AOL's Platform-A Study Finds Online Advertisers Influence Back-to-School Purchases

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Most consumers will purchase back-to-school items in August and plan to spend between $100 to $500, according to survey findings released by Platform-A’s ADlytics Strategic Insights Group. Platform-A, http://www.platform-a.com, is AOL’s digital advertising business.

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While back-to-school buying remains primarily an offline activity, the survey reveals plenty of opportunity for online marketing to influence back-to-school purchases

While back-to-school buying remains primarily an in-store activity, there's plenty of opportunity for online marketing to influence back-to-school revenue, the survey reveals. Eighty-three percent of all back-to-school consumers indicate that they're somewhat likely to seek information on promotions they see online. The survey also shows that women are typically the primary decision-makers for back-to-school purchases.

"While back-to-school buying remains primarily an offline activity, the survey reveals plenty of opportunity for online marketing to influence back-to-school purchases," said Stuart Rodnick, Senior Director of the ADlytics group. "As an example, the usefulness of weekly circulars can be extended online where they can be viewed any day of the week and targeted to in-market back-to-school shoppers."

Nearly 40% of consumers who buy early are likely to purchase electronic items vs. later shoppers (17%). This suggests that advertisers may want to promote laptops, cell phones and other electronics during the earlier summer months. Advertisers can also use online targeting as a way to reach these consumers during these early summer months.

With the majority of back-to-school purchases overall taking place in August, retailers can start to accelerate spending and increase store traffic earlier in the summer by highlighting promotional specials during mid-summer, similar to the way Black Friday and Cyber Monday accelerate holiday shopping spend.

Platform-A's ADlytics group collaborated with OTX, a top-25 global consumer research and consulting firm, to conduct the survey. OTX gathered data from a sample of 1,000 families with school-aged children (age 6-17). Interviews were collected April 10 - 14 to assess how and when they will make back-to-school purchases this year. Platform-A's ADlytics Group provides thought leadership that helps advertisers drive revenue through fact-based insights, strategy expertise and innovative research projects that measure the effect of online advertising to online and offline results.

About Platform-A

Platform-A, AOL's advertising business, is the industry's largest digital advertising platform, offering the most comprehensive suite of marketing solutions, powered by the Web's best advertising technologies. Platform-A includes AOL's leading media properties – AOL.com, AIM, MapQuest, and more – and Advertising.com's third-party networks. Platform-A also includes TACODA's audience insights and behavioral targeting; Quigo, a site- and content-targeting solution; ADTECH, an international digital ad serving business; Third Screen Media, a mobile ad serving network; and buy.at, an affiliate marketing solution. Platform-A currently has operations in the United States, nine countries across Europe, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and Japan through a joint venture with Mitsui.

About OTX

OTX is a global consumer research and consulting firm that has established itself as a leading provider of online-based research. The company specializes in providing innovative, cutting-edge online technology, products and analysis to the marketing, entertainment and advertising communities. OTX has developed the most innovative products available for online research today – products that work to uncover deeper and more profound consumer insight. Today the company is one of the fastest growing research companies in the United States and has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Cincinnati, Miami, Chicago and London, with strategic partners in Japan, Australia, Russia, China, and Mexico.

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Eric Chandler
AOL/Platform-A
212-206-4434
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