Phil Norris

Contributing Writer |

6 min read

How flower delivery brands use display ads to boost Mother’s Day sales

There are two classic ways to show your mom how much you love her on Mother’s Day.

One is to write it in a blog post for a leading competitive intelligence platform (I love you mom!). And the other is to say it with flowers.

Most Americans choose option #2. Per the National Retail Federation, 74 percent of consumers sent their mom flowers for Mother’s Day 2023, making them the nation’s go-to Mother’s Day gift.

On average, households spent a whopping $274 on Mother’s Day presents last year. And with 34 percent of shoppers relying on e-commerce to fulfill their gift-buying needs, the date represents a huge opportunity for online flower delivery brands.

Ahead of the big day, we used Adbeat to analyze how the industry’s biggest players use display advertising to reach, engage, and convert Mother’s Day gift buyers.

Here’s what we found:

The biggest spender: 1-800 Flowers

Ad spend and networks

1-800 Flowers is far and away the top display ad spender in the US online flower delivery market, with Adbeat’s estimated data showing a total budget of $3.3 million in 2023 — of which approximately one-third was spent in the run-up to Mother’s Day:

Source: Adbeat

Virtually all of that money was divided between two ad types (video and programmatic), while almost half was spent on their Mother’s Day campaign.

Source: Adbeat

Now, let’s dig deeper into the brand’s strategy…


YouTube was comfortably 1-800 Flowers’ biggest publisher, accounting for over half of the brand’s display ad budget last year. Almost all of their YouTube spending came in the build-up to Mother’s Day.

Source: Adbeat

They predominantly spent money on family-friendly YouTube channels, including kids’ music favorites like Bento e Totó and Cocomelon. We’re assuming their plan wasn’t to target a bunch of two-year-olds, but rather to “gently” remind dads watching with their children that Mother’s Day was on the horizon — and wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate mom’s efforts by buying some flowers?

Outside of YouTube, 1-800 Flowers divided their spend between high-profile, mass-market publishers like CNN, the New York Times, and This speaks to the brand’s broad audience: rather than targeting one or two niche customer demographics, they’re essentially chasing anyone with a mom.



1-800 Flowers runs two basic types of standard ads.

First, there are generic ads with evergreen appeal…

…then you’ve got ads geared toward specific events, like birthdays and Mother’s Day…

…and also, amusingly, ads targeting people who forgot to buy a gift for one of those occasions:

Better late than never, indeed!

Beyond the messaging, there’s not much to differentiate these ads. They’re all designed to showcase the range of products available (including the occasional non-plant-related item), which helps to position 1-800 Flowers as a one-stop-shop for anyone seeking thoughtful, sentimental gift ideas.


As we’ve already seen, native isn’t a major part of 1-800 Flowers’ display ad strategy.

They do have a few nice examples, combining attractive imagery with headlines designed to spark curiosity. But for some reason, they’re all geared toward the back-to-school season rather than Mother’s Day.

It’s also worth stressing that these ads see pretty minimal spend, certainly compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars 1-800 Flowers are dropping on YouTube.

Speaking of which…


Flowers are an aesthetically pleasing gift, so they need a suitably visual ad medium to showcase them effectively. That’s why so much of 1-800 Flowers’ display ad budget goes toward video.

Their top two video ads by spend in 2023 were both 15-second Mother’s Day promos, one of which incorporated a YouTube-specific discount code designed to boost pre-orders ahead of the big day:

Interestingly, these ads aren’t about differentiating 1-800 Flowers from other online flower delivery brands — there’s no mention of things like speedy shipping or a huge product range or sky-high review scores. Instead, their whole strategy seemingly revolves around two key messages:

  1. Mother’s Day is approaching
  2. Moms love flowers

Which isn’t the most groundbreaking pitch. But it doesn’t need to be, because 1-800 Flowers has vastly higher brand recognition than any other US online flower delivery company:

So when Americans think about buying flowers online, chances are they’re going to choose 1-800 Flowers.

Landing pages

The 1-800 Flowers website incorporates a dedicated Mother’s Day category page. But it wasn’t the top landing page for their Mother’s Day campaign — not even close. That honor went to a separate page featuring the same 20 percent YouTube discount code we saw in the previous section:

Now, you might think 1-800 Flowers is missing a trick here by not creating a less cluttered user interface. If you click through from an ad, do you really need all those menu options at the top of the page?

