With Christmas and new year celebrations already behind us, Valentine’s Day is the next significant holiday marketers can leverage to attract new users, engage an existing audience and increase ROI. Revenue generated as a result of Valentine’s Day has been rising year-over-year since 2017. In 2019, loved-up shoppers spent $20.7 Billion on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day sales in the U.S. then reached approximately $27.4 billion in 2020, marking an increase of 6.7 billion dollars. This guide covers digital marketing strategies and best practices to help you get the most out of Valentine’s Day.
Utilizing Valentine’s Day to boosting user engagement
Valentine’s Day can be used to effectively increase engagement with an existing audience. In an article for MarTechSeries, SaaS-based customer lifecycle management and mobile marketing company CleverTap gave insight into leveraging Valentine’s Day to boost user engagement: “More than half of smartphone owners use their device to purchase gifts, and more than a third use them to research products and prices and redeem coupons,” said Sunil Thomas, co-founder and CEO, CleverTap. “Today’s marketer needs to think about how to creatively engage their customers during key buying seasons like Valentine’s Day in ways that will bring long term growth, increased sales and forge bonds that keep their mobile customers coming back.”
Defining your target audience
Digital marketers should note that Valentine’s Day campaigns don't have to be exclusively targeted at couples. Despite the holiday’s tradition, sentimental shoppers also enjoy using the occasion as an excuse to give gifts to family, friends and pets. According to the National Retail Federation, customers are expected to spend $1.7 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets this year. This is great news for marketers, as celebrating a wide range of relationships on Valentine’s Day significantly broadens the appeal and provides opportunities to boost revenue and engagement. As the appeal of Valentine’s Day broadens beyond romantic relationships, it is more important than ever to generate original marketing ideas, A/B test your creative and implement a mixed strategy across multiple channels.
Valentine’s Day digital marketing: 10 best practices
1. Offer discounts, giveaways and promotional deals
An early step in the development of your Valentine’s Day strategy development should be defining the types of discounts, giveaways and promotional deals that will drive installs, engagements and ROI. Marketers should also calculate which deals will be most beneficial to their long-term targets. For example, marketers who want to drive installs can offer customers giveaways and discounts that are exclusively available in-app. This will convert users who are already accessing your services on mobile web and desktop.
Once you have defined your Valentine’s Day promotional offers, you should use several channels to ensure your customers are made aware of what’s on offer. This includes your social media channels, a banner or landing page on your website, email campaigns and paid advertising.
Creating campaigns that align with the sentiments of Valentine’s Day are more likely to produce results. For e-commerce apps, 2-for-1 deals and other promotional deals that provide for couples are particularly well-suited for Valentine’s Day campaigns. If you have a mobile game, you can implement a sharing system for in-app purchases that benefits two or more users.
2. Account for a rush of last-minute purchases
While Valentine’s Day is an important day for many, it’s also a holiday that is frequently forgotten until the last minute. A Think with Google study revealed that this user behaviour is divided: A significant rise in Google searches for “Gifts for boyfriend” occurs in the first week of January while “Gifts for girlfriends” remains flat until early February. Fortunately, there are several ways to facilitate last-minute shoppers. For example, marketers can help a portion of users who complete Valentine’s Day purchases at the last minute by offering deals on fast shipping options. A designated landing page with curated gift ideas can also help users who are short of time.
3. Redesign your website and social media channels
A smart way to encourage your audience to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day – and alert them of your promotional offers – is to give your website and social media channels a makeover. On social media, this includes changes to banners, profile image, and username. Marketers should also leverage Valentine’s Day by adapting ad creative and images. Changes to your advertising can include the color palette, images, videos and copy.
4. Create a microsite or landing page
Creating a separate landing page or microsite for Valentine’s Day is a great way to optimize the user journey. In addition to providing a unique landing page for Valentine’s Day shoppers, you can also use this as an opportunity to share engaging content related to the holiday. For example, if your Valentine’s Day marketing strategy includes a guest post from a relationship guru, user-generated content on social media and a curated list of your products, all of these can be included on your landing page or microsite. You can also use these online locations to promote and manage any competitions running for Valentine’s Day. Your landing page or microsite should be advertised on your main website and social media channels.
