Back to School

Part
01
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Part
01

Social Spend During Back to School Campaigns - Part 1 (Walmart)

Findings:

The Walmart Back to School Program's theme was "Own the School Year Like a Hero". They used paid advertising, but their campaign also experienced organic advertising through social media shares by customers. Walmart prioritized Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their campaign. Specific numbers for social media engagement could not be found, but we did find an article praising their engagement efforts. We were also able to triangulate customer engagement given the available numerical value of likes, shares, and re-posts. We came up with 10,318.

A Google Sheet with our findings can be found here.
Part
02
of five
Part
02

Social Spend During Back to School Campaigns - Part 2 (Target)

Target's 2017 back-to-school campaign, Ready.Set.Prep!, was heavily focused on video and TV over social media. In fact, the most effective social aspect of the campaign was the YouTube versions of their TV spots. The campaign also had some success on Facebook, but Target didn't focus much on Twitter or Instagram. I've added information on the campaign to your attached spreadsheet; read on for some additional notes and information about the campaign.

OVERVIEW

Target's overarching back-to-school campaign theme for 2017 was "Ready.Set.Prep!" The campaign was aimed at parents in both English- and Spanish-speaking households and had a heavy emphasis on TV; much of Target's ad spend was focused on TV, while it appears that they focused on organic advertising on social media by inviting fans to like and share a specific back-to-school video to increase Target's total donation to a children's charity and by asking parents to post back-to-school pictures of their kids on both Facebook and Instagram.

The social outlet that Target seemed to prioritize the most in its BTS campaign is YouTube; they used that platform to share their TV spots and had their strongest engagement there. Target also had a fair number of engagements on their BTS-related Instagram posts. I only found a few BTS-related posts on Facebook and Twitter, and I couldn't find any information on a Snapchat element of the campaign.

I searched for a pre-compiled total of engagements on Target's BTS social activities, but couldn't find anything. To get a rough total, I added up the engagements on Target's back-to-school-related posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube during the campaign window (roughly July-September 2017). However, it appears that Target has deleted at least some of their BTS content, as the charity video mentioned here is no longer available, so this total is just an estimate. The per-platform totals are as follows:

Facebook: 22,102
Twitter: 2,413
YouTube: 4,095,553
Instagram: 190,931

Total: 4,286,484

CONCLUSION

I've completed columns C, D, E, and F of the Target row of your attached spreadsheet, adding details on the social component of their 2017 back-to-school campaign, Ready.Set.Prep!
Part
03
of five
Part
03

Social Spend During Back to School Campaigns - Part 3 (Office Depot)

We have compiled a spreadsheet with the information you requested. The Office Depot back to school program was themed "Get Back to Great." Office Depot utilized TV, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter media channels to promote advertisement of their campaign. No hard data was available to determine the success of social media engagement. The information has been compiled on the attached spreadsheet.

THEME
For the fall academic year in 2016, Office Depot rolled out a back-to-school campaign with the theme, "Get Back to Great." Some additional slogans as hastags were #GearUpForSchool and #gearupforgreat. In 2017, Office Depot rehashed a company wide slogan of "Taking Care of Business," but this was not related to back-to-school activities.

CHANNELS PRIORITIZED
Office Depot utilized TV, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter media channels to promote advertisement of their campaign. They used a mixture of paid advertising and organic marketing. Office Depot's social media agency, AGAIN Interactive, developed brain teasers and quizzes for Snapchat users. Due to the use of a marketing agency it can be assumed that Office Depot paid for the development of its snapshot presence, but no numbers were available. In 2015, Office Depot "spent $17 million on measured media in the U.S. between July and September." Numbers for 2016 were not available. The advertisement was running in 30-and 15-second versions on TV from July 17, 2016, through Sept. 10, 2016. The TV spot was used across its social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
There was no direct data available or statistics to triangulate on the consumer engagement of social media, but comparably it was very low. Instagram posts had an average of 200 likes. Facebook posts had an average of 50 likes and 10 shares. Twitter had average likes of 20 and around 5 retweets. No details pertaining to customer engagement were found about the Snapchat part of the campaign. However, as of February 2018, the YouTube spot had over 450,000 views.

