How Farmgirl Flowers Tweaks Its Facebook and Instagram Marketing for Valentine’s Day

The ecommerce company has to shift from targeting women to targeting men

Farmgirl Flowers will turn 10 in November Farmgirl Flowers

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for florists, but it also causes them to drastically change their marketing tactics from how they approach the rest of the year.

Kat Taylor, head of communications for direct-to-consumer ecommerce company Farmgirl Flowers, spoke with Adweek about how her company uses advertising tools from Facebook and Instagram to formulate and execute its Valentine’s Day strategy.

Farmgirl Flowers will turn 10 in November, and it tallied $32.8 million in revenue in 2019, with an optimistic forecast of $46 million for this year.

Taylor said “99.9%” of the company’s marketing budget goes to Facebook and Instagram, adding that while the process is not totally set-it-and-forget-it, “Once we’ve created a certain audience, it’s fairly easy to replicate that audience. We use the organic growth we have from regular posting to figure out what our audience likes, and then strategically use our paid spend.”

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Farmgirl Flowers shifts its focus from targeting women who are searching for gift ideas, usually for other women, to targeting men.

“Instead of, ‘Hey, here’s a great gift idea,’ it becomes, ‘Hey, here’s what you really want to get for Valentine’s Day,’” Taylor said. “For the rest of the year, it’s 80% women buying for other women. This time of year, it’s 80% men buying for women.”

Facebook vice president of product marketing for ads Graham Mudd spoke with Adweek about the social network’s side of the process, saying that targeting is a key piece but not the only piece.

“Targeting is a really important part of our heritage, but it’s just one piece in how we choose how to run an ad,” he said, emphasizing Facebook’s goals of balancing a campaign’s outcome and benefit to the advertiser with an ad’s relevance to the end-user.

Mudd discussed how Facebook accomplishes this via its bidding process and machine learning, saying, “One of the misconceptions is that it’s always about who bids the highest for that action. The bid does make a difference, as it is a very clear expression of how valued that action from a user is to that advertiser.”

The social network uses machine learning to help arrive at a prediction of the advertisers’ desired action taking place, and Mudd pointed out that a high bid with a low probability score will often lose out to a lower bid with a high probability score.

“There are tens of thousands of ads that are eligible to be shown to me,” he said. “The combination of being in the target audience, creative that resonates with me, the machine learning prediction of likelihood of desired action and relevance” will determine which ones pass muster.

Mudd also noted that people on Facebook have access to controls over their interests, targeting and advertisers they do or don’t want to hear from.

Aside from shifting its focus to men instead of women, Taylor mentioned another challenge faced by Farmgirl Flowers: “100 years of steady marketing that red roses are the love language of flowers: Men are conditioned to think that’s what women want. The women who want Farmgirl don’t want that.”

Indeed, a visit to the company’s site or Facebook page displays a wide variety of bouquets for potential customers, although many feature the oft-desired roses (which Farmgirl Flowers used to never carry).

And it worked: Just as in previous years, Farmgirl Flowers sold out its inventory prior to Valentine’s Day. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.