Back-to-School Ads: How Advertisers Can Prepare

How to Get Your Product Seen by Parents and Students

Back-to-school shopping is on. Mastercard predicted a 5.5% increase in back-to-school shopping revenue from 2020 spending—considering both in-store and e-commerce revenue. Don’t miss the opportunity for your ad to be seen by parents and students shopping for the upcoming school year.

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Average back-to-school spending will reach $268 per child, up 9% from 2020. The biggest spenders, according to KPMG:

  • Preschool spending is projected to increase 32%.

  • College students will see an estimated 13% increase as they prepare to go back to campus.

Solutions for Advertisers to Reach Back-to-School Shoppers

After a trying year of hybrid and online learning, returning to the classroom is exciting (maybe even a little bit nerve-wracking). Nothing gets you more in the mood for the back-to-school season than shopping for fresh supplies, and maybe a new backpack or sneakers. Below are a few tips to get your product into the consideration set:

6 Advertising Tips For Back-To-School Shopping Campaigns

  1. Shoppers

    Identify parents and students while also layering on targeting for avid shoppers of specific retail stores such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and more. Also, tap into Amazon shopper data to reach people shopping in relevant product categories on the top e-commerce site. Keep in mind that most people are multi-taskers, so make sure that your ad is seen in multiple places. Apparel is expected to see particularly strong growth as many students prepare for a return to in-person classes.
  2. Scrollers

    Add in a fun twist and spark interest by running polls related to your products/services across top social media platforms. Also engage with a younger, student-aged audience on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat. Consider layering in a QR code to give consumers quick access to more information on products or even tips for healthy lunchtime meals that kids may actually eat.
  3. Visitors

    Capture parents and students shopping in-store at specific retail locations with offerings specific to those places. Serving ads at competitive stores with special offers may just entice consumers to come your way instead.
  4. App Users

    Target users of retailers’ apps, such as Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, in addition to reaching students and parents with a combination of online and offline data. It’s also good to keep in mind that who buys what, and who asks for what spans for young to old, so tapping into data is an excellent way to target messaging.
  5. Listeners

    GettyImages-1266159461 CroppedTell consumers exactly what you want them to hear about your products or services by advertising across digital audio and podcast platforms. Layer on parent or student targeting, or run ads within entertainment and parenting podcasts.
  6. Searchers

    Reach shoppers at the height of their intent as they conduct searches such as “back-to-school supplies,” “dorm decoration,” “laptops for students,” “back-to-school clothes,” and more. If your product has certain characteristics like sustainability, or is aligned with empowerment, let it be known.

Just because this year may have a few more masks than binders doesn’t mean that it can’t be a fun shared experience for parents, educators, and students alike. Reach out to experts at MNI for help in reaching back-to-school shoppers!


About the Author

@Janine Pollack is the Integrated Marketing Director at MNI Targeted Media and self-appointed Storyteller in Chief. As content lead for MNI’s Insight Lab, she leads numerous webinars to bring to life the brand's commitment to knowing more so we can do more. Prior to MNI she worked with Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned institutions on thought-leadership events and content.