Study: Holiday Marketing Emails Generate, on Average, Higher Conversions Than Business-As-Usual Emails

Themed Campaigns That Reference Specific Holidays See Lower Open Rates, but Generate More Conversions Than BAU Messages

Holiday emails sent in Q4 of last year often drove higher conversion rates than business-as-usual (BAU) emails, despite generating 16.8 percent lower open rates, indicating the importance of message theme, type of offer and time of deployment when it comes to capturing subscriber attention and maximizing share of wallet.

In its 2018 Holiday Marketing Guide, Yes Lifecycle Marketing analyzed almost 8 billion emails sent in Q4 2017 via its multichannel communications platform Yesmail360i. The report found that emails referencing five of nine standard Q4 holidays and events convert at higher rates than do BAU emails. For example, Columbus Day campaigns, despite producing slightly lower engagement rates, generated almost double the conversion rate of BAU messages, with 7.6 percent of unique clicks resulting in purchases.

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“There are a number of factors that drive meaningful engagement throughout the holiday season,” said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “Finding the right theme, offer, content and mailing frequency can be a challenge, but testing out-of-the-box content strategies and innovative cross-channel tactics can bring consumers in just in time for the holidays.”

The study found that including an offer like a dollar discount or percent off in email subject lines also drove a significant boost in conversions. For example, Black Friday emails with a free shipping offer in the subject line generated triple the conversion rate of BAU messages, making it the best-performing offer type for Black Friday. Similarly, New Year’s campaigns featuring a percent off discount in their subject lines drove 40 percent higher conversion rate than BAU.

“Shifting consumer behaviors and shopping patterns mean marketers must rethink their strategy, take a look at their data and select the right tools to cut through the noise this holiday season,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To do so, brands must find a partner who can help them analyze and enhance their data, deliver the right strategy and execute it with the help of expert services teams and robust technology.”

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Additional findings from the report include:

  • Black Friday emails generated a 33 percent higher conversion rate than BAU messages.
  • Christmas emails without an offer in the subject line generated a 15.5 percent open rate, the highest of all Christmas campaigns.
  • Although the least utilized theme, Green Monday generated the third highest engagement and conversion rates among Q4 holiday messages.
  • Halloween email conversion rates beat out standard campaigns by 11 percent, despite generating 50 percent lower open rates.

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