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Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which Won Email Marketing?

Posted on 12.19.2017

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 174 million people shopped between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, beating earlier estimates by 10 million shoppers. It might be safe to say rumors of consumer fatigue for these types of sales holidays have been put to rest, at least for now.

However, that doesn’t mean email marketers should double down on Black Friday next year. Cyber Monday sales topped $6.59 billion, breaking last year’s record. And with over 58 million consumers who shopped only online this year, retailers would be wise to plan for an even bigger Cyber Monday next year.

Perhaps the biggest trend over the five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday was the lack of a single dominant day in terms of engagement. Instead, consumers were purchasing all weekend long, according to the same NRF report, indicating less sense urgency than years past.

Here's a look at the success of marketing emails over the five-day period this year:

 

Delivered

Opened

Clicked

CTO

Conversion

Thanksgiving

98.6%

8.5%

0.8%

8.9%

4.1%

Black Friday

99.1%

9.0%

0.8%

9.4%

9.0%

Saturday, November 25

99.4%

8.9%

0.8%

8.6%

4.9%

Sunday, November 26

99.3%

9.4%

0.9%

9.7%

4.7%

Cyber Monday

99.2%

9.1%

0.9%

9.5%

9.3%

Cumulative Figures (Over the Five-Day Period)

99.1%

9.0%

0.8%

9.2%

7.0%

As you might expect, Cyber Monday and Black Friday saw the highest conversion rates over the five-day period at 9.3 and 9.0 percent, respectively. These days saw more than double the conversion rates for the rest of this holiday weekend.

On the other hand, Sunday saw the highest open rate and click-to-open (CTO) rate. So for retailers looking to generate email engagement, it’s better to send emails on less active shopping days.

Looking at the past three years, emails sent on Black Friday have seen a higher conversion rate but lower engagement rates.

Black Friday 2015-2017

 

Delivered

Opened

Clicked

CTO

Conversion

2015

98.9%

10.4%

1.3%

12.4%

8.8%

2016

99.2%

10.4%

1.0%

10.0%

9.1%

2017

99.1%

9.0%

0.8%

9.4%

9.0%

We saw a similar trend with emails sent on Cyber Monday, but the increase in conversion rate was more pronounced than with Black Friday campaigns. Emails sent on Cyber Monday of 2017 saw an 8.1 percent increase in conversion rate compared to those sent on Cyber Monday in 2015.

Cyber Monday 2015-2017

 

Delivered

Opened

Clicked

CTO

Conversion

2015

99.0%

9.4%

1.2%

12.3%

8.6%

2016

99.0%

10.6%

1.0%

9.8%

9.9%

2017

99.2%

9.1%

0.9%

9.5%

9.3%

Oddly enough, the email-driven revenue generated on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday grew considerably over the last two years. It increased by  27.4 percent YoY and by 35 percent from 2015.

Revenue Growth YoY

Revenue Growth since 2015

Tuesday after Thanksgiving (2017)

27.4%

35.0%

Could this be the new major shopping day? We’ll need to look next year to find out.


About the Author
Ivy Shtereva is the director of marketing for Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a marketing services provider giving marketers an integrated and optimized approach for delivering relevant messages from a single vendor. The data included in this article can be accessed here.

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