Following New Year’s Day, our unofficial national day of rest, the next big shopping day on the calendar is Valentine’s Day. From the time we are old enough to go to day care until well into our senior years, most of us have every intention of celebrating Valentine’s Day when it rolls around every winter.
Unlike the Christmas season where marketers start courting potential holiday shoppers months before the big day, Valentine’s Day purchases are just shy of being impulse buys. Nearly half of these sweethearts don’t even start shopping until the day of, the day before, the and the week of Valentine’s Day.
Celebrating Love with Influencer Marketing
There are brands that have figured out how to leverage Instagram for effective Valentine’s Day marketing. Of course, there are also brands that could use a little help (if you are one such brand, we can help you come up with a stellar influencer marketing plan). In this post, we’re going to tell you how to incorporate influencer marketing into your Valentine’s Day campaigns.
Love is in the air, guys.
Valentine’s Day Revenue and Trends (1000)
So, you are probably wondering if it’s even worth it for you to launch an influencer campaign for Valentine’s Day. If you’re not pushing candy, flowers, or jewelry, you may not think it’s worth it to bother with this “Hallmark Holiday.”
This particular “Hallmark Holiday” generated $19.7 billion in revenue in 2016 and over $18 billion in 2017. As it turns out, couples love to celebrate their sweeties. And single people love to celebrate their friends, their pets, and themselves.
Valentine’s Day actually began getting traction as a holiday about 70 years before Hallmark even came to be. Legend has it (and by “legend” I mean the “Profile America Facts for Figures – Valentine’s Day 2017” report published by the US Census Bureau) Valentine was a clergyman who was killed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome after the Roman Emperor forbade men to marry so he could increase the size of the Roman army. Valentine was executed on… you guessed it, February 14th. Centuries later, Pope Gelasius I officially declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day, but the declaration wasn’t strictly about honoring the memory of Valentine. The Pope was trying to curb the celebration of the pagan festival, Lupercalia.
How the chubby-cheeked cherub who manipulates people’s emotions using an enchanted bow and arrow came to be the poster boy for Valentine’s Day is another story.
Anyway, it wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards went to market, right here in the US. Today, 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year, most of which are purchased by women. In total, we spend $1.1 billion just on Valentine’s Day cards.
Unlike Sweetest Day, which may not even be known in your state, Valentine’s Day is celebrated nationwide, and it extends beyond our borders. According to History.com, Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, and Australia.
(FYI: Sweetest Day is the fall version of Valentine’s Day. The holiday is celebrated in the Midwest on the third Saturday in October.)
So, aside from the intriguing history of the holiday, you may be still wondering if you should put together an influencer campaign for Valentine’s Day. There are a few good reasons why you should.
People Celebrate Valentine’s Day Across Generations
Valentine’s Day is for everyone. If you celebrate Valentine’s Day, you are just as likely to be in grade school as you are to be an elder American. You are as likely to be a man as you are to be a woman. According to the National Retail Federation:
- 58.6 percent of people ages 18 to 24 plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day
- 64.3 percent of people ages 25 to 34 plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day
- 58 percent of people ages 35 to 44 plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day
- 55 percent of those 45 to 54 will celebrate Valentine’s Day
- 49.6 percent of people 55 to 64 years of age plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day
- 44.7 percent of people over 65 plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day
People who earn more tend to spend significantly more on Valentine’s Day gifts. The average amount spent on gifts by people who earn less than $50K a year is $42 less than the amount of money spent by those who earn more than $50K a year. People who earn more than $50K a year are also more likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day than those who earn less than $50K a year (61.7 percent versus 47.1 percent).
People Still Spend Plenty of Money on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is the fifth biggest spending event, after Christmas, back-to-school shopping, Mother’s Day and Easter.
The amount of money spent per celebrant has gone up more than 30 percent since 2007. In 2006, the average person spent $102.50 on Valentine’s Day. In 2007 that per-person amount increased by just 50 cents. But between 2007 and 2017, the amount spent per person rose to $136, peaking in 2016 at $146.
