Back-To-School Still Open to Buy
According to a new study by PointRoll, Back-to-School revenues from this year's shopping season for K-12 and college combined are expected to rise sharply from 2009 levels. Back-to-School season, notes the report, represents a vital period for certain manufacturers and retailers who do some of their biggest business as families and students stock up on gear for the new school year, ranking second only to winter holidays.
For this evaluation, PointRoll examined advertiser activity including size and timing of media campaigns, consumer engagement with advertisements, and activity on retailers' sites. According to an analysis of data over the last three years, manufacturers and retailers of Apparel and Office and School Supplies (OSS) categories such as pens, paper, printers, glue, and other consumables tended to reduce their media efforts by 75% from their peak at the end of August and prior to Labor Day.
However, PointRoll advertisement engagement, and ShopLocal retailer site data, indicate that users remained highly interested and engaged with advertisements and offers from these marketers into September and after school started. This gap between marketing activity and consumer interest, says the report, represents a potential missed opportunity for OSS and Apparel marketers.
In contrast to OSS and Apparel categories, which garnered consumer interest well into September, Computer advertisements achieved higher consumer engagement earlier in the summer, with Interaction Rate (IR) tapering off through the end of August by approximately 10%.
When evaluating several key engagement metrics such as Interaction Rate, Brand Time, and Click-Through Rate (CTR) across Back-to-School categories, the study found that top features spanned branding and direct response techniques and included Dynamic Ads, Video, Coupons, Surveys, Data Collection, File Downloads and Games.
The evaluation of several key online engagement metrics such as Interaction Rate, Brand Time, and Click-Through Rate indicates that the best-performing Website Categories for Back-to-School manufactures and retailers included Music & Streaming Media, Games, Learning & Reference, and Computer & Technology sites for OSS marketers.
Apparel marketers enjoyed additional success in Advertising/Marketing, Yellow & White Pages, Kids & Family, and Portal categories. Computer marketers enjoyed success in a diverse set of Website Categories including Games, Comics & Humor, Automotive, Home & Garden, Portals, and Music & Streaming Media sites, representing many pockets of interest.
This report also includes data from Aperture, BlueKai, and Nielsen to provide insight into consumer behavior and online activity:
· Women ages 46 to 55 appeared to be the most active online shoppers during the Back-to-School period, followed by a younger group in the 26 to 35 age range. Most highly engaged households tended to have a presence of teenage children in the home. The analyses also indicates that View-Through Rate appeared to be a significantly more accurate measure of marketer effectiveness than Click-Through Rate
· Insights covering consumer purchase intent for children's clothing, shoes and accessories for the 2009 Back-to-School period showed that mid-August purchase intent indicators grew 100% week-over-week compared to the index from early June. The index continued to experience a 60% week-over-week growth through the end of September
· Profiles on consumer groups and households most relevant for Back-to-School marketers, based on the Nielsen Family Life Lifestage categorization, found that three of the four Family Life categories indexed especially high on intent to purchase laptops and children's clothing. In addition, two of the categories (Accumulated Wealth and Young Accumulators) indexed high with respect to shopping or researching online
Research from the National Retail Foundation (NRF) released in July 2010 shows that revenues from K-12 and college shoppers combined are expected to reach $55.12B, increasing by a robust 11% from 2009, and edging out 2008 results. Of this amount, approximately two thirds will be spent on behalf of college students, with one third spent on students K-12.
While 52% of all college students live with their parents, 6% have moved out on their own in the past year. The uncertain economy will continue to affect buying decisions, however, as over 44% of this population plan to purchase generic or store brands, up from 41% in the prior year. Parents remain the primary purchasers, although six in ten indicate that their children are able to influence over 50% of their spending.
Apparel (including shoes) comprises the largest category of spending at 54% of total, followed by Computers and Consumer Electronics at 30%, followed by Office and School Supplies at 16%.
the NRF poll shows that 71.2% will shop in discount stores and (3.9% will shop in their favorite department stores. Other popular shopping destinations include:
· Clothing stores (49.0%)
· Electronics stores (23.0%)
· Office supply stores (41.2%)
· Drug stores (19.5%)
· Thrift stores (17.0%)
The analysis evaluated data gathered over four years, from 2006 through 2009, and includes 488 PointRoll campaigns and 17 ShopLocal-hosted online Circular Sites. We also evaluated performance data of Back-to-School brand and retailer advertisers from mid-June through mid-October in the aggregate for these years to understand key activity patterns and trends before and after the conventional Back-to-School advertising season.
Finally, the report includes some key ad impression and interaction data:
PointRoll defines Interaction Rate (IR) as the percentage of ad Impressions where there is interaction by a user. An Interaction can be a Roll-Over, Panel Activity or Click-Through. Interaction Rate is calculated by dividing total Interactions by total rich media Impressions. In this study they found Interaction Rate across Features:
· Gaming... 8.21%
· Dynamic Data... 8.20%
· Non User Initiated Video... 4.69%
· Data Collection... 8.32%
Brand Time (BT) - The average amount of time (in seconds) users interact with an ad for at least one second. Brand Time across Features (in Seconds):
· Gaming... 12.70
· Dynamic Data... 13.31
· Non User Initiated Video... 20.68
· User Initiated Video... 15.58
· Interactive Video... 25.85
Click-Through Rate (CTR) - The percentage of clicked-on Impressions. Click-Through Rate across Features:
· 0.28%... Gaming
· 0.69%... Dynamic Data
· 0.22%... Non User Initiated Video
· 0.14%... User InitiatedVideo
· 0.78%... Promo/Coupon
Source: PointRoll Benchmarking Data, 2006-2009
For additional information about the study, please visit PointRoll here.