Back-to-school Marketers in An Experian Marketing Services White Paper June 2014

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1 5 Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in 2014 An Experian Marketing Services White Paper June 2014

2 CONTENTS Introduction...2 #1: Identifying back-to-school shoppers...2 #2: Key search activity by month...3 #3: Top back-to-school search activity in Targeting deal seekers...3 Emerging back-to-school trends...4 #4: Understanding how to target college students...4 College students are deal-seekers...4 What college students (and their parents) are searching for online...5 #5: Tailoring s for back-to-school success...5 Timing for back-to-school campaigns...5 Apparel and accessories mailings...6 Personal and school supplies mailings...6 s for beauty products and shoes...7 Subject line tips to craft A+ campaigns...7 Targeting by school level...7 Time to craft your back-to-school campaign Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

3 Introduction Back-to-school is one of the biggest times of the year for retailers behind the winter holiday season. The Experian Marketing Services team has taken a look at what worked for marketers during the 2013 back-to-school season and developed some recommendations for this year. These key findings and recommendations will help drive revenue and make your marketing programs pop this year. #1: Identifying back-to-school shoppers Let s start by looking at the percentage of adults who made online purchases over the past few years. The overall number has been steadily rising and online purchases during the back-to-school season have been growing as well. Back-to-school purchasing seems to be leading right into the holiday shopping season for both parent- and non-parent shoppers. In fact, last year there was a 17 percent relative increase in the percentage of non-parents who made an online purchase between the first week of and the last week of. Among parents, we saw a relative increase of 25 percent. Made an online purchase last 30 days 40% 3 30% 2 20% 03/31/ /23/ /15/ /25/ /02/ /08/ /17/ /01/ /09/ /26/ /19/ /11/ /03/ /20/ /28/ /12/ /05/ /27/ /13/ /21/ /05/ /28/ /22/ /07/ /15/ /30/ /24/ Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

4 # 2: Key search activity by month The types of search terms we see throughout the back-to-school season vary significantly each month Search activity started to pick up after the 4th holiday. During this month, search terms for back to school clothes and school clothes rose throughout the month and peaked during the last week of The key search activity for back-to-school related terms really peaked during the month of. To be more specific, searches during the week of 3rd were at their highest, a 19 percent increase from the same week in During this time, searches for back to school supplies and school supplies were the most popular. By the third week of, there was growth for search terms like back to school hairstyles, back to school clipart, back to school images and back to school ideas Although search activity started to slow down in, it picked up again for back to school clothes and school clothes during the first two weeks after school started. We believe there was a second wave of interest in school clothes after the students started school and saw what fellow students were wearing. Timing of back-to-school campaigns can matter. While searches for back-to-school items peak in, there is a growing opportunity to start campaigns for school supplies in. In, try adding mailings for clothing and accessories as these types of campaigns have worked well early in the month. #3: Top back-to-school search activity in 2013 Targeting deal seekers Adding in the year was a common tactic for many searchers hoping to receive the most relevant and up-to-date search results. Naturally, the term 2013 had a huge increase over the previous year. Another interesting find was the use of deal-seeking keywords. Terms like free and sales showed up frequently as shoppers went online to investigate the best deals out there. Looking at Experian Marketing Services Deal Seekers segmentation, data showed that moms are 48 percent more likely than average to be Deal-Seeking Influentials, defined as those consumers who are always seeking the best deal online, offline and via mobile. Top back-to-school related keywords ranked by volume % 2. ideas supplies +49% 4. free +33% 5. bulletin -47% 6. sales +68% 2013, compared YoY Moms are a key demographic to target during the back-to-school season. Test the use of deal-seeking words in promotional campaigns to attract this demographic. 5 Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

5 Emerging back-to-school trends Many interesting new trends emerged in 2013 as Experian Marketing Services dug deeper into the actual back-to-school search terms being used. Searches for Pinterest increased 377 percent year-over-year (2013 vs. 2012) as people looked to the site for back-to-school fashion and hairstyles The term DIY (do it yourself) became a top-searched keyword that highlights how students desire unique looks in their dorm rooms, for example Create a Pinterest board to showcase your products or highlight relevant content that consumers may search for during the back-to-school season. Top back-to-school related keywords ranked growth YoY % 2. pinterest +377% 3. child +363% 4. giveaway +357% 5. flyers +338% #4: Understanding how to target college students College students are deal-seekers College students are an important back-to-school buying segment. Data from Experian Marketing Services Deal Seekers segmentation suggested: College students are 24 percent more likely than average to be Deal-Seeking Influentials But they are also 22 percent more likely to be Deal Indifferents, those who mostly go shopping only when there s something that they really need and aren t consumed with getting a deal. Why is this? Many college students have a limited income, so they are less likely to be focused on shopping unless they need something. Top college dorm décor terms ranked by volume 1. dorm room checklist +108% 2. dorm room ideas dorm bedding college dorm bedding dorm room bedding +11% 6. college dorm checklist +58% 2013, compared YoY Top NEW back-to-school related keywords 1. health 2. 2nd 3. DIY 4. facebook 5. banner 5 Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