Interestingly enough, the percentage of people celebrating Valentine’s Day has decreased since 2007. In 2007, 63 percent of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day. By 2016, only 54.8 percent were Valentine’s Day enthusiasts. A year later, it was down to 54 percent.
Singles Are Celebrating Valentine’s Day
Another important trend to note for marketers is that Valentine’s Day is no longer just a holiday for couples. I talked in this post about a similar trend in travel - single people taking vacations and traveling abroad as loners.
Young adults are getting married later in life and staying single longer. In 1970, about 42% of women were married by the age of 20. Forty-six percent of women married between the ages of 20 and 24 years old. Today, more than one-third of women are waiting until their late twenties to marry. In 2016, the average man got married at the age of 29.9 years, while the average woman married at 27.9 years old.
More than half of American adults identify as single, but a quarter of single people intend to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not everyone who celebrates Valentine’s Day is buying for a partner. Singles buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their friends, pets, co-workers and themselves. A few quick stats:
- Fourteen percent of women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
- Single women spend about $40 on Valentine’s Day while single men spend $71, on average on Valentine’s Day.
- An analysis of Bing search queries that start with “Valentine’s Gifts for…” reveals that more people (20 percent) are probably buying Valentine’s Day items for their friends than for their boyfriends (17 percent).
Just like Thanksgiving now has Friendsgiving, where people celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends instead of their families, women now have Galentine’s Day, where you celebrate love between friends on Valentine’s Day.
On Instagram, the #GalentinesDay hashtag featured in this post from fashion blogger Katie Sands (@honestlykate) has increased in use exponentially since 2015. That hashtag along with popular variations of the hashtag - #galentines (84,694 posts), galentinesday2016 (3,962 posts), galentinesday2017 (3,855 posts), and #galentinesweekend (2,705 posts) – have appeared more than 290K times on Instagram.
In addition to spreading the Galentine’s Day love, the Nation Retail Federal reports that consumers spend nearly $28 on parents and children, $5.83 on co-workers, and a little over $7 picking out those all-important cards and treats for classmates and teachers.
People Are Spending on Their Pets
Remember when your mom or grandma called your first crush “puppy love?” That means something totally different today. The final trend I want to point out is the trend toward owners buying things for their pets for Valentine’s Day. This is no small thing.
Owners spend $681 million a year just on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets. Nineteen percent of pet owners planned to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for their pet, spending an average of $26 per owner.
Sample Valentine’s Day Influencer Marketing Campaigns
We combed through a few Valentine’s Day campaigns to see who was marketing – and what they were marketing – for Valentine’s Day. We found the usual suspects – candy makers, florists, perfume companies. But we also found several companies who were doing some super-smart targeting for Valentine’s Day.
Staying in is the new going out. As the number of channels, networks, and television shows increases, so does the number of nights couples spend in. The trend has made “Netflix and chill” the preferred date night for established couples and those thinking about courtship. Seventy-two percent of married couples and those who are in a relationship said staying in and watching Netflix is one of their favorite ways to spend an evening. And why wouldn’t it be?
Movies hit the theatres then are available at home on-demand just a few weeks later. You can now get gourmet meals shipped to your home faster than you can enjoy a reservation at a gourmet restaurant in the city. You can spend nights doing the hit-and-miss thing at the local club, but if you’re going to hit and miss anyway, it’s easier (and cheaper) to just swipe right. Sporting events, concerts, comedy shows, even church – all streamable. Today, we have all the benefits of going out with the convenience of staying in. So, we do.
Hello Fresh’s Valentine’s Day campaign was about staying in –established couples with busy lives preparing for a night of delicious home-delivered food.
Hello Fresh used multiple influencers for its Valentine’s Day campaign, but still managed to create a uniform look from sponsored post to sponsored post. The look of Hello Fresh’s campaign was consistent - white, bright, clean, and fresh.
Husband and wife influencers Robert and Christina (@newdarlings) published this Valentine’s Day post to promote celebrating life’s experiences – big and small. One such experience is cooking together at home with Hello Fresh.
