The winter holiday season is often when most of the yearly sales happen. And once it’s over, no matter how much effort you put into getting back on track, you may still feel stuck in the unknown.
However, you might not realize that another big opportunity is just around the corner. It’s Valentine’s day!
Although mostly associated with romantic relationships, friends, and family, Valentine’s day is an unmissable opportunity to show some love to your customers and turn the outcome into conversions.
So without further ado, let’s see how programmatic advertising can help you do it. We’ll go through:
- Trends for Valentine’s day 2023
- Valentine’s best-sellers
- Creative ad campaign ideas for inspiration
- And quick tips for a smooth start
What does Valentine’s day look like in 2023?
Valentine’s day spending (U.S.) has increased by $6.3B in the past ten years, starting at $17.6B in 2012 and reaching $23.9B in 2022. Not to mention the record-breaking 2020 when it hit $27.4B!
However, due to an unfortunate global pandemic, it saw a significant drop in 2021, which was likely influenced by nationwide quarantines and social distancing. Fast forward to today, and it seems that everything is getting back on track.
Here are some numbers to prove it (2022):
- 2022 was the second-highest year on record regarding Valentine’s day spending ($23.9B)
- More than half (53%) of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s day.
- Shoppers expect to spend an average of $175.41 per person on Valentine’s Day gifts.
- U.S. consumers spent $5.8B on jewelry alone.
- Online continues to be the most popular shopping destination (41% of consumers shop online compared to 32% of consumers who shop at department stores).
- 27% of those who do not celebrate still tend to mark the occasion.
What sells most on Valentine’s day?
If you’re in one of these industries, you can’t miss out on Valentine’s day campaigns.
The most popular Valentine’s gifts don’t change much each year, and the list usually goes as follows (NRF):
- Candies – 56%
- Greeting cards – 40%
- Flowers – 37%
- Evening out – 31%
- Jewelry – 22%
When should you start advertising for Valentine’s day?
Although “the sooner, the better” is usually the answer for most holiday campaigns, there’s no universal answer to this question.
This can depend on many different factors, for example, product specifics – maybe you offer personalization, and the order takes longer to complete? Or you sell flowers, and promoting Valentine’s deals in December might simply be too early?
Think all of this through and don’t go to extremes. Typically, having your ad campaigns ready by February 1st is a more practical approach that will give you enough time to build awareness or deliver online orders.
Valentine’s day programmatic ad campaign ideas for 2023
Programmatic advertising is a convenient and efficient way to launch digital campaigns, especially for holidays such as Valentine’s day that require creative solutions, precise targeting, and smooth delivery.
The key here is to grab the attention of your target audience and to do this, you need the best of what rich media has to offer.
Here is our hand-picked list of Valentine's day advertising ideas and ad types you can use this year to engage your customers.
1. Use gamification
With all the advertising noise people experience online daily, gamification is one of the most effective ways to stand out from competitors.
Besides, instead of simply seeing an ad, your potential consumers get to interact with it.
The end result of such ads can be whatever you can come up with, including rewards like discounts, promo codes, etc. Therefore, with gamification ads, consumers can not only have some fun playing a little game but also win something, which encourages them to spend more time seeing your brand, sometimes without even realizing it’s being promoted.
2. Engage users with interactive AR solutions
Augmented Reality, or AR, is a real-time integration of various virtual enhancements, like text, graphics, or audio, with real-life objects. For this, a user should typically enable access to their smartphone camera.
Similar to gamified ads, AR advertising provides consumers with a memorable experience and drives user engagement thanks to its highly interactive nature.
In fact, according to Neuro-Insight's study, AR delivers “exceptionally high” attention levels, which is a whopping 45% higher than the average for general online browsing. Meanwhile, Zenith found that 72% of adults in the UK see AR as “fun and engaging.”
3. Use floating ads to grab attention
A floating ad, sometimes called layer ad or overlay ad, is a type of ad that stays on top of the content while the user scrolls. Advertisers can usually set the ad position on the page, and users can simply click a “Close” button if they want it gone.
