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All’s Fair in Love and Amazon Sponsored Ads

Whether you celebrated at home, snagged a restaurant reservation, or ignored the holiday altogether, Valentine’s Day 2021 was anything but traditional. So how did consumers spread the love while staying socially distanced this year? Amazon shopping trends give us some clues, and the truly smitten with consumer behavior data were able to react to the shifts this season and land an arrow right in the heart of their Amazon advertising strategy.  

While Valentine’s Day may be behind us, the trends we saw this year can offer some interesting insights into how brands should leverage Amazon Advertising to optimize their strategy before, during, and after microseasons and other holiday events.

Amazon as a Research Tool

Similar to Google, Amazon is becoming a research tool to find and compare products. In fact, both Amazon and Google saw searches containing the phrase “Valentines day gifts for…” start to climb right after New Years Day this year, accelerate rapidly in early February, and peak on February 9.  

Google and Amazon Valentine's Day Search Trends

Consumers are increasingly turning to Amazon as the first stop in their shopping journey, not just to complete their purchase, but also to begin research.

While there was a dramatic drop off the day before Valentine’s Day, searches remained elevated on the holiday itself on both Amazon and Google.  

Trends Within Microseasons

Not all consumers are the same, and even shoppers looking for gifts for the same holiday can have some stark differences, especially when you look at who they’re buying gifts for!  

Looking at Google search trends, shoppers looking for gifts “for her” and “for him” tend to have similar behavior, though with a noticeably higher volume of searches for gifts “for her.”  And while both see a drop off on February 15, gifts “for her” stays more elevated than “for him.” Hopefully these forgetful gifters didn’t get in too much trouble with their significant others on Valentine’s Day……

Google Valentine's Day Trend

On Amazon, the difference was even more pronounced. Consumers buying gifts “for him” got a head start on their counterparts this year, at the number one search frequency rank on Amazon for three consecutive weeks leading up to early February. Consumers buying gifts “for her” finally got serious about their shopping the week before Valentine’s day, taking over in the number one search frequency position, but they were still doing shopping on Valentine’s Day itself.  

Amazon Valentine's Day search frequency rank

Unfortunately for Prime members, the “your gift got stuck in the mail!” excuse doesn’t work as well if your partner knows you have free one-day delivery.  

Responding to Consumer Trends During Microseasons

The trends we saw this Valentine’s Day offer some takeaways for advertisers during microseasons:

  • More and more consumers use Amazon as a research tool, similar to Google. Start promoting early in the lead up to microseasons. Use custom creative and brand stores with seasonal pages.
  • Shift advertised products during the microseason based on search behavior (for example, there were fewer searches for “decorations” and “candy” this year, but “comfy” saw a last-minute surge). Microseasons have their own mini trends. Get granular and bid on variations (there were 804 different “valentines day gifts for…” search variations in the top one million searches in 2021).
  • Prepare for changes in what’s popular – last year, shoppers were more likely to search ‘valentines gifts for XXX’ vs this year’s more common ‘valentines day gifts for XXX’. This subtle difference would have excluded many would-be search expert’s keyword sets that relied on phrase or exact match keywords from a previous event.  
  • Utilize Amazon DSP capabilities to hyper-target based on different consumer demographic segments (A brand might want to keep retargeting shoppers searching gifts “for her” at the last minute, if Valentine’s Day search behavior is any indication).

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, or National Waffle Day (August 24 for those who don’t already celebrate…), make sure you have the tools you need to prepare seasonal campaigns in advance, analyze consumer trends, and adjust your targeting in real-time.  

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