International Holiday Email Campaign Statistics 2013

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  • 1. An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 1 International holiday email performance study A look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 2. International holiday email performance study Page 2 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) A world of insight and digital opportunities About this study The focus of this study conducted by Experian Marketing Services — a global provider of consumer insights and targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing — is to observe the practices and results of email communications sent by clients during the holiday season. Every year from October to December, brands across the world approach holiday shoppers with varying tactics to maximize revenue and engage consumers. Since this is the time of year that generates the highest revenue for many retailers, this study aims to support organizations that already have a global footprint or are looking to expand internationally. We hope to provide global insights to help marketers make adjustments to improve their holiday communication plan and ultimately learn from the past holiday season to make the next even better. Today, global brands can maximize operational efficiency and return through international holiday email campaigns, thanks to an ability to reach a broader international audience and employ similar messaging tactics across multiple countries. Yet, results of this study indicate that although some countries do celebrate holidays similarly, there are opportunities to communicate with email subscribers about local events that are more relevant to recipients. Also, depending on each market’s level of maturity, some email practices and tactics are not yet common across all countries. Thus, global brands could benefit from this insight to obtain a first mover advantage. For example, abandoned cart and integrated social media email campaigns could surprise, delight and educate recipients in countries that are not used to these practices, thereby capturing recipients’ attention and increasing engagement and conversion. This study examined email campaigns from October through December 2012 throughout 10 countries: Australia, China, France, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. More than 1,000 brands and more than 100,000 campaigns were included. Metrics for volume, unique open and unique click rates were compared by country and by various types of email campaigns.
  • 3. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 3 Listed below are key holiday dates for email marketers to consider in planning holiday email campaigns within the countries examined in this study. Month Holiday (the 2012 date is included in parentheses) Countries October National Day (1) China and Hong Kong Mid Autumn Festival (1) Singapore Tag der Deutschen Einheit (3) Germany Sport Day (3) Japan Día de la Hispanidad (12) Spain Labour Day (22) New Zealand Chung Yeung Festival (23) Hong Kong Hari Raya Haji (26) Singapore Halloween (31) United States and United Kingdom November Toussaint/Allerheiligen/ Día de Todos los Santos (1) France, Germany and Spain Culture Day (3) Japan Bonfire (5) United Kingdom Melbourne Cup (6) Australia Armistice (World War I) (11) France Veterans Day (12) United States Deepavali (13) Singapore Click Frenzy (20) Australia Thanksgiving (22) United States Black Friday (23) United States Cyber Monday (26) United States and France December Cyber Monday (3) United Kingdom Saint Nicolas/ Día de la Constitución (6) France and Spain Fête des lumières/ Día de la Inmaculada Concepción (8) France and Spain Emperor’s Birthday (23) Japan Réveillon de Noël/Heiligabend/ Noche Buena (24) France, Germany and Spain Christmas (25) All except China and Japan San Sebastian (26) Spain Boxing Day (26) Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom New Year’s Eve/Saint Sylvestre (31) All
  • 4. International holiday email performance study Page 4 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Global email volume trends and mailing opportunities Because the holidays often are the top revenue-generating business event of the year for many brands, it is helpful to look at how and when email volumes ramped up between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. Western countries Western countries (France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States) showed a similar growing trend up until December, which is the peak month until Christmas Day on Dec. 25. During the last week of December for Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, we noted a clear decline in terms of volume. France In France, holiday campaigns began to be deployed in November. Most French consumers begin considering holiday shopping options after the fall break, which was during the week of Nov. 1. December email volumes increased until Christmas week, allowing online retailers to promise gift delivery in time for Christmas Day. Spain Spain showed a little more email volume variability than France, with a strong start in early October due to Spain’s Día de la Hispanidad on Oct. 12, which in 2012 gave Spaniards a three-day weekend. Emails sent to take advantage of Día de la Hispanidad offers were sent during the week before this holiday. Another peak week for emailers in Spain was the week of Nov. 4. This occurred because Nov. 1 and 9 were also holidays in 2012. Brands leveraged this long weekend to interact more with their customers. After that, volumes remained high from mid- November until the Christmas week. The last email volume peak for Spain (the week of Nov. 18) was not only driven by Christmas, but also by San Nicolás, who gave his first gifts on the night of Dec. 5, followed by Dec. 6 and 8, which were holidays (Día de la Constitución España and Inmaculada Concepción). Percent of holiday season email volume per week - France, Spain and United Kingdom Percent of Holiday Season Email Volume Per Week - France, Spain, and United Kingdom Start of weekCountry France Spain United Kingdom % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 8.0% – 6.0% – 4.0% – 2.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 9.6% Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 6.1% 8.5% 9.0%8.7%8.4% 7.2% 7.3% 7.3% 7.0% 8.6% 7.5%7.6% 6.8% 4.9% 8.5%8.2%8.1%8.5%8.0% 7.4% 6.5% 8.3% 8.2% 7.2% 7.8% 8.5% 6.9% 8.4%8.7% 7.7% 7.5% 7.3%7.2%7.2% 9.3% 8.5%8.5% 6.8%5.9% Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 5. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 5 United Kingdom Following the Anglo-Saxon tradition of celebrating Halloween, the United Kingdom had a first email volume peak in mid-October that reflected Halloween preparation. The holiday-related campaigns then started in mid-November to target early Christmas (Dec. 25) shoppers. Holiday volume peaked between the weeks of Nov. 25 and Dec. 9, which included Cyber Monday on Dec. 3. Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday, where retailers expect high online sales driven by holiday gift- giver purchases. United Kingdom Halloween example
