Email Marketing Trends for June 2012 (Now with Special Character Data!)
Whether you ♥ them or wish they would ✈ away, use of special characters in subject lines is on the ↑. The Email Marketing Trends report will now include data on the use (and abuse) of special characters. Check out some tips for using special characters in this blog post.
Email Volume by Day
The most actively mailed days of the month were 06/08 and 06/29 (both Fridays) which saw 45% of brands sending at least one email. "Dads" and/or "Grads" related promotions took center stage on 06/08 and many messages received on 06/29 were July 4th themed.
There was a three way tie for the slowest day of the month: 06/02, 06/09, and 06/30. All three dates were Saturdays, though we will see in the next section that mailing on Saturdays increased in June.
(The number of brands I monitor increases each month. To provide more consistent data month-over-month, "Email Volume" will now be presented as the percentage of brands sending that particular day rather than quantity of emails received.)
Email Volume by Day of Week
With Father's Day on a Sunday and the 4th of July on a Wednesday this year, Friday saw a 5% increase compared to May. Though still the least mailed day of the week, Saturday also saw another month-over-month increase.
In 2011, the week before Father's Day spiked on Wednesday but declined the rest of the week. In 2012, the spike moved a day closer to Father's Day with Wednesday seeing the steepest YoY decline (11%).
Emails Sent per Brand
June's most frequent sender sent 68 messages which is much lower compared to May's most frequent sender who had 84. May and June tied for the average at 3 messages.
Subject Line Trends
Subject line data has been consistent each month so it will no longer be presented here unless there is a significant shift away from lengths of 200 max and 50 average. The shortest subject lines of the month will always be included in the "Tiny Dozen."
Rue La La and Gilt have consistently won for the longest subject line. Unless they shift away from listing the contents of the email in the subject line, I will present the "Longest (Non-Rue La La or Gilt) Subject Line.
Belle & Clive: "Bluefly presents Belle & Clive: Prada, Bottega Veneta, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Summer Separates Under $100, LnA, Wet Cement, John Varvatos STAR, and more"
Belle & Clive: "Bluefly presents Belle & Clive: Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Tommy Hilfiger, Ellen Tracy, Ciao Bella, T-Squad, Vilebrequin, Loro Piana, Kiton, and more"
SmartBargains: "Baby, It's Hot Outside! Save Big on Summer Essentials + Free Shipping - Fendi, Nina Ricci, Nicole Miller, Chloe, Movado, Cartier, Lucky Brand & more"
“The Tiny Dozen” features subject lines that are 12 characters or fewer to give you ideas to keep it short and sweet!
|A|X Armani Exchange Alerts||For You||7|
|NASTY GAL||Right On.||9|
|NASTY GAL||Hot Stuff||9|
|The Limited||Free $10!||9|
|FreePeople.com||In the ★s!||10|
|Stein Mart||Please come||11|
|CUSP||Why We ❤ DVF||12|
|New York & Company||We ♥ this...||12|
|NASTY GAL||OVER THE TOP||12|
|UncommonGoods||This Just In||12|
|FreePeople.com||Born to Run!||12|
June Subject Line Word Cloud:
They can polarize a marketing team. Some think they are cute and clever. Others want to see the data to support using special characters in subject lines. Well, to give some insight into the adoption and usage of special characters, I will present data each month outlining how many messages use them, which symbols are used and the subject lines containing the most symbols.
I reviewed data for the past year and the trend really began to explode in March 2012. Since then, the number of emails with at least one special character has more than doubled. This is definitely one to watch. Will the spike continue or is decline around the corner? Stay tuned!
Most Frequently Used Characters
Hearts and stars are, not surprisingly, the most frequently used special characters. While they are being used more frequently, it's worth noting the symbols that were used in previous months but have been put out of rotation. Perhaps open rates weren't better when used or perhaps there were rendering issues. June saw 8 new symbols thrown into the non-alphanumeric mix.
Those who used special characters in subject lines most often used 2 however there were 4 emails containing 3 or more:
|Brand||Subject Line||Character Count|
|Stein Mart||★☆★ SAVE BIG! July 4th 2 Day SALE ★☆★||6|
|Hartstrings||60% ★ +25% ★ 60% ★ +25% ★ 60% ★ +25%||5|
|Hartstrings||60% ★ 30% ★ 25% ★ 20%||3|
|CVS.com||Jim, Save $4 on the Gillette® Fusion® ProGlide® Styler.||3|
The balance of promotions remained consistent month-over-month.
Please let me know if there are other trends that you would like to see in the monthly Email Marketing Trend reports.
Manager of Marketing Research
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About the Author
As an expert in email, mobile and social strategies, Jim Davidsonbrings over 14 years of experience in online marketing, managing email and cross-channel programs for top retail clients. From strategic vision to implementation, Jim has led clients to successfully meet aggressive revenue and performance goals. As Bronto's Manager of Marketing Research, he regularly publishes industry-focused white papers, research reports and contributes to the Bronto Blog. His articles can be found in publications such as DM News, ClickZ, eM+C and Multichannel Merchant.