Valentine’s Day spend in 2018 was predicted to grow to a near-record $19.6 billion, according to a National Federation Survey. This equates to an average spend of $143.56 per person, of the 55% of Americans that were celebrating. If last year’s predictions are anything to go by, it looks like Valentine’s Day is on track to again mark the first of the key holiday dates in the 2019 ecommerce calendar.
For many, Valentine’s gifting may signal thoughts of chocolates, jewellery and flowers, however the survey also found that it’s not just traditional retailers such as department stores and florists that will benefit. In 2018, 23.7% of customers intended to purchase experiences, such as dinners or trips. This means more opportunity for everyone to capitalize on consumer intent through digital campaign strategies.
But despite the trend in big spending, there are still a number of more cynical customers who believe Valentine’s Day spending is a waste of money. So not only do you need to stand out from the crowd to attract those searching, you also need to be doing something different to inspire the cynics amongst us to make a purchase.
Here are my top tips for building engaging and high converting Valentine’s Day campaigns in 2019:
1. Understand and target one-time shoppers
Combine what you know about a visitor, such as their recent browsing history and typical purchase price, with an understanding of the context behind their visit. For example, you can identify what they browsed in the last 30 days to determine the type of products they are currently looking for, along with the price they typically purchase at. Their behavior may differ from usual if they are buying for a loved one, so knowing this could help you identify the right products to personalize your targeting.
You can also assume that during the Valentine’s shopping period, you will attract an influx of one-time shoppers, one of five modes of ecommerce shopper that we use to categorize the context of every visit. One-time shoppers primarily shop for gifts and are navigating through their path from browsing to research to product focused with that goal in mind, most likely only visiting your site for this one-time need. By understanding the motivations and behaviors of one-time shoppers, you can respond in real-time to deliver more contextually relevant content and experiences.
2. Mix up your programmatic advertising strategy
When it comes to digital advertising, explore the varying channels and strategies that programmatic advertising can offer. Make sure that when devising your campaign strategy, you consider the opportunities and impact that display advertising, video advertising and native advertising could have on your success. Include a mix of branding, prospecting and retargeting campaigns to achieve maximum impact, both in driving visits from new users, but also converting sales from those who have already browsed your website.
For optimum results, connect digital advertising to your onsite experience, so that you can target visitors onsite with a sequential, relevant message to the one they saw in the ad – regardless of whether they click or view. In connecting your advertising and marketing technology, you will achieve greater efficiency of ad spend, ensuring any increased budget you assign to advertising over this key holiday is rewarded with returns in conversions and sales.
3. Focus on end-to-end personalization
There is huge value to be gained from building full journeys for your customers, rather than simply delivering single experiences. From the very first touchpoint, you need to be sharing messages that are relevant. This must then continue across every interaction a visitor has with your brand. Single experiences only serve to fragment the customer journey, making it more likely that they will abandon their purchases.
Remarketing also plays a key role in building continuous personalization from prospecting to purchase, and should be an important part of your digital strategy this Valentine’s Day. During a journey, regardless of how seamless it is, customers will naturally leave your website during the browsing and research phase to search for and compare items elsewhere. Make sure to keep your brand front of mind and inspire customers to revisit your website to make their purchase by delivering timely and personalized remarketing messages. Where possible, remind them of the products they previously visited so that they can easily return and checkout.
4. Get creative
When it comes down to it, what the Valentine’s Day holiday really means is a chance to be creative; whether that be with campaign strategy, visuals or messaging. With so many brands vying for attention, you need to stand out if you want to attract both high intent and more cynical customers. If you can power creativity with personalization, for example through dynamic display ads or personalized and contextual onsite content such as product recommendations, then you’ll be on the right track for Valentine’s Day success.
There are opportunities across the whole customer journey to try new and innovative ideas. Depending on the capabilities of your advertising and marketing technology, you could look to deploy new or more advanced features ahead of 14th February, helping you to reap the rewards from the increased website traffic you can expect in the lead up to the holiday.
Whether you’ve already planned your Valentine’s Day campaign strategy and simply need to fine-tune it, or perhaps you need some last-minute inspiration to get started, make sure you focus on building experiences that engage audiences across their full journey, from awareness through to purchase. By concentrating on creativity, personalization and seamless journeys, all of which should be tailored and relevant for your audience, you will have the biggest chance of maximising your campaign budget in 2019.
Get in touch with one of our experts to discover how we can help you transform your campaign strategy ahead of the first key date in the 2019 ecommerce calendar.