Planning for brand love

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

Christmas may only just be over and Lunar New Year is coming up fast, but around the world people are 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 event 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, allowing best practice from brands to be shared and learned from globally.

By searching for gifts earlier, the deadline for brands to capture 80% of consumer queries has moved forward. Data differs by region, for example, in the US this would be accounted for by 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.

Google data 1

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%) for example, and 69% considered shopping on Valentine's Day due to mobile ads in the LATAM region.

Many consumers are choosing to buy their gifts online in 2022 and will prefer the home delivery option in key markets as China, the United States and the United Kingdom. According to e-Marketer, retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach $5.9 trillion by 2023. Three of the top five markets are in the Asia-Pacific region, accounting for 62.2 percent of all online sales (China, Japan and South Korea). 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, are the dominant reasons for online shopping.

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 as low as 13% in the US.

The amount people are prepared to spend does vary, however: UK Consumers are willing to spend a bit less on gifting than American, French & UAE consumers with 75% of people 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 with the exception of 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.

Google data 2
Google data 3

Fragrances and jewelry are the two main types of gifts offered for this most romantic day of the year. France has a much higher interest in perfumes (39% of purchases) than the US, the UK and the United Arab Emirates, which have rather equivalent shares, while watches seem to be a dominant gift in the UAE (21%).

Therefore, for brands that want to stand-out this holiday season, here are six clear 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 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 Creatives: When targeting for Valentine’s Day, use visually engaging creatives 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 customers eCommerce journey 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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