Black Friday / Cyber Monday Postmortem Analysis
Just days after Cyber Monday and only a few weeks until Christmas, online retailers already have reason for celebration. As we close the door on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday bonanza, neither disappointed. According to Coremetrics, sales were up an average of 19.4% from the previous year. Strong sales got a boost from strong deliverability, which also improved over the same period from last year by almost 8% on average. Marketers enjoyed more inbox placement and less bulk folder placement, thereby reaching a larger audience.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deliverability 2009 vs. 2010
Although deliverability on Black Friday dropped almost 4%, it was still a full 8% higher than the previous year, which saw a minimal .2% drop from the previous day. This is good news for marketers going into the Christmas shopping season; a virtual light at the end of the recession tunnel.
Marketers are beginning to make smarter decisions about how they communicate with their customers. Unica made some strong recommendations in the lead up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday about both advantageous times of day and days of the week to consider sending your campaigns. The numbers are in from last week’s results and both recommendations turned out to be sage advice:
- Marketers that sent email in the evening, specifically between 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., saw great deliverability to their recipients. Additionally, marketers also saw an increase when sending between 6 a.m to 10 a.m.
- Smart marketers who avoided sending email during peak traffic days – Tuesday & Wednesday – saw the highest deliverability on Saturday and Thursday. This makes sense for those fortunate enough not to have spent their holiday in the kitchen. The time-off allowed recipients ample opportunity to check emails in preparation for the following day’s in-store shopping frenzy.
Gearing Up For Christmas & Beyond
The prospectus looks good for the remaining holiday shopping season. Marketers can continue to make strides by sending less email, but to respondents who are more prone to clicking a link rather than a spam button.
- Consider sending email at off-peak hours and non-peak mailing days. Why are you going to jump into traffic with every Tom, Dick and Harry? Look at the numbers above from the early holiday season and consider sending your campaigns during non-traditional times. For example, weekends demonstrate some of the best overall deliverability rates. Consider segmenting out some portion of your recipients you feel like you must reach and send to them during one of these alternative time frames.
- Test your messages for deliverability and rendering. During the holidays, it’s easy to come up with great emails that contain lots of color and graphics. In some cases, these emails may be vast departures from your normal tried and tested templates. The results could be catastrophic if you haven’t tested them to ensure message integrity and renderability.
- Optimize the entire shopping experience from the email to the Web. Too many marketers are assuming that their clients are only reading emails in a web or desktop email client. This doesn’t seem to be the case. Based on Unica’s research, more and more people are using mobile devices in conjunction with traditional desktop/web email clients to browse and respond to email. Make sure your emails and landing pages have equal impact across varied email and browsing environments.
- Use other channels. Email is the digital glue that helps connect social, mobile, offline, and web browsing. Although it’s hard turn the ship on a dime, it’s harder still to accept defeat during a critical period. Experiment and make sure you stay abreast of how consumers are interacting with your brand and the channels they are using.
By leveraging good testing methodologies and utilizing smart messaging habits, marketers will find their holiday stockings full of higher inbox rates and increased ROI, rather than exercises in deliverability remediation.
Want to know more about deliverability during the holidays? Visit our ISP Postmaster Resource Page and learn how to apply best practices to your mail stream, or contact us to learn what Unica Pivotal Veracity can do for you.
Len Shneyder, Sr. Product Marketing Mgr.
Jake Cable, Email Services Mgr.