While students kick back and enjoy long summer days, their parents have a different focus: scooping up deals on all the clothes their kids need for the upcoming school year.
Back-to-school spending starts early with major fashion sales kicking off in July (we’re looking at you, Amazon Prime Day!) and more to come as the summer stretches on.
Since fashion advertisers and publishers don’t want to fall behind the competition, now is the time to launch back-to-school fashion campaigns, and we’re here to teach you everything you need to know to be on trend.
This back-to-school marketing guide for publishers and advertisers in the Fashion vertical can serve as your lesson plan. Below you’ll learn all about last year’s product and content trends, what’s in store for this year, the news trends you can use to enhance your marketing, and the targeting and creative best practices that power successful campaigns.
You can never be overdressed or overeducated.
Last Year’s Trends: Dressed to Rule the School
Statista reported that 2021 back-to-school spending broke all records, totaling $37.1 billion or about $850 per American household. Nearly half of all back-to-school shopping was done online, and 75% of consumers turned to mass retailers for many purchases. While parents spent almost $300 on electronics, apparel (clothing, accessories, and shoes) was the biggest expenditure at just over $400.
Data from Skimlinks (a Taboola-owned company), which tracks consumer clicks and purchases from publisher affiliate links, supports the Statista findings and offers deeper insights.
Top-Performing Content: Guides Earned Top Marks
Back-to-school guides packed with offers and deals generated the highest click volume and commissions across publisher sites.
Top-Performing Merchants: Cool, Comfort Brands Scored Big
Everlane, J. Crew, Lululemon, VIDA, and STATE Bags were among the merchants that earned the highest click volume, commissions, and order values.
Top-Performing Products: Fashion and Tech Won Most Popular Products
The best-selling products came from the apparel and electronics categories as students prepared for hybrid and in-person school years.
Shopping Predictions For This Year: Your Cheat Sheet
Given that last year, 25% of back-to-school and college shoppers started picking up their essentials in June, according to the NRF, we expect to see a similarly early start for this year. Over 60% of consumers also took advantage of big summer sales events like Amazon Prime Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, making Q3 an opportune time to generate income.
Students will be looking forward to strutting down the hallways in style, which is fantastic news for those in the Fashion vertical. We expect fashion brands that blend comfort and understated coolness (like J.Crew, Lululemon, and Everlane) to make strong showings on shopping lists, so make sure you’re part of an affiliate program that offers you access to the most-wanted brands. If you need to expand your affiliate network, look to Skimlinks, which gives you access to thousands of brands and provides affiliates with higher commissions than most.
As consumers are now incredibly comfortable with online shopping, we believe e-commerce spending will continue to increase. According to Statista, four out of five parents report that their children significantly influence back-to-school fashion and accessory purchases. Since Gen Z and Alpha expect online purchases to arrive in about two days, prioritize brands that offer expedited shipping options. These generations also strongly support sustainable brands; to satisfy them and their parents’ desire for deals, spotlight sales on those kinds of products.
News Trends: School Is in Style
Publisher news trends represent the topics consumers are most interested in. Using them to guide content strategy and incorporating them into campaign headlines will lead to more clicks and higher commissions.
At the beginning of June, our U.S. publisher network data showed three specific trends you should incorporate into your fashion-oriented back-to-school campaigns.
Deals: 2,456,970 pageviews in the last 90 days
Style and Fashion Beauty: 745,020 pageviews in the last 90 days
Amazon Prime Day: 51,070 pageviews in the last 90 days
Publishers Making A Fashion Statement
Let’s see how premium publishers use those search trend keywords in their content to tap into consumer interests to drive clicks and sales.
Business Insider helps parents out with its comprehensive guide for back-to-school deals.
NY Mag published this guide filled with previously recommended items readers can score on sale during Amazon Prime Day.
Knowing everyone wants to look their best, USA TODAY compiled a list of must-have back-to-school beauty products.
