Seasonal & Holiday

4 best practices to reach your target audience this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day – it’s not just for lovers anymore. The National Retail Federation (NRF) is reporting that Americans set a record for 2020 Valentine’s Day spending – with an average spend of $196.21 per person, up 20% from 2019’s total.1 Total consumer spending on Valentine’s Day gifts and experiences also jumped by 20%” and reached $27.4 billion. The NRF credits this jump to the widening pool of recipients consumers are buying Valentine’s gifts for. Finder reported that in 2020, people bought V-day gifts for family members, friends, classmates, teachers and pets – which means there’s an opportunity for retailers to appeal to a wider group of buyers who are in the market for a variety of products.2

Valentine’s Day 2021 might look different for another reason – stay-at-home orders and shut-downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This could mean an opportunity for different types of retailers to advertise on Valentine’s Day. Purveyors of games, puzzles, crafts, and other stay-at-home recreational products should consider investing more heavily in Valentine’s Day advertising.

Image via the National Retail Federation

181.9 million people planned to buy a Valentine’s Day gift in 2020. So, while most of your audience will likely be buying something, there are a few things to consider as you finalize your marketing strategy.

Men tend to spend the most on Valentine’s Day, with an average of $153, while women spend an average of $77. This is true even when it comes to the amount spent on pets for Valentine’s Day.

Image via Finder

The NRF provides a break-down of Valentine’s Day spending by age group. Consumers aged 25-44 tend to spend the most and are more likely to celebrate the holiday, but other age groups don’t lag too far behind.

On the surface, men between the ages of 25 and 44 seem like the best bet for Valentine’s Day advertisements, however, marketers know it’s more complicated than that – read on for smart targeting strategies.

When are consumers shopping for Valentine’s Day?

Unlike the careful planning that goes into Christmas shopping, Valentine’s Day is more of a toss-up. A study by eCommerce Worldwide found that 40% of Valentine’s Day presents are purchased merely a week before the holiday. This means your most V-Day-focused marketing should be early enough to grab your target’s attention, but not so early that they aren’t even thinking about their purchase yet. ZypMedia ran an analysis of Valentine’s Day marketing initiatives and found that 66% of advertisers preferred 15-20 day long campaigns.3

To find the optimal time to run your campaign, you should dive into your target audience’s buying habits. Are they the type to plan ahead or are they impulse shoppers? This brings us to our next point.

How can you identify the best target audience for your product?

At face value, men aged 25-44 look to be the highest value customers on Valentine’s Day. But the truth is more complicated than that. Marketers need to consider the best audience for their product or service and extrapolate how to best target on Valentine’s Day based on who their current customers are and who among them is most likely to buy a gift. Here are a few ways to home in on the right potential customers:

1. Target a new, unique audience that’s most likely to convert

Companies such as Liveramp, Oracle Data Cloud (ODC) and Lotame provide pre-packaged audiences that can help you reach new prospects and increase the effectiveness of your Valentine’s Day campaigns. Specialized segments such as newly engaged, grandparents or younger children, or pet owners allow you to target based on predefined attributes and promote Valentine’s Day products that cater to each unique audience attribute. The newly engaged segment is a low-hanging fruit for V-Day4 but grandparents of younger kids and pet owners are a newly relevant audience for this holiday and one that can unlock a lot of previously inapplicable opportunities.

2. Invest in a custom audience

Custom audiences are one of the most effective ways to target prospects with a high likelihood to convert. The primary objective of a custom audience is for companies to create and target their ideal customer segments. Custom audiences allow brands to get more granular than ‘off-the-shelf’ segments. For example, a company could create a custom audience for Valentine’s Day that combines newly engaged couples and separate it out by gender, income, and age to create a custom audience that will be receptive to their product.

Plan a multichannel Valentine’s Day campaign

According to Worldpay’s research, omnichannel shoppers spend between 50% and 300% more than traditional shoppers.5 Delivering your message across multiple channels allows you to connect with more prospects and increases the chances of conversion. Consider a combination of the channels below to connect with consumers:

1. Direct mail

During the pandemic, direct mail has seen a resurgence as marketers have rediscovered its effectiveness, something nonprofits have known all along.

