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Planning for brand love

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In partnership with Google, we look into the data and explain how brands can feel the love for this year’s Valentine’s Day.

Christmas may only just be over and plans for Lunar New Year are fast approaching but interestingly, around the world people are now also preparing for Valentine’s Day - an annual celebration of love and partnership, and like so many of our traditions, it’s going digital.

The event has now become a key seasonal moment around the world, with interest peaking at the start of the year as 46% of Valentine’s Day shoppers will look for gifts one month in advance. Providing opportunity for best practice from brands to be shared and learned from globally.

By searching for gifts earlier, the knock-on effect of this is that the deadline for brands to capture interest from 80% of consumer queries has been brought forward. Trends differ by region, for example, in the US interest peaks around 30th January, whereas this is at least one week later in UAE.

Related queries are largest in the EU and US, but growth is being driven in new markets, namely in APAC and MENA. In Australia for example, who have been strongly impacted by COVID-19, experts expect an increase to advertising budgets on retail websites and applications (+44%), retargeting and paid display (+40%) and video advertising (+36%) to generate additional sales.

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In comparison, in LATAM this date is celebrated later in the year, however online shopping around Valentine's Day has also grown considerably. Argentina has seen a sharp increase in online spending on sentimental gifts (+1,961%), and 69% considered shopping on Valentine's Day due to mobile ads in the LATAM region.

Recent events have changed the way people live and accelerated the shift to a more digital world. The ease and convenience of online shopping, as well as the greater variety of items on offer, are the dominant reasons for online shopping. Three of the top five markets for retail eCommerce are in the Asia-Pacific region, accounting for 62% of all online sales (China, Japan and South Korea).

Yet despite the gifting connotations of Valentine’s Day, not all purchases are there to be given away as 1 in 5 French consumers intend to show themselves some love this year. Comparatively, that number is just over 1 in 10 in the US. Additionally, the amount people that are prepared to spend varies: UK consumers are willing to spend a bit less on gifting than American, French and UAE consumers with 75% of UK shoppers willing to spend less than $250 (vs. 72% for the US, 61% for France and 28% for UAE).

In the luxury category for those bigger spenders, jewellery is the most searched category across the globe during the Valentine’s gifting period except for APAC which noticed a dominance of fashion and accessories (45%).

Search remains the most popular tool to research gift ideas, however marketplaces like Amazon are increasingly becoming key sources for inspiration (shown below).

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Therefore, for brands that want to stand-out during Valentine’s season, here are six useful tips to follow:

Take control over the inspirational phase: Be present when consumers are actively looking for gifts, promote shopping ideas to make them consider your brand via video platforms and in-feed video formats.

Show up in the discovery phase with generic search: Invest in generic keywords to make sure you are showing up as consumers look for inspiration.

Drive emotion with the right creative: When targeting for Valentine’s Day, use visually engaging creative that inspire consumers and are emotionally resonant. Take advantage of a range of visual formats using display and video to capture customer attention.

Leverage data and audiences: Retain customers using data to personalise offers and key messages. Acquire new customers using look-alike audiences and smart shopping campaigns.

Drive traffic to your stores: Omnichannel journeys will be key for Valentine’s Day, particularly for big luxury purchases as people start online but take the final steps in-store. Use online to offline solutions to drive traffic stores.

Optimize your e-boutiques: Focus on local consumers and optimize your e-boutique by making customer’s eCommerce journeys as simple and pleasant as possible. To generate more online conversions, it's important to focus on the call to action (CTA) and make sure the landing page gives enough information to get users to take action.

So, when planning for love this Valentine’s Day, assess your local and global strategy to reach your audience and start showing the love now before it’s too late.

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