“Be mine.”

It’s the request placed on many a candy heart on Valentine’s Day. It’s also the invitation marketers make to their customers year-round — but especially during this holiday of love, flowers, and gift-giving.

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers were expected to spend a record amount of money on Valentine’s Day in 2019, totaling $20.7 billion, a 6% increase from 2018. Most people planned to give their loved ones candy (52%); cards (44%); flowers (35%); an evening out (34%); and jewelry and clothing (18%). They said they’d dote on partners, children, friends, parents, and even pets.

To help marketers reach these heart-eyed consumers with more effective Valentine’s Day campaign planning, we dove into Taboola Trends. We pulled the top keywords, images, and behavioral data for food and fashion content, and found opportunities for engagement where spend is low, but clickthrough rate (CTR) is high.

Here are some data-backed strategies for building click-worthy Valentine’s Day campaigns:

Valentine’s Day Food Marketing

Harness these opportunities to reach Valentine’s Day shoppers looking for candy, chocolate, and romantic restaurants.

Reach Consumers from 6 PM – 12 AM

For food-related content, clicks dip around 5 AM and then generally rise throughout the day, hitting peaks in the evening. Yet spend drops off around 3 PM, indicating a major opportunity for food marketers to swoop in and increase engagement as consumers are getting off work and researching purchases.

Launch Campaigns During the Week

Despite what marketers may think, peak engagement around food-related content happens during the week — not over the weekend. Brands and publishers are spending on Friday and Saturday, but consumers are clicking from Monday through Thursday; that’s when they’re planning their meal prep, making reservations for the weekend, or scheduling a romantic dinner.

Distribute Ads on Mobile and Tablet Devices

Clicks are highest on mobile, unsurprisingly, yet most marketers are investing in desktop campaigns. Meanwhile, clicks on tablet devices are higher than those on desktop, and almost as high as those on mobile. This points to an opportunity for marketers to reach mobile readers and viewers on tablets while they’re relaxing on their commute or at home after work.

Create Images Without Food and Text

Here’s a head-scratcher. Images used with food-related campaigns drive more clicks if they don’t include… food. Visuals with people, animals, and black-and-white filters also see more engagement. And images without text trump those with it.

Want to see a truly weird example? KFC managed to build a Valentine’s Day campaign without food or text, and with people and animals — well, sort of. The fast-food brand launched a giveaway of a Colonel Sanders Bearskin rug (which is a thing) for the romantic holiday:

Use Keywords Such as ‘Chain,’ ‘Fast,’ and ‘Food’

Ok, so they are not the healthiest keywords (if keywords can be healthy), but terms such as ‘chain,’ ‘fast,’ and ‘food,’ drive a significant increase in CTR. Accordingly, marketers should stay away from trendy health-conscious keywords, such as ‘kidneys,’ ‘naturally,’ and ‘cleanse.’ So, if you were thinking of helping people indulge this Valentine’s Day, you’re on the right track.

Valentine’s Day Fashion Marketing

When love-struck shoppers are on the hunt for jewelry, watches, and accessories, you can meet them with these campaign strategies.

Fashion & Beauty Benchmark Report

Distribute Content at 6 PM

Right before clicks drop off for the night, fashion marketers have an opportunity to reach consumers around 6 PM. Most spend happens in late morning and early afternoon, but clicks surge in the early evening. So, if you’re trying to engage people as they’re waking up and heading to work, try shifting some of your budget to dinner-time, and see if your CTR improves.

Launch Campaigns on the Weekend

While food-related content grabs eyeballs during the week, fashion-related content soars on the weekend. We see a window for marketers to drive clicks from Thursday through Saturday, before they drop off on Sunday and people get back into the work mindset.

Reach Consumers on Desktop

Desktop spend is already high for fashion campaigns, but marketers can benefit from pumping even more of their budget into ads across PCs. Most spend still happens on mobile, of course, but CTR on desktop actually surpasses CTR on smartphones. Don’t neglect those shoppers who might be researching Valentine’s Day gifts at work or in their home offices.

Build Visuals with Food, People, and Text

Unlike images with food campaigns, images with fashion campaigns actually perform well if they contain food. Go figure! Fashion-related visuals with people, women, text, and close-up shots also drive engagement.

Take this Valentine’s Day image from watch brand Fossil. It contains food, a person, and some witty, accompanying text: “Get you someone who looks at you like a snack.”

Incorporate Keywords such as ‘Dresses,’ ‘Amazing,’ and ‘Today’

Fashion marketers should stay away from competitive keywords such as ‘love,’ ‘smart,’ and ‘get,’ and turn their attention towards keywords that drive engagement, such as ‘dresses,’ ‘amazing,’ and ‘today.’ Here’s a fashion campaign headline to get you brainstorming: “10 Amazing Valentine’s Day Dresses On Sale Today.”

Valentine’s Day Campaign Planning the Right Way

Marketers don’t need Cupid’s arrow to make consumers fall in love with their content. They just need data-backed strategies for driving engagement and clicks. This Valentine’s Day, harness these opportunities for reaching romance, candy and jewelry shoppers in the right place, at the right time, with the content that speaks to their interests. And, keep your eye on Taboola Trends for real-time insights for campaigns that make customers say, “I’m yours.”

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