2020 Email Marketing Holiday Season in Review

2020 Holiday Email Marketing Season in Review

The 2020 holiday season was chaotic and irregular because of the pandemic, a contentious election, and consumers’ financial challenges. Email marketers struggled with those issues, which led to mixed performance results, although email marketing still delivered a high return on investment.

Overall, email volume was up 9% year-over-year during the fourth quarter holiday period, according to data from Oracle Marketing Consulting based on a panel of more than 40 major national B2C brands using the Oracle Responsys Campaign Management platform. In fact, email volume was up every week except during election week, when now-proven-false allegations of election fraud and the threat of violence caused retailers to close stores and pull back on their marketing efforts.

Over the holiday period, email open rates trended nearly identical to last year, finishing up 0.8%. On the other hand, email click rates over the holiday season finished 6.3% below last year’s level, and revenue per email was down 5.8% year-over-year as well.

This blog post goes on to discuss…

  • How demand was pulled forward earlier in the holiday season
  • How marque shopping days underperformed
  • How email churn has remained low
  • Which sectors under- and over-performed
  • How trends during the 2020 holiday season might affect this year’s holiday season

For a full discussion of each of those issues…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

First Quarter 2021 Holiday Marketing Quarterly

Oracle’s Holiday Marketing Quarterly gives B2C brands a quarter-by-quarter checklist for how to achieve more during the critical holiday season with their email marketing and other digital marketing channels. Along with guidance on planning, strategy, and prioritization, you’ll get advice and tips from some of Oracle Marketing Consulting’s more than 500 digital marketing experts.

Our first quarter guide contains a 27-point checklist and is focused on seizing opportunities, mitigating risks, learning from the just-passed holiday season, and starting to make the larger structural and programmatic changes necessary to succeed during the next holiday season. It covers six areas:

  1. Holiday Post-Mortems
  2. Seasonal Buyer Reactivations
  3. Email Deliverability Recoveries
  4. Automated Email Optimization & Growth
  5. Creative Refreshes
  6. Upgrades & Expansions of Your Tech Stack

For details on each of those areas…

>> Download the 20-page Q1 2021 Holiday Marketing Quarterly

Best Uses & Best Practices for Animated Gifs

Animated Gifs - Best Uses & Best Practices

Until there’s better support for animated PNGs, CSS animation, and video in email, animated gifs are the safest and easiest way to add motion to your campaigns. And once you’ve created an animated gif for an email, you can reuse it in social media and other digital marketing campaigns. We use them regularly with both our B2C and B2B clients to great success.

Animated gifs are effective for:

  • Video previews
  • Highlighting product options, such as different colors, patterns, sizes, or configurations
  • Displaying an assortment of products
  • Product demonstrations or service instructions, whether it’s showing how a dress flows or how a backhoe can remove a boulder
  • Reveals, including before-and-afters and price/discount reveals
  • Mobile app and software demonstrations or navigation instructions
  • Conveying urgency (think: countdown clocks)
  • Drawing attention to calls-to-action
  • Atmospheric feel (think: fireworks, rain, falling snow)
  • Humor

However, there are some concerns you should be aware of when using animated gifs. For a full discussion of those… 

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Coherent Path podcast - Chad White

I join Coherent Path CEO James Glover on the Coherent Thoughts podcast to talk about:

  • The biggest misconceptions around email
  • The value of having universal holdout groups
  • Focusing on maximizing the value of a subscriber, not the value of a campaign
  • How lobbying by merchants can distract email marketing from serving subscribers
  • How AI and machine learning can help marketers focus on their customers
  • How email marketers can be more efficient and save time
  • Avoiding graphical text
  • What marketers need to do differently compared to 12 months ago
  • Which brands are sending me emails that I look forward to receiving
  • Whether personalization is ruining America and making us more polarized

For a discussion of each of these issues…

>> Listen to the Coherent Thoughts podcast on the Coherent Path blog

The Best Use Cases for Live Content in Emails

Live Content in Emails

The second you send an email, the content in it starts to age. While some content is evergreen and maintains its relevance until whenever your subscribers open your email, other content has a limited lifespan, after which it’s considerably less useful—or completely useless. However, live content can make sure that your content is fresh no matter when your email is opened.

