So here we are! It’s one week after Cyber Monday 2014. Many retailers and big brands have begun dramatically increasing their email send frequency on Cyber Monday — here are a few examples of that from my personal inbox, along with some telling data about the trend from eDataSource.

This is a companion article to the column I wrote, Cyber Monday: High Frequency Programs from EssentialApparel.com and Keep, which was published by ClickZ today — no need to read it before you read this blog post, but if the topic is of interest to you then that article most likely will be as well. It talks about the (very valid) reasons supporting this trend and provides examples of some Cyber Monday emails along with tips for success.

So how prevalent is high frequency on Cyber Monday? According to my inbox, not many retailers are doing this…yet. But I will admit that this is a very unscientific and highly anecdotal conclusion.

Of the 51 brands I looked at, only 8 (16%) sent me 3 or more emails on December 1st; another 21 (41%) sent me 2 messages. The balance (22 brands, 43%) sent me just one missive. Here’s the full list (click to make it larger and easier to read):

Cyber Monday 2014 51 Brands

I’ve defined brand based on the friendly from address, it just seemed like the easiest way to do it, although this does create multiple entries for some brands (Amazon.com vs. Amazon Fashion). I did not include transactional messages (like order confirmations), just promotional missives.

Not all the emails had Cyber Monday in the subject line, but all seemed to have something to do with the shopping holiday. As I said, this is intended to be anecdotal, not strictly scientific.

The highest frequency senders were:

> Keep, with 6 emails
> EssentialApparel.com, with 5 emails
> Living Social, with 5 emails
> MAC Cosmetics Online, with 5 emails

Honorable mentions go to:
> Ebates, with 4 emails
> Cooking.com, with 3 emails
> SwimOutlet.com, with 3 emails
> TUMI, with 3 emails

I provided creative samples from Keep and EssentialApparel.com along with tips for successful high frequency Cyber Monday campaigns based on them in my ClickZ column. And I do recommend that you check that out. But creative doesn’t tell the whole story.

keep week before CM 2014

The chart at the left, courtesy of eDataSource, shows Keep’s November 2014 average sending volume by day; it’s 10,000 to 11,000 emails.

Unfortunately read rate, which is akin to open rate, wasn’t available for Keep, but stay tuned — we have it for some of the other high volume senders.

Below is that same chart, but we’re looking at average send quantities for Monday, December 1st (Cyber Monday) through Friday, December 5th. Thursday was a relatively normal send day for Keep — 10,000 email total. See how Cyber Monday towers over it? Send volume that day was 59,000, five to six times the average.

Keep week including CM 2014

Also interesting — Keep kept a low profile much of this week after the Cyber Monday email binge — they only mailed on Thursday.

Sadly, you can see that they seem to be having inbox issues (the red at the top of each column is email that went to the junk mail folder).

Non-inbox placement was just over 27% on Cyber Monday — but it was over 32% in the month of November. So the increased Cyber Monday frequency didn’t increase delivery to the junk mail folder.

Some more information from eDataSource (once again, click on it if you’re having trouble reading it):

Cyber Monday eDataSource top 4 Full Size

I’ve removed Living Social from my sample, since their Cyber Monday send quantities weren’t that much larger than a regular Monday and the number of sends was roughly proportional to an average day in November.

(Side note: does anyone doubt that the Living Social Email Marketing folks are among the hardest working in the industry? Over 8,000 campaigns in November? Wow! But they’re still not a profitable organization. I’m prepping an article on Living Social for publication later this month — watch for it!)

Keep’s send volumes were nearly 6 times a normal Monday, but we don’t have any comparison info on number of campaigns. EssentialApparel.com and MAC Cosmetics Online roughly tripled their send quantities; each sent nearly 10 campaigns, which is roughly one-tenth the number they sent in all of November, so both send quantity and number of campaigns are up for these two.

One more thought before we move on to a review of the MAC creative. I love that eDataSource reports on read rates. In the case of EssentialApparel.com their Cyber Monday read rate surpassed their average read rate for November. That’s great.

But think about it. Even if the average read rate for each Cyber Monday email was lower, you’d still be getting many more views from subscribers by sending multiple messages instead of just one. In this case, it’s the total number of eyeballs, not necessarily the percentage, that will have an impact.

As we saw with Keep, MAC actually had a lower spam folder rate on Cyber Monday than during November. Once again, the higher frequency did not have a negative impact on inboxing.

As I mentioned before, for a sample of Cyber Monday email creative from Keep and EssentialApparel.com, talk about their different content strategies, a screenshot of a Cyber-Monday-only opt-out link and some tips for high frequency success, check out my ClickZ column. Speaking of content strategies, MAC Cosmetics Online took yet a different one from Keep or EssentialApparel.com. Here’s a little on that.

MAC Cyber Monday MontageThe first message (at left) was strictly promotional — free overnight shipping.

The second and third emails were about World AIDs Day, which was also December 1st. The second featured a product; the third (at left) showcased MAC’s charitable work via a film that they had supported, It’s Not Over.

The last two emails of the day reiterated the free overnight shipping, adding urgency by reminding subscribers that the offer ended at midnight (at left). These were much less pretty than the first three emails. But they got the message across.

Curious about subject lines? Each of the MAC emails carried a different one. Here’s the list:

MAC Cyber Monday Subject Lines

Wondering how successful these three high frequency campaigns from EssentialApparel.com, Keep and MAC Cosmetics Online were with regard to revenue? Me too. If anyone from these companies (or any other company that undertook a high frequency email send strategy for Cyber Monday) is interested in discussing a case study, give me a call.

Next Steps? Bookmark this post and my ClickZ column from today and make a note to read it again next summer when you are starting to plan your Cyber Monday campaigns.

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