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Ranked: 11 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Subject Lines

Posted on 11.29.2015

Early data suggests that the 2015 holiday season is off to a good start.

In fact, Custora reveals that Black Friday e-commerce revenue was up 16.1 percent compared to last year. What’s more, email marketing was the primary channel driving online sales, with Custora finding that this channel accounted for 25.1 percent of transactions on Black Friday.

It is important to note, however, that retailers aren’t just focusing on Black Friday anymore, as a growing number of consumers are beginning their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day and are keeping pace through Cyber Monday. With email being a top channel for driving conversions, it is vital that retailers are leveraging best practices to make sure that their messages are standing out in the inbox.

To give retailers some inspiration for the rest of the holiday season, Website Magazine has put together a list of email subject lines sent out between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Each subject line has been put to the test with best practice algorithm testing tool subjectline.com. Here is how they ranked:

* Editor’s Note: Although subjectline.com rates subject lines based on industry best practices, retailers should keep in mind that open rates can vary based on a variety of other factors, including audience. This is why it is important to continuously test subject line strategies to optimize campaign performance.


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1. Urban Decay

Subject Line: These Vaults Made a One-Day Comeback
Score: 100
Strategy: Beauty retailer Urban Decay is the only one on this list to receive a score of 100. The company’s subject line is sure to entice brand enthusiasts to open the message, as it teases limited time availability of some of the company's most popular products from the past.


2. Sephora

Subject Line: Work can wait. Exclusive Cyber Monday lineup
Score: 93
Strategy: Sephora tempts anyone checking their emails Monday morning to skip other tasks and start shopping by announcing an exclusive sale on its site.


3. Forever 21

Subject Line: Early VIP Access: Shop Cyber Monday Now!
Score: 92
Strategy: Apparel retailer Forever 21 is trying to maximize its Cyber Monday revenue by giving email subscribers early access to its sale.


4. Teefury

Subject Line: CYBER WEEK STARTS NOW!
Score: 87
Strategy: Online daily t-shirt retailer Teefury is looking to capitalize on Cyber Monday all week by announcing its longer-than-average sale in its subject line.


5. Columbia

Subject Line: Cyber Monday—up to 50% on great gear! 
Score: 84
Strategy: Columbia entices subscribers to open its email message by revealing a specific percentage off in its subject line.


6. Yankee Candle

Subject Line: Happy Thanksgiving! Black Friday deals start at 6pm today!
Score: 83
Strategy: Yankee Candle wished its subscribers a happy Thanksgiving on Thursday and highlighted the opening time for many of its brick-and-mortar stores in its subject line.


7. Lush

Subject Line: Open up and you will find...
Score: 76
Strategy: Lush took a mysterious approach to its subject line by requiring its subscribers to open its message before seeing any holiday deals. 


8. Tilly’s

Subject Line: HAPPY TURKEY DAY! Win a $500 Tillys Gift Card
Score: 71
Strategy: Apparel retailer Tilly’s not only wished its subscribers a happy Thanksgiving, but also enticed them to open its message with a contest giveaway.


9. Doggyloot

Subject Line: Doggyloot Favorites + Free Candy Cane Bully!
Score:68
Strategy: Doggyloot aimed to standout in the inbox by highlighting a free gift for shoppers in its subject line.


10. Fabletics

Subject Line: It's Cyber Monday! We put $35 in your account!
Score: 57
Strategy: Fabletics hopes to encourage Cyber Monday shopping by offering them a $35 credit, which is promoted in its subject line.


11. Best Buy

Subject Line: Black Friday Doorbusters are here NOW: Samsung, Apple, GoPro...
Score: 55
Strategy: Best Buy decided to be precise in its subject line by highlighting specific product sales. That said, the retailer scored the lowest on subjectline.com, partially because of the length of its subject line – which makes the message not mobile friendly.


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