There’s certainly something to be said for offering a clean, conversion-focused experience. But on the flip side, maybe 1-800 Flowers simply wants shoppers to be able to click around its various collections to find the perfect gift.

How about the competition?

While they might be the biggest display ad spenders in the online flower delivery category, 1-800 Flowers certainly isn’t the only show in town. Let’s look at how their biggest rivals leverage display ads to boost Mother’s Day spending…


Per Adbeat’s estimated spend data, Teleflora shelled out just over $200,000 on display ads in 2023 — pretty small fry compared to 1-800 Flowers. But they did drop $130,000 in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, so they’re well worth a closer look.

Source: Adbeat

In all, their Mother’s Day flower delivery campaign ate up about three-quarters of their total display ad budget for the year, with the lion’s share being spent on YouTube.

When we dig a little deeper, we can see Teleflora takes a totally different approach to 1-800 Flowers. While 1-800 Flowers mostly targets families with young children, Teleflora’s ads use phrases like “let her know you never left” to resonate with older kids (particularly those who’ve already flown the nest).

Full disclosure: This ad made me a little weepy. But I do have a horrible head cold right now, so I’m feeling kinda emotional anyway.

The difference between the two brands’ targeting strategies is best demonstrated by their top YouTube channel placements. Whereas 1-800 Flowers is all about nursery rhymes, Teleflora targets more grown-up channels like travel and lifestyle influencer Rakib Hossain and music producer/rapper Timbaland:

Source: Adbeat

This feels like a smart approach. If you’ve got a much smaller budget than your rival, there’s no point chasing exactly the same audience.

From You Flowers

Like Teleflora, From You Flowers takes a wildly different approach to 1-800 Flowers. They splashed out a healthy $360,000 on display ads in 2023, but surprisingly, only a small proportion was spent in the run-up to Mother’s Day. Instead, their budget was heavily skewed toward early September…

Source: Adbeat

…with their second-biggest campaign by spend focusing on autumn arrangements:

Source: Adbeat

Weird, huh? Maybe they think Mother’s Day is just too competitive. Or perhaps they already generate a ton of Mother’s Day sales and are looking to boost conversions at quieter times of the year.

But their spending strategy isn’t the only thing that makes From You Flowers stand out — they also spend next-to-nothing on video ads, instead preferring to invest in programmatic advertising.

It’s fair to say the brand’s ads follow a set format. Mostly, they just feature a bunch of product images and badges promising 20 – 50 percent discounts:

Occasionally, they step things up a little by adding some non-discount-related messaging, such as this example that promises a “fast, easy, and affordable” service:

And there’s another key difference that’s worth mentioning, too: most of From You Flowers’ ads point to a specific product page, rather than a landing page incorporating multiple products

For instance, here’s their top landing page by spend for 2023:

It feels a little alarming to click an ad and immediately end up on a product page, but From You Flowers gets away with it by including all those “You may also like” options at the top of the screen.

So if you don’t fancy the Southern Peach Bouquet, it’s easy to find a different arrangement.


FTD only spent an estimated $56,200 on display ads in 2023, about one-quarter of which was spent in the two weeks preceding Mother’s Day:

Source: Adbeat

Just like From You Flowers, FTD is all about programmatic. In fact, they didn’t run a single video or native ad last year — talk about putting all your eggs (or flowers) in one basket.

The lack of video creatives meant there was no room for YouTube in FTD’s top publishers list. Instead, more than one-third of their budget went toward placements with AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons)…

Source: Adbeat

…while other top publishers included Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful. So it’s fair to say they’re targeting an older, more house-proud (and possibly also more affluent) audience.

FTD’s Mother’s Day ads mostly carry the tagline: “Tell Mom ‘Thank You’.

Most also feature the phrase “bouquets and more”, which speaks to the different types of gifts available via the FTD website.


Before I started working on this article, I assumed all the big online flower delivery brands were using similar messaging and chasing similar audiences.

But I was wrong, because there’s actually a ton of differentiation in this industry, like how:

  • 1-800 Flowers is targeting young families while Teleflora is speaking to kids who’ve already left home; 
  • Teleflora and 1-800 Flowers are big fans of video, whereas FTD and From You Flowers spend 99 percent of their display ad budgets on programmatic;
  • From You Flowers has a totally different spending strategy, dropping most of its display ad budget in early September.

Turns out there’s more than one way to sell a bunch of flowers!

Want to tap into data like this? You can with Adbeat! Request your live Adbeat demo here.

Phil Norris

Contributing Writer |


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