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The Back-to-School shopping season is big business. In a recent survey, The National Retail Federation estimated that $27.3 billion will be spent on Back-to-School shopping this year, a significant increase over the $24.9 billion spent in 2015. Now that the new school year is gearing up, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at how brands have been trying to win over consumers with their Back-to-School campaigns.

With our Origami Logic platform, we tracked the social activity of over 300 brands from June 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016 across five social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+) to find messages related to Back-to-School. Messages related to Back-to-School were identified by using Origami to search on specific keywords. These keywords included general phrases — like “back to school” and “back to college” — as well as campaign hashtags that were used by brands, such as #GearUpForSchool (Office Depot) and #SchoolHappens (Staples). We found 89 brands that had at least one back-to-school related message. Engagement activity (likes, comments and shares) related to all relevant messages were then totaled for each brand to come up with their social engagement score.

Screen_Shot_2016-09-19_at_1.46.25_PM.pngPhoto taken on 9/19/16 from Dolce & Gabbana Instagram

Here are the highlights of what we found:

  • Disney with a total social engagement score of 175,403 and Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) with a score of 147,397 were clearly the top two brands. Both of these brands took a similar approach. They were not very active (6 total messages for Disney and 4 messages for D&G) and they received most of their engagement on Instagram. Disney leveraged their 6.6 million Instagram followers and received close to 99 thousand likes on one post alone! D&G has 10.4 million followers on Instagram and two Instagram posts accounted for most of their engagement, as each post (this one and this one) averaged nearly 60 thousand likes each.
  • Office retailers Office Depot and Staples had solid results with a total social engagement score of 65,012 (third place overall) and 60,139 (fifth place overall) respectively. With a lot at stake during the biggest season for office supplies, they each ran campaigns with a lot of activity. Office Depot with their #GearUpForSchool campaign was the most active among all brands with 117 messages and Staples’ #SchoolHappens campaign was second with 68 messages
  • Instagram and Facebook were the primary platforms for engagement. Instagram garnered 50.5% of the activity, while Facebook received 45.4%.

The AdWeek article & infographic, Infographic: Here’s How Much Engagement Brands Got From Back-to-School Social Posts Dolce & Gabbana and Disney wooed the most fans, was inspired by the above findings.


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