  • 6. International holiday email performance study Page 6 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Australia Australia experienced a continuous increase in email volume from the end of October until mid-December. Volumes started to decrease during the week of Christmas (Dec 25). Peak volume for campaigns deployed occurred during the week of Dec 9. New Zealand New Zealand email volume peaks were influenced by the beginning of the summer season in December, with many retailers focusing on end-of-season sales and “new season in store” communications to help encourage spending that is over and above gifting and less related specifically to the holiday. United States In the United States, there are three key holidays that email marketers focus on to create and mail messaging: Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday) and Christmas (Dec. 25). The graph above clearly shows the mid-November peaks preparing for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This was followed by a slight decrease then bump again in early December to promote Christmas shopping. See Appendix 1, page 24. Percent of Holiday Season Email Volume Per Week - Australia, New Zealand and US Start of weekCountry Australia New Zealand United States % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 9.6% Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 5.9% 8.1% 9.0% 7.9%7.6%7.6% 8.0%8.1%7.9% 8.0% 6.9% 7.2% 6.3% 5.5% 8.2% 7.6% 8.5% 7.6% 8.8% 8.0% 7.4% 6.6% 7.4% 7.7%7.9% 6.7% 6.6% 9.6%9.4%9.1%7.2% 7.0% 6.3% 9.0% 8.2% 6.7% 6.3% 6.6% 6.5% Percent of holiday season email volume per week - Australia, New Zealand and US Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 7. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 7 Asian countries Asian countries showed pronounced volume variability. The region is less influenced by the Christian calendar, and each country we observed showed different volume trends between October and December 2012. Percent of Holiday Season Email Volume Per Week - Singapore, India, China and Hong Kong Start of weekCountry Singapore India China Hong Kong % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. 15.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 20.0% – 10.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 9.6% Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 5.2% 8.2% 6.4% 6.9% 15.5% 3.6% 7.3% 6.6% 9.1% 12.4% 5.5% 7.3% 5.7% 6.1% 12.8%11.1% 6.2%5.8% 6.4% 4.5% 5.5% 4.1% 11.0%11.8% 7.1%5.8% 7.0%8.6%8.6% 6.4% 10.1% 7.4%7.7% 8.8% 9.2% 8.2% 8.1% 5.2% 3.3% 0.9% 17.6% 25.3% 13.4% 2.4% 10.1% 2.1% 7.9% 7.7% 1.4% 6.3% 3.0% 1.8% Percent of holiday season email volume per week - Singapore, India, China and Hong Kong China and Hong Kong •  In China and Hong Kong, email activity slowed down in early October due to National Day, which is a bank holiday. •  China showed strong volumes from the week of Oct. 21 until mid-December, with two rises occurring in early November and at the end of November. •  Hong Kong was lower, in terms of volume trend, than the other countries until mid-November. This was followed by an initial increase during the week of Nov. 18 and then a second peak during the week of Dec 9. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 8. International holiday email performance study Page 8 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Holiday offer types and performances Over time, customers have become accustomed to receiving special offers during the holiday season. However, depending on the country, customers responded differently to the incentives marketers proposed. Tip: Differentiate your incentives Shoppers are receiving offers all year long. In order to differentiate your holiday messages, make sure you differentiate your own incentives and make them specific to this unique time of the year. 21.3% 9.8% 17.5% 20.9% 7.8% 25.2% 18.6% 3.9% 2.0% 3.3% 2.2% 2.1% 3.8% 1.7% 16.8% 3.5% 14.5% 13.6% 2.7% 2.1% 21.8% 10.7% 17.0% 9.8% 21.0% 20.2% 12.6% 4.4% 2.6% 2.9% 1.8% 3.5% 2.3% 2.3% 16.1% 3.0% 14.8% 2.1% Holiday season offer comparisons by offer type and country Mail type Country % of campaigns % off Australia 12.7% China 11.0% France 5.6% Hong Kong 2.1% India 9.0% New Zealand 4.8% Singapore 6.5% Spain 14.1% United Kingdom 9.8% United States 7.8% Unique open rate Unique click rate $ offer Australia 5.1% China 6.1% France 6.8% India 4.4% New Zealand 10.6% Singapore 2.7% Spain 3.2% United Kingdom 0.7% United States 9.9% Percentage and dollar amount off are the most popular offers, but not differentiating Globally, the most popular discounts during the holiday season are percentage and dollar amount off. •  Australia, China and Spain are heavy users of percentage off campaigns. In China, these campaigns had higher open rates than standard mailings, but lower click rates. •  In Spain, percentage off mailings performed worse than standard mailings. The Spanish market also preferred to use the percentage off more than a euro off offer. •  Depending on countries, percentage off or dollar/euro/etc. off offers beat other offers in terms of opens or clicks. These offer types present good test opportunities for regions relying only on one over the other. •  New Zealand and France were the two countries relying most on dollar/euro off promotions. Yet, in spite of the high proportion of campaigns promoting dollar/ euro/etc. off in the subject line, these messages had lower open and click rates than standard campaigns. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 9. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 9 Spanish euro off example Subject line: BONO DESCUENTO de 5 Euros en Vuelos ¡Aprovecha los Puentes de Noviembre!
