Valentine’s Day 2021 might be different from any other year. Given ongoing pandemic lockdowns across the world, staying in might well be the new going out. Yet, it’s also a time when more people seek that human connection. What does that mean for marketers and advertisers?

The good news is that digital advertising isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with people stuck at home, it’s the best way to reach your customers. GroupM research shows that digital advertising grew by 5% in 2020, and it will make up 55% of all advertising this year. With so much competition for attention, however, it’s essential to focus your campaigns on what’s most likely to succeed.

We’ve drawn on our extensive Taboola Trends data to help you win at marketing this Valentine’s Day. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What the Valentine’s Day market is likely to look like in this very unusual year
  • The type of content that’s getting the most attention
  • How you can use news trends to build winning marketing campaigns
  • Creative and targeting best practices
  • Valentine’s Day marketing case studies

What Does Valentine’s Day Look Like in 2021?

Last year, research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that 55% of consumers were planning on celebrating the romantic holiday. That’s down to 52% for 2021.

Total projected spending is down too, from last year’s record high of $27.4 billion to $21.8 billion this year. While average expected spending is $164.76 per person, down from $196.31 in 2020.

Despite these figures, one thing that’s clear from the NRF’s research is that 73% of people feel that celebrating Valentine’s Day is doubly important because of the pandemic.

The lion’s share of Valentine’s Day spend ($11.7 billion) will go on gifts for spouses and significant others.

NRF 2021 Valentine's Day spending

And even there the pandemic has taken a toll, with consumers increasing spending on gift cards, and reducing spending on evenings out.

There are some Valentine’s Day experiences that never go out of style, however, and advertisers who pay attention to news trends will be poised for success.

News Trends for Valentine’s Day

If you’re wondering what kind of content to promote for the upcoming celebration, here’s what our trends data suggests.

Lifestyle Marketers Can Bet on Love

In the last 90 days, entertainment content focused on ‘love’ has had more than 15 million page views, a 33% increase over the previous 45 days.

That means, whether staying in or going out, millions of people are still in tune with this celebration. Stories such as this one from The Wrap on a seasonal movie release prove the point:

Chocolate Is an Enduring Favorite

Honestly, for some of us, nothing says Valentine’s like a sweet treat and chocolate is way ahead. Pageviews for chocolate are up 31% to 4.2 million.

Here’s an example of the type of content that’s doing well in this sector. It’s a story from Taste of Home on a chocolate-taste test:

All Valentine’s News is Good News

Coming up to the celebration, there’s a big spike in themed news stories. In Food and Drink, page views for ‘valentine’ are up 218%.

You can get creative with content, as in this cheeky example from Rare about naughty Valentine’s Day cards.

How To Build a Campaign With News Trends

Taboola has a couple of tools to help marketers build more effective campaigns for Valentine’s Day. You can also use our Taboola Trends tool, which analyzes 75 million clicks across 50 billion impressions each week, to refine your creatives.

Here’s how you can use Taboola Trends to find ideas for your Valentine’s Day creatives.

Check Out Trending Topics

Click on the ‘Topics’ tab to see which news stories are trending now. You can tell which topics have the most engagement by the size of their bubble.

Unsurprisingly, there are big bubbles for the former and current U.S. presidents and the coronavirus pandemic. You can also use the on-screen filters to exclude content that’s unrelated to your niche.

Another filter lets you see what’s trending by country, so you can design the right creatives for each market. For example, here’s the same chart for the U.K. market:

The tools can help you understand what news trends are important to readers on the open well, providing inspiration for the types of ad creatives that will resonate.

Find the Right Keywords

Another important aspect of building winning creatives is working out which keywords result in clicks. The ‘Keywords’ tab of our Trends tool tells you the top 20 keywords, and you can sort the data by type of content, platform, country, and language.

The example below is what’s trending in New Zealand for mobile devices, as well as the keywords where there’s the strongest competition. Use this data to determine the best words and phrases for headlines and copy.

Creative Best Practices (Images, Videos, and Headlines)

The Trends tool helps you optimize every aspect of your planned creative. Whether you choose an illustration or a photo, for example, the type of location, and what’s included in the image can all impact on your clickthrough rate (CTR).

For your Valentine’s Day campaigns in the U.S., using a person in your image will increase your CTR by 45%, and there’s a 42% boost if that image does not contain text.

