Sailthru’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday Online Marketing Report Proves Quality Trumps Quantity to Achieve Customer Engagement

Gmail Tabs decreased open rates while increasing conversion rates, opt-outs increased on Cyber Monday and send volume markedly decreased across the board

NEW YORK--()--Sailthru, a leading provider of automated marketing personalization solutions, today released its Cyber Monday and Black Friday Online Marketing Report, providing a year-over-year analysis of customer engagement and purchasing data over the most important shopping weekend of the year. The company analyzed changes in Gmail performance as compared to the weighted average year-over-year metrics of the combined performance of Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail (“YAH”) addresses. The company also completed an analysis of 2012 versus 2013 performance across a control set of clients and compared Black Friday to Cyber Monday performance overall with combined 2012 to 2013 data.

Key findings from Sailthru’s analysis in regards to the Gmail Tabs include:

  • Open Rates: Opens increased year-over-year for YAH but declined within Gmail. On Black Friday open rates were down 12.8% for Gmail and up 5.2% for YAH. On Cyber Monday open rates were down 7.5% for Gmail and up 15.7% for YAH.
  • Purchase Conversion: Conversions increased 7.2% year-over-year for Gmail yet declined 1.7% for YAH.
  • Average Order Value: AOV increased year-over-year across the board. For Gmail the Black Friday AOV was up 11.1% while it was only up 10.2% for YAH. In regards to Cyber Monday, Gmail’s AOV was up 9.1% and up 29.7% for YAH.
  • Revenue Per Open: Black Friday revenue was up across all domains, but significantly increased for Gmail (44.8% versus 24.1%). On Cyber Monday, revenue was down for all domains, less significantly for Gmail (3% versus 14.4%).
  • Revenue Per Email: Net-net, total revenue earned per email improved year-over-year on Black Friday at 62.4% for Gmail and 135% for YAH, but declined on Cyber Monday at 34.6% decline for Gmail and 41.3% for YAH.
  • Opt-Outs/Unsubscribes: Unsubscribes increased across the board during 2013’s holiday shopping weekend, substantially more unsubscribes for YAH (26.2%) compared to Gmail (3%).

“Some of the most interesting data from our study was the increase in average order value across the board. We believe this is indicative of buyers replacing offline buying with online - and the fact that brands are helping them to do so by opening up online sales earlier than ever before,” said Cassie Lancellotti-Young, VP of Client Analytics and Optimization, Sailthru. “Additionally, the unsubscribe data is very telling as it shows that those who do open in the new Gmail treatment have a higher propensity to be engaged customers – a silver lining to the promotional tab's negative impact on open rates.”

In addition to analyzing the impact of Google Tabs, Sailthru also did a comparison of 2012 versus 2013 performance overall for a control group of clients, which widely illustrated the impact of mobile email consumption. Key findings include:

  • Send Volume: Across Sailthru’s client base, send volume was down approximately 33%.
  • Open Rates: Open rates were up 16.4%, likely attributable to mobile penetration and the ability to open email precisely when it’s received.
  • Clickthrough Rates: CTRs decreased 20.8% year-over-year, also likely due to the mobile phenomenon (people are quick to open on mobile but less likely to click).
  • Opt-Outs/Unsubscribes: Opt-outs increased 11% year-over-year.
  • Revenue Per Email: An overall improvement of 24.3% was seen in overall revenue per email sent.
  • Sunday Emails: Several Sailthru clients experimented with Sunday announcements of Cyber Monday sales. When used in tandem with a Monday announcement, these messages drove incremental revenue, but when used in place of a Monday message, total revenue suffered.

"When comparing this year's data to 2012, what we found most interesting was the overall decrease in send volume. Across the board, brands were sending fewer emails, not more. This more cautious approach from brands is likely attributed to heightened deliverability risks during the holidays; many brands were suppressing sends to disengaged and/or dormant users during this time, which is an appropriate measure. Additionally, the increase in opt-outs underscores the importance of personalization and relevance in the ever-more-dense consumer inbox."

Finally, Sailthru compared Black Friday and Cyber Monday performance with combined data from 2012 and 2013. Key findings include:

  • Open Rates: Open rates were 14.4% lower on Cyber Monday than Black Friday.
  • Purchase Conversion: Purchase conversion was 14.2% stronger on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday.
  • Average Order Value: Cyber Monday AOVs were stronger in 2013, up by 6.2% compared to 2012.
  • Clickthrough Rates: CTRs were 10.5% stronger on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday.
  • Revenue Per Email: Retailers on average made 14.8% more revenue per email on Cyber Monday than Black Friday.
  • Opt-Outs/Unsubscribes: Unsubscribes were materially higher on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, 25.9% higher in 2013 than in 2012.

“On Cyber Monday, when people are back at their desks, it’s logical to see a marked increase in CTRs and it’s also expected that we’d see an increase in opt-outs. Retailers need to think about the downstream impact of these sends even if their average revenue per email is higher,” said Lancellotti-Young.

Notes on Analysis:

We are mindful of the fact that 50%+ of emails are opened on mobile meaning the Gmail Tabs are less likely to be a mobile issue unless the consumer is using the Gmail app, but believe the stats are directionally indicative of the impact of the Tabs.

This sample set was taken from an email volume size of over 68 million emails.

About Sailthru

Sailthru, a leading provider of automated marketing personalization solutions, is driving a major shift in how companies engage with their individual customers and optimize their revenue opportunities. Through the automated analysis of large data sets, Sailthru Smart Data generates and delivers personalized, omnichannel digital brand experiences. Sailthru-powered 1:1 relationships with consumers drive higher revenue and conversion for more than three hundred enterprises including, Thrillist/Jack Threads, Everlane, Huffington Post, and Business Insider.

Founded in 2008 by Neil Capel, Ian White and Chris Chapman and headquartered in New York City, Sailthru is recognized for its industry-leading practices promoting consumer privacy and security by the Online Trade Association (OTA) and is on their 2013 Honor Roll. Sailthru has been named #30 on the annual Inc. 500|5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies including #2 in NY and #6 in the advertising and marketing category. For more information, please visit


Kelly Berry, 877-812-8689

Release Summary

Sailthru releases its Cyber Monday and Black Friday Online Marketing Report, providing a year-over-year analysis of customer engagement and purchasing data over the most important shopping weekend.


Kelly Berry, 877-812-8689