Despite mounting inflation and an unpredictable future, the estimated back-to-school market size will reach $34.4 billion this year, up 24 percent since 2019. Even amid a looming recession, shoppers are expected to turn out in droves, and retailers stand to gain serious profits — so long as they can properly capitalize on advertising campaigns and get in front of desired audiences at the right time and place. By utilizing performance-driven programmatic strategies, such as location-based targeting with addressable programmatic as well as tapping into CTV advertising, retailers have the opportunity to share relevant messaging with those who seek it and gain new customers along the way.
Blended Strategies Using Location-Based Targeting Offer Multiple Benefits
Advertisers should leverage location-based targeting tactics, such as geo-fencing and addressable programmatic, as part of their back-to-school campaigns. These combinations allow retailers to conquest competitor store locations and reach consumers at the household level across all their devices, such as the big screen in the living room.
Behavioral targeting can also be added into the mix to reach relevant online consumers about sales and deals. Advertisers can also target users based on content consumption and even stay in touch with recent visitors and loyal customers by using site retargeting solutions. All of these targeting strategies work across every major programmatic media format, such as CTV, video, display, mobile, audio and native ad formats.
Furthermore, when advertisers tap into household-level targeting with addressable programmatic solutions, they can set up different campaigns based on thousands of demographic variables relevant to the back-to-school consumer. This includes various interests that would likely fit the ideal shopper, income ranges, and more to ensure they're targeting the correct audience. These tools are key for advertisers to reduce wasted impressions and maximize return on investment by reaching the right person at the right time with relevant messaging during this shopping season.
Drive Performance Through Real-Time Optimizations
With such a small window to attract customers, retailers will need to optimize their campaigns in real time in order to most effectively reach their target audience. Retailers can optimize campaigns throughout the flight and maximize budget towards what's working (and scale back on what's not) by tapping into granular and transparent reporting capabilities. Additionally, since schools start at different dates throughout the country, advertisers will have the opportunity to shift budget to certain locations and change focal points as parents across the nation get ready for the back-to-school shopping season at varying times. Both of these tactics can result in significantly better ROI for advertisers since they allow for strategies to be adjusted as needed.
Pair Precise Targeting With Advanced Analytics for Greater Attribution
Measuring foot traffic will be key for advertisers during this shopping season. By understanding the true performance of a campaign through attribution metrics like store visits, advertisers can make informed decisions and quickly pivot campaign strategies if needed. With this information, they can shift budgets to various targeting criteria and/or store locations that are performing well to eliminate wasted impressions and continue to drive performance.
Additionally, since online shopping is an increasingly popular option, advertisers will need a programmatic partner in place that can measure sales and cart values with advanced online attribution reporting capabilities. Knowing how your targeting efforts drive online actions (e.g., website visits, form-fills, adding products to shopping carts, purchases, etc.) will be essential during this time of year. All in all, finding a partner that can pair precise targeting with advanced analytics will be key to driving greater performance during this busy shopping season.
With the new school year quickly approaching, back-to-school shopping is projected to be up this year, and retailers can capitalize on ad campaigns during this time. Those that employ a blended targeting strategy using location-based targeting, behavioral targeting efforts, and advanced CTV advertising technology stand to gain the most from the increased sales this season.
During such a competitive time for retailers, marketers should leverage programmatic partners that provide advanced attribution capabilities that track both online and offline conversions, and in turn help marketers understand how their advertising is impacting the bottom line. These strategies and tactics can also be used throughout the rest of the year, especially as retailers head into the holiday shopping season this fall.
Ryan Horn is senior vice president of marketing at Simpli.fi, an advertising automation platform.
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Ryan Horn is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Simpli.fi. A marketing professional with a strong strategic vision coupled with tactical execution, he is responsible for corporate branding, lead generation, public relations and training. Prior to joining Simpli.fi, Horn worked at Think Finance, a financial lending technology company, and First Choice Power, a retail electric provider. Horn holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and a Bachelors degree in Business Management from Texas Tech University.