Now that the 2016 holidays are well over, it’s time to start thinking about the first big retail season of 2017—Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day Spending and Shopping
Like pretty much every holiday, Valentine’s Day is seeing increased spending. According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spending survey, nearly 55 percent of respondents plan to celebrate the day, and are “sharing the love” with retailers.
In 2016, Valentine’s Day spending was predicted to reach $19.7 billion, up almost $1 billion from 2015.
Where are people spending all that money? Department stores get 34.5 percent of the business, with discount stores and online retailers coming in next.
Insights on Valentine’s Day Digital Ads from Bing
Bing Ads put together a presentation on digital insights for Valentine’s Day advertisers (using insights from the NRF, comScore and others). Let’s see how it can help you attract some of that rising holiday spend.
Turns out, the segment to target in the leadup to Valentine’s Day is unmarried men aged 25-34 as these three groups are likely to spend more than their counterparts.
Interestingly, it’s not all about romantic love when it comes to Valentine spending. About half of consumers consider themselves single, but a quarter of those singles will mark the day, spending between $40 and $71.
To get their attention, focus on relationships with relatives, co-workers, friends, pets, classmates and teachers. One important tip: People generally spend less on non-romantic Valentines, so emphasize affordability.
Bing positions itself as the ideal place to find your audience for Valentine’s Day, highlighting that it delivered 50 million retail searches not reached on Google in March 2016. More than 3 million of those searches were for flowers, gifts and greetings, getting Bing 51 percent of flowers/gifts/greetings paid clicks versus other search engines.
If you want to take advantage of this as an advertiser, keep in mind that, according to research presented by Bing, the ramp-up to Valentine’s Day is shorter than for other holidays. Most shoppers buy early in February, and 30 percent wait until the day itself to get started.
During that time, Valentine-related searches and clicks both reach their peak, though both ramp up in the weeks before the peaks.
Also be aware of click-through rates (CTRs, which are pretty stable during the season) and costs per click (CPC, which decline until they jump back up in the days just before Valentine’s Day):
Remarketing to those who have already visited your website or app is one way to enhance your ad performance in the gift categories. Conversion rates jump approximately six percentage points, and CTRs approximately one percentage point.
Bing offers the following tips for remarketing:
- Implement universal event tracking across web and mobile sites.
- Repurpose holiday remarketing lists, which have been tested and might only need some refining for Valentine’s Day.
- Broaden keywords to top Valentine’s Day search terms.
- Adjust bid amounts for high-value audiences, including cart abandoners and previous customers.
In 2016, 48 percent of all Bing searches for Valentine’s Day were through mobile, compared to 40 percent in 2015. People used mobile to research, get input from social contacts, find retailer info (like location), shop and evaluate their purchases.
Get in on that activity by following Bing’s suggestion to optimize for the top 10 search terms, which include items for surprises and romantic meal prep:
- Valentine’s Day
- Engagement rings
- Gift card
- Pandora charms
- Online grocery
Getting more specific for specialized retailers, the top 10 sweets-related searches are:
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Ghirardelli chocolate
- White chocolate
- Chocolate strawberries
- Rock mountain chocolate
- Chocolate dipped strawberries
And the top 10 greeting card searches:
- Valentine cards
- Valentine’s Day cards
- Free e-cards
- American Greetings
- Greeting cards
- Jacquie Lawson
Also the top 10 flower-related searches:
- Silk flowers
- Floral arrangements
- Flower bouquets
- Red roses
- Flower arrangements
- Silk flower arrangements
- Purple roses
Finally, the top 10 gourmet gift basket searches are:
- Edible arrangements
- Fruit basket
- Fruit baskets
- Fruit basket delivery
- Edible arrangements coupons
- Cookie bouquet
- Edible arrangement
- Gourmet gift baskets
- Candy bouquet
Though not on those lists, smartphones are actually the hottest Valentine’s Day gift. Since smartphone ads’ CPC tends to drop from January 27 to 31, run your related ads in the last week of January. Right after this, during the first week of February, CTRs start dropping after staying relatively steady.
Another favorite is engagement rings. According to research presented by Bing, about half of all marriage proposals happen on Valentine’s Day, so this is something to optimize for if you’re in the market. Rings generate the most traffic and conversions during the first week of February.
In the hospitality sector, hotels have the greatest search volume, which remains pretty steady throughout January and February. Bing suggests running your ads during the week, as the searches peak on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then dip on the weekends.
Don’t forget about the people who stay home for Valentine’s Day, which about 53 percent will do. A whole 72 percent will watch Netflix, and perhaps order food. Couples are likely to order Asian food, while singles opt for comfort food like pizza.
In conclusion, check out Bing’s checklist for creating your Valentine’s Day ads:
As an advertiser, you know that the holidays never really end. Start preparing for Valentine’s Day 2017 now!