Back-to-School Marketing: Tips to Reach Parents on Reddit
Build a back-to-school marketing strategy that reaches parents on the internet's most knowledgeable, trusted, and authentic parenting communities.
Looking to win back-to-school marketing this year? Turn to parents on Reddit.
How can brands have a successful back-to-school season? By engaging the Internet’s most knowledgeable, trusted, and authentic parenting community.
It’s that magical time of year for millions of students around the world. The school bell chimes for one final time, signaling the start of summer break. For students, it is a time of joy and elation. The days are long, and they are free to hang out with friends, visit the local pool, and roam around town. Oh, to be young and carefree again!
For parents, it can be a time of stress and frustration. As school books get replaced with soccer games and summer vacations, parents have an overwhelming amount of things to think about when managing their hectic family schedule. On top of that, there is a lingering question that looms over parents throughout the summer—what do my kids need for the next school year?
For advertisers across retail, CPG, apparel, and other categories, summer is when back-to-school campaigns are in full swing. It is a critical sales period to get right. Not only do brands need to be in tune with the latest trends and hottest products people want, but they have to match their pricing strategy with economic conditions and consumer spending habits, align promotional periods to peak back-to-school shopping moments, and, most importantly, execute flawless back-to-school advertising campaigns that cut through the noise and drive ROI. Easy, right?
The back-to-school struggle is real
It feels like the back-to-school shopping list gets longer each year, and teachers are asking parents to be prepared earlier than ever before. Speaking from personal experience, I am already receiving emails from my kid’s school outlining what supplies I need to buy for next year, and this school year isn’t even done yet!
The dreaded “first email” kicks off the back-to-school shopping season, which for most parents means carrying out countless Google searches for “best back-to-school products”, getting bombarded with ads online (more on that later), and scrolling a social feed saturated with influencer posts hawking sponsored products. This only adds to the parental stress of back to school shopping and raises more questions than answers:
- Is this product any good?
- Can I trust these reviews?
- Are my kids going to like it?
- Is this product worth the price?
It’s not that parents don’t want to buy back-to-school products this year, they do! Despite the state of the economy and rising cost of goods, parents are ready to spend on back-to-school products this year. Deloitte forecasts over $34 billion will be spent this year on back-to-school products for K-12 students alone, a 5.8% increase from last year.6 The challenge for many parents is being able to sift through an endless amount of ads, product reviews, and influencer posts and decide what is worth buying for their kids.
If only there was a place parents could go to ask other parents for honest advice, product recommendations they can trust, and helpful information that can cut through all the noise… Spoiler alert: it’s Reddit!
The opportunity for brands is now
Brands play a key role in helping redditor parents discover new products and make smarter, more informed back-to-school purchase decisions.
Now is the time for brands to start engaging parents on Reddit around back to school. The school year may just be wrapping up, but redditor parents are already taking action by jump-starting their back-to-school shopping. 1 in 4 redditor parents start their back-to-school shopping research in May, giving brands the perfect opportunity to reach them early in their purchase journey.3
Brands who want to get in on the back-to-school action early should start thinking about:
- Creating awareness of new products and promotional periods
- Driving consideration of their brand now and staying top of mind throughout the summer
- Building their audience lists now for remarketing opportunities throughout the summer
- Generating sales ahead of the summer months, where brands will be fighting for attention in a highly competitive back-to-school advertising period
Reddit: the place parents go when they want to know
Let’s be honest, raising kids is tough, and social media creates the facade (and expectation) that everyone is a perfect parent. Parenting challenges are often stigmatized and considered too taboo to discuss on social media, leaving many parents to feel like they can’t ask the hard questions about raising a good human being without being judged. That is why when parents want a place to dig into the unfiltered realities of parenthood, they come to Reddit.
Reddit has historically been known to be the home of gamers, tech enthusiasts, and early product adopters, but did you know it is home to a growing and engaged parenting community too? In fact, 43% of redditors are parents, and they flock to Reddit to find communities and discussions they can’t find anywhere else on the internet, ones that offer genuine, credible, and judgment free advice.1
On Reddit, parents find and engage with other parents dealing with the same developmental challenges, whether it's navigating the formative years of toddlerhood, discussing responsible screentime in adolescents, or addressing bullying in high school. Reddit is where parents feel safe to get honest input, form opinions, and make confident decisions about doing parenting right, so much so that Reddit was ranked as the #1 platform parents come to for candid and unvarnished advice.2
A trusted resource for back-to-school purchases
The influence of Reddit’s parenting communities and discussions extend far beyond just raising a good human - millions of parents tap into Reddit’s hivemind of deep knowledge and personal experiences to discover the best products, services, and brands for their family, especially ahead of back-to-school season. Every second, an average of two people ask Reddit communities for a recommendation and they receive an average of seven responses in return.4
The discussions, communities, and content on Reddit give parents the clarity they need to make more confident decisions around back-to-school purchases - they can discover the latest trends and hottest products, discuss and compare product attributes, share personal reviews around a product or brand, and ultimately decide what to buy. Brands who understand.
Different platforms, different intent, more valuable interactions for brands
Reddit stands out from other digital platforms because it caters to a unique user mindset. While parents may go to other channels for socializing or unplugging by consuming an endless feed of content, parents flock to Reddit with intent. They are actively seeking information and valuable input, both from other parents and from brands.
For back-to-school marketers, it is the perfect opportunity to build trust with parents, create influence, and drive action. By incorporating Reddit into your back-to-school advertising strategy, brands can provide parents with relevant information about their products when they are in the active research mindset.
Unlike other digital platforms, where brand advertisements can feel intrusive, unwelcomed, and inauthentic, Reddit users welcome brands into their communities. In fact, 60% of redditors want brands to actively participate in their communities and interact with them directly, offering brands the opportunity to cross the bridge from “outside advertiser”, to “trusted members of the Reddit community”, and make more meaningful and authentic connections with their audience.5
Resources for brands and marketers to plan their back-to-school campaigns
These back-to-school insights just scratch the surface. Visit our Back-to-School Hub on Reddit for Business to get the insights and resources you need to build a successful back-to-school marketing campaign on Reddit.
Visit the hub to get:
- Back-to-school insights by vertical
- Back-to-school campaign strategies and best practices
- Creative back-to-school campaign ideas
- Downloadable guides and on demand video
Stay tuned for next month’s blog article, where we will dive deeper into how brands can win back-to-school marketing on Reddit!
Contributing authors - Chris Sarandos, Head of Audience Marketing, North America
1 Source: GWI, Q3 2022, US Data *Parent defined as a parent of any aged child.
2 Source: Reddit/Attest, U.S. 18+, 2023 parents that are monthly Reddit users and non-Reddit users: Parenting & Social Platforms Survey, n=1000;
3 Source: Reddit/Attest, U.S. 18+, 2023 parents that are monthly Reddit users and non-Reddit users: Shopping Behaviors Survey, n=1073.
4Source: Reddit Internal Data, Feb 22-Feb 23
5Reddit / Talk Shoppe, Custom qualitative & quantitative study, “Find your People”, US, n=2003, 13-54 year old, social media users, fielded in Sept-Nov 2021
6Deloitte Back to School Survey, 2022