Below is a screenshot of this post from fitness model, Roberto Portales (@rjportales) that went up the day before Valentine’s Day. “We decided to make a reservation in the comfort of our own home,” the caption says, and includes hashtags promoting eating clean and healthy living. Like the last sponsored post from Hello Fresh, this is a candid shot of the cook in a white kitchen that’s clean and well-lit.
If I had to choose a single winning element that makes this campaign work, it is the consistency – the consistency of the message (we would rather be in that go out) , the consistency of the demographic being targeted (Millennials who are in relationships), and the consistency in the way each picture is styled (candid kitchen shots of influencers cooking). In just the three posts above, Hello Fresh’s partnership with these influencers generated 24K Likes, plus at least one new follower – me.
Juicy Couture’s 2017 Valentine’s Day influencer marketing campaign targeted the Galentine’s Day crowd – young, fashion-forward women who are either taking a day for self-love or going out with friends for Valentine’s Day. The campaign was specifically for the Viva La Juicy Sucre fragrance and influencers used the hashtag #EatDessertFirst, along with a Juicy Couture at-mention.
As you would probably expect, the posts are feminine, edgy and colorful. And so are the influencers promoting the perfume.
Promoting a fragrance on Instagram is tricky because influencers can’t rely on showing the audience “a look” like they can with fashion, or a technique like makeup artists often do. If this were a magazine, there would be a scent strip that readers could open and rub against their wrists. With Instagram, the influencer has one asset (her reputation) and one tool (her creativity). Still, the engagement for most perfume posts falls below the 2% engagement we usually expect to see with successful fashion and beauty posts. I have a handful of facts and one theory about why that’s okay.
First, the fragrance market is huge, expected to be worth $45.6 billion by 2018 according to Mintel, an increase of more than 50% of where it was in 2013. With the widespread availability of fantastic-smelling knock-off scents and the “If you like A then you’ll love B” scents overflowing in the discount bins, you would think more expensive, high-end fragrances would sell less, but sales of high-end brands priced $100 or more are actually up.
In the late 1980s, my mom was a college-educated stay-at-home mom in her early 30s with a well-to-do husband. Two important markers of our middle-class lifestyle were her fur and her bottle of Giorgio. I don’t remember a time when she didn’t have a bottle of Giorgio. If she ever ran out, she was quickly go to Saks and restock. At the same time, my sassy aunt Charlotte wore Givency’s Ysatis. In the 1990s, my Aunt Lin wore White Diamonds, and only White Diamonds during her years working as a talent agent. My sophisticated aunt Von smelled like a million bucks in Tova, so I ordered a bottle, and that’s when I learned an important lesson about body chemistry.
My point is scent – and especially fragrance - makes an important statement about who you are. For trendsetters, fragrance is almost as important as your personal style. The argument on whether or not every woman needs a signature scent still comes up in the blogosphere (here’s a recent article on Forbes.com and one on Daily Nation, another on BuzzFeed, and one on Fox News about finding your signature scent). Fact is, the newest fragrance is always trending. Always.
Nearly 60 percent of women and 54 percent of men say they use a fragrance daily. Ninety percent of women who consider themselves trendsetters use perfume.
That said, here is my theory about using Influencer marketing to push perfume. My mom’s experience with her signature scent was no anomaly. I think when people find a fragrance they like, one that works with their body chemistry, they stick with it. The bonus is scent is a powerful trigger for memories. Like music, scent can seemingly embody the remnant of not just memories, but decades, eras, movements, and experiences. It’s one of the reason the power of a scent can compel someone to keep buying a fragrance for years to come. And the reason Juicy Couture’s campaign makes sense. The company isn’t just looking to sell perfume (sales), but to create loyal customers (branding).
Caitlyn (@howdoyouwearthat), a fashion blogger from the New York area published this sponsored post for Viva la Juicy Sucré a few days before Valentine’s Day. The post, which is likely targeting Millennial women, got more than 1,600 likes.
Compared to the campaign Hello Fresh launched, Juicy Couture allowed a bit more flexibility in how posts are styled and the filters used in the post. You can see the contrast in the post below from Ellery Lee (@elleisalwayshere).