Brand example: Hellmann’s

Condiments brand, Hellmann’s isn’t top of mind when you think of romance, but the brand put to use the old adage, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” for their Valentine’s Day initiative. The campaign allowed consumers to order sandwiches from Hellmann’s microsite, 1800-Sandwich which were then delivered to the valentine for lunch. Hellmann’s used street teams, direct postcards, and posters to drive consumers to the 1800-Sandwich microsite. The cross-channel marketing campaign was very effective, and Hellmann’s was able to engage 59% of their targeted audience. According to the Data Marketing Association, Hellmann’s sandwiches sold out within 6 hours of the site going live.6

2. Social

In 2020, over 3.6 billion people worldwide used social media, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion by 2025.7 With 27% of internet users saying they find new products and brands through paid social ads,8 savvy companies cannot ignore this channel.

Brand example: The Body Shop

The Body Shop knows that its social media followers are more likely to be women. The brand launched an Instagram contest, where the winner and their “Galentines” were awarded lip balms. All their followers had to do was send a picture of themselves blowing a kiss to a friend to enter the contest. The international campaign garnered thousands of views and hundreds of pictures of followers blowing kisses, giving the brand organic, user-generated content and driving word-of-mouth.

3. TV/Connected TV

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Connected TV (CTV) use was growing – but the pandemic pushed it into overdrive as consumers spent more time at home, and in front of the tube. The latest reports from Nielsen found that CTV viewing has grown from 2.7 billion hours during the pre-pandemic week of March 2 to 3.9 billion hours during the weeks of March 23, March 30, and April 6 – representing a year-over-year increase of 81%.9 Now is the perfect time to advertise during your prospects’ favorite shows.

Brand example: Deliveroo

UK-based delivery app, Deliveroo, leaned into consumers’ sense of humor with their TV commercial for Valentine’s Day. The brand had 2,000 British couples take a “third wheel” survey and found that 37% of couples would love to have a “third wheel” join them for their takeout! The commercial generated over 80,000 views on YouTube and provided free press for the brand, as publications such as Business Insider, Foodscene and Thrive UK reported on the findings of the survey and linked to the video. Watch the ad below:

4. Email

Marketers know that email is one of the most reliable channels to engage customers and increase conversion rates. It is easily personalized and boasts flexible design which makes it a great vehicle for communication with your audience. When sending emails, dividing your target audience into different segments based on various data points – from browse behavior, to age, through gender, and more – helps companies increase their chances of reaching their audience with a relevant message. Research from Campaign Monitor found that, companies that segment their audience *BASED ON A,B,C* see 760% more revenue than those that send bulk emails.10 The right type of segmentation can help companies promote a product for Valentine’s Day to a specific buyer persona, and send a different type of message to their larger audience.

Brand example: Francesca’s

This Valentine’s Day email from apparel brand, Francesca’s, is segmented based on subscribers’ browse behavior and highlights products the subscriber has viewed in the past. The email doesn’t position their products as the perfect gift for the special lady in someone’s life. Instead, it targets the brand’s primarily female audience, and focuses on how its products can make for the perfect Valentine’s Day outfit.

Pro-tip: Get mobile

Much like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers are using their mobile devices to research and purchase gifts for Valentine’s Day. Over half of smartphone owners purchased their gifts on their phone and more than a third used their mobile device to research products, prices, coupons and retailer information.11


Consumers are ready to buy on Valentine’s Day and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit for brands who want to cash in on this holiday. Launching a multichannel campaign that’s smartly targeted can result in higher conversions and brand awareness.

Read more about how our B2B or B2C digital segments and custom audiences can help you achieve your business goals or contact us with your questions.


Keelia Schumacher
Senior Director of Sales

With over 13 years of experience, Keelia has a deep knowledge of client challenges, is passionate about customizing solutions to best fit their needs and helping them exceed their business goals. She is an expert in Ad Tech and digital marketing. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, doggos, and friends as well as listening to podcasts and reading.