menu close
menu close
back to Insight Page

Back to School Targeting on Facebook: Attracting the Right Customers

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Social media marketing makes a lot of sense when it comes to the 2014 back to school shopping season. There are a number of factors prompting moms and millennials to purchase school supplies online this year:

  • Comparison shopping is much quicker and convenient on the Internet, which is available 24/7
  • Retailers often post online-only deals, and taking advantage doesn’t involve battling large crowds or busy parking lots
  • Online consumers often have product descriptions and peer reviews available at their fingertips, and have a wider selection of styles and models to browse
  • Personalization, such as monograms or custom colors, is also a draw

While it may be tempting to focus on a traditional metric like click-through rate (CTR) when assessing a back to school campaign’s effectiveness, conversions should be the prime key performance indicator (KPI). Retailers and eCommerce advertisers should make it very clear via images and copy what shoppers will get if they click on an ad. According to Google, a whopping 94% of shoppers can be swayed to purchase an item based on a promotion or sale, especially when it comes to consumer electronics.

Back to School Targeting on Facebook

Why is well-defined targeting so important? Online shoppers will be deluged by back to school ads as Labor Day approaches, which means the most relevant ads will get the most attention.

Facebook allows you to target audiences by age and gender across desktop and mobile devices, but what’s more interesting is the ability to target by education status (high school, college, grad school), school name (e.g. Georgetown or UCLA), and major (e.g. English or Political Science). Combining age range and education status is one way to ensure you are reaching your target demographic. You can also reach users within a certain radius of a city (e.g. 50 miles outside of Boston) or exclude cities that you’ve already marketed to.

Only interested in shoppers who are likely in the market for seasonal products? Facebook allows you to target people who have expressed an interest in or liked Pages related to keywords such as:

  • Back to School
  • Graduate Management Admission Test
  • Freshman Class 2014

You can also play up the deal aspect of your back to school sales by targeting shoppers who have liked price-sensitive Pages such as Coupon Divas or CouponClipinista.

Behavior targeting is the most granular method of all. Using information from Facebook’s Partner Categories, you can choose only to reach people who have issued payments to a third party site using the Facebook platform in the past 30 days, people in households that buy children’s products, and people in households that shop between September 1st and November 30th. An additional tip for targeting moms: It may be cheaper to bid on ads associated with the clothes they wear, rather than the children in their household. Shoppers of “mature apparel” brands like Talbots, White House/Black Market, and Lands End are likely candidates for back to school campaigns.

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Back to School Campaigns on Facebook

1. Think outside the box. Even if your service or product doesn’t directly tie in with education, you can jump on the bandwagon:

Grocery Delivery


“Delivered straight to your dorm.”

Home Cleaning


“Start off on the right foot with your roommate.”



“Look smart for school.”

Car Sharing


“Visit your parents and bring your laundry.”

2. Don’t be afraid to go “old.” Some of Nanigans’ clients’ highest value customers are in the 55+ age demographic. Remember: Grandparents tend to shop for their grandkids, and Facebook has a healthy user base of seniors. Don’t discount teachers shopping for supplies, either.

3. Use website or app data about top performing products to inform your back to school ad campaigns. Is there a specific product category that consistently outsells the others? A particular brand or even color that is trending? Use that information to guide your selection process.

4. Provide a cohesive cross channel experience for busy shoppers on the go who are looking for deals by providing easy access to coupons, product, and pricing information. Keep in mind: Customers may be viewing your ads and landing pages on desktops, smartphones, and tablets, evaluating on one device and purchasing on the other, so make sure your creative components are optimized to each environment.

5. Create a sense of urgency for Labor Day shoppers by offering a week-long cascade of discounts, flash sales, and other promotions leading up to the long weekend.


next post

But wait, there's more

Join Our Newsletter