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Capturing Non-Traditional Valentine’s Day Shoppers Online: A Last-Minute Checklist

The weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are go time for flower shops, candy brands, and jewelry stores. But brands that offer traditional Valentine’s Day gifts aren’t the only ones that can capitalize on the day. With 62% of consumers participating, Americans spent more than $17 billion on the holiday last year. And there’s opportunity for advertisers to convince lovers everywhere to give more than flowers and candy this year.

rkg-non-traditional-valentinesSearcher behavior and past spending point to a considerable chunk of cash brands can take advantage of this Valentine’s Day. According to CNN, consumers spent $130.97 per person, on average. In total, nearly $2 billion was spent on flowers, an additional $2 billion on candy, and close to $4.5 billion on jewelry. If you’re doing the math with me, that leaves $8.5 billion on the table.

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the other half go to dinner and a night out? Not necessarily. Allowing for multiple gifts, 14% of Valentine’s Day consumers are buying clothing, 12% of consumers are giving gift cards, and 11% are giving a bit of everything else. Taking a look at search trends in 2014, we can see that chocolate, roses, flowers, and jewelry all reach peaks during Valentine’s week. Super predictable. But if we broaden our view a little beyond the classic idea of Valentine’s Day, we see that gift-related terms also reach a peak for searchers this time of year. The volume of searches around this time is second only to the holiday season in December. For example, gifts for him and her are heavily searched during Valentine’s week. This means users haven’t made up their mind about what to get their significant others just yet and your brand has the opportunity to push onto the SERPs and help them with their decision. Searches for “thoughtful gifts” and “funny gifts” also increase as searchers are trying to figure out what will make their sweethearts happy.

Your Valentine’s Day Marketing Checklist

How can your brand take advantage of the holiday? Employ a few marketing strategies that will appeal to users that are still looking for ways to spend those undecided dollars.

  • Look Back – Check out performance from last year to get an idea of what shoppers might be buying in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. If certain types of products take a jump, they might be worth including in your strategy for this year.
  • Feature Valentine’s Picks on Your Site - Pull together your most giftable, romantic, and popular products on a landing page on your site. Optimize that page with relevant, Valentine’s Day content. This can be a sonnet, flying cupids, or product information that’s customized for V-Day shoppers.
  • Get in on the Discussion – There’s a flurry of conversation around the holiday – both love and hate. Get in there and get gabbing to engage with people that are talking about Valentine’s Day this year. Some trends we noticed on Twitter from this time last year were conversations around love, style, fun, single, chocolate, and complaining. If any of those resonate with your brand’s voice, grab on to the trend to start connecting with your audience.
  • Get in Front of New Shoppers - When gift givers are looking to buy something for their significant other, it may be their first time researching and shopping for that type of product. Display gives advertisers the opportunity to target searchers that are visiting sites that are related to your industry or offering. So husbands researching what kind of speakers his wife would like in her office could be shown your ad for your wireless speaker as he reads.
  • Email Former Gift Givers and Possible Hint Droppers – Segment former gift givers in your database and ping them with great gift ideas. Also think about getting into your loyal customers’ inboxes so your brand will be top of mind in case they want to drop a hint or two.
  • Intercept Intent – You know searchers are looking online for flowers, candy, roses, and jewelry because they want to buy a nice gift for their Valentine. If you can offer a better alternative to searchers, sneak in on those search terms. Run Valentine’s day ad copy on queries where searchers may choose your product as an alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day experience.
  • Evaluate and Tweak - Once the day of romance flutters by, evaluate your strategy. What keywords crushed it? Did your ads drive the engagement you expected? Where could you have put more energy and money? Keep those takeaways in mind for next year when you improve on your approach.
  • Plan Ahead for Next Year - keep your Valentine’s Day landing page live for next year (keep the year out of it, of course!). Your products will likely be switched out from year to year but keeping the same URL for your holiday content means it will gain clout in organic search by the time it tries to compete for those searchers’ clicks next year.
The traditional idea of Valentine’s Day may not match your company’s offering but plenty of people are looking for non-traditional ways to show they care. Use our Valentine’s checklist to capture some of the gift-giving frenzy and turn it into conversions for your business this year.