Some of the insights highlight queries with a clear link to products -- for example, "school supplies" create better results compared with related terms like 'school shopping" and "back to school sales," and social and content sites like YouTube, Seventeen, and Pinterest got the most clicks from the term "back to school" in 2013.
I'm not sure about other places, but schools around southern California just got out for the summer. Still, marketers should begin preparing for the 2014 fall season. The PM Digital 4th Annual Back To School Trends Study analyzes the most-searched terms, what attracts shoppers, and the most sought after products from 2013 to get marketers geared up for 2014. The study compares 2013 stats and forecasts for 2014, but also pulls in numbers from the first six months in the year and provides insights into the 2014 season for SEO, search, and social.
The National Retail Federation and Shop.org numbers estimate that back-to-school spending reached $72.5 billion in 2013. Although spending fell last year compared with the previous year, PM Digital estimates growth for this year.
Paid and organic search campaigns aimed at back-to-school shoppers become more noticeable by July and peak in mid-August. Online shopping begins and ends earlier than offline. Searches for dorm furniture have already begun to rise -- about a month earlier than backpacks, clothes and shoes. More consumers searched for products on Amazon last year compared with the previous year.
This dominance gave Amazon the top share of clicks for generic backpack terms, and
it is battling Apple for the No. 1 position in clicks for computer, laptop and tablet terms. While some Amazon traffic can be captured with product ads, those customers will likely expect lower
prices. PM Digital suggests it may cause the cost per click to rise.
The report also covers timing tactics. Last year, Walmart borrowed the concept of Cyber Monday for the back-to-school season, which ran in mid-August. At that time the back to school search had peaked. In 2014, Walmart's Back to Class Cyber Monday campaign could easily become the retailer's kickoff event if moved to July, per PM Digital.