Kantar Sees Specialty Advertisers Taking Clicks For Back-To-School Search Campaigns

An early look by Kantar Media analysts at advertisers’ share of clicks on some 278 non-branded BTS-related keywords for back-to-school campaigns running on Google desktop and mobile in the U.S. from July 1 through 15, 2019 reveals a couple of surprises.

Specialty advertisers are taking the lead. BagsInBulk.com, for example, emerges as the top advertiser with an 8% click share. DiscountMugs.com ranked No. 3, with a 6.3% click share. Both of these specialty advertisers appear predominantly for school backpack keywords, according to Jim Leichenko, director of marketing, media division at Kantar.

In mobile, Leichenko said, keywords for product listing ads related to backpacks were responsible for a strong showing by Etsy, eBags and SwissGear, which would not have made it into the top 10 without them.

"Niche players are doing very well," Leichenko said. "If you're not doing well on certain keywords, look at improving your offer."

He said other advertisers are taking advantage of the back-to-school season to get in front of consumers -- the type of advertisers that consumers wouldn't think belong in the back-to-school category, like those in consumer products goods. 

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Then you have telecom providers talking about telephone plans that tie in to back-to-school. “These are nimble marketers taking advantage of every opportunity,” Leichenko said.

Within text ads, there are a lot more specialty retailers ranking in the top 10 than in PLAs. They are largely focused on textbooks and school supplies. One that stood out as different from the others is AmazonBusiness.com -- Amazon’s site for office supplies, which ranked No. 2 on desktop and No. 3 on mobile, based on school supply keywords.

Amazon, the site, also ranked in mobile for similar keywords -- giving the marketplace two opportunities to appear in mobile results rather than the one.

It’s still early, Leichenko said. The height of the paid-search campaign season for back-to-school is August.

Last year, Dell took the top paid-search ad spot on back-to-school search terms in 2018, garnering 7.6% of all desktop clicks and 8.1% of all mobile clicks on product listing ads.

In this set of keywords, Kantar studied 278 non-branded back-to-school keywords including terms such as “school backpacks,” “school uniforms,” “best laptops for college” and "dorm refrigerator," from July to September 2018.

Rounding out the top five in desktop click share on product listing ads were Walmart at 4.5%, Kohl's at 3.5%, Old Navy at 3.5%, and Target at 3.2%.

For mobile click share, Best Buy came in at 6.2% share, Walmart at 5.4%, Kohls at 4.1%, and LL Bean at 3.7%.

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