Thanksgiving weekend may be four months away. But it’s already here for brands. They’re planning their email campaigns, and will be saturating inboxes, especially on Cyber Monday, judging by the 2019 Holiday Marketing Guide, a paper by Yes Marketing.
Yes Marketing tracked almost 8 billion emails in Q42018, using its cross-channel marketing communication platform.
It found that the email adoption rate for Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day, was 38.6% in 2018, compared to 31% in 2017.
The average email open rate fell slightly—from 12% to 10.8%--but the conversion rate leaped from 8.9% to 14%.
The best Cyber Monday conversion rate—32.2%--was achieved by emails offering free shipping. Yet these offers made up only 6.4% of the emails sent, meaning there's an opportunity here.
In contrast, emails with no offer pulled the highest open rate—12.2%--but only a 5.9% conversion.
Subject lines that emphasized a limited 24-hour sale window without a specific offer set up expectations that were not met. And they were 67.2% of all emails sent.
Emails that featured a % off pulled an open rate of 11.1% and a 13.3% conversion. They were 23.6% of the total email volume.
In general, the report also found that consumers started shopping earlier inn the season and that Brands are leveraging holiday themes, but may need to improve relevance.
Themed campaigns were deployed by 56%, a 20% increase over 2017. But open rates dropped, and so did conversions, showing that consumers are turned off by these messages, perceiving them as “irrelevant and inauthentic since they only aim to promote purchases,” the paper continues.
Oh, remember Black Friday? That’s still a big shopping day. Email open rates were as high 12.8% last year, beating just all the other major dates, although the rate is lower than the 14% generated in 2017. In contrast, Green Monday emails drew 11.8% in 2018, Cyber Monday 10.8% and Christmas 10.3%.
In addition, Black Friday emails increased from 6.4% in 2017 to 8.8%.
Black Friday emails are hitting inboxes earlier, with 26% sent before November 19 and some hitting as early as November 1.
Over three fourths of the emails that pulled conversion rates of 5% were sent during the week of Black Friday, with 46% being sent on the day itself.
This indicates that despite email overload, “consumers continue to think of Black Friday as the best day of the year for bargain-hunting and are willing to sift through the noise to identify worthwhile offers.”
Then there’s Thanksgiving itself. Many brands avoid trying to drive purchases and instead aim for a human connection. That may explain why the conversion rate was only 3.7% last year, down from 3.9% in 2017.