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Get Straight A’s On Your Back-to-School Advertising Campaign

Back to School - Blog

There are 55 million school children in America (we bet most of them are math-loathing, like us!), who, when combined with their parents, tally big numbers — an enormous back-to-school target market. Well, you probably knew that. But where are they shopping for the 2024-25 school year, and what’s the most cost-effective way to reach them? 

Of course, some back-to-school shoppers still kick it old school — shopping with pals at the mall. Still, data supports that back-to-school purchases are moving in part if not wholly to the digital world, with 40% of shoppers searching on social media for coupons or deals before going to a physical store and, as of 2022, 71% of Millennial parents preferring to buy back-to-school supplies online. So, from tapping social influencers to personalized campaigns on TikTok or YouTube, there are myriad ways to meet these buyers on their favorite turf.

There’s also another factor to consider: Is back-to-school shopping a year-round concern? Conventional wisdom says mid-July through late August is the high back-to-school (BTS) shopping season. But that wisdom comes with a double asterisk. One, around 10 percent of students nationwide attend year-round schooling (a trend that is growing in popularity). Two, a large 2023 Deloitte study found that shoppers were highly concerned about inflation and the economy, yet were buying earlier in the year. The report said: “35% believe better deals occur earlier in the season versus 26% who believe they occur later in the season.”  

Are Multichannel Campaigns Worth It? 

Multichannel campaigns have always been ambitious and, until recently, were difficult to measure. Creating a full-funnel campaign to move BTS shoppers from brand awareness to conversions still requires an effort to build. Still, it’s become much easier when advertisers work with an advertising technology partner, like Viant, who offers omnichannel campaign execution, provides first-party data optimization capabilities and integrated data partners and, of course, doesn’t rely on third-party cookies. Some examples of how Viant’s omnichannel campaign can help advertisers:

  • A regional college established an omnichannel campaign to increase prospective student online engagement and move the needle on enrollment. They ran the campaign across Connected TV (CTV), online video (OLV), digital audio and display and saw a 628% lift in online actions using conversion lift reporting in Viant’s DSP.
  • A public university sought to prove the effectiveness of cookieless upper-funnel channels, including CTV & Audio, in driving lower-funnel actions such as site traffic to different website pages. The university tapped Viant’s people-based technology for three types of targeting: lookalike audiences, integrated third-party data segments and contextual targeting with educational content. Viant’s Conversions reporting tracked incrementality as the school saw a 278% lift in conversions from these channels. 

There are other essential BTS campaign building blocks. For instance, Viant’s Household ID solution allows marketers to target multiple connected devices within the home, including TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart speakers and more. Marketers can also collect, track and report on actionable data, allowing them to understand their customers better and optimize their campaigns as needed.

BTS advertisers can also leverage Viant Audience segments to reach target audience segments getting ready for the upcoming school year. 2024 Viant Audience segments include retail shoppers who are frequent purchasers or likely to buy BTS supplies via Experian data ; BTS shoppers likely to engage with brands that offer a convenient shopping experience via Wiland ; purchasers of of elementary-aged BTS products within the last 12 months via Adstra ; and consumers likely to shop with credit card cash-back rewards via Acxiom. 

With Viant’s people-based, personalized solutions, advertisers can make sure your campaigns are reaching target audiences across the BTS spectrum, from parents, college students and even elementary school kids who may not love the idea of another school year, but are excited for flashy new school supplies. 

Contact your Viant representative to learn more. 


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