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The Data Doesn’t Lie: Men are Last Minute Shoppers on Valentine’s Day

If there is a day outside of Christmas where a sizable percentage of Americans are expecting gifts, it’s Valentine’s Day. But unlike the holiday season where most Americans make their purchases weeks or months in advance, U.S. purchase and ad spend data indicate that advertisers are most focused on — and see the best results from — last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers.

Below, you can see how 2015 ecommerce purchase rates from Facebook advertising rose by 47% during Valentine’s Day week, compared to the surrounding weeks.

Facebook Ad Purchase Rates, Valentine’s Day 2015

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Not only that, but return on ad spend (ROAS) exhibited an even more dramatic jump over the same time period – coming in 84% above the combined ROAS of the surrounding two weeks.

Return on Facebook Ad Spend, Valentine’s Day 2015

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Of course, all advertisers are expecting active shoppers during this period, so where is the remaining opportunity? Let’s look at the changes in purchases and advertiser spend the week of Valentine’s Day as compared to the same day during the surrounding two weeks. Notably, the number of daily purchases rises pretty significantly early in Valentine’s Day week, but advertiser spend doesn’t begin to truly mirror that activity until February 11th.

Purchases and Ad Spend on Facebook, Valentine’s Day 2015

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February 10th and 13th exhibit substantial increases in average number of purchases, but in between these dates are where advertisers seem to place more of their focus. Additionally, the rise in purchases on February 9th isn’t matched by a corresponding growth in ad spend.

You may be wondering who exactly is driving this increase in relatively last-minute purchases. While females are responsible for the lion’s share of purchases throughout the year, looking at the increase in daily purchases largely confirms a long-held stereotype – males are indeed much more likely to shop last minute for Valentine’s Day as compared to females (hello expedited shipping!).

Purchases from Facebook Ads, Valentine’s Day 2015, by Gender

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For advertisers who have either shied away from spending on Valentine’s Day or haven’t looked to increase their spend over the holiday, the data underscores a tremendous opportunity in the ecommerce space. Consumers are decidedly in “purchasing mode” the week leading up to February 14th. Provided your offering could be construed as a Valentine’s Day gift (i.e. maybe not the time for a weight loss product), it’s a great time to promote a targeted, seasonal message to spur conversions.