February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day E-Cards: Survey Reveals Nature of Who, How and What, While Hallmark Turns to SOASTA for Website Readiness


Valentine’s Day is hard upon us. Love is in the air, or rather in the ether. In fact, according to a new study for cloud and mobile testing company, SOASTA, by Harris Interactive, one in three Americans will send an e-card for Valentine’s Day.

These are messages that absolutely, positively need to arrive where intended, and because of the volume of traffic it’ll surely experience, Hallmark has turned to SOASTA to make sure the Hallmark website is ready and able to handle the storm of traffic heading its way.

The survey says!

 SOASTA commissioned the research because of its involvement in testing and preparing the websites of some of America’s leading online greeting card companies. Conducted online in late January, the study questioned 2,474 American adults aged 18+ and determined 38 percent of Americans plan on sending an e-Card for Valentine’s Day this year, with  men 35 to 44 (47 percent) followed by men 18 to 34 (41 percent) and women 18 to 34 (41 percent). 

Other interesting findings from the study:

There is a quid pro quo expectation when it comes to Valentine’s Day e-Cards.  In fact, 54 percent of Americans said they expected to get something in return for sending an e-card to a romantic partner or love interest, including:

  • 35 percent a “thank you”
  • 19 percent an e-card in return
  • 17 percent a kiss
  • 10 percent sex
  • 10 percent dinner
  • 8 percent a date
  • 5 percent a physical card in return

The study also found that nearly  75 percent of Americans like something about e-Cards, including that they’re free (53 percent), they’re convenient if you forget to buy a physical card (43 percent), they have animations (35 percent), they’re environmentally friendly (34 percent), they’re interactive (24 percent), you don’t need to know the recipient’s postal address (23 percent),  they can be edgier than traditional greeting cards (13 percent), no one has to see you buy them (9 percent), and they can contain NSFW (not safe for work) content (6 percent).

But while some Americans believe NSFW content is a positive feature, many more (29 percent) don’t want to see those images in an e-Card for Valentine’s Day.  They also don’t want to see the following:

  • 25 percent unicorns
  • 24 percent pictures of sender’s kids
  • 23 percent pictures of sender’s spouse
  • 19 percent kittens
  • 16 percent picture of sender
  • 16 percent people kissing
  • 13 percent hearts
  • 13 percent flowers

On time to the right place

“On Valentine’s Day, millions of Americans turn to Hallmark to express themselves,” said Cheryl Davis, Hallmark Digital Technical Operations Manager.  “We depend on SOASTA to make sure our web site is ready to handle the heavy traffic so that everyone can make sure their loved ones know they were thought of on this special day.”

“Our research shows that over 1 in 3 Americans plan on sending an e-Card for Valentine’s Day, with the morning being the most popular time to do so,” said Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO.  “Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas, companies trust SOASTA to make sure their web and mobile sites perform successfully during times of peak demand.”

So who’s getting these cards? The results confirm what you likely suspected.

Married Americans say their spouse is the number-one person to whom they plan on sending an e-card (28 percent). Friends at 14 percent was second, followed by parents sending to their children (11 percent), mothers (9 percent), boyfriends/girlfriends (8 percent), fathers (3 percent), grandparents (3 percent), secret crushes (3 percent), employed adults who’d send one to coworkers (3 percent), the hot receptionist at work (3 percent) and bosses (2 percent). 

Only 1 percent of Americans said they would send an e-Card for Valentine’s Day to a weekend fling.  Four percent said they’d only send an e-card if they got one themselves first.

Given the highly personal nature of such messages (excluding that one about the receptionist, which is clearly sexist on several scores) these are messages that have to be timely and accurately directed, and the card companies on such a big day cannot stand one second of downtime.

That’s where SOASTA struts its stuff. The company has handled such big Web events as NASA’s Mars Curiosity Landing and the London Olympics.

The bottom line, for all of you intending to send an e-card for Valentine’s Day, is don’t forget: do something that is appropriate for the receiving party that makes sense based on your knowledge of your beloved and those findings above, and enjoy the day. As Hal David’s 1965 hit song says, “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.”




Edited by Braden Becker



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