By John Landsman, Director of Strategy and Analytics

Another national holiday has now gone by, along with its own torrent of commemorative marketing emails.  We just can’t resist this stuff. Perhaps the fireworks have scrambled our thinking.
Sifting through these emails brings familiar patterns, and raises some issues.  Basic details are in the table below.
  • For the thirty days ended July 4th, we saw almost 14,000 email campaigns focused on Independence Day.  That’s 35% more than sent last year for this Holiday.  Most of those campaigns actually deployed in the two weeks prior to July 4th.
  • As with previous such events, we continue to see deteriorating year-over-year read rate performance.  In 2015, 17% of related emails produced read rates exceeding 20%.  In 2016, the share with over 20% read rates dropped to 14%.
  • We also looked at inbox performance for these emails, and that picture is actually alarming on a year-over-year basis.  In 2015, 54% of related email campaigns showed an inbox percentage exceeding 90%.  In 2016, that >90% deliverability share dropped to 28%.  This is a drop of almost 50% in the share of related email campaigns achieving what we believe to be acceptable inbox performance.  It’s a general pattern we’ve been watching for a while, and it’s not trivial.  We’ll be devoting a Nugget to this issue in the near future.

  • A considerable number of these emails deployed on July 4th itself:  over 3,000 campaigns, or more than 20% of the detected total.  This number of same-day email campaigns exceeds last year’s by 58%.
  • As with many such events, a substantial number of Independence Day mailings (and related promotional events) continue past Independence Day.
  • The major national retail brands had their usual mixture of event-focused activity (or not).  Amazon mailed 61 related campaigns; Walmart, 18; Macy’s, 11; Target and Kohl’s, only one each.
  • Examples (see below) of high-performing Independence Day emails show subject lines heavily weighted to aggressive price-promotion — not surprising, considering that most retailers are looking for end-of-season clearance opportunities.  But two top-performers don’t fit that pattern.  Amazon achieved a read rate of nearly 40% by targeting its Prime customers with selected music opportunities.  And Edward Jones, an investment services firm, did extremely well with an email whose subject line simply marked the occasion.  The email itself was personalized, with an embedded video, and signed by the recipient’s Edward Jones financial advisor.  Goodwill counts for a lot.

 

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