A shopping cart holds various school supplies
April 13, 2023

Straight A’s in Marketing: How to Ace Back-to-School Season

The start of the school year is always a busy time for families and marketers alike, with parents and caregivers shopping for essential supplies and brands competing for their attention. As we approach the 2023 back-to-school prep season, marketers must keep up with the latest advertising trends to stay ahead of the curve. 

This blog explores five advertising trends that can help you reach and engage back-to-school shoppers. From omnichannel shopping to shoppable video content, we'll show you how to create a winning advertising strategy that appeals to parents and students alike. So get your notebooks out; class starts now! 

E-Commerce vs. In-Store: What's Trending in BTS Shopping?

It’s becoming an increasingly omnichannel world for advertisers. Back-to-school shopping season is not immune to the agnostic shopping preferences of consumers looking to appease their children and find great deals. Whether in-store, online, or hybrid, shoppers have many shopping experiences to meet their needs. 

So, where are parents and caretakers planning to shop for BTS essentials? Neilsen IQ gathered information on where consumers planned to shop based on several traditional back-to-school categories. Consumables dominated in-store purchases (62%) vs. online (10%), and 28% of shoppers planned on an omnichannel shopping experience. Conversely, 41% of shoppers planned an omni-shopping experience for desk/locker accessories, vs. 35% in-store and 25% online purchases. 

So while back-to-school shopping still skews heavily in-store, online and hybrid options are becoming a more significant part of the shopping equation.

Trend takeaway: 

Although BTS shopping skews in-store, you need an omnichannel approach to capitalize on shoppers’ buying preferences. Buying preferences are increasingly varied, so considering the omnishoppers’ journey is critical to capturing sales. 

Saving During BTS: How Brands Can Combat Inflation for Families

As we approach the 2023 back-to-school season, consumers and businesses continue to face rising inflation. In addition, the economy has put pressure on families to find ways to save money while still providing their children with the necessary supplies for the upcoming school year. As a result, finding savings has become an integral part of the back-to-school schedule.

For the consumer packaged goods industry, considering offerings other than promotions and discounts will be more critical than ever. Brands can appeal to cost-conscious consumers by highlighting the value of their products, emphasizing the long-term savings that come with choosing high-quality items that last longer and require fewer replacements. Advertisers can also capitalize on this trend by looking for ad partners that offer benefits to shoppers through seamless digital solutions. 

By recognizing the need for savings and taking steps to offer cost-effective solutions, CPG brands can effectively combat inflation and help parents and students make the most out of the 2023 back-to-school season.

Trend takeaway:

Make sure your brand appeals to consumers’ values. While inflation is top-of-mind, it’s not just discounts that appeal to BTS shoppers, consider sustainability, health, quality, and convenience to win over parents and students. 

Snacking for Success: The Rise of Healthy BTS Snacks

As the back-to-school season approaches, parents start thinking about convenient and healthy snacks for their kids. Finding nutritious options can be challenging, whether for the lunchbox or after-school snacking. However, the good news is that there's a growing market for healthy snacks, with a projected valuation of $32.9 billion by 2026.

For many parents, nutrition is a top priority when selecting snacks for their children. A recent survey showed that low sugar content is crucial for many parents when choosing snacks. With concerns about childhood obesity and the adverse health effects of excessive sugar intake, it's no surprise that parents are looking for healthier options.

Fortunately, brands are taking note and bringing plenty of tasty and nutritious snack options to market that can satisfy both kids and parents. Food manufacturers now offer healthier versions of classic snack foods, such as baked chips and reduced-sugar fruit snacks. 

Healthy brands are now looking for advertising partners that are well-versed in finding the right audiences for their products and growing in-store sales. Finding that match serves both the customer and brand by introducing the in-demand products to a receptive audience.

Trend takeaway:

Brands that leverage intent-based targeting will be ahead of the pack. Knowing who has demonstrated interest in your product category through a shopping list-based source or similar will help drive more sales for your brand during the BTS season.

Shoppable Video: The Future of Back-to-School Advertising

As the back-to-school shopping season heats up, consumers increasingly turn to shoppable videos to make purchases. Shoppable video combines the power of video advertising with the convenience of online shopping, allowing consumers to purchase products seamlessly without ever leaving the video.

The consumer packaged goods industry is, in fact, among the top three for shoppable video engagement. This is excellent news for brands looking to reach back-to-school shoppers, as there's a significant opportunity to connect with consumers through this powerful medium.

Recent research has shown that 40% of digital buyers exposed to video ads engaged with the ads, highlighting the effectiveness of shoppable video as a marketing tool. By incorporating product links and purchase buttons directly into videos, brands can create a more engaging and immersive shopping experience for consumers, ultimately leading to increased sales and brand loyalty.

As consumers gear up for back-to-school shopping, CPG brands should consider leveraging the power of shoppable video to connect with their audience and drive sales. By creating compelling video content and integrating shoppable features, brands can capture consumers' attention and make it easier than ever for them to make purchases.

Trend takeaway:

Utilize the combined power of video and shoppable media to drive consumers to take action with easy one-click Add-to-List/Cart Shoppable Video solutions. 

BTS Shopping: Why the Season Starts Earlier Than You Think

If it feels like back-to-school shopping season starts earlier every year, you’re right! In 2022, Numerator asked consumers when they planned to shop for children’s back-to-school items. 

While early August garnered 26% of respondents' top ranking, pre-July topped over 21% of shoppers' preferred buying windows, reflecting a three-percent increase over 2021. Only 9% of consumers looked to late August or September to shop, dropping two points over the previous year, reflecting the tendency to prep early for their kids’ necessities. 

With shoppers starting BTS earlier each year, brands must be ready to capitalize on the seasonal demand shift. Working with an ad partner that can measure shopper intent is vital for targeting in-market consumers and getting the most from ad spend. 

Trend takeaway:

Start early! Knowing your audience’s shopping behavior and coupling that understanding with an ad partner with a broader picture of consumer shopping trends will keep your brand ahead of the BTS game. 

The 2023 back-to-school season presents an exciting opportunity for CPG brands to capture the attention of parents and students with effective advertising strategies. To stay ahead of the competition and increase sales, brands must embrace the latest advertising trends, including embracing an omnichannel approach, highlighting long-term savings and value, promoting healthy snacks, and leveraging shoppable video content. By keeping up with these trends and staying attuned to the evolving needs of their target audience, brands can make the most of this critical sales season and build long-lasting relationships with their customers.

AdAdapted is happy to help you leverage these trends in your BTS strategies. Reach out today! 

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