CONCLUSION
Please refer to the spreadsheet for compiled information.

Part
04
of five
Part
04

Social Spend During Back to School Campaigns - Part 4 (Bed Bath Beyond)

This research will discuss the social spend during Bed Bath and Beyond's back-to-school campaigns.

SUMMARY
According to Forbes, the theme for Bed Bath and Beyond's back-to-school campaigns was "Pack and Hold." Targeting the college/millennial crowd, Bed Bath and Beyond utilized social media channels that are popular amongst the college crowd to help spread their message via paid postings and organic engagements. The actual number of engagements, however, varied. Overall, however, the social media engagements for both paid and organic postings were similar. The requested information has been entered on the attached spreadsheet. An overview of the findings is below.

BED BATH AND BEYOND'S THEME
The Pack and Hold theme had a simple concept, similar to that of a bridal registry: head to a local store, scan the UPC bar code of all the items on a student's list, then have them shipped to the Bed Bath and Beyond closest to the college that the student is attending. The purchaser didn't need to pay for the items until "move-in weekend," making it easier to shop in advance. Best of all, when "move-in weekend" finally happened, the student only needed to pick up -- and pay for -- the items they needed and/or wanted (meaning they weren't obligated to pay for items they didn't want), and the student could use Bed Bath and Beyond coupons at the point of pick-up to reduce the cost of the purchase. Bed Bath and Beyond partnered with various colleges and universities -- like Swarthmore College -- to spread the word about the Pack and Hold program.

WHAT CHANNELS DID BED BATH AND BEYOND PRIORITIZE?
RIS News detailed how much Bed Bath and Beyond invested in their digital advertising, which suggested that the company placed a great deal of emphasis on digital marketing in general, and social media marketing in particular. While Bed Bath and Beyond's Facebook and Twitter pages made no mention of the Pack and Hold Program, there were organic mentions on Twitter from college students expressing gratitude for the program.

The most important channels for Bed Bath and Beyond to spread the message about their Pack and Hold program were Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

DID BED BATH AND BEYOND PRIORITIZE PAID ADVERTISING OR A MIX OF ORGANIC/PAID MARKETING?
Bed Bath and Beyond places importance on both organic (word-of-mouth) and paid (social media) channels. However, the company acknowledges that "word of mouth helps Bed Bath & Beyond more than social media shares/ discussion," according to Engagement Labs.

As an example of their paid marketing efforts, Bed Bath and Beyond paid a popular Instagram page called Betches (which has a large college following) to post an Instagram picture advertising their Pack and Hold program. Betches, which has over 6 million followers on their Instagram page, received more than 30,000 likes on their posting, which was made in July 2017 (just before "back to school" rushes began).

As an example of their organic marketing efforts, Bed Bath and Beyond posted a similar Instagram picture advertising their Pack and Hold program on their own Instagram page. This posting was also made in July 2017 and received about 24,000 likes since it was made. Bed Bath and Beyond, in contrast to Betches, has more than 450,000 followers on their Instagram page, and their audience is much more varied.

WHAT IS BED BATH AND BEYOND'S ENGAGEMENTS DURING ITS BACK TO SCHOOL EFFORTS?
The number of engagements for Bed Bath and Beyond's Pack and Hold back-to-school efforts were pretty consistent across all of its channels -- in other words, both paid and organic advertising received similar engagements.

For example, on the company's YouTube page, a 30-second video explaining the Pack and Hold program received only 450 views; however, the YouTube page only has approximately 7,500 subscribers. This means that the number of views was comparable to the number of subscribers.

However, as was demonstrated above, the Betches posting (which was a paid posting) and the Bed Bath and Beyond posting (which was an organic posting) -- both of which were made on Instagram -- received more than 30,000 likes and more than 24,000 likes, respectively.

