Mother’s Day kicks off a slow build of increasingly important shopping days for 2018. Read about consumer trends, popular products and successful campaigns to discover what consumers are looking for through the holidays and optimize performance.

Mother’s Day 2018 Digital Marketing Strategies

Mother’s Day is significant for both consumers and marketers. For consumers, this is the time of year when they can show appreciation for their mothers and thank them for all they’ve done. For marketers, this is the first major shopping day in Q2 and a kickoff to a slow build of increasingly-important shopping periods ranging from Dads and Grads to back-to-school and concluding with winter holidays.

Mother’s Day also comes at a time when marketers can really start evaluating and experimenting with different deals and touchpoints to see what consumers are most likely to respond to and when they’ll respond to them relative to the holiday. These evaluations are critical – they not only provide real insights into current shopper behavior, it also enables marketers to adjust their strategy for the more major shopping periods later in the year.

2017 Trends


Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network trends from 2017 illuminated important trends that marketers should be aware of when planning their Mother’s Day campaign efforts.

Mother’s Day shopping began in late April last year, with most consumers turning to content publishers early on in their shopping process. According to Rakuten Marketing data, content publishers saw their gift orders peak at the end of April and maintain through the Saturday before Mother’s Day (May 12). Meanwhile, loyalty, coupon and rewards publishers began showing peaks in sales starting a week before Mother’s Day (May 7). This indicates a window of two-to-three weeks where consumers are actively purchasing, which means advertisers will need to have their content publishers ready around mid-April and get their promotions and deals out to coupon, loyalty and reward publishers around the same time for the week-long peak in conversions.

This information suggests that consumers will be using content publishers a few weeks before Mother’s Day to research different gift ideas and find suggestions. It also shows that many consumers who aren’t buying early, or who are using content for research purposes only, are leveraging deal opportunities the week of. Timing will be a critical factor in the way marketers approach consumers for this reason. The gifts that customers are buying (and the verticals they’re buying from) will also play a factor.

Popular Gifts and Purchases

Part of the reason many are shopping the week of Mother’s Day isn’t that they’re late shoppers, it’s because a lot of the popular products for moms are perishables. Data from eMarketer shows that flowers were the second-most popular Mother’s Day gift to purchase, behind greeting cards. The shelf-life for flowers makes it one where consumers want to wait until it gets close enough to Mother’s Day to have them fresh, but not so late that they’re picking out weeds because that’s all that’s left.

However, cards and flowers aren’t the only things shoppers are looking to give – the third-most popular gift was an outing of some kind for mom. This could be a brunch, the movies, a trip somewhere, or some activity that the mother would enjoy. 56% of consumers gave their moms a special outing for Mother’s Day – which means this is a big opportunity for marketers. Promoting activities with a personalized message can be a big opportunity for brands and publishers alike to take advantage of. The personalization touch can be added in a number of different ways, from direct messaging to lists of Mother’s Day gift ideas that suggest what activity you could do based on what the mother’s interests are is compelling. This is also a strong strategy for content publishers to earn those early conversions.

The traditional Mother’s Day verticals are the most popular, so advertisers who can offer flowers, food and drink, gifts, apparel and accessories, or luxury products should be especially focused on their messaging and ensuring their deals get out. Department stores were also a popular pick in the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network.

Key Strategies for Mother’s Day

With most consumers looking to buy these specific items for Mother’s Day, it’s important for advertisers that sell these items to be creative with their marketing strategies. According to the NRF, 30% of consumers planned to shop online in 2017, and with the continuous growth of online shopping, it’s safe to assume many will also be shopping online in 2018. This growth of online shopping gives grand opportunities for online retailers to create colorful, innovative online ad experiences that are tailored around the importance of mothers.

For same-store Rakuten Marketing clients who ran display campaigns in 2016 and 2017, the two categories that saw the highest year-over-year (YOY) ad spend increase were social (74%) and video (43%). Advertisers that prioritize creating ads that are eye-catching and relevant to consumers will likely see the most success, and video is a great way to accomplish this. Digital video is becoming crucial to creative marketing and is estimated to grow at double-digit annual rates through at least 2021, reaching $22.18 billion by that time, or 17.2% of all digital ad spending. Video is also a great way to generate original brand-promoting ads and content that won’t feel invasive to the consumer experience, specifically with video that is promoted through social platforms. When done correctly, videos feel native to consumers and weave effortlessly with social content on their feed. Mother’s Day is not a time for brands to focus on finding new prospects, but rather a time to create a unique experience for consumers that are looking for a special gift for Mother’s Day.