Does Your Brand Pass the Test? 3 Insights to Reach the Back-to-School Audience

Back-to-School season is here. What’s the best way to reach this target audience? TEGNA’s insights team is sharing all the data you need to best inform your upcoming campaigns and reach this target audience.

The pandemic has propelled education into a new digital age. As an educational institution, how will you reach parents and students prepping for back-to-school season? Messages will have to be delivered thoughtfully, creatively, and carefully. These insights from #TeamTEGNA will help to inform your back-to-school marketing campaigns.

1. Back-to-School is BIG this year

After the disruption of the pandemic and the return to a “normal” school year in Fall 2021, many parents and retailers are gearing up for this new back-to-school season. According to Retail-Me-Not’s How to ACE Your Back-to-School Strategy for 2021​:

  • – 56% of shoppers are looking forward to the coming school year more than usual
  • – 58% of U.S. consumers say the back-to-school season will be a bigger deal this year​
  • – 77% of senior retail leaders are planning to increase their marketing investment this back-to-school season
  • – Compared to 2020, parents for the upcoming back-to-school season are anticipated to spend $1,333 this year (+150% from 2020). 
  • – 1 in 4 plan to spend more on technology than they did in 2020

2. In-Store or E-Commerce? 

With E-commerce’s growth in 2020, it is no surprise that 48% of consumers are planning to do most of their shopping online. In-store still leads the way, with 52% of consumers who plan to do most of their back-to-school shopping at a brick-and-mortar location.​ Why? RetailMeNot found that out of the parents surveyed: 

  • – 47% Getting purchases immediately​
  • – 42% Seeing/trying on items in person​
  • – 34% Accessibility and Convenience​
  •  -33% Enjoy the in-store experience​
  • – 31% In-store only discounts/promotions​

3. Deals are the Ultimate Driver

One of the differentiators a brand can have this back-to-school season is its deals and promotions. 

  • – 95% of U.S. shoppers search for deals for their back-to-school shopping
  • – 47% of shoppers say cost is the biggest driver for purchase decisions during back-to-school​
  • – 70% of shoppers find coupons influential for purchase decisions​
  • – 61% of shoppers find cash-back offers influential for purchase decisions​

A Good Media Strategy is a Must-Have 

Now that we know what to expect from parents and students this year, how will your brand communicate its messages to the target back-to-school audience? Data from Simmons shows that:

  • – 81% of parents with children 5-17 watch broadcast TV weekly
  • – 57% of parents with children ages 5-17 watch local news throughout the week​
  • – 90% of parents with children ages 5-7 are OTT viewers
  • – More than 20% are more likely to have been influenced by an online video to make a purchase decision. 
  • – More than 32%  are more likely to have been influenced by a display ad to make a purchase decision. 


With 64 local news stations in 51 markets across the country, TEGNA offers broadcast opportunities for brands to extend reach, scale, and connect with target audiences for a low CPA. Meanwhile, Local TEGNA stations reach an average of 35 million digitally each month, and ads placed here come in a variety of forms including display ads, pre-roll digital video, and act as the perfect digital complement to TV ad campaigns. Click here to learn more. 

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