Retarget Your Back-To-School Campaigns Before the Bell Rings

(Originally posted in Business2Community)

Backpacks in banner ads. School supplies in search ads. Fall clothes in Facebook News Feeds.

Chances are, you’ve seen a few of these in the past couple of weeks. With back-to-school campaigns in full swing, your marketing team has already spent lots of time figuring out how to best target your customers with relevant ads, but your efforts shouldn’t stop there.

As campaigns roll out, it’s important to understand how to follow brand conversations, use analytics, and tweak campaigns appropriately to ensure your messaging continues to hit the mark.

The Power of Retargeting

Social media is the best way to retarget your back-to-school campaigns

Social Media works best for retargeting. Image courtesy of VerticalResponse.

For most websites, only 2 percent of traffic converts on the first visit. That’s where retargeting comes in. By monitoring your marketing campaign in real time, you can adjust it as necessary for maximum impact and target interested consumers where they’re already engaging.

Social media is the best route to take for retargeting success. Social lets you follow brand conversations in real time, which helps reveal any campaign adjustments you need to make.

For instance, you might change the segment you target (boys instead of girls, teens instead of parents) or which platforms you utilize (Facebook instead of Pinterest) based on insights you pull during the campaign.

Here’s how to use social to be more strategic in your retargeting efforts:

Take advantage of tools. Use the right tools to help you discover your brand’s influencers and fans, track popular content, and segment your audience. Whether you use social conversation tracking tools or choose to monitor it manually, make it a priority to dig deeper into the discovery of your brand influencers. These are the people who have the most influence over what people say and think about your brand. Then, work to foster ongoing relationships with these people.

Meet your audience where they are.  Brand conversations can tell you what’s resonating within specific demographics. Are teens latching on to your campaign, or do parents seem more interested? Adjust your campaign to target each group differently. Then, look at their interests (favorite websites, blogs, celebrities, etc.), and find ways to take your campaign there. For example, Teen Vogue recently declared the second Saturday in August as Back-to-School Saturday (#BTSS) to cater to its teen/tween audience. About 50 brands participated in offering promotions and product launches, promoted primarily through social media, a mobile insider app, and a dedicated website. Those brands were smart to latch on to Teen Vogue’s influence with teens, tweens, and 20-somethings.

Stay platform-agile. In the old days, marketers received insights about their audience months after putting in a request (by which time many insights were no longer relevant). Now, you should be taking advantage of the opportunity you have to follow conversations around your brand in real time. Analyze social chatter moment to moment, and switch platforms based on your insights. Keep in mind that enthusiasm for Facebook is declining among teens, but if you’re going after Mom and Dad, it might be the best place to be. Of course, these trends change quickly, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest social crazes.

Be mobile-minded. Mobile has redefined today’s retargeting. Not only does it allow you to reach your target anytime, anywhere, but it also lets you retarget banner, app, and browser ads based on consumers’ past activity. When they search for your products but don’t purchase, you can make sure the product they were considering follows them to future browsing sessions. Twitter is especially hot for retargeting right now because brands can share desktop cookies with Twitter to target users with Promoted Tweets.

Measure, tweak, repeat. If one of your retargeting choices isn’t performing as expected, make a quick change and measure again. For example, if parents aren’t responding to your back-to-school campaign, maybe it’s time to go straight to the source and target teens. If most of your audience is engaging from Pinterest, get aggressive with your pinning.

By continuing this cycle of research, planning, strategic implementation, execution, and more monitoring/research, you’ll cultivate a living, breathing campaign that remains relevant and laser-focused on your target audience — whether they’re teens trying to impress their friends or backpack-seeking moms and dads trying to tackle back-to-school fashion.

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