5. Collaborative co-marketing
Depending on the function of your app, there may be ways to collaborate with other companies to promote your brands. For example, KFC and food delivery app Deliveroo teamed up for a unique Valentine’s Day campaign last year for customers in Singapore. Customers could order a Valentine’s Day Combo, which included a KFC-themed engagement ring, for a foodie wishing to propose. Customers also had the option to have a personalized message included in the Allergy Note section of their delivery box.
6. Send Valentine’s Day push notifications ahead of time
Once you have implemented a giveaway, competition or Valentine’s Day discount, it’s smart to use push notifications to let your users know ahead of time. This can act as a friendly reminder for your audience to get their significant other a gift before it’s too late. Push notifications can drive growth and increase engagement by as much as 88%. While users need to have push notifications enabled for them to work, 42 % of mobile users opt-in for this type of message.
For best results, you should personalize your push notifications and ensure that your alert matches your Valentine’s Day redesign. To learn everything you need to know about developing a push notification strategy, read our guide.
7. Email marketing
Marketers can use Valentine’s Day to reward their existing users and newsletter subscribers with exclusive deals. Email marketing is another unmissable opportunity to reach as many of your users as possible and alert them of your Valentine’s Day deals. This type of marketing is critical for increasing retention rates: 80% of small to midsize businesses rely on email marketing for retention campaigns and 81%% use them for user acquisition.
Your call to action and personalization are two critical components of email marketing. Personalizing a subject line can generate up to 50% higher open rates, while personalizing a call to action can outperform basic messaging by 202%.
8. Generate Valentine’s Day hashtags
Before setting up your Valentine’s Day campaigns, you should define the hashtags you want to use for the occasion. This is a smart way to promote your campaign and encourage your audience to use the desired hashtags, meaning content generated from competitions and sales can be easily found in one place. Create a hashtag that is exclusive to your brand and memorable to your audience. You should also avoid using too many hashtags as this may be confusing and discouraging to users.
9. Drive growth with user-generated content
In addition to your Valentine’s Day campaigns, you can also use social media channels to drive growth with polls, prompts and contests. These efforts to encourage user-generated content (UGC) give you opportunities to share your audience’s content and build a stronger community. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a Valentine’s Day campaign with a multi-channel approach that included an Instagram contest, an iMessage card builder, an in-app emoji keyboard, and Snapchat filters. The iMessage card builder enabled users to create their own Valentine’s Day cards that included a Dunkin’ Donuts sticker. Recipients could also reply with their own custom-made card. On Instagram, the brand held a photo contest, “Dunkin’ Love” asking fans to share how their products played a part in their love stories. The winner was rewarded with a year’s worth of Dunkin’ Donuts and a $2,500 cash prize.
10. Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing can help you drive growth, raise brand awareness and strengthen brand loyalty with a successful Valentine’s Day campaign. Significantly, 86% of marketers are working with influencers and 17% of companies are planning on increasing their budgets for social media influencer marketing. Here are a few examples of how you can leverage an influencer’s audience to achieve your goals.
A simple but effective method is to provide influencers with free products. This can be with an agreement that the influencer will share your product, or as a good-will gesture in the hopes that you will gain positive exposure.
If you have an app with a premium service, you can give influencers access to your full user experience with an agreement that they share their experience across their social media channels. If you have a mobile game, you may want to reward a streamer with in-app currency to get the most out of your game. This can be particularly effective if you have created Valentine’s Day themed in-app purchases.
If you would like more control over how your product is being exposed to an influencer’s followers, paid product placement may be the ideal option. This is a guaranteed placement of your product on an influencer’s social media channels. You can also use this type of advertising to raise awareness of your Valentine’s Day giveaways, competitions and similar promotional deals.
Freebies and product placements are commonplace across social media. For more unique results, you can create collaborative content with influencers that can be featured in-app, on your website and across social media. For example, you can invite influencers to control your Instagram stories for a day or feature guest posts on your blog. If you have a fashion app, you can work with an influencer to create a lookbook of your products.