This picture has more to see than the last post, but that may be problematic. This post garnered significantly less engagement than the post above. The strength of the Viva la Juicy brand gets sort of misplaced in the picture. There’s food and drinks, and Galentine’s Day fun. But I didn’t even see the perfume bottle sitting on the table the first few times I look at the picture.
The at-mention helps this post. I went on a Where’s Waldo-styled search for the missing brand, trying to tie together the red in the picture with the Juicy brand (it’s not red, it’s pink). Perhaps shifting the colors in the picture to better match the colors of the brand would make the picture more eye-catching and the concept easier to tie-in with the Viva la Juicy series.
I think a more direct approach that worked well was the one taken by influencer Cheralee Lyle (@cheraleelyle). Cheralee averages about 4 percent engagement per post. This post got 1.75% engagement, a good rate for this type of sponsored post.
Cheralee used a simple color scheme that was on-brand and used the branded hashtag #EatDessertFirst. She included the brand’s Instagram handle and named the product specifically. Plus, the perfume bottle is prominently featured in the post.
1-800-Flowers. com is the online florists that ships flowers, candies and gifts to you, or you can have the company ship gifts directly to the person for whom you are buying the gifts. After Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is the company’s top-selling event. According to its annual report, 1-800-Flowers. com, Inc. generated $756.3 million in sales in the fiscal year ending June 29, 2014. Two years later, total sales topped $1.17 billion.
I will admit, I was not swayed by their campaign. With the exception of one image (which I’ll show you in a sec), the focus of each image was always the same – roses. None of the company’s other products made the cut. Influencers seemed to reserve their artistic freedom in how they presented the flowers and captioned their posts. So, the campaign differed stylistically from post to post.
This post from Pittsburgh blogger Cris (@styleanthropy) got more than 3 percent engagement. The picture pops with color, but it’s simple. The post included a link to a coupon code that gave a 20% discount off your order.
This post (screenshot below) from Kendra Atkins (@withkendra) reached nearly 6% engagement. It’s also simple – just Kendra and the bouquet – and it was published the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s not tagged as a sponsored post, but the caption leads me to believe the post was sponsored by 1-800-Flowers.com.
The last thing I did in the moments before I began researching the campaigns for this post was watch Marvel Studios Doctor Strange on Netflix. Lots of magic and astral projection in that movie, so I was only slightly freaked out when Doctor Strange (of all people) started popping up in my Valentine’s Day research.
Turns out, Stephen Strange wasn’t stalking me. Marvel was just capitalizing on the “Netflix and chill” for Valentine’s Day trend by using Instagram influencers to announce the arrival of the movie Doctor Strange on Digital and Disney Movies Anywhere.
Marvel had two types of posts being pushed. In the first type of post, Marvel Studios sent influencers DVDs of Doctor Strange, “delivered” by a life-size cardboard cutout of the Doctor himself, like this one posted by Mitch (@gaynycdad), a travel and review blogger from New York. Mitch’s post actually performed well, though the reach was a little low.
The second type of post was one featuring the influencer in the Doctor Strange costume. In general, those posts generated far more engagement and reached more people.
This post from Curiousjoi (@curiousjoi) of her in Doctor Strange’s levitation cloak fared much better, getting nearly 800 likes and generating an impressive 7 percent engagement, the highest engagement from an influencer in this campaign. No doubt a lot of this chttps://www.theshelf.com/the-blog/mothers-day-infographicame from other cosplay fans. This post wasn’t tagged as a sponsored post, but Joi captioned the image as her running home to watch Doctor Strange.
The Wrap Up
Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns aren’t what they used be, are they? Years ago, Valentine’s Day was for couples and brands targeted couples. Today, brands target everyone, from couples, to Marvel movie geeks (proud member of that club), to women celebrating Galentine’s Day. The spirit of Valentine’s Day is becoming more inclusive. If you’re a marketer, that’s a good thing.
If you need help putting together an awesome Valentine’s Day influencer marketing campaign, we’ve got you covered. Contact one of our creative, strategic team members and let us help you build your brand and get more Valentine’s Day sales.