Report: General Emails Perform Better than Independence Day Campaigns

Analysis from Yes Lifecycle Marketing and Persado reveals that Fourth of July-themed email subject lines see lower open rates

4th of july marketing

June 27, 2016  CHICAGO/NEW YORK  Regardless of emotion, Fourth of July-themed email subject lines overall did not perform as well as general ones, according to new data from Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a cross-channel marketing and analytics solutions provider and Persado, the leading cognitive content generation platform.

Over the past three years, non-Independence Day-themed subject lines, sent during the same period, had an average open rate of 10.6 percent, while the open rate for Fourth of July-themed emails averaged 9.31 percent, a nearly 13.85 percent difference. Despite poorer performance, marketers keptincreasing the number of holiday-themed emails they sent each year. The number of emails marketers deployed related to the Fourth grew by 36.36 percent from 2013 to 2014, and by 12 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Additionally, the themed emails that featured emotional language performed worse than those that did not. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, half of Fourth of July email subject lines conveyed at least one emotion. Of those emails, subject lines that did not include emotions had a higher open rate (9.57 percent) than those that did (9.25 percent).

“Prior research into the millions of cognitive content messages that Persado generated has shown that emotion drives as much as 60% of consumer action,” said president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, Michael Fisher. “The softer performance of Fourth of July subject lines with emotional language serves to illustrate just how challenging it can be to identify the emotions that will inspire a given audience to act, especially when moods can shift every year, every day, or every second.”

Among subject lines that contained emotional language, Encouragement was a top-performer for all three years, with language like “4th of July Sale: Go! Go!” or “July 4th Approaches! You are free to save BIG!” resonating best. Other effective emotions were Exclusivity and Fascination. Holiday emails that saw the lowest open rates were those that created a sense of Curiosity, Excitement and Gratification (“4th of July Celebration – Free Gift Offer” or “$10 OFF plus BOGO FREE – 4th of July Sale just got better!”).

“For this year’s approach to July 4th, marketers might be tempted to create a sense of Encouragement in their emails, given how well that emotion performed over the past three years. They might also think to craft language around Urgency, a perennially popular star of subject lines. However, Urgency might have worked for marketers in 2015, but it was a bottom performer in the years prior to that, as well as on average across the many campaigns we’ve worked on,” said Lawrence Whittle, CRO of Persado. “The only way to know for sure is to always test different emotions on your audiences before fully deploying, to properly determine real-time consumer sentiment.”

Independence Day emails that did perform well incorporated holiday messaging earlier in the subject line as opposed to later. Emails that included holiday phrasing at the beginning of the subject line saw an open rate of 9.50 percent, while those with messaging at the end had an open rate of 8.61 percent.

“Determining the best way to reach consumers with campaigns around specific holidays can be challenging for marketers,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “Yes Lifecycle Marketing and its technology partners analyze key data points to bring insights to our clients to drive their marketing strategies.”

Yes Lifecycle Marketing collected data on 17,625 unique subject lines that were sent 15 days before the Fourth of July in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The data was then analyzed by Persado, assigning specific types of emotions to subject lines and assessing the response rates associated with each emotion.

For a fuller analysis of Fourth of July-themed emails, check out our blog post.