Back To School PPC

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Back To School PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: When do you generally begin your back to school planning? Why?

  • If back to school season applies to you then planning begins at the beginning of your fiscal year when you set budget. – Matt Umbro
  • We’re pretty clear on our clients’ ebb and flow based on “back to school” — SPED Law gets big peaks right after IEPs go out. I do think that honestly very few industries are affected by school starting explicitly — or at least thought of that way. For travel, it’s a cool-off season. For e-comm, you’re tightening your belts or letting floodgates depending on product. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Back to school is a non-issue for B2B. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)

Q2: What is the number one task you perform/do differently during back to school season? Why?

  • I open up the floodgates more and allow for lower ROAS during season in exchange for volume. – Matt Umbro
  • I feel it’s a time of changing demographics. Techies are buying computers all the time; parents buy when kid is going to college. – Doug Thomas
  • As w any peak shopping season, we use dif ad copy- more need-based, promo-based, urgent-sounding, and monitor everything closer. – Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
  • Not that it’s unique to back to school season, but I think we tend to care more about purchases instead of total conversions. In other words, email signups/contact us forms can be just as important for long-term growth and customer retention. – Matt Umbro

Q3: Why do you believe back to school season has become such a big event, almost equaling the holiday season?

  • Honest answer – the consumers made it that way and we adapt to it. Same thing with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Commodification of children, increasing college costs, decreasing public budgets for supplies, increasingly technical world. – Doug Thomas
  • Back-to-school season spans so many ages and demographics. It’s a mass swarm to tech, office supplies, clothes, & more! – Katie Mullins
  • It’s amazing how many industries can benefit from back to school. It’s like even the smallest tie in to back to school is relevant (stores like the container store, whole foods, etc). – Matt Umbro
  • Timing probably also has something to do with it – Q3 is a pivot time for business – 6 months to go “well that didn’t work.” – Doug Thomas
  • Using Back2School language c/b used to differentiate copy from same old same old. I’m in Home Improvement/solar lead gen. – John Smilet (@ppclocal)

Q4: What types of messaging/emotions do you tap into during back to school season? Why?

  • If I can, I like to emphasize “your one stop shop for back to school” by highlighting bundles and/or deals for buying more. – Matt Umbro
  • Countdown customizers are great for back to school. – Matt Umbro
  • Back-to-school fashion taps into desire to impress, excitement about starting a new chapter, seeing friends, & feeling prepped. – Katie Mullins

Q5: In your view, what constitutes a “back to school campaign?” Is it an actual campaign or more prepping the account? Why?

  • Depends on objective. If wanting to raise volume, prepping account for that is crucial. If it’s diff. messaging, then campaign. – Brooke Townsend
  • I would base on a promo: if it is an offer it is a campaign, otherwise it is an awareness of specific seasonality. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • It’s funny because when I hear “back to school campaign” or “holiday campaign” I see it as more account prep…not individual campaigns with unique keywords. – Matt Umbro
    • I agree, I think the more important part is account prep. That’s how I view our wedding e-comm season. – Brooke Townsend
      • And generally if someone searches “back to school deals” that KW is too expensive and you don’t want the traffic. – Matt Umbro
        • And I’ve seen those high CPCs w/ “low search volume” on other key terms. Not fruitful. – Katie Mullins
  • I see it as account prep, too. When targeting the same keywords/products to the same audience throughout, it’s about ramping up. – Katie Mullins

Q6: In determining budget for back to school season, what resources do you utilize for your projections? Why?

  • I always look back upon historical performance to at least give me an idea of where to begin. – Matt Umbro

Q7: What are some ways to make your ad extensions more “back to school” focused?

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• John Smilet (@ppclocal)
• Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)

Back to School Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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