Blog Love is in the app: Valentine's Day mobi...

Love is in the app: Valentine's Day mobile usage skyrockets

A sense of love is in the air with Valentine's Day approaching. This day has evolved beyond romantic dinners, chocolates, and flowers to become an enormous, global commercial event. In 2023, U.S. consumers alone spent an impressive $25.9 billion on Valentine's gifts for their loved ones, making it the second-highest spending year recorded. This increase in spending offers a valuable opportunity for mobile marketers to grow and scale their apps.

Understanding how Valentine's Day impacts user engagement and the potential to leverage these changes to strategically enhance monetization potential can turn this short but sweet period into a lucrative one. In our deep dive into Valentine’s Day 2023, we examine the intricacies of mobile app usage, from the rise in dating app activity to the surge in e-commerce from last-minute shoppers. We’ve also sketched out a strategic blueprint for capitalizing on Valentine’s Day 2024 to help mobile marketers make the most of this high-revenue day.

App installs increase in the days leading up to Valentine's Day

In the days preceding Valentine's Day 2023, dating apps observed a notable install increase, likely driven by individuals seeking companionship for the holiday. On February 11, app installs rose by 1% compared to the monthly average, a subtle but meaningful increase as anticipation for Valentine's Day grew. This surge intensified on February 12, with an 8% jump in installs, indicating a last-minute rush for potential romantic matches.

Likewise, social networking apps also capitalized on the Valentine's Day momentum, experiencing an uptick in user interest. These apps saw a 6% increase in installs on February 11 and a 4% increase on February 12, relative to the monthly average. This increase can be attributed to users wanting to connect with friends and family, organize events, or share their Valentine's Day experiences.

Appetite for food & drink app installs rise pre-Valentine's Day

In the run-up to Valentine's Day 2023, food and drink apps significantly increased in popularity. Overall, food and drink app installs increased by 14% and 11% on February 11 and 12, respectively, compared to the monthly average. This trend continued on Valentine's Day with a 9% increase. This uptick in app usage can be linked to consumers’ evolving preferences for celebrating love, combining convenience with culinary delights.

Food delivery app installs increased by 10% and 9% on February 11 and 12 and 4% on February 14. This likely reflects a growing preference for intimate dining experiences at home as people sought to avoid crowded restaurants. Similarly, recipe apps saw significant increases of 22% and 30% on February 11 and 12, with a slight 2% rise on Valentine's Day— signifying that many were motivated to prepare special homemade meals, adding a personal touch to their loving gestures.

Restaurant booking apps also saw a remarkable increase, with a 49% rise on February 11, 12% on February 12, and a peak of 106% above the February average on Valentine's Day. This substantial rise indicates that despite the appeal of dining at home, the allure of traditional restaurant dates remains strong.

Valentine's Day sees surge in social app engagement

On Valentine’s Day, user engagement saw a significant increase. Social apps experienced a 9% rise in sessions compared to the monthly average, suggesting users were eager to connect, share, and celebrate love digitally.

Dating apps also saw a slight increase in sessions, up by 1%. Likely influenced by the romantic mood of the day, users engaged more in conversations, swiped more, and explored potential matches.

Communication apps also saw a notable uptrend, with sessions climbing 10% above the monthly average, reflecting the increased interest in personal connection on Valentine’s Day. People use these apps to reach out to loved ones through messages and calls, share Valentine's wishes, and coordinate plans.

Valentine's Day elevates food app usage

Valentine's Day sparked romance and significantly increased user engagement in food and drink apps. On February 14, there was a 6% increase in sessions on these apps compared to the month's average. Examining subverticals reveals that food delivery app sessions rose by 4% on Valentine's Day, reflecting a trend towards enjoying restaurant-quality meals at home.

Recipe apps also saw a substantial increase in sessions, with a rise of 17%, as more consumers sought to personalize their Valentine's Day with homemade dishes.

Additionally, sessions for restaurant booking apps jumped by an impressive 45%. This dramatic increase indicates that many people may have preferred the atmosphere, exclusivity, and convenience of a restaurant setting for their celebrations, leading to a surge in last-minute bookings.

Users spend more time in apps on Valentine's Day 2023

In addition to consistent app installs and session numbers, users also spent more time browsing, notably in deal discovery apps. Session lengths increased from 6.38 minutes in 2022 to 6.7 minutes in 2023, suggesting a more careful approach to gift selection.

The most significant change was observed in food and drink apps, where session lengths jumped from 28.92 minutes to 35.59 minutes YoY. More specifically, food delivery apps saw an increase in session lengths from 15.2 to 16.78 minutes. Recipe apps also experienced an increase in session times, from 13.29 to 14.52 minutes.

Social networking apps slightly increased session lengths, from 18.22 minutes to 18.43 minutes. While modest, this increase highlights these apps' role in fostering connections on this special occasion.

Crafting a winning mobile marketing strategy for Valentine's Day 2024

Valentine's Day provides a unique chance for mobile marketers to engage with their audience and maximize their return on investment (ROI). The secret is to utilize diverse, innovative strategies that appeal to a broad user base. Here are some of the top strategies you can use to optimize your 2024 Valentine’s Day campaign:

  • Target beyond couples: Valentine’s Day isn't exclusive to couples. Many people buy gifts for friends, family, and even pets. Identify target segments within your app's audience, such as singles and pet owners, and tailor your campaigns accordingly. Refine your messaging through A/B testing to ensure it resonates with each group.

  • Offer enticing deals: Successful Valentine’s Day campaigns often include attractive discounts and promos. Choose offers that drive user acquisition and align with your long-term marketing goals. Promote these through various channels, including email and social media.

  • Send Valentine-themed push notifications: Use push notifications to build excitement and create a sense of urgency. Incorporate festive designs and timely reminders for users to shop for their loved ones.

  • Engage on social media: Promote your app and special offers on social media. Use vibrant, Valentine-themed posts to guide followers towards app-exclusive deals.

  • Utilize email marketing: Personalized email marketing offers exclusive deals to existing users and re-engages those who have uninstalled your app.

  • Collaborate with influencers: Partnering with influencers can help gain trust and extend your reach. Offer them free access to premium features or products and encourage them to share their experiences.

  • Embrace Valentine's Day clichés: Traditional Valentine’s imagery and themes can be effective. Sometimes, classic approaches can resonate best with the audience.

  • Work with other brands for broader reach: Partner with non-competing brands to reach each other's audiences. This can be an effective way to expand your reach and create synergistic marketing efforts.

  • Don’t forget to measure the success of your campaign: Tracking key metrics is crucial to measuring the success of your app marketing campaign. These metrics include installs, which reflect reach and acquisition efficiency; user engagement metrics like session length and usage frequency, indicating retention and feature popularity; and in-app conversion rates that monitor user actions such as purchases or subscriptions. Collectively, these indicators give a comprehensive view of an app's performance either broadly or in the case of a specific campaign for an event like Valentine’s Day. From here, you can make guided, targeted improvements and facilitate strategic decision-making.

    To learn how to measure the success of your strategy, check out Adjust’s Mobile Attribution solution, learn about next-gen measurement, or request a demo.

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