And while no comprehensive reports have been released that detail the precise numbers -- or the overall success -- of the Bed Bath and Beyond back-to-school campaign, the presented evidence suggests that it was, overall, a success thanks to a combined series of efforts.

CONCLUSION
Bed Bath and Beyond's back-to-school theme was Pack and Hold. It used a variety of social channels to spread their message, but the primary channels they used were Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. And even though Bed Bath and Beyond used a mix of organic and paid marketing to get the word out about their back-to-school Pack and Hold program, their engagements across both channels were very similar.

Part
05
of five
Part
05

Social Spend During Back to School Campaigns - Part 5 (Dependent on Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4)

Of the four back to school campaigns listed, Target’s Ready.Set.Prep!" campaign received the most positive engagements and Office Depot’s “Get Back to Great” campaign is the most creative. When considering all the data presented, including the totals for social media success listed in the spreadsheet provided, Target’s campaign is the overall leader of the back to school campaigns.

THE MOST ENGAGEMENTS

Of the four back to school campaigns listed, Target’s Ready.Set.Prep!" campaign received the most positive engagements. Target has the highest number of likes and shares across all of its advertising platforms and also has the most comments, as noted on the spreadsheet provided, making it the most active of the four campaigns. In considering social media marketing, it’s important to note the ratio of followers that you have in comparison to accounts that you follow. Ultimately a company should try to keep their number of followers higher than or close to the number of accounts that they follow. On Instagram, Target accomplished this with a ratio of followers of 555:1.
Wal-Mart actually received more engagements than Target during their back to school campaign, but due to Wal-Mart’s in-store advertisement of guns as a back to school item, many customers who saw the advertisement posted to Twitter, questioning Wal-Mart’s judgment and taste, resulting in negative social media engagement.

CREATIVE EXECUTION

Of the four brands listed, Office Depot’s “Get Back to Great” campaign is the most creative. Office Depot’s link to Snapchat during the back to school campaign was a calculated move to ensure that they reached their target audience. In a 2017 report, it was noted that Facebook usage of teens in the 12-17 year old age group has dropped, with this same age group becoming more involved with Snapchat and Instagram as their social media preferences. Through Snapchat, Office Depot targeted the teenage market, which carried over to friends and family through the teen’s personal network. The attention spans of the targeted age group are shorter than older age groups. Snapchat incorporates visual communication to capture the attention of its users, including puzzles and quizzes as well as sharable content that are visual rather than strictly text based.

A PLAN TO FOLLOW

The following steps are a successful strategy for Fuse to follow in order to achieve the same reach as the four brands listed:
Select your audience: Be specific in your targeting choices, use all the filters and tools available in social media platforms so that you are able to reach the largest audience available.
Join the trend: Choose key times to insert your brand. Pay attention to trends and gauge the best time to reach out to your targeted market.
Dominate your local market: Make sure that your contact information is included across the board when it comes to online directories so that your brand will turn up during “near me” searches.
Stay on brand: Keep your ad campaigns tied to your brand.
Rely on referrals: With today’s excessive advertising, many people tune out when it comes to traditional advertising, turning to personal endorsement instead. Use social media to advertise for you. With incentives offered for sharing ads with friends and family, social media is fast becoming a top method of modern endorsement advertisement.
Relationships: Understanding your customer’s needs and building relationships with them helps in the creation of marketing campaigns that are effective without being invasive.
Use all channels available: Incorporate all available channels to reach your target audience, including social media, websites, commercials and other outreach methods. The initial effort will be hard, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
Arrange campaigns around fact-based data: Include as much data as possible in a campaign. By considering all the information available, you will be better able to design a campaign that will reach your targeted audience on a personal level. Run your campaign on analytics-driven decision-making.

CONCLUSION

I have completed columns G and H of Row 2, 3, 4, and 5 of your attached spreadsheet. In my research I have found that of the four brands, Target is the overall leader in the back to school campaign.

Sources
Sources