customized solutions and discover how our data-driven approach can drive measurable results for your campaigns.

strike social campaign lab software solutions ai tool

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