Too Many Hearts? How To Make Emails Stand Out On Valentine's Day


Love is not the only emotion on Valentine’s Day, and new research from Persado suggests that email marketers should avoid holiday cliches to stand out from a crowded inbox.

Although it’s Valentine’s Day, Persado recommends that marketers ease off of heart-related emojis. The company tested the heart symbol in more than 600 scenarios and determined that the emoji does not elicit strong engagement when aggregated.

Persado analyzed its tagged language database to investigate the type of content that works best for holiday campaigns, using machine-learning algorithms to automatically rank content elements by audience response. The company analyzed more than 2000 campaigns that garnered over 40 billion impressions.

Persado powers what the company calls a “cognitive content platform” -- a database of words, phrases and images that inspire particular types of emotions. The marketing technology company uses this tagged language database to help its customers develop “smart” content optimized to trigger a particular action. The company claims that its customers see an average uplift in conversions of almost 50% across digital channels, and its client list includes Microsoft, Neiman Marcus and American Express. 

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Marketing messages are oversaturated with hearts around Valentine’s Day, according to Persado -- a likely culprit of the emoji’s stagnant engagement rates. The holiday may make an email marketer’s message timely, but that isn’t the only factor that determines an effective call-to-action.

“Persado has found that, regardless of the season, there is a range of emotions that have the potential to resonate with an audience,” says Greg Dale, COO at Persado. “While most Valentine’s Day marketing will focus on love, using a different emotion to power your marketing message can actually make it stand out.”

Email marketers are also likely competing against mobile dating applications -- an industry that inundates consumers with a large email volume, according to SendGrid’s Global Email Benchmark Report. A study of emails sent from the SendGrid platform pinpointed dating applications as the top sender of emails opened in California, New York or Rhode Island. Dating applications also ranked as one of the top three industries for email volume across Nevada, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware. 

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