6 What college students (and their parents) are searching for online The top keywords college students search for include dorm décor, checklists and ideas. This makes sense as college students prepare to head to school and students and parents want to stay organized and have what they need when they arrive at school. When looking at the specific products being searched for, bedding and refrigerators were the most popular. #5: Tailoring s for back-to-school success Timing for back-to-school campaigns retained its spot as the key month for back-to-school campaigns in While the percent of volume mailed in in 2013 returned to the same levels seen in 2011, the volume for 2013 campaigns was the highest ever. The success of each back-to-school varies depending on the focus of each mailing. Like mothers, college students are deal-seekers and they plan ahead. Try sending promotional campaigns in with words like checklists and ideas. As rolls around, try targeting the last-minute shoppers with deal-seeking terms like free and sales. 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 8% 34% There was a spike in back-to-school mailing volume in % 74% 5 70% 54% 57% 30% 20% 10% 22% 24% 11% 8% 19% 0% Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

7 Apparel and accessories mailings The most popular back-to-school campaigns focused on apparel and accessories. The majority of these mailings (55 percent) in 2013 were sent during the month of. Although generates the most volume and revenue for campaigns, early is also a good time to boost back-to-school apparel mailings. Last year, 18 percent of back-to-school mailings were sent in early, and they generated 19 percent of the total revenue garnered from these mailings. Personal and school supplies mailings In addition to apparel mailings, there were many s for supplies like books, furniture and room decorations throughout the back-to-school season. But unlike apparel mailings, s sent for supplies were more utilized earlier in the season. In of 2013, back-to-school supplies s generated a higher percentage of revenue (32 percent) than their share of volume (24 percent). This revenue and volume slowly declined as came around. As children head back to school, they notice the types of clothes and accessories that classmates have. This is the perfect opportunity to further promote discounts and deals for back-to-school related items in mid % 3 30% 2 20% 1 10% 0% For apparel and accessories, back-to-school revenue peaked in the 3 24% 16% 19% 11% 19% 29% 26% 18% 1% 3% may be a good time to try additional mailings as students and parents start to think about school supplies they need. 4 40% 3 30% 2 20% 1 10% 0% There may be an opportunity to send more s in for back-to-school supplies 8% 4% 24% 3 Supplies % of volume 27% 2% 20% 42% 2 7% 2% 4% Supplies % of revenue Apparel % volume Apparel % revenue 5 Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

8 s for beauty products and shoes Back-to-school mailings that centered on beauty products and shoes did very well in Compared to the average transaction rate (.034 percent) of all back-to-school mailings: Beauty product s had 94 percent higher transaction rates s focusing on shoes had 29 percent higher transaction rates Test sending beauty/shoes mailings in as students prepare to head to school. Offer tips like the hottest looks to engage consumers and provide them with ideas and suggestions. Subject line tips to craft A+ campaigns During the back-to-school season, adding symbols and personalization in subject lines is key to boosting unique open rates. Compared to other back-to-school mailings from the same brands with no symbols or no personalization, Experian Marketing Services saw the following trends: 9 percent increase in unique open rates for s that contained symbols in the subject line 44 percent increase in unique open rates for s that contained personalization in the subject line The average unique open rate for the other mailings from the same brands was percent compared to 16 percent for symbols, and 21 percent for personalization. Targeting by school level We also saw significant lifts in metrics when marketers targeted by school level. There was a 35 percent lift in unique clicks with college in the subject line The unique click rate average was 1.98 percent compared to the average 1.46 percent for all back-to-school mailings There was a 31 percent lift in revenue per with the word kids in the subject line The revenue per mailing was $.05 compared to the average $.038 for all back-to-school mailings Time to craft your back-to-school campaign Now that you ve learned the latest insights and trends around the back-to-school season, it s time to implement these ideas within your existing campaigns. Remember: Leverage Pinterest to promote back to school merchandise and content searchers are actively seeking out ideas around clothes, hairstyles and dorm room décor as they prepare for the school year to start. DIY and customization options also appeal to today s students. Don t underestimate the influence of moms and college students. These consumers are more likely to actively search for the best deals online so test using deal-seeking terms like free and sales in promotional campaigns. Targeting specific ages for back-to-school may boost open rates as the terms college and kids both enjoyed high response rates last year. Timing of back-to-school campaigns matters. While is the key month for back-to-school campaigns, there may be more opportunity to mail additional campaigns for school supplies in, and clothing and accessories mailings in early. Dynamically personalizing the subject line raises open rates and should be included in a strong back-to-school mailing program. 5 Lessons for Back-to-school Marketers in

9 Experian Marketing Services 29 Broadway, New York, NY experian.com/marketingservices Intelligent interactions. Every time Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. June 2014

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