Brands Do Their Homework: Content Helps Back-to-School Email Sales

Marketers still in the midst of their back-to-school campaigns might take this truth to heart: that school-related content helps drive sales.

Email newsletters devoted to personal finances and family and parenting perform two times better than the average, according to a study of 2019 back-to-school purchasing patterns by LiveIntent. 

And newsletters focused on the Home & Garden and Arts & Entertainment subject areas produce click-through rates three times higher than generic back-to-school campaigns. 

“Back-to-school audiences are traditionally K-12 parents or college-age students learning how to optimize their budget,” states Kerel Cooper, SVP global marketing at LiveIntent. 

Cooper adds that “for this reason, it makes most sense for back-to-school campaigns to be placed alongside content that would impact their purchasing decisions and in this case, personal finance and family & parenting publications would make the most impact.”



LiveIntent examined dozens of back to school campaigns from top retailers running on its platform. The company says it reaches 250 million people per month in email and other channels. 

The company cites a forecast from the National Retail Federation estimating that shoppers will spend over $80 billion during the 2019-2020 back-to-school season -- 17.2% of the year's retail sales.  

In other results, LiveIntent found that afternoons are the best time for back-to-school campaigns, between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

Predictably, the hours between 1 a.m. an 5 a.m. generate the fewest conversions. Fridays and Sundays are best for clicks and conversions, and Wednesdays and Saturdays are the worst. 

“Timing is very critical here, and pushing out earlier might backfire if they aren’t picking the right times,” Cooper says. 

Tablets are the best-performing device, generating a 50% higher CTR than PCs and phones. 

Cooper concludes that “marketers’ spend can be best used for targeting folks on tablets at the beginning and end of the weekend, when their target audience is able to take the time to shop.”


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