  • 10. International holiday email performance study Page 10 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) 19.9% 11.7% 16.5% 21.9% 14.8% 12.8% 3.2% 1.9% 2.9% 5.4% 2.9% 1.7% Free shipping — expected, but not sufficient Mail Type Country % of Campaigns Free shipping Australia 2.8% China 3.7% France 1.6% Spain 0.5% United Kingdom 2.1% United States 5.1% Unique open rate Unique click rate Free shipping — expected, but not sufficient Free shipping offers also were used globally, as recipients who are now used to buying online have higher expectations — one of which is to not pay delivery fees when ordering from retailer Websites. Marketers agree that free shipping offers generally garner great conversion rates, although open and click performances may be slightly lower than average mailings. During the holiday season, free shipping offers are usually combined with other incentives, such as a percentage off or a free gift. 1 See Experian Marketing Services’ study HÁBITOS DE COMPRA OFFLINEY ONLINE DEL CONSUMIDOR ESPAÑOL EN EL SECTOR RETAIL Tip: Offer opportunity in Spain In Spain, even during the holiday season, free shipping is not widely used. The maturity of this market, especially for e-commerce, and actual customer requests to get this type of offer are growing simultaneously.1 Because of this, there is a real “first mover advantage” in Spain for brands proposing free shipping incentives. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 11. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 11 Spanish example of a free shipping holiday campaign Subject line: En Navidad, los sueños se hacen realidad
  • 12. International holiday email performance study Page 12 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) 15.5% 13.9% 2.7% 1.8% BOGO Mail Type Country % of Campaigns BOGO United Kingdom 0.1% United States 0.1% Unique Open Rate Unique Click RateUnique open rate Unique click rate 25.9% 27.8% 20.2% 20.7% 20.3% 2.6% 5.6% 3.5% 3.2% 3.1% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0%0.0% 1.0% 2.0% 3.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% Loyalty Programs Mail Type Country % of Campaigns Points/Rewards Australia 0.3% France 0.2% Spain 0.6% United Kingdom 1.4% United States 1.6% Unique open rate Unique click rate Buy one get one (free) (BOGO) and reward-based offers — the specifics One of the highest discounts a brand can offer is “Buy one get one (free)” (BOGO), as it is similar to a “50 percent off” offer. During the 2012 holiday season, only two countries actually promoted this type of incentive, the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries achieved similar results with the offer. BOGO offers tend to perform worse than standard mailings in both countries. Although the offer occurs infrequently for many brands, BOGO remains an event that shoppers have grown to expect. The holiday season, however, is a great time to use this type of offer, as competition is high and customers expect the best deals to be available during this time of the year. Loyalty programs Loyalty program communications remain the most engaging messages globally. These types of communications are typically sent to highly engaged customers who are enrolled in loyalty programs and contain personalization which drives greater relevance (i.e., name, demographics, reward status, etc.). The overall proportion of campaigns that leveraged loyalty programs during the holiday season was relatively low, yet these communications performed well. Loyalty program emails can be a great way for marketers to engage loyal members during the holidays. Not only can members accumulate many points from purchases, but they also can decide to redeem these points to purchase gifts. Loyalty program tip: Since loyalty program members are usually a brand’s most engaged customers, it is important to reinforce engagement with this segment during the holiday season not only to drive additional revenue, but also to ensure that customers in this high-value segment remain strong brand advocates. See Appendix 2, page 25, for results from all offers by country. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012) Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 13. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 13 30.2% 15.7% 21.5% 12.4% 21.2% 20.6% 18.5% 6.6% 4.7% 5.1% 2.1% 4.5% 3.4% 3.8% Personalization Mail type Country % of campaigns Personalization Australia 13.9% China 27.0% France 37.5% India 9.0% Spain 13.7% United Kingdom 15.3% United States 7.4% Unique Open Rate Unique Click RateUnique open rate Unique click rate Subject line tactics and results Marketers should carefully craft email subject lines in order to stand out in their customers’ inboxes during the busy holiday season. We noted earlier how volumes are increasing during the holidays, so now more than ever, it is critical to have a strong subject line that will capture recipients’ attention and entice them to read your message. Personalization, relevance and engagement Across all countries, email marketing is evolving to become more relevant to recipients. This is evident through the increased use of data to personalize the customer experience. Although personalized customer experiences were created in email content globally, only some countries used personalized subject lines in holiday mailings, and each did so at very different levels. France used the most personalization in holiday email subject lines (37.5 percent of campaigns), yet these campaigns achieved similar results to standard mailings. In fact, because of the high percentage of personalized campaigns that were sent in France, much of the overall mailing results were impacted by personalized campaigns. See Appendix 3, page 26, for more information on subject line features. The data used to personalize French messages ranges greatly. It can be gender, first name, child’s name, date of birth, city, closest store, rewards euro amount, and even products, brands or the magazines to which recipients subscribe. The practice of personalization in subject lines also is being used in Spain (13.7 percent of holiday campaigns), but not as much as in France. These campaigns perform well, garnering a 21.2 percent open rate and a 4.5 percent click rate using average personalization (mostly through use of first name). Email performance in Spain indicates that personalizing subject lines, even if simple, is well worth the effort. