As I made my way through Greenwood Plaza in North Sydney to the train on Tuesday night, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself about the mass amounts of stressed men anxiously choosing Valentine’s Day cards, and then the line 15 men deep at the florists. It was 6pm on Valentine’s Day and one can only assume that forgotten flowers panic had clearly set in. Either they’d received a cranky call from their partner for no ‘surprise’ flower delivery at work, or they were opting for the last minute show of affection, but there was clear panic in their eyes.
I’m no Grinch when it comes to Valentine’s Day – I am very happily married (we ‘celebrate’ it with wine and food), BUT Valentine’s Day seems to have lost its meaning. It’s gone from a day of showing your other half your appreciation and love, to 100 long stem roses, diamonds and dinners out at Australia’s best restaurants – or else! Not only are we expected to spend millions on Valentine’s Day gifts this year (final figures aren’t out yet), but it’s also now the second biggest dining day of the year (according to Dimmi) – thankfully behind Mother’s Day!
But is the 6pm panic only at the florists? It seems not. There is panic online too… At Hitwise, we now have the ability to look at search terms by hour and that paints a really interesting picture of the ‘most romantic day of the year’.
As you can see from the below chart, on Valentine’s Day search for ‘flowers’ starts peaking at 9am, holds its strength throughout the day, slightly dipping at 5pm, and then frantically increases at 6pm, the exact time I witnessed florists being overloaded by the masses. Comparing it to last Tuesday (07/02/17) highlights the vast difference between a normal day and Valentines, with flower searches barely registering strong enough numbers for many hours of a normal day.
But people didn’t turn to search just to seek out flowers. It seemed that many struggled to find the right words for their loved one (25% of all ‘valentines’ searches were to seek out romantic ‘content’) so went to search engines, mainly Google, for help (thank you, Google).
Memes, quotes and poems were the most popular terms used in those seeking out prewritten words of love and affection… The good old Australian sense of humour was well and truly alive, with searches including the word ‘funny’ being used heavily. But it wasn’t all about the lovers on Tuesday. Searches for hilarious anti-Valentine’s Day memes held 21% of all Valentine’s searches - clearly coming from those who are either single, or completely against the day (like my husband…) BUT let’s not get stuck on this group. The day is all about love, right?
So what brands benefited the most from Valentine’s Day searches?
Although flowers clearly won the day, many Australians wanted to do something differed so sought out an experience gift via Red Balloon, which achieved the highest search share within the Flowers & Gift category. But florists held their own on Valentine’s Day, with 50% of the top 30 sites being florists, in comparison to 23% from the previous Tuesday.
So when does all the Valentines excitement start for Australians? It seems the hype starts on Feb 1st and increases every single day after then, with different themes emerging from the searches.
By looking at these search themes, it suggests that people buying for their male partner are much more organised when it comes to Valentine’s Day – searching for ‘Gifts for him’ in early Feb. ‘When is’ searches occur early on in Feb and then again on the 13th. People looking at planning something special tend to research it almost a week out from Valentines.
So all of this is quite hilarious and interesting to know, but how does it benefit marketers? By showcasing when the interest starts and by understanding what consumers are seeking, we can help marketers tailor their advertising and content to the most effective moment. Given restaurant searches are peaking on and around the 9th, prior to this would be prime opportunity to lure loved up couples into your venue.
With the abundance of data available these days, such as the above, there is ample opportunity to reach consumers before they make a decision. And for brands out there wanting to reach the anti-Valentine’s Day audience, there’s plenty of them!
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