News
Marketing can change the world

Marketing to last-minute lovers: Advice from Google on maximising Valentine's Day sales

Alison Lomax

Google's Alison Lomax offers brands some timely advice on how to win the hearts of last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers.

Valentine’s Day is more than just an excuse to exchange and consume vast quantities of chocolate. For brands, it’s an ideal opportunity to increase sales and engage with customers.

Many shoppers are still undecided on what to buy their darlings in advance of the big day, and it’s good news for advertisers – especially on mobile, where being present on the consumer path to purchase offers the opportunity to influence orders up to the final hour.

And last-minute shopping is proving popular around Valentine’s Day. Easier online ordering and faster delivery times are helping forgetful people and passionate procrastinators come out looking like smooth operators. Those paramours who are poor advance planners are increasingly making use of mobile to find and buy last-minute gifts. In the UK, there’s been a year-on-year increase of 41 per cent in “last minute valentine’s gift” searches overall, and 74 per cent year-on-year growth on smartphone.

Consumers are indeed increasingly searching on mobile and buying on the go: according to our data, Valentine’s related queries on smartphone showed a 36 per cent year-on-year rise between 2013 and 2014.

The huge rise of mobile usage and online shopping means that mobile increasingly plays a key role in the path to purchase. Last-minute, impulse purchases for gifts are on the rise around Valentine's Day, so brands should be meeting the demand head-on with a strong mobile presence.

Here are four tips for marketers to maximise their reach and engagement with the UK's audience of lovebirds:

  1. Save budget for last minute campaign pushes, focusing on mobile targeting, and use keywords such as “discounts”, “last minute” or “free shipping”.
  2. Make sure you tag your products wit “for him” or “for her”. When it comes to Valentine’s Day purchases, UK sweethearts are traditionalists, with cards remaining the number-one present of choice, but men are more likely to organise romantic meals, and women are likely to offer clothes as Valentine’s gift to their partner.
  3. Make your ads actionable by including a direct call extensions. Calls to action like purchase, call today, order, browse, sign up or get a quote make clear what the next steps are. If you have a limited-time discount or stock an exclusive product, say so.
  4. Engage with your customers in a meaningful way by creating relevant content and making it easy to find and consume. Valentine’s Day-related searches on YouTube grew 33 per cent YoY in 2014: the it’s a great source of inspiration for consumers where brands should be part of the conversation. Popular, relevant content includes make-up and cooking tutorials, product unboxing videos and make-it-yourself projects such as Valentine’s cards, chocolates, cakes and decorations.

Those are few of the ways brands can tap into a ready audience and give consumers exactly what they’re looking for at this thoughtful and warmhearted time of year. Just don’t forget the lonely hearts club! YouTube views of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” peak massively on Valentine’s Day each year.

In the UK, users are 50 per cent more likely to make funny Valentine’s-related searches than romantic ones. Something marketers should keep in mind.

Alison Lomax is head of brand solutions at Google

AL

Alison Lomax

All by Alison