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 14. International holiday email performance study Page 14 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) French personalization example (recipient’s first name and recipient’s child’s gender) Subject line: Cadeau offert* pour l’anniversaire de votre fille / votre fils PRENOM For personalization in subject lines, Australia showed 30.2 percent open rates and 6.6 percent click rates, which was above standard mailing results (23.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively). Once again, this demonstrates how effective it is to leverage personal data in subject lines. Australian personalized communications mostly relied on including recipients’ first names. We also noted performance improved when campaigns leveraged the name of the agent or the store contact the customer knows - a tactic for marketers to test. First name Child’s gender Child’s gender
  • 15. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 15 21.2% 12.5% 19.2% 30.8% 10.1% 23.8% 20.4% 3.6% 2.2% 3.3% 4.1% 2.7% 3.7% 4.6% 16.8% 3.7% 15.7% 13.6% 2.9% 1.9% Urgency tied to the holiday schedule Mail Type Country % of Campaigns Urgency Australia 10.8% China 7.5% France 5.7% Hong Kong 5.3% India 7.3% New Zealand 5.2% Singapore 3.8% Spain 5.8% United Kingdom 5.8% United States 4.1% Unique open rate Unique click rate Urgency tied to the holiday schedule During the holidays, marketers must be fully aware of timing in order to compete for wallet share. Globally, it is common practice to convey a sense of urgency in email communications in order to influence purchase decisions. In 2012, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region used urgency more than any other. Results were the highest in Asian countries as well, with urgency in subject lines garnering higher open rates than standard mailings. This was especially notable in China, where urgency campaigns got 12.5 percent and 2.2 percent for open and click rates respectively, compared with standard mailings that achieved an 8.8 percent open rate and a 1.7 percent click rate. New Zealand brands typically used email to drive traffic, either in store or online, for a short-term sale period. Speed-to-market emails are probably the most effective and the easiest way for these messages to be delivered. Speed-to-market communications are those containing deals and offers that are available only for a short time. Often the information included in the deals comes in just before the deal becomes available. As such, emails with urgency in the subject line prove extremely popular in this country. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 16. International holiday email performance study Page 16 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) 22.1% 18.0% 16.8% 17.0% 4.3% 4.1% 3.9% 3.9% Social Media Mail Type Country % of campaigns Social media France 0.2% in subject line Spain 0.1% United Kingdom 0.2% United States 0.2% Unique Open Rate Unique Click RateUnique open rate Unique click rate New Zealand speed-to-market example For most Western countries, urgency in subject lines was widely utilized yet did not drive a lift in open rates. It seems recipients were aware of the Christmas calendar, thus the timing pressure in a subject line was not enough to influence their open. For last-minute shoppers in this region, however, urgency was still relevant, but only when combined with some form of gift guidance or easy choice (i.e., gift card), as well as options to pick up the gift in store. Social media — the difference of community influence Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 17. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 17 With many brands trying to differentiate themselves and provide relevance to their customers, social media has gained signficance in holiday campaigning. The holidays are times of gift giving (both making your own gifts and purchasing them), thus there is a strong viral dimension to the season. By collecting more fans and followers, organizations are offering their customers a different way to interact with the brand beyond promotions. This remains an efficient tactic, as fans and followers tend to engage more with brands whose social media content can help influence their purchase decisions, influence other users and allow their voices to be heard. Only four countries used social media call-outs in subject lines during the holiday season, yet these campaigns drove higher open rates. Therefore, brands have an opportunity to develop this approach in countries not yet using this tactic, or at least to test campaigns mentioning social media in the subject line. For France, the United States and the United Kingdom, social media messages achieved higher open rates than standard mailings. In Spain, the results were slightly below standard mailings. This is consistent with the overall usage of social media sites across the world, especially Facebook within European countries. Spanish social media example ¿Te gustaría ganar 30.000 €? ¡¡ Hazte fan de De Compras !! Tip Pinterest and Instagram are highly visual sites. They are very popular during the holiday season and are a great way to enable customers to share pictures of products they like — both to give as a gift and to receive.
