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Back To School: Why You're Already Late To The Game

While back to school is supposed to mark the end of summer and a new chapter in a student’s life, these days it really means one thing: shopping season. Students dream of the new gear they’ll be sporting, but for parents it means emptying out their pockets for new notebooks, sneakers and other school essentials. And for brands, it means the beginning of the push that will lead into Holiday 2016 shopping.


back to schoolThe back to school season is huge – second only to winter holiday shopping season, and consumers are spending a lot on back to school – $68 billion to be precise, according to the NRF’s stats from 2015. However, more recent studies have shown consumers may be pulling back the reins on back to school shopping this year. According to a recent Bizrate Insights poll, 62% of households plan to spend less this year on back to school shopping – $606 for primary, middle and high school students, and $1,086 for college students on average.


With less money potentially being spent in 2016, it’s increasingly important for brands to hone in on their marketing messages to reach the right audience. It’s also equally as important tell these stories through the correct avenues and at the right time. With shopper distrust of traditional brand advertising on the rise, and an influx in mobile usage and social media dominance in influencing purchasing decisions, now may be the best time of the year to get started in influencer marketing.


Here are our tips for getting started with your back to school campaigns, and why you’re already late to the game if you haven’t started yet.


How Consumers Are Shopping For Back To School

The first question we asked was how consumers are planning to spend during this back to school season. The stats we found were surprising – check them out for yourself…

  • Right now, about 69% of shoppers use their mobile device to research products (Bizright Insights)
  • Every two out of three shoppers turn to blogs, social media, or online reviews for their back to school clothing inspiration (Crowdtap Study)
  • Mobile shopping is growing, and it is about to be an integral part of the 2016 season of back to school shopping, with nearly 20% of shoppers purchasing items directly via mobile devices (NRF Report)

In today’s interconnected world, consumers are turning to mobile devices for inspiration more than ever, meaning shopping no longer just happens at the mall or on a computer. Nowadays more customers feel comfortable and confident purchasing in the moment on their phone – perhaps even when they’re first introduced to a product.


How to Reach Back To School Shoppers

Social Media has always been an important part of any marketing campaign, but these reported upticks in mobile usage only amplify its importance. In fact 80% of social media time is now spent on mobile devices according to ComScore, and 74% of consumers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions according to ODM Group.


Let’s take a look at some stats about some of the social media platforms supported by Grapevine, YouTube and Instagram:

With 82% of consumers more likely to follow an influencers decision vs. the 73% who would follow an average consumer’s decision (MarketingSherpa), utilizing influencers in a brand marketing approach is the smartest move you can make.


Why You Should Start Your Back To School Campaigns Now

How customers are shopping this back to school season may be surprising, but what is more surprising is when they’re planning to do their shopping. Yes, the summer solstice may have occurred just over a week ago, but back to school shopping is already happening.


According to Bizrate Insights, more than 12% of shoppers have already done their back to school shopping before the month of June, plus another 12% throughout the month of June.



Of course there are still shoppers out there – you aren’t completely out of luck! About 63% of shoppers plan to do their shopping throughout July and early August, with over 50% happening from mid-July to mid-August. There’s still time to get campaigns up and running, but not for long, especially if you’re investigating an influencer marketing approach.


At Grapevine, we typically see a 2 – 3 week lead time from the launch of a campaign until the first creator content is live. If you’re looking to strike back to school shopping while the iron is hot, you’ve only got a couple more weeks to do it! Want to get started now? Click here to connect with a member of our team and get started.

Who You Should Work With

There are hundreds of thousands of creators out there, so we know how hard it is to narrow down your options to who would best represent your brand. And back to school shopping season doesn’t make the choice any easier. Partnering with a younger creator, who typically has a like minded audience, is not a bad place to start. Bizrate Insights says 59% of shoppers are influenced by their children’s preferences when shopping for back to school items, and these children’s preferences could easily be swayed by their favorite YouTubers or Instagramers. However, you may also want to consider the young adult creators who can reach viewers that tend to do their own shopping.


Another great option are mom-focussed content creators on YouTube. As stated by Marketing Land this past May,

“Mommy bloggers are influencers who are already creating content that is being avidly followed by parents, and the back-to-school shopping season is no exception. Brands looking to reach Millennial moms can partner with these bloggers to insert products into the influencer’s photogenic lifestyle.”

Thankfully, Grapevine has plenty of mom-focussed creators to choose from. Here are a couple of our picks to make getting started even easier:


Ellie Mecham

Ellie’s lifestyle channel ranges from makeup tutorials to shopping hauls to family updates. Check out her busy life and her adorable young boys in the video below!



April is another great Grapevine mommy vlogger, providing viewers with a mixture of DIYs, beauty tips, reviews and more. Her school supplies haul from a couple years ago is a great example of what a back to school campaign video could look like for you!

Keep in mind, the creators you work with ultimately come down to what you think is the best audience for your product. If you are still stumped on who to work with, try reading “Three Tips for Attracting Content Creators”.



As the end of June comes to a close, make sure you have your back to school plans in order. At Grapevine, we can provide you with the right creators and tools to help create a lucrative Back To School campaign. The longer you wait, the more shoppers you miss out on, so let’s get the show on the road!








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Thanks so much! Looking forward to hearing more from you soon!

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