That’s because live content is populated at the time that an individual subscriber opens your email, not at the time that you send it. This not only ensures that your email content is timely, it also allows marketers to include content in their emails that would be difficult to include otherwise.

While image caching by Gmail and Yahoo Mail can sometimes short circuit live content, it’s still powerful. In fact, because of live content’s unique benefits, Oracle Marketing Consultants consider it to be a low adoption–high impact email marketing trend, which means that using live content offers not only significant benefits but also a competitive advantage.

Live content is most effective when used to display content that changes rapidly. Here is our list of the use cases where we think it delivers the biggest impact:

  • Live countdown timers
  • Account dashboards
  • Real-time inventory
  • Live poll results
  • Device targeting
  • Calendar invites
  • Live sports scores, medal counts, etc.
  • Local weather
  • Local maps
  • Social media feeds

In this blog post, Oracle Consulting’s Nick Cantu talks about each of those in turn.

>> Read the entire post on on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Modular Email Architecture webinar - Jan 21 at 1pm ET

Classic email templates are becoming obsolete. They are difficult to maintain, don’t offer enough flexibility, make personalization cumbersome, and take too much time to turn into a final email campaign that’s ready to send. Because of all of those weaknesses, more companies are migrating to modular email architectures and reaping significant improvements.

In this webinar, we’ll explain:

  • How modular email architecture differs from traditional email templates
  • The benefits of having a modular email architecture
  • The popularity and adoption rate of this way of creating emails
  • What’s involved in building a modular email architecture
  • How Oracle CX Marketing Consulting and our clients use modular email architecture

You’ll leave this webinar with a clear understanding of how modular email architecture can speed up your email production, improve your testing, increase your use of personalization, and more.

Modular Email Architecture: The Next-Generation Email Template
Date: Jan. 21, 2021
Time: 1pm ET/10 am PT
Duration: 1 hour

Your presenters:
Jason Witt, Senior Director of Creative Services, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting
Nick Cantu, Senior Art Director for Creative Services, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting
Chad S. White, Head of Research, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting (moderator)

>> Register for this free webinar

Email Deliverability Quarterly: Gmail’s Spam Rate Recalculation, CPRA Passes, and More

Email deliverability is constantly changing, as inbox providers adjust their filtering algorithms, blacklists tweak their listing criteria, and consumers evolve their definition of spam. That’s why even the best email marketing programs suffer deliverability problems sometimes.

To help you avoid trouble, the Email Deliverability Services team at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting shares the latest news and tips for what to watch out for in our latest Email Deliverability Quarterly.

In this post, Brian Sullivan, Clea Moore, and Shine Lyui explain how the following news and events will impact marketers’ email deliverability:

  • Gmail recalculates their Spam Rate
  • California expands CCPA with passage of CPRA
  • Yahoo Mail supports AMP for Email

For the full discussion of each of these issues…

>> Read the full post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

The Last Word on December 2020

A roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…The Last Word

Must-read articles, posts & reports

The Future of Email Marketing & Marketing Automation | 2021 edition (EmailMonday)

Why Successful Marketers Always Invest in Email Marketing (Email on Acid)

What’s the optimal width for your email design? (Taxi for Email)

SparkPost Marketing Leader and Email Practitioner Surveys Reveal 72% of People Feel Overworked (MarTech Series)

