While most of us may be glued to multiple screens watching the summer Olympic coverage, for many marketers, the tail-end of summer signifies it’s time to start planning for the holiday shopping season. To help marketers tackle the biggest quarter of the year, Yesmail recently released its annual Holiday Engagement Report analyzing email campaigns sent over the 3rd and 4th quarter from the previous two years. Our analysis uncovered some surprising lessons that marketers should consider for their 2016 holiday strategy. Here are the top 3 highlights from the report:
1. More brand participation, lower overall engagement: More brands than ever deployed holiday-themed emails in 2015, up 13.4% from the previous year. In fact, 90% of all the brands tracked sent at least general holiday-themed emails (emails that reference the holiday or winter season without specifying a particular holiday) over last year’s fourth quarter period. However with the increased deployments came declining engagements across the board. Out of the 9 different types of holiday-themed campaigns tracked, 8 of them showed open rates that were lower than the year before.
Tip for 2016: Marketers need to think more strategically when executing email campaigns in Q4. Simply mentioning a holiday-related sale or inserting a straightforward holiday greeting in an email subject line may not be enough to engage customers. Instead, they should take past campaign performance into account and optimize future holiday communications based on their audiences’ preferences like preferred device, best period to deploy, and most effective message tone (do they respond better to humor, or editorial content, or flash sales…)
2. Black Friday-themed campaigns proved effective, both pre and post-holiday: Black Friday-themed emails received the highest engagement levels (amongst all holidays tracked) with 14.6% average open rates overall. But was most interesting was that Black Friday emails deployed AFTER the holiday, in the weekend immediately following the actual day, also performed significantly well.