The main advantage of floating ads is that they can nearly double the viewability of ad banners. Hence, it's an excellent option for brands operating in FMCG or automotive industries where viewability is key.
4. Engage customers with video ads
Video, in general, is one of the most popular types of content people consume daily. Considering this, you can hardly make a mistake by adding video ads to your ad arsenal.
There are several types of video ads you can run programmatically, including:
- IBV. This format is a video that is embedded into display ad slots, just like regular banner ads. Therefore, it makes ads more engaging than traditional, static banners but less intrusive than, for instance, in-stream video ads.
- Rewarded video. The goal of the rewarded video ad is to give something in exchange for watching it. The majority of such videos appear as interstitials in apps, and the user can easily skip them if they do not want to watch them.
- VAST. This type of video ad is served in a video player on the publisher’s page. The length can vary from very short to videos of up to 6 minutes.
5. Reach your target audience in-game
Ad volumes these days have hit unreachable heights, often causing ad fatigue in consumers. Not to mention the phenomenon of banner blindness, where website visitors ignore banner-like information, whether consciously or not.
That’s why more and more brands are looking for less intrusive, user-friendly ways to deliver their messages. And this is where in-game advertising comes in handy.
Think of in-game ads as billboard ads you see in public places. Players don’t need to stop the game, therefore, ads don’t interrupt the experience. Instead, in-game ads naturally blend into the gaming environment and become part of the gaming experience, sometimes even enhancing it.
What’s not to like?
6. Create CTV campaigns
Simply put, CTV advertising lets you reach people you can’t reach using linear TV anymore, expanding your brand reach.
It’s a form of ads that appear within the streaming content, for example, during shows or live streams people watch using streaming devices.
As CTV is growing in popularity, Valentine’s day is a good opportunity to try this advertising channel and promote your products/services while people are engaged in their favorite content.
Quick tips for winning Valentine’s day ads
Choose the right targeting options
In marketing, there’s this popular saying that “targeting everyone means that you’re actually targeting no one.” Keep this in mind this Valentine’s day.
Ensure that your efforts bring desired results by attracting the right people, which is easy to do with programmatic ad campaigns. Tools like DSP allows you to segment your audience and target by many different aspects, like:
- Behavior (interests, socio-economic class, retargeting, etc.)
- Placements (apps/sites, position, etc.)
- Tech (browsers, devices, 3G/4G/WiFi, other data points)
- Demographics (age, gender, location-based targeting, etc.)
Thinking of your ideal customer and putting yourself in their shoes can help you choose the best targeting option.
Don’t just try to sell
This might sound a bit strange since sales are the driving force behind any business, but hear us out.
Valentine’s day is also about showing appreciation to your customers, and to do that, you should not be afraid to use your creativity to the max, have some fun, and let your audience have fun, too.
Create content that would encourage social media shares, create gift guides, produce heartwarming video content, promote self-love, launch a competition, maybe list ideas on what to do on Valentine’s day if it makes sense to your business.
Consumers feel that extra push businesses are trying to make, and that can sometimes negatively impact the results. Being subtle and creative this Valentine’s can help you raise your brand awareness and stay on top of consumers’ minds in the future.
Choose the right timing
Valentine’s day is a popular occasion worldwide, and consumers will be exposed to dozens of ads daily. Creativity is important to avoid getting lost in the clutter, but the right timing also plays a huge role here.
Google Trends shows that people start looking for Valentine’s day gifts more actively in the first part of January – depending on your business specifics, you can think of it as a good starting point.
However, it’s always best to analyze your target customer and how your product or services fit this occasion and find the balance between too early and too late.
Remember that people are still “recovering” from Christmas shopping, so it’s probably a good practice to launch your Valentine’s ads in late January or the beginning of February.
Spread the love with Valentine’s day campaigns
If you’re up for trying something new and out-of-the-box this Valentine’s day, give the ideas above a chance.
Opting in for creative, fun, and interactive solutions can help you outperform your competitors and improve the ad experience for your target audience.