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Brands Boost Email Marketing By 10% During Black Friday And Cyber Monday

Brand marketers increased their use of email to capture online sales over the promotional period surrounding Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a new report from Bronto Software. The study compared email program elements and activity in 2012 versus 2011, including message timing, subject line, word count, number of messages sent per brand, and email volume per hour, day and week.

In the report, titled: 2012 Black Friday & Cyber Monday Inbox Report, Bronto revealed a 10% increase in the number of brands sending two or more emails on Thanksgiving Day. Email volume, represented by the percentage of brands sending on any day, increased by 5%. Most brands waited until the second half of Thanksgiving Day to send messages. The hour with the most emails sent, 2:00pm, included a mix of Thanksgiving Day sales, Black Friday announcements and “Happy Thanksgiving” sentiments.

Email volume also increased by 5% on Black Friday. The largest decline in email volume was 3:00am, while the hour with the highest volume shifted one hour later to 7:00am. “The continued extension of the Black Friday concept beyond a one-day sale could be a factor in email distribution volume picking up later in the morning,” the report indicated.

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Marketers increased their focus on a variety of message types on Black Friday, including  “Gifts for Him/Her,” “Online Only” and “Gift Guides.” Black Friday also saw a 7% decrease in the use of “Today Only” sales messages over 2011, again indicating that the 24 hours following Thanksgiving no longer are considered a one-day sales event.

In contrast to Black Friday, according to the study, the concept of Cyber Monday sales remains focused around the actual day. Email sending trends for 2012 changed little over the year prior, though volume was higher in 2012. More brands sent multiple emails on Cyber Monday this year: Twice as many sent three or more emails in the 24-hour period, with a slight uptick in those sending four or more. The “Cyber Week” promotional concept doubled this year, with more than 7% of Cyber Monday messages announcing weeklong sales.

The study also reported year-to-year comparative sales data: Online sales for Black Friday increased 28% while Cyber Monday captured a 30% jump. “According to comScore, 2012 Thanksgiving Day sales reached $633 million, an increase of 32% over 2011,” the report noted: Thanksgiving “has truly evolved into a sales day rather than a day to build anticipation for Friday sales.”

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