  • 18. International holiday email performance study Page 18 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Triggered message performance during the holiday season The performance of triggered emails, or messages that are driven by a specific event or customer behavior, is generally higher than other mailings, regardless of the time of year. In this study, we focused on three types of triggered emails: •  Abandoned cart emails: Abandoned cart emails are triggered messages sent to customers who have added items to their cart, but have not completed the transaction. During the holiday season, customers are even more tempted to place items in carts but not purchase, as it is common for shoppers to compare taxes and shipping fees among retailers. Some sophisticated online shoppers have become wise to this marketing practice and may expect to get an extra coupon a few days after they have put an item in their cart, yet did not complete their purchase. •  Birthday emails: During the holidays, shoppers are often much more receptive to brands’ offers for gift-giving or gift-receiving opportunities, including birthdays. Birthday campaigns are an easy win for email marketers. They provide an opportunity to engage subscribers throughout the year and have proven to be very successful. Holiday shoppers are highly responsive to birthday campaigns as well. These campaigns can be triggered based on birthday information provided by the customer or obtained using permissioned third-party data, such as Facebook Connect. As consumers tend to spend even more around their birthday, these types of triggered emails often result in high engagement levels. •  Welcome messages: The holiday season is often a great time for new customer acquisition, as shoppers tend to subscribe to a brand’s email communications in order to receive offers and facilitate their holiday shopping. Welcome emails are typically triggered immediately after a customer signs up for a brand’s email program. Welcome messages often achieve one of the highest open and click rates, as new members are actively looking for information in a high conversion period.
  • 19. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 19 47.0% 35.1% 23.1% 25.7% 8.8% 18.0% 9.4% 7.8% 4.1% 6.9% 4.0% 1.7% 24.7% 29.7% 21.5% 26.0% 33.5% 5.7% 8.0% 4.5% 4.9% 4.0% 29.2% 22.5% 33.1% 23.9% 43.6% 8.7% 3.1% 13.2% 16.7% 5.6% 18.1% 34.4% 20.6% 27.3% 16.6% 3.9% 11.0% 4.3% 5.9% 2.9% 39.8% 27.9% 32.1% 14.7% 11.7% 5.4% 7.3% 2.3% Holiday season trigger mailings by country Country Mail type % of Campaigns Australia Birthday Welcomes All Mailings China Abandon Cart Welcomes All Mailings France Birthday Welcomes All Mailings New Zealand Welcomes All Mailings Singapore Welcomes All Mailings Spain Abandon Cart Birthday Welcomes All Mailings United Kingdom Abandon Cart Birthday Welcomes All Mailings United States Abandon Cart Birthday Welcomes All Mailings Unique open rate Unique click rate 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 5.0%0.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% ■ Abandon Cart ■ Birthday ■ Welcomes ■ All Mailings Holiday season trigger mailings by country Abandoned cart campaigns Only a couple of countries had abandoned cart campaigns in the data set we analyzed. As expected, abandoned cart campaigns all achieved high open and click rates. The United States had the highest open rate (39.8 percent), while Spain achieved the highest click rate (13.2 percent). As there are many American shopping events between October and December (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas), U.S. email recipients actively look for promotions during the holiday season. These customers may be used to getting emails from retailers after choosing to not purchase an item(s), yet email open rates for these types of emails remains high. We believe that customers know that these messages often contain offers, enabling them to complete their purchase by spending less than if they would have purchased initially. Recently though, brands have implemented abandoned cart series to deter customers from purposefully abandoning their carts in order to get a special offer. In these series, the first touch email is often a friendly reminder that does not contain any offer. Members then will have to open the entire series to finally reach the incentive. Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 20. International holiday email performance study Page 20 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) In Spain, abandoned cart emails are mostly sent from very well-known brands, as well as from retailers with only e-commerce sites. Recipients are not yet used to receiving this type of remarketing messages, thus the tactic tends to get a high response rate, especially in unique clicks. U.S. example of abandoned cart message From: Sephora Subject line: Don’t forget… Birthday messages In our study, we did not find any Asian brands that sent birthday campaigns. Australia, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States did, however, and achieved higher results with birthday emails than with standard mailings. Spanish marketing communications, given the Spanish culture, often convey a close and “friendly” relationship with their recipients. Similarly, Spanish subscribers have shown a higher amount of appreciation for a brand’s thoughtfulness, and thus respond very well to birthday messages. Welcome messages Welcome messages to new email subscribers have become a common practice globally, with almost all regions having implemented them. Across all regions, welcome messages have shown higher open and click rates than standard mailings. APAC countries achieved the highest results from welcome emails: Australia experienced a 35.1 percent open rate compared with the usual 23.1 percent; Singapore had an 8.7 percent click rate, while it had a 3.1 percent rate for standard mailings. As mentioned above, subscribers tend to sign up for their favorite brands’ email communications during the holiday season. The better the onboarding experience for a customer, the more engaged, attentive and loyal the new member will become to the brand.
