INside Performance Marketing
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Back to school publisher trends - Q&A

Back to school publisher trends - Q&A


How far in advance do you plan your seasonal campaigns?

Three to six months.

We begin working on our seasonal campaigns six to nine months in advance. So at the moment we are working on our Christmas and New Year activity.


When do you normally see the spike in sales begin for the 'Back to School' season?

SM: It starts around the end of July and spikes in mid-August.

JE: September is busier than normal but the big spike comes in October as most students are arriving at university

What do you expect to be the top converting products for you during this season and why?

SM: As you'd expect, school clothes are the best converting products.

JE: Broadband converts well at this time as students are setting up in their homes. Connectivity is hugely important to students; recent research showed it’s their top accommodation priority. Mobile offers do well - the new start is a popular time to upgrade. In fact this is very much a period for reviewing and renewing services of all types.

Takeaway offers are engaging (pizza etc - we think this is driven by new housemates bonding and yet to establish any routine around meals). Travel passes for buses and trains also convert well at this time due to necessity.

A fascinating stat from our recent Youth Insight Report is that almost half of all laptops sold to students are sold in the eight weeks leading up to university and the first two weeks of starting.

What can advertisers do to aid you in maximising your seasonal campaign?

SM: Getting creative to us a long time in advance of a campaign starting is always important. Bespoke creative for our site always works well - and of course time limited discounts are always effective in driving sales.

JE: Relevance and quality are key. Provide students with the things they need at the right time and make sure your offer is good quality - they want to see something solid. If they like your offer this audience will undoubtedly tell their friends.

How have the opportunities available to advertisers via your website changed over the last 12 months (i.e - offering display tenancy / e-mail / working with hybrid deals / exclusive discounts etc)?

SM: We are open to any new suggestions or ideas on how advertisers might like to work with us. In the past 12 months we've developed a partnership with Savoo where it provides our "Mumsnet Weekly Deals", which are weekly discount codes for a range of retailers that we think would appeal to our audience. We've also established the "Mumsnet Money Saver" email which goes out each week to over 200,000 people - advertisers can book spots in this email and many have found that this has resulted in very good ROI.

What are the plans for your company over the next 12 months (expansion / new niches / etc)?

SM: A big area for expansion will be our "local" offering. We've always had a local area of the site - but we will be re-vamping this over the next three months and plan to work with local parents to establish 180 local sites all over the country. There will be lots of opportunities for advertisers to work with us to target these local areas so anyone interested in hearing more should get in touch.

JE: Over the next 12 months we aim to continue to grow and work with even more brands and reach even more students. We’re on a mission to make students and graduates richer, smarter and happier. We recently launched More Beans, for life after university so we’ll be looking into developing that further.

We’re also continuing to recruit and grow the team and are always open to people getting in touch who are relevant and believe that can add value and bring something to the company.

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Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

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