Digital Strategies for This Year's Back to School Shopping | Adtaxi

Digital Strategies for This Year’s Back to School Shopping

Digital Marketing

Jennifer Flanagan

Aug 18 2020

Back to school shopping has changed significantly in 2020 as compared to previous years. The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered many in their homes and kept them out of department stores, office supply retailers, and tech stores. 

However, despite parents and children staying home, demand remains high for many industries that typically target back to school shoppers. 77 percent of parents and 85 percent of kids expect that the amount of back to school shopping will be the same or greater than last year despite the uncertainty of whether or not they will be attending school in person. 

All that demand has to go somewhere, and this year many will do their back to school shopping online. According to a Deloitte study, parents of children in K-12 will spend 10 billion online compared to 8 billion in 2019, and a Paypal study showcased that 73 percent of parents and 65 percent of students will do their shopping online. Brands must be prepared for a rush to digital channels like web, mobile, social, and video if they hope to remain competitive through the 2020 back to school shopping season. 

Winning Back to School Online Shopping

If brands want a successful back to school season, they’ll need to focus on digital strategies to win customers. Digitally-native brands have an immense opportunity here — with an influx of online shoppers, they know how to win a more democratic online marketplace but will need further investment to win customers new to shopping online. Blue tag brands will have to adapt their more traditional models to a digital strategy if they want to compete with the digitally native brands. There are a few different ways that brands can best leverage digital channels to perfect their customers’ back to school shopping experience. 

Social Media

Social media is becoming one of the most effective digital marketing channels for selling online. However, just putting an ad on Instagram or Twitter and expecting it to perform will not result in the kind of conversion you might be hoping for. Brands must leverage data, hone in on their audience, and take a measured, holistic approach to their social media strategy if they want to find success. 


Paid ads are still one of the most important online advertising channels, but just like with social media, a blind point-and-shoot approach won’t win you clicks. Programmatic creates an automated and sophisticated approach to your paid ad strategy and allows you to go beyond audience targeting through segmentation and to lean on dynamic content to personalize the message and imagery of your ads to create the perfect ad for each customer. Utilize sophisticated data analytics based on your most successful campaigns across channels and devices to create successful ads with programmatic.

Connected TV

Say goodbye to cable commercials — advertising through digital video has become one of the most cost-effective methods of digital advertising, with a $0.10 cost per 100% completed video. In a recent survey, 85 percent of millennials stated they’ve purchased an item after watching a video. Video is another great channel to utilize for a successful back to school season. 


Finally, search advertisements are absolutely critical during the online shopping influx of back to school parents and students. Whatever shoppers need — traditional items like tech or clothes, or new items like hand sanitizer, masks, or a desk — there’s a good chance they are going to search for it on Google at some point. Are your search ads performing to their peak potential

Digital advertising will be an absolutely crucial element of any 2020 back to school retail strategy. This year, in-store advertising and more traditional channels won’t cut it on their own. To win on digital, brands have to invest in digital. From social to search, from digital video to programmatic, brands need to enhance their digital strategy if they want to win this year’s back to school shoppers’ spending.

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