  • 21. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 21 Timing considerations — weekday or weekend? Marketers consistently question when the right time is to send their email campaigns. This question has even greater importance during the holiday season because changing the day or even the hour of a campaign can have a significant bottom-line impact due to the high volume of email in subscribers’ inboxes. On one hand, brands often have marketing calendars that have to be respected and do not leave room to change the time a communication is deployed. On the other hand, there is no definitive rule regarding when campaigns are more effective, as performance can vary based upon industry, message content, offers and audience. We highly recommend that all brands properly test timing options to determine the best approach for their own brand, customers, products and services. One of the first tests brands may consider running is a weekday versus weekend test to see if their holiday emails perform better during the week or on the weekend. Our study revealed the following results by country: 87.1% 12.9% 89.4% 10.6% 80.7% 19.3% 91.1% 8.9% 73.8% 26.2% 82.0% 18.0% 89.4% 10.6% 88.7% 11.3% 83.4% 16.6% 79.2% 20.8% 23.1% 26.8% 8.8% 7.4% 21.6% 20.2% 4.1% 4.3% 1.7% 1.3% 4.5% 4.3% 27.8% 28.1% 9.0% 7.3% 4.6% 4.0% 2.2% 1.3% 26.0% 30.7% 4.0% 5.0% 22.5% 30.5% 18.1% 16.8% 16.6% 16.7% 3.1% 5.9% 3.9% 3.5% 2.9% 3.4% 14.7% 16.1% 2.3% 2.5% Holiday season weekday and weekend mailings Country Mail type % of Campaigns Australia Weekday Weekend China Weekday Weekend France Weekday Weekend Hong Weekday Kong Weekend India Weekday Weekend New Weekday Zealand Weekend Singapore Weekday Weekend Spain Weekday Weekend United Weekday Kingdom Weekend United Weekday States Weekend % of total sent Unique open rate Unique click rate 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 5.0%0% 0.0%10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 1.0% 2.0% 30.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% ■ Weekday ■ Weekend Mail Type Holiday season weekday and weekend mailings Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 22. International holiday email performance study Page 22 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) India, the United States and France sent emails aligning closest to the mathematical distribution of weekdays to weekend days (five out of seven for weekdays and two out of seven for weekend days). During the holidays, India and France experienced lower opens and clicks for weekends than weekdays. In the United States, it was the reverse, with higher engagement occurring on weekends. In the United States, it is very common for customers to check emails and shop online during the weekends. U.S. holiday shoppers have many gifting opportunities between October and December, and they usually expect e-commerce sites to have the best deals. Thus, similar to brick-and-mortar stores in the United States, high traffic during the holidays occurs on weekends, and emails achieve generally higher response rates on Saturdays and Sundays. The explosion of smartphones and mobile devices may also contribute to higher response rates on weekends in the United States. This allows shoppers to multitask while shopping, meaning they actually can go to brick-and-mortar stores while comparison-shopping on their mobile phone or tablets. Singapore, Hong Kong and China did not deploy a large number of holiday emails on weekends. Note, however, that Australia, Singapore and New Zealand had higher engagement during weekends than weekdays. This might be a great test factor for email marketers sending to countries in APAC in order to optimize open and click rates of campaigns that currently are being sent during the week. Conclusion Across the world, the holiday season remains the highest revenue driver for email marketers. This study highlighted how cultural differences can render different results in email marketing. While many email marketers tend to consider the holidays as a global event, ruled by offer campaigns, additional strategic tactics by region and country should be considered and properly tested in order to fully optimize campaign performance. •  To capitalize on the large amount of gift giving associated with the holidays, marketers typically increase the volume of campaigns sent between October and December. Although volume increases during this time of year, it’s important that marketers still maintain relevance with their subscribers. Relevance is always a safe bet to differentiate a message and get subscribers to the open and click. •  To increase relevance and encourage subscribers to act now, regions are leveraging personalization, as well as urgency and social media. While the effects of emails conveying urgency should be tested (as results may actually be poorer than standard mailings), including personalization and utilizing social media are proven approaches to increasing holiday engagement in email communications.
