February’s designated day of love – Valentine’s Day - traditionally kicks off the retail year. Consumers are spending more and more when it comes to February 14th, with shoppers in the US spending $142 on average in 2015, and total spend expected at almost $19 billion this year.
To capitalise on this first spike in consumer spending, it is important that advertisers target consumers effectively – especially in the days leading up to the ‘big event’, with a large proportion of Valentine’s spending occurring in the week immediately prior to the 14th. So, how can retailers drive sales and make the most of investment in performance marketing?
In the US last year, there was 115% uplift in sales in the flowers and gifts segment in the week directly prior to Valentine’s Day. According to an eMarketer’s survey, over half of US respondents also said they’d like a night out with their significant other for Valentine’s Day.
This is reflected in the UK – research suggests that in 2015, UK consumers spent £557 million on meals, and £336 million on flowers and chocolates. By taking stock of trends from recent years, retailers can establish which products and services are most likely to gather traction with their customers and drive the best ROI through performance marketing.
In an increasingly digital world, consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day online with ever-greater ease and exposure. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will see an uplift in seasonal shares and content leading up to 14th February. In 2015, an enormous 98% of Valentine’s shoppers posted statuses, pictures and tweets celebrating the day.
This offers retailers a unique opportunity to reach out to an already engaged audience. Criteo’s ads on Facebook’s Newsfeed for example can help capitalise on this increased activity, providing a click uplift of almost 10%, and 5% more sales at the same Cost of Sale.
The Ancient Greeks had six different words for love, and the modern Valentine’s Day gift-giver is just as diverse in their reasons for purchase. In recent years the trend for consumers buying gifts for friends, children and even pets has grown.
Approaching Valentine’s Day, the most successful retailers will be those that spot and leverage unusual marketing opportunities. Whilst traditional gifts will remain popular, it is increasingly important to cater for less conventional gifts.
Cost per conversion (CPC) can help advertisers recognize where and when campaigns are working. Using this model and monitoring results helps retailers track where ads – and investment - are working hardest. In 2015, CPC monitoring showed that ‘flowers and gifts’ sector clicks increased by 31% in the US in the period leading up to Valentine’s Day.
33% of clicks on retail sites will come from mobile devices, and mobile transactions accounted for 27% of overall sales last year during the Valentine’s period. These rates are only set to rise further, and ‘on the go’ purchases will increase in the lead up to Valentine’s Day as ‘panic purchasing’ kick in. Making sure that sites are mobile enabled can help retailers to win when it comes to Valentine’s campaigns.