For video, you can filter by country, device, duration, and choose either completion or viewability as a metric.

In Switzerland, for example, the videos that consumers watch all the way to the end feature live-action, rather than animation, and are in color.

There’s also a preference for videos without people, and those featuring winter landscapes.

Once you’ve established your topics, keywords, images, or video, then it’s time to figure out if you’ve got a click-worthy headline.

Taboola Trends includes a ‘Title Analyzer’ to help you decide. Plug in your option, and you’ll get instant feedback.

In our example below, Top 10 Movies to Watch If You’re Staying in on Valentine’s Night has a much higher CTR than Staying in on Valentine’s Night? Here’s How to Make it Special.

Targeting Best Practices For Your Valentine’s Day Campaigns

For advertisers, it’s important to maximize views and clicks by fine-tuning your targeting. Here are some useful aspects to consider:

  • Choose the right time. Deciding the day of the week or time of day makes a big difference to visibility and engagement. The best way to do this is to use an automated tool, such as SmartBid, to identify the best option based on data.
  • Pick your device. Targeting by device is also important. Views, clicks, and conversions on desktop, tablets, and phones vary widely.
  • Select your content type. In addition to articles, you can choose more interactive and engaging content, such as a quiz, to get more eyes on your campaigns. And, you can personalize it based on demographics to make it even more relevant to your audience.

10 Valentine’s Day Campaign Examples to Envy

Looking for inspiration for your own Valentine’s Day campaign? Here are ten examples we loved:

1. Parship

Parship, one of Europe’s biggest online dating services, wanted to attract more users. Its service focuses on helping people find serious relationships.

The company used Taboola’s discovery service to increase brand awareness and get more potential matches on its database.

As a result of the campaign, Parship found thousands of new users. CTR increased by 80% and conversion rate by 113% year-on-year.

2. Frankie & Benny’s

What better way to celebrate the festival of love than with classic romantic movies? The ‘name that film’ gamification angle makes this instantly click-worthy.

Frankie and Benny Valentine's Day campaign

3. Dunkin’

Dunkin’ ran a ‘Say it with Donuts’ campaign encouraging its followers to share their love with anyone special in their lives.

The company even created special pink drinks for the occasion. The campaign included a contest where the winner could get free donuts for a year!

Image source: Impact Plus

4. Grammarly

Grammarly aimed to bring back the love letter. It ran a social media campaign explaining how to write a love letter and why this was better than flowers or chocolates.

Image source: Moneypenny

5. Teleflora

Flowers are always a popular gift on Valentine’s Day. Floral delivery service, Teleflora, did a series of ads on V-day gift fails. They’re engaging, they’re funny, and they encourage viewers to try flowers instead.

6. Twitter

Twitter went offline for this relatable campaign about dating life. It’s on-brand and humorous, making it a winner.

Image source: Famous Campaigns

7. Memoco

Gift information service, Memoco, based in Japan, wanted to become the country’s go-to site for gift-giving inquiries.

It used Taboola Feed’s continuous scroll solution to increase engagement with organic and sponsored content. In just three months, revenue increased by 409%, and the CTR for its organic and sponsored content increased by 146% and 148% respectively.

Memoco Valentine's Day campaign

8. Plated

With staying in on the rise, this example from Plated will inspire you. The New York-based start-up assembles and delivers meal boxes with locally-sourced ingredients.

It wanted to drive organic traffic from beyond the usual channels and used Taboola to test and optimize hundreds of campaign iterations. The result was a lower cost-per-click, a 75% decrease in cost-per-action, and increased CTR.

9. eHarmony

Dating site eHarmony tapped into the feel-good factor with a video campaign exploring what Valentine’s Day means to kids.

Cute children mean guaranteed engagement, and the touch of humor keeps people watching.

10. Food Network

America-based lifestyle channel, Food Network, was looking to build brand awareness in the U.K. It created text and video content that it promoted via Taboola’s content discovery network.

Video views increased by 160%, there was a 10% increase in page visits and a 23% reduction in bounce rate.

That’s it! In this guide, we’ve shared some stats about Valentine’s Day, including the ways it will be different this year.

We’ve looked at the important trends, especially for food, lifestyle, and dating. You now know how to use Taboola to build winning campaigns.

It’s over to you to put these tactics to work and help your marketing and advertising campaigns succeed.

Originally Published:

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