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With a projected $717.5 billion to be spent this holiday season, marketers around the globe are preparing for the big Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday bonanza that’ll see inboxes brimming with offers and promotions to stoke the revenue fires.

And there’s good reason email marketing is so important this time of year: Adobe’s data shows staggering numbers after 2017’s Black Friday and holiday shopping extravaganza and those numbers are projected to increase even more in 2018.

Adobe found Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day brought in $5.03 billion and $2.87 billion in revenue respectively. Likewise, overall web traffic to retail sites increased by 11.9% on Cyber Monday. Mobile traffic also set a new record representing 47.4% of visits and 33.1% of revenue. Smartphone traffic specifically grew 22.2% from the year before while revenue coming from smartphones ($1.59 billion) saw 39.2%, a new all-time high.

And they found that email drove a quarter of online sales. As consumers continue to do more of their shopping online and even on mobile devices, email marketing offers a unique opportunity to deliver promotions and relevant content to your prospects in a way that makes converting seamless.

To discover which days had the highest email volume and inbox engagement for our customers, we analyzed data from nearly 400 million emails in 2016. This information can inform the strategy for your holiday send in order to maximize your results.

What we found might surprise you:

Email volume and engagement by day

We analyzed data from 400 million emails our customers sent during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Those emails generated engagement with over 63 million opens and close to 9 million links clicked. During these five critical days of email sending, our customers launched an average of 3 million emails per hour.

So, what did sends and engagement look like when broken down by day?

Volume

Black Friday reigned supreme in terms of the highest email send volume (116.5 million) followed by Cyber Monday (106 million emails sent). Thanksgiving ranked third with just about 95 million emails sent.

Engagement

Black Friday also saw the highest number of opens and links clicked, but surprisingly, Thanksgiving actually ranked second for the total number of emails opened (over 17 million). While folks are waiting for their turkey and sides to cook, they must have plenty of time to engage with their inboxes and take action.

Giving Tuesday showed strong results with over 40 million emails sent by our nonprofit customers, generating nearly 5 million opened emails and over half a million links clicked.

 

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Email volume by the hour – 10 am rules

Now that we know which days showed the strongest results for email sends and engagement, what were the peak send times by hour? (All times are reflective of the timezone the sender was in)

  • Thanksgiving: 10 am saw over 9 million emails sent. The second most popular send time was 12 pm with just over 7 million emails sent.
  • Black Friday: 9 am and 10 am were most popular with 13 million and 11 million emails sent respectively as retailers pumped up doorbusters and incentives to shop early.
  • Small Business Saturday: 10 am was the most popular time with 5.5 million emails sent.
  • Cyber Monday: The trend continued close behind Black Friday with almost 13 million emails sent at 9 am and another almost 10 million sent at 10 am.
  • Giving Tuesday: Nonprofits continued the 10 am send trend with 5.5 million sent at that hour.

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Wrap up

Marketers around the world drive revenue and results with their personalized and targeted campaigns in the lead up to Christmas and Hanukkah. Now that you’re armed with the latest numbers from last year’s holiday spending in addition to our own research from 2016, you can plan your holiday email marketing campaign accordingly.

This holiday season, don’t just hope your emails will bring in results, plan for it.

For more tips on holiday email marketing, get the Ultimate Guide to Holiday Email Marketing.

Updated: November 6, 2018

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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