Campaign Targeting Best Practices: Follow these “Principals”
The targeting strategies you choose are an essential piece of the campaign puzzle. The right ones will help ensure that your campaigns attract the most attention while optimizing your ad spend to increase ROI.
- Automate with SmartBid: Taboola’s SmartBid, powered by deep learning and historical data, maximizes your budget by automatically increasing or decreasing each impression bid based on how likely the impression is to convert.
- Select High Impact Placements: If your objective is to raise awareness, use Taboola’s High Impact Placements, which guarantees your campaigns are surrounded by brand-safe content and appear in the most desirable areas on premium publisher sites, including the homepage, section front, mid-article and in Taboola Feed, Taboola Stories or mobile-integrated news feeds.
- Try Motion Ads: Taboola’s Motion Ads use short video assets instead of static images to make them stand out from other ads. This format offers higher CRVs and lower CPAs, making them ideal for consideration and conversion goals. Always use an A/B test strategy to optimize your campaign’s performance.
Success in the classroom comes from hours of studying and hard work. To save you time, we’ve done the research for you and analyzed thousands of campaigns to find the facts that will help you ace your campaign targeting strategy.
Based on data from our US advertisers in the Fashion vertical (as of May 5, 2022), the following targeting strategies will yield higher CTRs and lower spend.
Performance by Content-Type: Prioritize Video over Photo and Text
Performance by Platform – Brand Awareness: Increase awareness with Tablet campaigns over Mobile and Desktop
Performance by Platform – Leads: Generate more leads with Tablet campaigns over Mobile and Desktop
Performance by Platform – Purchases: Increase purchases with Mobile and Tablet campaigns over Desktop
Creative Ad Best Practices: Time for Art Class
In art classes, teachers constantly talk about how colors and image content impact the viewer and can be used to evoke different feelings. Crafting your campaign creative is no different. While you don’t always need to color inside the lines, following data-backed insights about the visual and verbal elements that will encourage consumers to click will undoubtedly put you on a winning path.
Taboola Trends is a tool that analyzes billions of campaign interactions to provide the creative advice you need. Think of it as a guidance counselor.
As of June 12, U.S. advertisers in the Fashion vertical should consider the following advice:
Images: Increase your campaign CTR by using images without text (+118%), with food (+79%), and with women (+74%).
Video Completion Rates: Earn higher video completion rates by including winter scenes (+100%) and skipping text overlays (+12%).
Video Viewability Rates: Use footage that shows people stretching (+98%), singing (+25%), and swimming (+2%) to increase viewability rates.
Headlines: If English class taught you anything, it’s that words matter: what you say and how you say it makes all the difference. Sometimes, adding a number or action word can change your headline and click-through rate completely. Try Taboola’s Title Analyzer to see how different versions of your campaign headline will perform before you even launch it.
Out of the headlines we tested, ‘Back-to-school Fashion: 15 Items Every Teen Girl Wants’ would be the way to go.
We’ve thrown a lot of information at you, so to put it all together, here are some examples of campaigns incorporating the news and creative trends we discussed.
Case Studies: Gather Round for Show and Style
When Velasca, an Italian fashion brand, wanted to increase brand awareness, lower its CPA and reach new audiences, it partnered with Taboola. With the brand’s campaigns appearing on premium publisher sites, it was able to attract high-quality traffic, resulting in a 25% increase in leads and a 15% decrease in CPA.
To get more value from its campaigns, Australian marketplace Yarn turned to Taboola to promote product pages using sponsored content, retargeting and attentive audience targeting. During the campaign, Yarn achieved a 300% increase in ROAS and decreased CPA across its entire media mix.
Head to the P(r)ep Rally
We’ve given you all the back-to-school campaign essentials you need to create marketing campaigns anyone would be proud to hang on the fridge. If you start planning your strategy now and launch your campaigns without delay, your future will look so bright that your competition will need shades!