3 Platforms to Improve Your Back-to-School Social Advertising

Big crowds, long lines, and piles of clutter are all inevitables of the back-to-school shopping season for consumers. As sales are set to soar again this year—it’s forecasted that US retail ecommerce back-to-school sales will increase 15.4% in 2018—big brands and agencies should take the hint and ramp up their back-to-school social advertising initiatives for the coming years.

Historically, the back-to-school shopping season begins when several million high school seniors toss their caps in the air in May and ends near Labor Day. The months that lay ahead present brands and advertisers with billions of opportunities—preparation for college is expected to be at its highest this year, making up a significant sum of the expected $82.2 billion in overall back-to-school spending.

For the younger generation, more than 50 million elementary and secondary school-aged children will be continuing their education—it’s anticipated that families with children in this age range plan to spend $684.79 this year.

However, the back-to-school season is almost over this year, meaning planning for next year is soon to come. So, as you’re drafting your media plans and deciding where to spend your ad dollars next year, here are a few tips you can use to help move the needle in your favor:

Use Augmented Reality on Snapchat to Reach New Audiences

According to Snapchat, Snapchatters in the US spend an extra 130 million hours on the app during the back-to-school season. Given the app’s popularity among teens, this makes sense. Advertisers have the opportunity to reach captive audiences of students keeping in tow with one another in this app.

If you’re looking to maximize your back-to-school social advertising initiatives this year, Snapchat’s done plenty in recent history to warrant serious attention, such as the new addition of Shoppable AR to its lenses—an enhancement that connects the social commerce boundaries.

With a 20% increase in Filter and Lens views every day during the back-to-school season, a rich media advertising strategy is sure to make an impact and drive action among your target audience. In order to make the best use of the platform, it’s essential to use Snapchat’s AR-driven Filter and Lens campaigns to hone in on Snapchat’s millennial-driven user base. The ability to seamlessly integrate your brand into the Filters and Lenses that students are sharing and using creates an unmatched advantage for your brand.

Own Your Moments with Instagram

Instagram’s consumer-centric features allow you to be a valuable mobile asset to back-to-school shoppers given that 800,000 shoppers use Instagram every month. Through product reviews or timely promotions, you can make sure you’re at the center of consumers’ busy moments. Think of this as your opportunity to help them make quick, informed decisions.

One way to do this is via Instagram’s ‘live’ video option, which makes the most of influencer interaction in a way that’s both authentic and unscripted. Whether it’s an influencer going shopping or packing their lunch, live footage has the potential to strum up a significant amount of fan conversation and engagement

However, perhaps the most notable feature on this front offered by Instagram is Instagram Shopping. This customer-centered feature turns your business into a visually appealing storefront for your community to explore. The shopping experience is seamless with the improved consideration, easy path to purchase, and simple post creation.

Drive Action During Big Moments on Pinterest

According to Pinterest, 80% of US moms and 40% of US dads are on Pinterest, which gives you the perfect opportunity to reach parents while they shop for the new school year. There’s no question that families turn to Pinterest during the back-to-school season. Rather, the question is how do you use the inherent behaviors of Pinners to your advantage?  

Pinterest’s advanced targeting capabilities are a good place to start. For example, Pinterest Audiences can help you hone in on the right audience. Once you’ve identified your most valuable customers, you can use actalike audiences to find and target others like them. Meanwhile, customer list targeting uses first-party data to reach subsets like existing customers or re-engage inactive ones.

In an ecosystem that breeds discoverability, don’t forget to leverage broader targeting, like interests and behaviors to attract audiences as they search and discover throughout the platform.


With the back-to-school season in full swing, don’t put your social advertising on the back burner. Social commerce is proving to be more popular, validating the need to incorporate seamless marketing campaigns on social media. Making the path to purchase easier and more visible for consumers during the hectic back-to-school season is where the real value lies.