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School’s in Session: Plan Ahead for an A+ Back-to-School Season

From our partners at Snap Inc.


No matter where you are in the world, back-to-school season is a buzzy, busy time. For students in the UK, it’s a fresh start — an opportunity for self-expression and reconnecting with friends. For parents, it’s a welcome return to routine and a chance to set their children up for success. And, finally, back-to-school season represents a massive commerce moment — not just for shoppers, but for brands ready to sell.

For scale-up businesses, back to school is a critical time for discovery and sharing, and a major opportunity to put your brand in the spotlight and reach new customers. But shopping is different than before: What once involved a quick shopping trip the week before classes start has evolved into a months-long journey across online and in-person experiences. Consumers aren’t just sticking to the provided list of school supplies, either — they’re seeking inspiration for everything from notebooks and clothing to dorm accessories and snacks. Plus, they’re shopping earlier than ever.

The back-to-school landscape has evolved considerably, and understanding how to navigate these changes will help your business break through, make an impact, and drive results this school year — and in the years to come.

How Your Brand Can Ace Back to School

1. Start Messaging Early

Summer’s just getting started, so it might seem too early to start strategizing. But planning ahead will let you actually relax during the summer break. Back-to-school season is starting earlier than ever — and lasting longer, too! — so a head start is incredibly beneficial.

Engagement in the back-to-school journey is highest one to two months before school starts. During this time, students and parents are gathering inspiration, planning purchases, and even tapping that ‘Buy’ button. For your brand, getting your messaging out earlier will help you break through and capture attention. Keep it going throughout the season, too, to encourage consistent engagement with consumers.

2. Meet Consumers Where They Are

Shopping online is now as integral to the back-to-school consumer journey as visiting brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, shoppers today expect a seamless online experience from brands. It’s critical for your business to have an online presence that offers hassle-free shopping, so your customers can effortlessly move from discovery to purchase.

Additionally, immersive experiences like augmented reality (AR) are popular and in high demand. This technology is not just for entertainment or self-expression — it’s a powerful commerce tool that takes shopping to a new level. With AR, consumers can try on products wherever they are or see an item in their space, creating an incredibly personal experience. Plus, AR amplifies confidence in purchase decisions, giving your business peace of mind knowing the shopper is most likely buying to keep.

3. Tap Into Your Influence

Back to school is a busy time for students as they’re getting inspired, shopping for new items, sharing their favorite finds, and bonding with friends and family over their excitement. But Snapchatter students aren’t just turning to their closest communities — they’re counting on brands for guidance, too. In fact, the majority of students and parents say brands matter a lot to their back-to-school shopping experience!

Between discovering new businesses, finding great deals, or scoring this season’s hottest trends, brands play a significant role during this time. By showing up on social media, where your audience spends a significant amount of time, your business can become integral to the back-to-school buzz.

Stand out by creating engaging, personal ads that feel native to the advertising platform, entice shoppers with deals that encourage click-throughs and purchases, and make back-to-school lists that boast your brand’s must-haves for the year. By using your influence, you can connect with an audience poised for discovery and eager to share what they find.

Back to School Is in Business on Snapchat

While much of the season has evolved, one thing has remained constant for back to school: the power of Snapchat and its community’s influence. Big or small, businesses hoping to ace the school year — especially scale-up brands looking for new customers and market-share claim — can do so on Snapchat. So, what makes us so ideal for back to school?

For starters, Snapchat’s audience is happy, engaged, and highly influential — and they’ve got incredible spending power. People turn to Snapchat to connect with their closest crew, and these communities encourage an environment that feels safe, authentic, and worth revisiting. Students and parents arrive on Snapchat with intention for the school year — they’re checking in to see how fellow Snapchatters are preparing for the year, making purchases, and sharing their excitement along the way. This level of engagement means Snapchatters are poised for discovery.

During back to school, Snapchat is the most-used app among Snapchatter students for gathering inspiration and ideas for back to school — year after year, they rely on Snapchat throughout the entire shopping season. So, whether you’re a direct-to-consumer brand, in fintech, or an app, if you want to get noticed during back to school, Snapchat is where your business needs to be.

Finally, Snapchat has immersive, performant advertising offerings, with powerful tools built to be shared at-scale. With AR Lenses, you can put your brand, product, or service at the center of the back-to-school experience, resulting in a memorable, engaging, and, most importantly, shareable brand moment.

Back to school might seem like a small shopping moment, but it represents a massive opportunity for your brand to make an impact with an audience of excited, influential shoppers. By starting your messaging early, meeting shoppers where they are, and tapping into your own influence, you’ll get ahead of the curve and set your business up for an A+ year.


If you’d like to learn more about our approach to continuous learning and measurement, please reach out to a Snapchat marketing science representative.



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