The average number of promotional email campaigns set by top retailers to each of their subscribers reached a peak of 177 in 2011, representing a 16% increase from 152 in 2010, and a 51% rise from 2008 levels, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. On average, retailers sent their subscribers nearly 15 email campaigns a month, with February being the slowest month at just over 12 campaigns, and December the busiest at almost 22. December was also among the fastest-growing months, on par with November with 20% year-over-year over growth, and slightly behind March (+21%).
Friday Most Popular Day
For the second year in a row, Friday was the busiest email marketing day of the week, with 55% of retailers sending at least one email on that day. According to Responsys insight, Friday’s popularity was driven more by the announcement of weekend promotions than by increased response rates. Monday (51%) was the second busiest day of the week, while Saturday (28%) continued to be the slowest.
Meanwhile the vast majority (87%) of major retailers tracked sent at least one promotional email campaign on Cyber Monday, making it the busiest email marketing day ever measured by Responsys, and the biggest day of the year for the fifth year running. Black Friday (81%) and Thanksgiving (75%) rounded out the top 3 days of the year.
Some Brands Ignore Deals During Holiday Season
According to January 2012 analysis from [pdf] Bronto, of the 274 brands measured, 44% did not promote a percentage or dollar off deal in their subject lines during the holiday season. Emails promoting percentage off deals only were more than twice as common than those promoting dollar off deals only (36% vs. 16%) during the holiday season, with the New Year’s period showing the greatest disparity (43% vs. 14%).
Q4 Deliverability Holds Steady
Meanwhile, January 2012 analysis from IBM Unica finds that overall deliverability in Q4 2011 held firm at about 83.3%, with 7.7% of emails ending up in bulk folders and 9% missing. Delivery rates were highest to Gmail (85.6%) accounts, ahead of Yahoo (85.2%), AOL (81.8%), and Windows Live/Hotmail (73.3%).
- According to Bronto, the annual increase in email volume began to climb in mid-October with a 4.4% increase over September. Total volume for November and December was relatively close, increasing 6-8% over October.
- Christmas Day saw 14% non-promotional holiday greetings, a 4% decline compared to Christmas Eve.
- Of the 274 brands included in Bronto’s sample, the average number of messages sent during the 35-day holiday season was 18. The most frequent sender mailed 98 times. During the Christmas season, brands averaged 15 messages, with the most frequent sender emailing 97 times within the 27 days.
- For promotions specifying a type of shipping, Second Day (6%) was the most heavily promoted type of shipping over the holiday season, used twice as frequently as ground or standard shipping.
- According to IBM Unica, email deliverability was slightly higher in Q4 2011 on Thursday through Sunday as compared to the first half of the week.
- Delivery rates were highest in the US and Canada, and lowest in the Asia Pacific region.