  • 23. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 23 •  During the holidays, and often throughout the year, marketers develop triggered campaigns to respond to a customer event. Because triggered messages are efficient all year, they are even more critical during the holiday season to help increase the overall relevance of the communications from a brand — especially as the overall volume of email received during this period increases tremendously. Globally, welcome messages are the most used triggered emails during the holidays and remain very effective. Birthday and abandoned cart email campaigns could be used more often throughout the world, as only a couple of countries are employing these tactics and results are far above those for standard mailings. •  Global brands should also adopt a strategy of “thinking globally and acting locally.” Consider how local events and holidays are celebrated differently throughout the season. Timing is imperative here, and event and date significance may vary greatly by country or region. •  Developing “offer” strategies is a key business decision that should involve revenue drivers and cost, and results vary across regions. The most commonly used are percent off and dollar off, while “free shipping” is commonly expected by email subscribers. BOGO and loyalty offers are underutilized in most countries. Thus, these are potential candidates for marketers to test for additional revenue opportunities. •  Finally, timing considerations about weekdays and weekends are also worth testing. It is important to note that in spite of assumptions about shoppers’ behaviors, there are real patterns supporting either weekdays or weekends as the best moments to communicate to customers by country. For more information about Experian Marketing Services’ global marketing products and services, please call 1 866 626 6479 or visit us online at www.experian.com/ marketingservices.
  • 24. International holiday email performance study Page 24 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Percent of Holiday Season Unique Clicks Compared to Volumes Sent Start of weekCountry Hong Kong India China Singapore %Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk. 15.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 20.0% – 10.0% – 0.0% – – 20.0% – 10.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% %Clicksperwk. – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – – 15.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% 9.6% 9.5% 10.1% Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 25.3% 22.6% 25.3% 22.6% 12.8%15.4% 15.5% 22% % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. ■ % Clicks per wk. ■ % Sent per wk. Measure Names Percent of Holiday Season Unique Clicks Compared to Volumes Sent Start of week Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 Country Australia New Zealand United States %Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk. 5.0% – 0.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – – 5.0% – 0.0% 9.0% 8.9% 8.8% 9.0% 8.9% 8.8% 9.6%9.6% 9.6% 8.7%8.7% % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. ■ % Clicks per wk. ■ % Sent per wk. Measure Names Appendix 1 — Volume and click trends Email recipient response The study also revealed how recipients are responding to the email volume increase during the holiday season. By analyzing volume and click trends, we found that across all of the countries studied there are several key opportunities for global brands and email marketers. As a rule of thumb, when the click rate line is above the volume sent line, there is an opportunity to communicate more with subscribers to take advantage of the overall engagement during these specific times. The times when engagement (click rate) is high and volume is low are the end of October in Spain, mid-October for India and China, and mid-November for Singapore and Hong Kong. Percent of Holiday Season Unique Clicks Compared to Volumes Sent Start of week Oct. 1 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4 Nov. 11 Nov. 18 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 16 Dec. 23 Country France Spain United Kindom %Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk.%Clicksperwk. 8.0% – 6.0% – 6.0% – 4.0% – 2.0% – 0.