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Email and SMS marketing proving pivotal during Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales period

The news: Brands relied heavily on email and SMS campaigns to woo shoppers and ring in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

  • The total count of Black Friday emails sent to consumers reached 1.83 billion, marking a 13% increase versus last year, per marketing communications platform Sinch.
  • This surge in email volume is even more evident when considering the combined total for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which, as of Monday morning, surpassed a remarkable 3.1 billion.
  • The emails garnered significant engagement, with 386.9 million opens and 12.72 million clicks, demonstrating their reach and effectiveness in engaging consumers during Black Friday.

Behind the numbers: In the lead-up to Black Friday, scheduled email campaigns saw a marked rise, per data from email and SMS provider Omnisend.

  • Businesses sent 92.66 million emails on November 22, surging to 123.79 million the next day, highlighting intensified marketing efforts. On Black Friday, email volumes peaked at 183.89 million. Post-Black Friday, emails dropped to 18.11 million, indicating a strategic concentration on the preceding days.
  • Despite conventional wisdom suggesting that “email is dead,” open rates for scheduled email campaigns increased by approximately 5%, according to Omnisend.
  • Another provider, Attentive, sent more than 540 million text messages on Black Friday alone, a 37% year-over-year increase.
  • Automated messages, like cart abandon reminders, had a clickthrough rate of 16.6% and conversion rate of 36.6%, per Attentive. Those figures were 3.4% and 8.3%, respectively, for campaign messages, such as flash sales.

Email and SMS preferred: Sinch's September survey of over 2,072 consumers in the US and Western Europe reveals a strong preference for mobile-friendly channels, with email being the leading medium for Black Friday promotions.

  • Despite the prevalence of social media, 69% of respondents prefer receiving holiday deal information via email, emphasizing its continued significance in customer engagement.
  • Almost half of the survey participants were receptive to discounts communicated through SMS, indicating the effectiveness of combining email and SMS for time-sensitive promotions.
  • Beyond promotions, transactional messages like shipping notifications and order confirmations are crucial, with over 80% of consumers valuing them. Half of the respondents want these updates through mobile channels, including SMS and WhatsApp.
  • Timing is also critical. Over half (57%) of respondents prefer receiving information well ahead of Black Friday, with 36% wanting it as early as possible. Brands should, therefore, engage customers early and leverage various channels, including SMS and social media, to ensure visibility and impact.

Our take: For success beyond Cyber Monday, brands should optimize email campaigns, create mobile-optimized content, and adopt an omnichannel approach that resonates with customers' diverse preferences. This strategy should help brands meet customer expectations during the competitive holiday season.

Organic email marketing strategies are critical for budget efficiency. Focusing on quality content in email campaigns can extend marketing impact over a longer holiday season, notes principal analyst Andrew Lipsman in our Holiday Shopping 2023 report.