Halloween is a week away, but don’t be surprised if you start seeing Black Friday advertisements in your Inbox sooner rather than later.
SendGrid, a cloud-based email delivery and management service, evaluated the performance of Black Friday campaigns sent from their platform during the 2015 holiday season. Aaron Beach, a data scientist from SendGrid, talked with Email Marketing Daily about his findings.
“It doesn’t appear that there is any negative impact of sending as early as you want,” says Beach about holiday email sends. “Black Friday emails start very early and Christmas is definitely creeping back to Halloween.”
SendGrid tracks email engagement such as clicks, opens and spam, and can evaluate how subject lines affect email performance. As Black Friday approaches, Beach says engagement around emails containing "Black Friday" in the subject lines drop. Beach attributes this to email fatigue around the event.
“Emails really crank up around holidays,” says Beach. “As companies send two to three times as much email, however, they aren’t getting back two to three times as many clicks. They’re really just seeing diminishing return.”
A similar-minded study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing released this summer also correlates increased holiday email sending with lower email engagement.
The percentage of marketers sending Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, or general holiday emails all increased year-over-year from 2014 to 2015, according to the report, but average open rates also dropped across all campaigns during the 2015 holiday season.
Beach says brands are also increasing their risk of unsubscribes and spam reports when sending larger amounts of email volume around the holidays, and recommends that marketers examine their email metrics and look at who is opening holiday emails and target subscribers by engagement segmentation.
“Annoyance is when people keep getting emails they aren’t interacting with,” says Beach.
Beach also recommends that marketers don’t bury the "unsubscribe" link in an email, which could contribute to higher spam complaints. Instead, he recommends marketers include an "email less" option in addition to the unsubscribe button. He says this may deter fleeing subscribers and the consumer’s preference can be used for better segmentation.
Beach compares the high email volume sent around the holidays to the congested traffic a commuter faces on their way to or from work.
“Being slightly ahead of the rush is better than being right in the middle of it.”