In this edition of Network Trends, we look at trends and successful marketing strategies from Mother’s Day to help prepare for the Dad’s and Grad’s selling season.

Marketers, advertisers and brands have more pressure than ever to deliver better, more tailored ad experiences consumers love, all while trying to grow audiences, engage current consumers, and balance new regulations to so they can increase overall performance. Rakuten Marketing hopes to aid in these tasks by recognizing successful strategies of our clients. Through the insights gained on measuring past holidays, we aid brands, advertisers and marketers in their future advertising strategies.

Mother’s Day:

Social Advertising

A large trend being seen this year by measuring post-holiday results is the increase of social advertising. Through Rakuten Marketing Mother’s Day data, we found that clients had increased social budget by 82% year-over-year (YOY) in total. This is likely due to the growing appeal of social (or native) advertising. Social advertising feels natural to the consumer since these ads have the look and feel of a typical post they’d they see. That means that these ads enhance the social experience rather than disrupt. Additionally, Sharethrough reports that consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads. These ads are known for having higher engagement.

By developing better consumer advertising experiences that increase engagement, brands can only see a benefit to their bottom line when allocating budget to social. During the Mother’s Day holiday period (this includes Mother’s Day and the week leading up to Mother’s Day), both conversions and revenue increased for Rakuten Marketing clients; total online conversions by 22% and total online revenue by 5%.

Holistic Experiences

More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to make online purchases; however, desktop is still the key driver of revenue, which indicates the importance of creating a holistic experience for consumers. The same Rakuten Marketing data revealed that over the 2018 Mother’s Day holiday, total mobile conversions increased by 45% YOY for Rakuten Marketing clients. However, desktop drove about $40k in revenue while mobile drove about $12k. Desktop is still the most popular used device when it comes to online shopping but the increase of mobile purchases show the importance of having cross-device advertising campaigns. This increase can be attributed to the ease and convenience mobile devices offer consumers. A lot of the time, consumers are using their mobile devices to do things like research a product before making a purchase in-store, or even comparing prices and products whilst shopping in a brick-and-mortar.

Mother’s Day Trends

Popular products for Mother’s Day this year were flowers, jewelry, and personalized items. Rakuten Marketing Affiliate data reveals that the top day for overall flower orders was the Thursday before Mother’s Day; ordering flowers on this day gives consumers enough time to still order a personalized flower arrangement that will arrive on time for Mother’s Day. Consumers were also concerned with getting their personalized gifts on time to give to their moms, which drove sales for this category to peak on the 4th. Overall, the top order days for Mother’s Day were the 7th and 8th with strong sales from Department stores, Beauty, Apparel and High-end Luxury sites.

For publisher sites, conversion rates peaked on May 8th. More specifically, loyalty and reward publisher sites peaks on the 6th at just over a 15% conversion rate. Coupon and voucher sites peaked on the 9th.

With these insights, brands can realize that through utilizing both mobile and desktop strategies, they can create a holistic shopping experience from one platform to another, as well as creating solid online to offline capabilities.

Dads and Grads:

With Mother’s Day in the rearview mirror, we can utilize its post-holiday insights so brands and advertisers can get ahead for the season of Dads and grads. Both of these periods are set to grow this year with Father’s Day spending said to reach a near-record amount of $15.3 billion, and graduation at $5.2 billion. Brands can be sure to participate in this anticipated revenue growth by applying the tactics seen through Mother’s Day and also by anticipating what consumers plan to purchase for their dads and grads.

Father’s Day

Next in line for the holiday season is Father’s Day, and the primary goal for this holiday is to entertain dads through activities. Within the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate network, a popular product bought for the holiday was steaks. What better way to distract dad from it being the offseason of football than to gift him with a nice ribeye that he can then BBQ for the family? Seems like a win, win for everybody. Another popular product seen in the network was in the automotive vertical because getting something for a hard-working dad that gets him out of the house for an activity he enjoys can only be the best kind of gift. According to eMarketer, another popular gift is a special outing such as dinner or brunch with 48% stating they planned on doing so. Consumers are clearly looking to give the gift of experience when it comes to their dads. For marketers, focus your advertising on how a product can provide these kinds experiences, and how it assists in building memories for Father’s Day.

Graduation Season

When it comes to the younger groups of consumers that are receiving gifts during this time of year, there is nothing better than the gift of money. eMarketer reveals that 55% of consumers plan on getting high school and college graduates cash. Another great gift of a similar kind is a gift card, with 32% of consumers stating this is a gift they plan on giving. Our network also shows the most popular product for grads of last year were gift cards. With high school graduates planning their next steps for college, or college graduates praying and hoping to find a job with the degree they just received, nothing is more valuable than a little extra money in their pockets too, hopefully, help set them up for a bright future.