Valentine’s Day 2020: Top PPC & paid social tips for retailers

Depending on your industry, as a business owner or marketer, the run-up to Valentine’s Day can be one of the busiest times of the year. For industries such as floristry, this period can generate almost 50% of annual sales, leading to plenty of sleepless nights!

With roughly a seven-day window resulting in up to 50% of your sales, it’s crucial you prepare and execute your marketing plan without a hitch. Especially as this could make or break your year’s performance.

So, what should you do? In this blog, Victoria Cooper-Samios, Croud’s Senior Biddable Account Manager, and Emily Smith, Croud’s Senior Social Advertising Manager, come together to share their top tips for maximising sales.

1. Carefully segment your audiences

The demand for Valentine’s Day gifts steadily grows over the six weeks prior to 14th February, whilst search queries around Valentine’s Day gift ideas start around early January. Therefore it’s vital that your marketing plan for the year starts as early as possible in January and accounts for these early shoppers. 

Carefully consider when and how you’ll target different audience segments in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. For example, there is a noticeable trend towards women planning ahead and searching for gift ideas in January, whilst male shoppers historically leave it till later, for example, 20% are still undecided in the final week before 14th February.

Seasonal audiences are a fantastic way to focus your efforts on people who are in the market and actively showing signs of looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

Don’t just think about new acquisition opportunities, re-engage with those previous customers who purchased around Valentine’s day in previous years. In this day and age where we’re automatically signed-in on websites and our details are remembered (and providing people customers had a positive experience previously), they’re far more likely to purchase from the same site again.

Some of Croud’s clients have seen as much as a 91% reduction in cost per order by re-engaging with previous customers on search.

In addition to these valuable audiences, utilising in-market and affinity audiences can really help focus your media spend on audiences most likely to convert.

2. Brag about your amazing Valentines day offers and deals

With both search and shopping getting increasingly competitive each year you need to make sure searchers see your offers, and QUICK! Consumers are all too happy to scroll through offerings at speed, so you need to grab their attention.

Merchant promotions really boost engagement, real-estate and set you apart from the competition.

Similarly, with promo extensions on search ads generating as much as a 100% increase in return on investment and 15% more traffic to site with stronger CTRs.

3. Don’t miss out on potential customers

If you don’t already utilise dynamic search ads (DSA) in your search strategy get on it ahead of Valentine’s Day.

DSA will generate ads for search terms it deems are applicable to your site regardless of them not being present in your account.

With up to 20% of daily searches being new and never searched for before, keeping on top of having extensive keyword coverage in your account is impossible. DSA will allow you to capitalise on applicable terms when it’s most needed with CPCs often being 50% lower and CTR being 95% higher than standard campaigns due to the relevancy.

4. Understand where to invest your money

Although there will always be original and quirky purchasers, let’s face it – there isn’t much point in investing precious marketing budget advertising certain products over the romantic season. Bear this in mind in your annual marketing plans and allow certain products to take a back seat over Valentine’s period whilst others to take the lead, and vice-versa after 14th February.

Maximise the return on investment by targeting strong-performing product categories, such as flowers, jewellery, chocolate, and clothing, and allow such products as kitchen appliances to take a back seat!

5. Keep it fun and unique

Although the Valentine’s season is extremely competitive, don’t forget to keep it unique and different! Don’t be afraid to set the trend, with such initiatives as:

  •       Starting a Valentine’s Day hashtag to attract online audiences
  •       Organising a social media contest
  •       Sharing unique ideas to make the day special for your followers

6. Think beyond Facebook & Instagram

Whilst Facebook and Instagram inevitably play an important role in seasonal campaigns, failing to consider other platforms may mean that you miss out on reaching potential customers at key stages of their purchase journey.

For example, data from Pinterest shows that users begin searching for Valentine’s Day terms and saving ideas as early as mid-December. From this point up until early February, Pinterest sees approximately 2.2 million searches and 12 million saves relating to Valentine’s Day from an audience of around 2 million people. With Pinterest’s unique positioning as a tool for users in a planning mindset, this presents a huge opportunity for advertisers to tap into the research phase and reach potential customers before competitors.

In addition to Pinterest, Snapchat provides advertisers with an opportunity to reach a younger demographic with highly engaging, full-screen ad creative. For Valentine’s Day, advertisers can utilise a broad range of interest-based audience segments including one relating to romance and rom-coms.

Many regular users of Snapchat and Pinterest will not be easily reached through Facebook and Instagram activity so a big-picture approach to platform utilisation is the key to securing the best possible audience volume and most efficient CPMs.

7. Make use of every placement

As an increasing number of advertisers seek to tap into Valentine’s Day demand, the digital space naturally becomes more crowded and competitive. This can result in vast inflations in CPMs across all social platforms. 

In order to keep CPMs as low as possible during the competitive period, auto-placement should be used wherever possible. This allows platforms to deliver your ads wherever there is available inventory, meaning you get more reach at a lower cost. 

Instagram stories are of particular importance in the current social advertising landscape as they currently make up for more than 10% of total Facebook advertising spend and inventory. Develop creative that can easily be adapted for stories placements to avoid missing out on a large portion of valuable traffic. 

8. Use a range of ad formats

As Valentine’s Day draws closer, users will be inundated with seasonal advertising featuring gift ideas and date night essentials. To stand out from the competition, advertisers need to ensure that their creative is thumb-stopping and original. 

For retail advertisers, collection ads on Facebook and Instagram provide the ideal format in which to showcase shoppable products alongside lifestyle context. Similarly, Instant Experiences allow advertisers to create bespoke and immersive ads which lend themselves to brand storytelling. Both of these formats are perfectly suited to showcasing a Valentine’s Day ‘gift guide.’

9. Don’t forget about self-gifting

Platform data suggests that users are increasingly not only buying gifts for others around Valentine’s Day but are also looking to treat themselves. When planning creative and messaging strategy, make sure to consider this aspect of your audience and develop copy variations which speak to this segment directly. 

10. And our most important tip

Treat your own valentine!

If you’d like to find out more about how Croud helps retailers with their digital marketing activity – during this Valentine’s period or any other time of the year, don’t hesitate to contact us.

by Croud
21 January 2020



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