Back to school with CTV

4 min read·Dec 20, 2022

The pandemic may feel light years away, but back to school shopping will probably never be the same. Shopping habits have shifted and ongoing adult education has grown exponentially, creating a whole new back to school target market. Let’s take a look at what this all means for advertisers.

Back to school still top of the class in consumer spend

According to a recent Deloitte report, the back-to-school market is set to balloon to $34.4B this year, up 24% since before the pandemic. Despite fears of inflation and global uncertainty, parents show no sign of slowing down their back-to-school spending, especially as they focus on emerging categories like mental wellness, sustainability, and electronic goods.

A growing class of adult learners seeking career changes or advancement are also fueling this growth, as they return to universities both online and in-person this year. Based on these numbers, it’s pretty clear that the back-to-school season will remain the second highest consumer spending season of the year, after the holidays.

New back to school behaviors

While looking back at historical data always provides valuable insights, it will be important for marketers to develop an agile campaign strategy this year, that can account for pretty radical shifts in consumer behavior and demographic targets:

  • Screen time is up by 50% - that’s a lot of digital engagement opportunity.
  • At the same time, in-person shopping is set to hit 49% of market share this year.
  • Classroom must-haves now include new product categories like electronics, meditation tools, reusable packaging, and cleaning products.
  • Adult learners are also going back to school during the academic year which starts in August or September.
  • 67% of media consumers pay attention to at least 2 devices at a time. That means a full funnel strategy with multi touch attribution is key.

So how can advertisers engage consumers in a new and nimble way?

Streaming Ads: The new kid in class

CTV and OTT advertising have grown exponentially since early 2020, with 94% of US households now reachable by connected device and 55% of households “cutting the cord” to get rid of cable in the last year.

So what is CTV advertising? CTV stands for Connected Television and broadly refers to the television content streamed over the internet. Viewers can access this content through Smart TVs (Apple TV, for example), OTT devices (“Over-the-top” devices like Roku or Amazon Fire Stick), mobile phones, or tablets.

The advent of CTV advertising, which has grown to a staggering $25.1 billion market in the last 2 years, is a symptom of some existential shifts in digital marketing. It is a solution for marketers with tight margins, privacy and tracking issues, and audiences with shrinking attention spans. Let’s see how it can help your back-to-school campaign.

  • Household targeting: CTV platforms like can target audiences by IP address which means you don’t have to worry about 3rd party cookie deprecation or Apple ATT issues while still targeting audiences by geo-location, interest, demographic, channel, or screen type.
  • Full funnel solution: Thanks to those same IP addresses, advertisers can utilize CTV as part of a full funnel strategy and send retargeted ads to CTV viewers further down in your campaign funnel.
  • Agility with real-time reporting: Because CTV advertising delivers ads over the internet, advertisers receive campaign results in real time for CPMs, targeting insights, impressions, view throughs, and more. This will allow you to test and adjust campaign parameters as often as necessary.
  • Premium content: Rapid CTV advertising growth also means rapid inventory growth. Publishers and streaming platforms are racing to get in on the CTV bandwagon, which means advertisers can now reach audiences on premium apps and channels like Roku, ESPN, CNN, HGTV, or Paramount +. High quality content means that CTV ads can boast a staggering 97% ad completion rate.
  • Low cost of entry: Traditional television advertising requires expensive, long-term contracts and advertisers have to cross their fingers that Nielsen projections will hold true for their campaign. That’s a lot of wasted impressions and inflated budgets that most businesses can’t afford. With Connected television, you only pay for the impressions you actually get, with no contractual obligations.

How to get started has the first self-serve CTV ad platform in the industry, allowing advertisers to target users, select premium television inventory, and upload their ad creative to launch a CTV campaign in minutes. All you need is a 15 to 30 second video to upload and a target audience, so don’t wait any longer to give CTV a try.

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