As a parent of both a middle schooler and an elementary-aged kid, and as a husband to a second-grade teacher, the fact that school’s out for summer in three and a half days is a big deal at my house. The countdown started weeks ago.

It’s a fact that media buying for the back-to-school (BTS) season generally starts three to six months before the season begins. The same holds true for other seasons, such as the holidays. And like the holidays, BTS is now experiencing its own so-called “Christmas Creep” in the eyes of some consumers.

Case in point: in the mail a few days ago, we received this:

Lands End

Remember that summer vacation is not here yet for a lot of us, at least here in the Northeast!

Though it might be annoying to see BTS ads and the like so early, the “creep” makes a lot of sense to those of us in digital marketing. We all know the season is huge – it’s really huge, actually: according to brand-new stats from eMarketer, BTS shopping is expected to grow 4.0% in 2017 (vs. 2016), accounting for $857.17 billion during July and August alone. That’s nearly one-fifth of total retail sales for the entire year.

Five product areas play an outsized role during the back-to-school season, again according to eMarketer: 

  1. Apparel and accessories
  2. Books, music, and video
  3. Computers and consumer electronics
  4. Office equipment and supplies
  5. Toys and hobbies, including sporting goods

BTS ecommerce sales in these core categories during July and August will exceed the quarterly growth rate for ecommerce overall at 15.8%, per eMarketer.

Back-to-School and RhythmOne

If you work for a brand or an agency that manages ad campaigns for products in a core BTS category, and have remaining/incremental budget to spend, RhythmOne has a number of options to help you reach and engage your target audiences.

RhythmMax, our branded programmatic offering that’s ranked first in Pixalate’s Global Seller Trust Index, is integrated with all major DSPs as a premium supply source. We have content that aligns with parenting, early education, higher education, and more, as well as audience segments that include primary shoppers of households with children of school or/and college age. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our BTS-focused private marketplaces (PMPs) and programmatic solutions.

RhythmInfluence, our branded Influencer Marketing offering, draws from more than 45,000 influencers who can produce branded BTS content across social media, video, blogs, and even live events. Check out our case studies that cover BTS-specific campaigns for Target and McDonald’s.