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – – 5.0% – 0.0% – 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% 10.0% – 5.0% – 0.0% – – 8.0% – 6.0% – 6.0% – 4.0% – 2.0% – 0.0% 9.0% 9.0% 8.5% 8.5% 9.6%9.6% 9.3% % sent per wk. % sent per wk. % sent per wk. ■ % Clicks per wk. ■ % Sent per wk. Measure Names Percent of holiday season unique clicks compared to volume sent Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 25. International holiday email performance study An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 25 Appendix 2 – Offer types by country 18.1% 3.9% 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% Unique Open Rate 0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% Unique Click Rate 21.3% 21.8% 33.1% 14.6% 19.9% 25.9% 23.1% 3.9% 4.4% 5.9% 2.1% 3.2% 2.6% 4.1% 9.8% 10.7% 11.5% 16.4% 11.7% 8.8% 2.0% 2.6% 2.4% 2.9% 1.9% 1.7% 17.5% 17.0% 27.4% 18.1% 16.5% 27.8% 3.3% 2.9% 5.6% 3.2% 2.9% 5.6% 21.5% 4.5% 20.9% 27.8% 2.2% 4.6% 7.8% 9.8% 12.1% 8.7% 2.1% 1.8% 5.3% 2.1% 25.2% 21.0% 26.0% 3.8% 3.5% 4.0% 18.6% 20.2% 22.5% 1.7% 2.3% 3.1% 16.8% 12.6% 15.5% 20.2% 21.9% 20.2% 3.5% 2.3% 3.4% 4.8% 5.4% 3.5% 14.5% 16.1% 15.5% 16.7% 15.3% 14.8% 20.7% 16.6% 2.7% 3.0% 2.7% 3.6% 3.4% 2.9% 3.2% 2.9% 13.6% 14.8% 13.9% 18.5% 14.5% 12.8% 20.3% 14.7% 2.1% 2.1% 1.8% 3.3% 2.0% 1.7% 3.1% 2.3% Holiday Season Offer Types by Country Country Mail type % of campaigns Australia % Off 12.7% $ Offer 5.1% Coupons 1.5% Free Gift 0.2% Free Ship 2.8% Points/Rewards 0.3% All Mailings 100.0% China % Off 11.0% $ Offer 6.1% Coupons 8.6% Free Gift 0.7% Free Ship 3.7% All Mailings 100.0% France % Off 5.6% $ Offer 6.8% Coupons 0.3% Free Gift 5.2% Free Ship 1.6% Points/Rewards 0.2% All Mailings 100.0% Hong Kong $ Off 2.1% All Mailings 100.0% India % Off 9.0% $ Offer 4.4% Coupons 0.6% All Mailings 100.0% New % Off 4.8% Zealand $ Offer 10.6% All Mailings 100.0% Singapore % Off 6.5% $ Offer 2.7% All Mailings 100.0% Spain % Off 14.1% $ Offer 3.2% Coupons 0.2% Free Gift 0.5% Free Ship 0.5% Points/Rewards 0.6% All Mailings 100.0% United % Off 9.8% Kingdom $ Offer 0.7% BOGO 0.1% Coupons 0.5% Free Gift 2.2% Free Ship 2.1% Points/Rewards 1.4% All Mailings 100.0% United % Off 7.8% States $ Offer 9.9% BOGO 0.1% Coupons 1.4% Free Gift 0.4% Free Ship 5.1% Points/Rewards 1.6% All Mailings 100.0% Unique open rate Unique click rate Holiday season offer types by country Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 26. International holiday email performance study Page 26 | International holiday email performance study (Oct. 1–Dec. 31, 2012) Appendix 3 – Subject line features by country 30.2% 21.2% 23.1% 15.7% 12.5% 8.8% 6.6% 3.6% 4.1% 4.7% 6.6% 3.6% 4.1% 4.7% 2.2% 1.7% 21.5% 19.2% 27.8% 5.1% 3.3% 21.5% 4.5% 22.1% 4.3% 30.8% 4.1% 4.6% 12.4% 10.1% 8.7% 23.8% 2.1% 2.7% 2.1% 3.7% 26.0% 4.0% 20.4% 22.5% 4.6% 3.1% 21.2% 16.8% 18.1% 4.5% 3.7% 3.9% 16.8% 3.2% 18.5% 15.7% 3.4% 2.9% 16.6% 2.9% 16.8% 3.9% 20.6% 13.6% 3.8% 1.9% 14.7% 2.3% 17.0% 3.9% 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0% Holiday Season Subject Line Features by Country Country Mail type % of campaigns Australia Personalization 13.9% Urgency 10.8% All mailings 100.0% China Personalization 27.0% Urgency 7.5% All mailings 100.0% France Personalization 37.5% Urgency 5.7% Social media in SL 0.2% All mailings 100.0% Hong Kong Urgency 5.3% All mailings 100.0% India Personalization 9.0% Urgency 7.3% All mailings 100.0% New Urgency 5.2% Zealand All mailings 100.0% Singapore Urgency 3.8% All mailings 100.0% Spain Personalization 13.7% Urgency 5.8% Social media in SL 0.1% All mailings 100.0% United Personalization 15.3% Kingdom Urgency 5.8% Social media in SL 0.2% All mailings 100.0% United Personalization 7.4% States Urgency 4.1% Social media in SL 0.2% All mailings 100.0% Unique open rate Unique click rate Holiday season subject line features by country Experian Marketing Services’ International holiday email performance study, a look back at global trends (Oct. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012)
  • 27. An Experian Marketing Services study | Page 27 Experian Marketing Services 955 American Lane Schaumburg, IL 60173 1 866 626 6479 www.experian.com/marketingservices Intelligent interactions. Every time. © 2013 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. • All rights reserved Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or reg- istered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. 06/13 About Experian Marketing Services Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight and targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organizations from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyperconnected customers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximize profits.