Valentine's Day PPC checklist

Lewis Griffiths - PPC Executive,

Love is in the air! But are consumers in love with your Valentine’s strategy? (Ok, perhaps we took that a little too far...)

Despite all of the distractions around lockdowns and Covid, Valentine’s is still set to be one of the largest retail occasions of the year. People made it through what felt like the longest January in history, they recently got paid, and are looking to treat their significant other and generate some positivity to lift spirits as we navigate through the first quarter of 2021.

As we saw from the highest spending Black Friday on record and strong Christmas performance in 2020, people see these one off occasions and grab them with both hands - possibly because there’s little opportunity to spend money socially elsewhere.

With that in mind, here’s a last-minute checklist to see if your campaigns are ready for Valentine’s Day.

Choose The Right Audiences

With Google pushing its automated strategies and algorithms harder than ever, giving Google the right audiences as an additional signal to influence performance is more important than ever.

The audiences of interest for all participants are:

  • Gifts & Occasions > Valentine’s Day Items & Décor (Google)
  • Holiday & Seasonal Items > Valentine’s Day Items & Décor (Microsoft)
  • Seasonal Shopping > Valentine’s Day Shopping (Microsoft)

But that’s not to say they are the only ones. Make sure you add other in-market audiences relevant to your products if you haven’t already – obvious examples for Valentine’s are flowers, chocolates, jewellery etc. however there are many niche in-market audiences that are buying gifts, and your products could be one of them.

For the seasonal Valentine’s audiences, throwing on a simple bid adjustment allows you to prioritise those customers who actively spend during this time and can do wonders for performance.

Use Strong, Relevant Ad Copy

Using strong, relevant ad copy is a given for PPC in general, so understanding your audience will give you the best advantage here.

For product-specific audiences that you’re targeting, who is likely searching during Valentine’s? What is their intention? Messaging and call-to-actions (CTAs) will resonate differently to a someone buying a well-researched secret gift a month in advance vs an expensive last-minute gift.

Ideally you’d want to differentiate your messaging and products offered depending on these different segments you identify – generic Valentine’s ad copy will likely provide a lift in results, however these details that go the extra mile will always provide better click through rates, conversion rates, and even average order value.

Capitalise On Trends

Searches for “Romantic dinner at home” were up 129% last year (so you can imagine how high searches will be this year) and for the last 3 years “same day delivery” has spiked during Valentine’s week and continues to grow in search volume year on year. Capitalising on these trends with your messaging is what will set you apart from your competitors. See on Google Trends if you can identify any shifts in search volume relevant to your industry leading up to events.

Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) and curb-side pickup have been an increasing trend since last year as click-and-collect continues to be important to consumers, so it’s important that you’re aware of trends in consumer behaviour and take advantage of the PPC services available in your search/shopping ads.

Capture Interest At The Start Of The Customer Journey

If you haven’t done this yet, you’re unlikely to utilise this now as many customers will start planning for Valentine’s Day in January, but it’s still a fundamental principle to know for future events.

Being able to capture interest at the beginning of a customer journey can help you guide them down your funnel with informative content and finally engaging remarketing.

For example, your products may be around anime & gaming. Someone may type a generic high-level query like “unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas” and if you have your audiences around anime & gaming set up, you could bring them in with a blog:

“10 Unique Valentine’s Gifts Your Partner Will Love If They’re Into Anime”

From there, not only have you attracted new users to your site and generated brand awareness, you may have inspired them to search for products related to the ideas you gave them which you can also target in your campaigns. And because they’ve interacted with your brand before, you’re at the top of their mind so they will likely check out your products. Then for extra icing on the cake, you can tie in your remarketing to increase your conversions further with great relevant ads.

If You Can Personalise, Personalise!

Personalisation services always perform well during the Valentine’s Day period. Whether it's personalised cards or gifts, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. But personalisation can come in many forms, and there are always ways you, as a business, can use personalisation.

Whether it’s personalising your ad copy, sending customers to personalised category pages (e.g. sending bargain hunters to pages with a sale filter or sending people who like to research heavily to product pages with rich detailed descriptions) or even allowing a customer to send a personalised message on their gift order, there are many methods of integrating personalisation into your marketing.

These extra touches of meaningful personalisation can increase purchase intent by up to 15% and improve CTR by 30% when compared to generic personalisation in a 2020 Google study. It’s not about gimmicky personalisation (i.e. if your target audience is young, trying to refer to them as “gamers” and use fast-paced imagery), but actually identifying their needs and addressing those in your messaging.

Think about, why is this person buying the gift? Do they want to impress their partner with something expensive? Is it something their partner always wanted? Are they fed up of cliché gifts? Are they looking to make their partner laugh? Knowing things like this is what meaningful personalisation can unlock.

Personalise your messaging and targeting as much as your time can allow and you will definitely see the benefits.

SUMMARY

As a final summary, here is the final Valentine’s Day checklist:

  • Choose the right audience
  • Use strong relevant ad copy
  • Capitalise on trends
  • Capture interest from the start of the customer journey
  • If you can personalise, personalise

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