The jury is still out on which brand won the battle of the Christmas TV ads but in the world of festive email marketing House of Fraser is already home and dry with its feet up by the open fire.
That is according to an analysis by Return Path, which used its network of email data to reveal how successful – or not – email campaigns supporting the launch of some major retail brands’ Christmas TV ads have been this year.
In addition to the performance of the campaigns , the analysis also considers whether there has been any form of post-launch “halo” effect for these programmes.
Extracting 10 weeks of campaign data, running from the beginning of October to early-December, Return Path examined the impact for John Lewis, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Boots and House of Fraser as they launched their seasonal TV extravaganzas.
It identified how many emails were opened, read and deleted; insight, which Return Path claims, provides a good indication of how retailers’ Christmas ads have engaged with their audience.
House of Fraser has enjoyed the highest email read rate during the Christmas period, with an indexed read rate of 113 (benchmark=100), followed by Sainsbury’s with 110. John Lewis’ (102) and M&S’ (99) launch emails were broadly flat, while Boots significantly under-performed against the sender’s benchmark (92).
However, the performance of these three “lower performing” senders should be considered against a context of them sending to a large portion of their respective audiences (over 70%), while House of Fraser and Sainsbury’s both took more targeted/segmented approaches, under a less is more strategy.
Return Path senior director of professional services Guy Hanson said: “Christmas ads have become the most eagerly-awaited commercials of the year in the UK, with retailers under growing pressure to ‘win’ in the race to claim the hearts – and purses – of their viewers.
“John Lewis is often proclaimed to be the king of the Christmas ads, but is this still the case? If you look at how email subscribers engaged with these brands following the launch of its campaign , the answer is ‘possibly not’.
While House of Fraser had the highest email read rates it was the only sender that did not explicitly reference “Christmas Ad” in the subject line. Hanson explains that this touches on a broader 2017 trend – ads that implied references to Christmas with words such as “festive”, “sparkle” and “advent” actually generated higher read rates than those that explicitly referred to Christmas.
“This could just be down to subscriber fatigue,” added Hanson, “with Christmas promotions often starting in October – and well before Black Friday/Cyber Monday has even happened. But it could also be a reflection of a more secular Britain, where Christmas has decreasing resonance.”
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