In part 1 of this series, I shared two of the challenges that online marketers face when developing and managing back-to-school programs–forecasting and targeting–and offered tips to overcome these obstacles. Now, let’s explore two more common digital marketing challenges along with best practices to succeed during this back-to-school shopping season.

Challenge #3: Online-to-Offline

Many marketers struggle with converting online activity to offline engagement and sales during this shopping season. When a consumer interacts with a brand online, it can be very difficult to turn that activity into in-store foot traffic, and more importantly, track that in-store traffic or conversion back to the original online engagement. The ability to connect this online data to offline purchases is key in understanding the value of each channel.

Retailers can now utilize features such as location extensions and call extensions to drive online shoppers to your storefront. These extensions help consumers easily find your business information to drive in-store traffic with features like store locator, click-to-directions and click-to-call for mobile searchers. Per Yahoo Bing, ads with location extensions have a click-through rate up to 9% higher than that of standard text ads.

In order to close the loop between online and offline, you can utilize Kenshoo’s Call Conversion Optimization (CCO). This allows you to optimize campaigns based on keywords that generate the most profitable phone calls. Kenshoo’s partnership with leading call-tracking providers makes this functionality possible  utilizing proprietary algorithms to match calls to keywords and feeding that information back to Kenshoo to optimize paid search efforts.

Challenge #4: Multi-Device Strategies

According to eMarketer, 64% of US teens between the ages of 13 and 17 are smartphone users. In addition, smartphone Back-to-School searches on the Yahoo Bing Network are projected to increase +200% from 2013 to 2014. Because of increased reliance on mobile devices for online searches, it’s critical to understand what types of messaging will produce the most engagement on each device.

Microsoft did an analysis of ad copy to determine which word combinations produced the best results on each device. The study uncovered that ads with the words “official site” in the ad title and “new” in the ad description have high ad quality on mobile devices.

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Knowing that a large portion of traffic will come from mobile devices during this back-to-school shopping season, be sure to analyze messaging and tailor for each device to produce optimal results. Utilizing mobile bid adjustments along with sitelink and app extensions can further improve overall performance.

The back-to-school shopping season provides great opportunity for brands and retailers to reach consumers eager to access information and make purchases.

Hopefully you found this breakdown of key challenges and opportunities helpful as you implement your back-to-school programs. Be sure to also take a look at The Kenshoo Guide for Retail Search Marketers: Optimizing Your Path to SEM Success for tips and insights to prepare for the festive shopping season at the end of the year!