eMarketer forecasts that 2019 could mark the first-ever trillion dollar holiday shopping season. As Cyber Weekend draws closer, we’re looking back to last year. Our Data Science team dug into the data of 243,925,460 emails sent Thanksgiving and Black Friday by Sailthru’s ecommerce and retail clients to uncover the top tips for writing holiday subject lines that your customers will actually open.

Use the tips below for last minute tweaks to your holiday email pushes, and stay tuned for more insights to come on Cyber Monday subject line data.

1. The shorter, the better for your subject line length. We found that brands using shorter subject lines on their email campaigns performed better than those using lengthy ones.

2. Personalize your subject lines for holiday emails. Marigold Engage by Sailthru clients saw a 20% increase in open rates when using a consumer’s name, products they specifically are interested in, or products they are individually predicted to purchase.

3. Stay positive, but don’t be too overly positive. In 2018, subject lines with slightly positive sentiments worked the best; while in 2017, subject lines with neutral sentiments worked the best.

Examples of the usage of slightly positive words:

  • {firstname}, You Definitely Deserve 50% Off
  • Black Friday DEALS – Stay Fresh From Head To Tail!
  • One Day Only – Special Black Friday Deals
  • The Holiday Collection Has Arrived ????
  • Introducing our Black Friday Exclusive! ????

The “slightly positive” subject lines typically include 1 positive word (“deserve” in the first example, “fresh” in the second, and “special”, “holiday”, “exclusive” in 3rd, 4th, and 5th).

4. Use 0 or 3 emojis in your messages — but not in between. Emojis have proven to be effective at driving open rates, but using them is a delicate balance that can impact open rates positively or negatively. If you do choose to emoji, 3 is the sweet spot.

(Note: Sailthru’s sample set did not include subject lines using more than 3 emojis, as none of the 243M emails analyzed contained more than 3 emojis.)

5. Not all words are created equal; make sure to pay attention to the winning and losing words based on ability to drive open rates. Winning words were Top, First, and Deal. Losing words were Miss, Save, and Last.

Examples of the usage of winners:

  • ???? Our Top Black Friday Offers … “
  • This Morning’s Top Deals
  • First, you give. Then, you receive…
  • Amazing Black Friday Deals!
  • Black Friday Deals start NOW!”

Examples of the usage of losers:

  • Don’t Miss Our Biggest Black Friday EVER
  • Seriously, you don’t want to miss this ????????????
  • 30% off Black Friday Savings”
  • Ready, Set…SAVE! Black Friday is here”
  • LAST CHANCE! Your Offer Ends Tonight

For additional tips on holiday email subject lines or for expert advice on your marketing strategies, contact us today!