By Ana Sofia Reis
Love may be a mystery, but Valentine's Day trends from Waze make this romantic holiday more predictable for brands seeking to influence the purchasing decisions of lovestruck Americans.
With so many consumers eager to splurge on the ones they love, Valentine's Day is an excellent opportunity to show customers why they should fall in love with your brand. According to a 2016 National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, last year 54.8 percent of consumers planned to celebrate Valentine's Day, spending an average of $146.84 on flowers, jewelry, candy, apparel, and more.
And consumers weren't just intending to buy something special for their significant others, the NRF found. Respondents also planned to spend on their children (and their classmates and teachers), parents, pets, and coworkers.
Say It With Flowers
According to Google Trends, in 2016, searches for "flowers" on Google began ramping up about a week before Valentine's Day, and those searches peaked on Friday, February 12, two days before the holiday. They remained high on February 13 and on Valentine's Day itself, perhaps reflecting a late realization about a sweetheart's expectations (or pure procrastination).
Waze data reveals that navigations to flower shops, meanwhile, jumped on February 12. Consumers may have stopped in to pick out flowers for a Valentine's Day delivery, do some comparison shopping, or get a jump on gift-giving. Navigations reached their highest point the next day, February 13, but there were still plenty of folks driving to flower shops on the day itself, hoping that beautiful bouquets would still be in stock.
These Valentine's Day trends suggest that florists and others in gift categories could benefit, not only from increasing their advertising efforts in the immediate run up to the holiday, but also by going strong on the day itself when last-minute wooers may be desperately searching for the perfect gift. Placing your brand's icon on a Waze map could prove highly effective. Additionally, you could enhance your online advertising strategy by using search retargeting to show display ads to users who have searched for "flowers."
A Romantic Getaway
Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday last year, and many Americans chose to celebrate over the course of the whole weekend. According to Waze data, there was a 40 percent spike in US navigations to hotels during the holiday weekend compared to a normal February weekend.
And what romantic weekend would be complete without that perfect candlelit dinner? Indeed, Waze navigations to restaurants were higher on Valentine's Day than on a typical February Sunday—there was an overall jump of 53 percent.
With Valentine's Day falling on a Tuesday in 2017, hoteliers and restaurant owners may need to offer more attractive promotions to draw in couples for a romantic evening or an elegant meal. Sending deals to starry-eyed Wazers throughout the day can help fill rooms and tables.
The Current State of Romance
Meanwhile, Virginia may be for lovers, but it's Michigan that tops the inaugural Waze Romantic Index. The scoring system reflects the combined increase in drives to flower shops, hotels, and restaurants during last year's Valentine's Day weekend (from Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 14).
Michigan scored highest, even as Detroit was being hit by an arctic front. Oregon and California earned second and third place in the index, respectively. How did your state rate?
A Holiday to Adore
Even though Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, it doesn't mean would-be romantics won't want to show their love—whether out of pure desire or perhaps the pressure to please. Advertisers can send contextually relevant messages to Wazers that play to both motivations.
Moreover, it's not just florists, hotels, and restaurants that should actively try to bring in customers on and before the holiday. Smart campaigns can also help other marketers, like those selling candy, greeting cards, jewelry, apparel, pet toys, and experiences, feel the love on Valentine's Day.
Need a Shortcut?
1. Last year, navigations to flower shop locations peaked on February 13, the day after Google searches for "flowers" maxed out.
2. Searches and navigations relating to flowers remained high on Valentine's Day itself, offering an opportunity for advertisers to reach last-minute consumers with location-based marketing and search retargeting.
3. Marketers that could benefit from contextually relevant campaigns include florists, hotels, and restaurants as well as those selling candy, greeting cards, jewelry, apparel, pet toys, and experiences.
This article was originally published in The Compass- an industry resource for mobile, native, and location-based marketing.