Back-to-School Advertising and the Second-Screening Parent
23 September 2016 • tvsquared

It’s back-to-school time. You can feel it in the air, you can see it in the faces of teachers readying themselves for another year and you can hear it in store aisles as kids and parents bicker over supplies (apologies to anyone in Target who had to listen to me and my daughter fight about markers a few weeks ago).

For advertisers, mid-July through early September, is the time to get a piece of the pie for back-to-school and college spend, which is estimated to be $75.8 billion this year (up by 11% from 2015).

A recent article by eMarketer reported that 32% of of Internet-using U.S. parents planned to use smartphones to make back-to-school purchases. Another 25% would use their devices for research purposes. Where this gets especially interesting is when you consider that 56% of Americans second-screen (engage in digital activity) while watching TV. The implications of these factors for advertisers – especially retailers – are huge.

For retailers (and most industries, actually), TV is still the most effective marketing channel. It’s unmatched in terms of reach and, due to analytical technologies, TV can now be targeted, measured and optimized just like digital. Savvy advertisers know that the right TV spots can reach the right consumers at the places and times they’re most likely to respond. Reach a second-screening parent – an active-participation viewer – with a well-timed and placed TV ad and you’ve got yourself a sale.

Retailers’ advertising efforts are now dependent on these feedback loops. WIRED described feedback loops as “action, information, reaction.” TV ads reach interested consumers and they immediately engage with brands via mobile devices. And this isn’t just a back-to-school phenomenon, it applies 24/7/365 for advertisers.

It’s examples like this that show just how important it is for advertisers to understand how TV impacts and influences other online and offline marketing channels. And the technology exists to help them do just that – identifying the most effective media mix to encourage that “action, information, reaction” loop and testing the impact of mix changes before putting them into flight.