The BOPIS Way: Consumers Are Shopping Online And Picking Up In-Store This Season (MediaPost)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Walgreens, 12/10 – Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? We’ve got answers.
T.J.MAXX, 12/31 – NEW IN: these gym outfits are GOALS
Dollar General, 12/31 – 🥂🎉 Countdown to 2021 at home.
NORDSTROM, 12/19 – Instant Outfit: NYE at home // Earn $50 to spend! Details inside.
Macy’s, 12/26 – After Christmas Sale = the perf time to use that Gift Card
NORDSTROM RACK, 12/26 – The Gift Yourself Event starts now!
Express, 12/26 – Time for self-gifting 🎁 40-60% off EVERYTHING
Zales, 12/26 – Didn’t Get Everything You Wanted For Christmas?
Everlane, 12/26 – The Goodbye 2020 Event Is Now Open
The Home Depot, 12/25 – Merry Christmas to All Our Doers 🎄
Zales, 12/25 – 🎄 Happiest Of Holidays From Zales! Open for Our Gift to You!
Burlington, 12/25 – Wishing you the merriest of Christmases
Saks Fifth Avenue, 12/25 – From all of us at Saks, happy holidays
Bed Bath & Beyond, 12/24 – 20% Off ENTIRE purchase w/Curbside! Shop our 🎁 gift guide + EXTENDED holiday hours! Plus, take these coupons!
Wegmans, 12/24 – Need Holiday Help? We’re Here Until 6pm!
Tractor Supply Company, 12/23 – Order Through Our App and Get Last Minute Gifts Before Christmas
Panera Bread, 12/23 – eGift cards make holiday gifting quick & easy.
Victoria’s Secret, 12/19 – Holiday Hint: eGift Cards guarantee the perfect present.
Patagonia, 12/23 – Let them choose
Applebee’s, 12/10 – 🎁 Buy a $50 Gift Card, Get a $10 Bonus!
Neiman Marcus, 12/20 – Need it by 12/25? Free shipping by Christmas + 60% off
Eddie Bauer, 12/20 – Last Day For Free Guaranteed Delivery By 12/24
Uncommon Goods, 12/15 – It’s not too late (yet) to ship holiday gifts
Bass Pro Shops, 12/11 – Great clothing ideas to finish up your Christmas shopping
Williams Sonoma, 12/17 – Re-create restaurant steaks at home + order now for Christmas delivery
Uncommon Goods, 12/9 – Cool, cute, and clever stocking stuffers for the win 🎄
Foot Locker, 12/15 – 🎁🎄 Gift slippers, shoe cleaner, bags + tons of other A1 stocking stuffers
Sears, 12/10 – GIFTS: Foodie 🥩 Techie 💻 Fitness Guru 🏋️ DIYer 🔧
Saks Fifth Avenue, 12/17 – What comedian Hasan Minhaj is gifting his family this year
Saks Fifth Avenue, 12/3 – Saks Chief Merchant Tracy Margolies shares her holiday picks
Moosejaw.com, 12/2 – 🚨 FINAL HOURS – for 50% Back in Moosejaw Rewards
Express Cyber Sale, 12/1 – BONUS DAY: Cyber Tuesday is here! Big Deals from $15
Crate and Barrel, 12/13 – How to create a cozy outdoor oasis this winter
Staples, 12/8 – Remote worker or learner? This deal’s for you.
Gap, 12/17 – Wear this puffer, save plastic bottles!
GapCash, 12/5 – You’ve got $40 in free GapCash waiting—use it on EVERYTHING!
Moosejaw.com, 12/31 – FREE $10 for doing almost nothing.
VS PINK, 12/31 — $1,000,000 to strengthen the mental health of young adults

New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com

A Safe and Happy Holidays!

Direct Mail: The Most Overlooked Digital Marketing Channel

Managing Both Long-Term Inactive Subscribers and Never-Actives

Email Rendering Continues to Grow in Complexity, Wildly So at the Fringes

Cyber Monday Email Marketing Activity & Sales Continue Weakening Trend

Our Top Learnings from Launching the Oracle CX Marketing Consulting Newsletter

Early Holiday Promotions Cannibalize Email Marketing and Sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

The Last Word on November 2020

A Safe and Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

The Most Overlooked Digital Marketing Channel - Direct Mail

Hear us out. Direct mail has changed. A lot of marketers think of it as static offset printed letters and postcards that are mass market. While that’s still the case for some direct mail, the channel as a whole has learned a lot of new tricks over the years. Today, with digital printing, smart presses, and integration with other channels, it can mirror much of the functionality we love in email marketing, including:

  • Personalization of direct mail content, both images and copy
  • Individually attributable results, so a campaign’s return on investment can be calculated
  • Segmentation, so direct mail pieces go to people who are mostly likely to respond
  • Automation to send the right direct mail pieces to the right people at the right time
  • Omnichannel orchestration to take direct mail out of its silo and integrate it with broader cross-channel efforts

In this post, Oracle Consulting’s Jonathan McClure talks about each of those in turn…

>> Read the full post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog


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