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  • Back to School – Insights from brand activity in the MENA region

    September 26, 2023

    The back-to-school season is a pivotal juncture for these diverse businesses, marking a time when they strive to connect with their target audiences and offer valuable solutions for students and parents alike.

    In this article, we delve deep into the data, revealing insights that illuminate the trends, challenges, and strategies that have emerged during this dynamic period. Our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the back-to-school landscape, empowering you with the knowledge to make informed decisions and engage effectively with your audience.

    So, join us as we explore the multifaceted world of the back-to-school season and uncover the insights that can shape your brand’s success in this crucial time.

    Our back-to-school report delves into the evolving dynamics of the back-to-school season over its three-month duration. Sila conducted a comprehensive analysis by aggregating all instances of #backtoschool hashtags across the MENA region from public posts on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.

    The study encompasses data collected from January 1, 2021, to August 2, 2023, consisting of 2,945 posts originating from over 400 brands and influencers. These posts collectively generated a staggering 369 million likes, views, and comments, reflecting the immense audience engagement associated with this period.


    The back-to-school (B2S) season extends over a 3 month period, split into three crucial phases.

    Before the Promotional Peak (1 July – 15 August) is Phase 1, characterized by driving awareness with the emergence of back-to-school hashtags and a gradual increase in engagement. Major promotional activities have yet to begin.

    During the Promotional Peak (16 August – 5 September) in Phase 2, there’s a surge in call-to-action communication, marked by extensive promotion across various categories. Brands, influencers, and retailers actively participate.

    Following the Promotional Peak (6 September – 3 October) is Phase 3, focused on communicating product utility, particularly in the realm of food-related content and lunchboxes. Engagement during this phase is primarily driven by influencers.

    As consumer interest in Back to School begins as early as July 1st, there exists an opportunity to enhance engagement during phase 1, which is presently not fully leveraged. The intensified efforts in phase 1 are evidently yielding positive results, as indicated by the rising levels of engagement.

    The social media dimension

    The number of posts on Instagram surpasses Tiktok by a factor of 8, yet Tiktok sees significantly higher engagement, outperforming Instagram by 7-fold.

    On Tiktok, there is a higher ratio of influencers to brand accounts actively posting, standing at 34%, compared to Instagram’s 16%. This difference can partly account for the variation in engagement, as influencers generally generate higher engagement levels than brands.

    Concerning category representation, Tiktok exhibits a more balanced distribution, while Instagram tends to focus more on products like school supplies and apparel, particularly up to phase 3.

    Key Takeaways

    The key insight lies in the duration of the back-to-school period, extending over 13 weeks divided into three distinct phases. Brands can harness the potential of this extended period by remaining attuned to the nuances of each phase.

    Phase 1 initiates by building brand and product awareness, commencing in July. Brands can leverage this period for higher engagement, which consistently grows year after year. Notably, product categories with limited presence, such as food, can experience significant advantages. Lifestyle influencers hold more relevance during this initial phase.

    Phase 2 signifies the peak of back-to-school promotions, with brands actively showcasing their products and associated offers. Staying pertinent during this phase necessitates the fine-tuning of promotions and the creation of compelling call-to-action content. Both lifestyle and food influencers play a significant role during this peak phase.

    Phase 3 denotes the closing opportunity of the season, still maintaining substantial engagement. The essence of this phase revolves around posting content that focuses on utility, tailored to the school routine. This approach deeply resonates with parents as they navigate new or returning routines. Food influencers hold heightened relevance during this concluding phase.

    Interested to get a copy of the full report? Download for free now.

    Back to School

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