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After brick-and-mortar sales on Black Friday dropped by over $1 billion from 2014’s total of $11.6 billion while online sales jumped 14% to $2.7 billion, retailers looked to Cyber Monday to drive the season’s largest share of single-day revenue.

Email marketing remains the single highest ROI channel for retailers, on average bringing in more than 25% of total revenues yet taking just 10% of marketing investment, according to Gartner Research. Success in the holiday season is inextricably tied to email marketing performance and we’ve analyzed data from more than 300 campaigns to report on where retailers won and lost in individual email metrics.

Key Trend #1: RPM was down on CM, but total revenue was up

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Revenue per thousand emails sent  (RPM) is a critical metric for measuring email marketing performance. But considering that stat on its own would show that Black Friday outperformed Cyber Monday as RPM decreased by 12%, whereas total revenue was up on Cyber Monday by almost 9%. The reason? There are a few factors at play:

  1. Total purchases attributed to email increased by 17% on Cyber Monday over Black Friday, driven by increased campaign volume and more significant focus on online discounting, whereas Black Friday is traditionally higher in discounts offered in-store.
  2. Mobile purchase conversion greatly impacted success on Black Friday. With consumers more likely to be at their desks on Monday, click and clickthrough rates rose meaning that more consumers where converting from email to web browsing and buying.
  3. Decreased open rates on Cyber Monday may be the net result of increased email campaigns being sent throughout the week leading up to Black Friday as retailers and consumers have come to understand that the traditional weekend-long sprint has evolved into a full on “Cyber Week” event.

Key Trend #2: Gmail performance changed dramatically

Performance benchmarking for email domains allows retailers to understand how consumers using specific domains differs. With nearly a trillion dollars on the line this holiday season, pinpointing what to expect from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL enabled consumers is critical for success.

This year Gmail showed the greatest shift in performance between Black Friday and Cyber Monday across multiple critical metrics, with a large increase in total purchases on Cyber Monday, contributing to the overall success of the day. Gmail response, conversion, revenue and retention rates changed as follows:


  • Open Rate up 4.54%
  • Click Rate up 4.27%
  • Clickthrough Rate remained flat


  • Conversion Rate up 8.75%
  • Click-to-Conversion up 4.3%


  • Purchases up 25.65%
  • AOV down 11.53%


  • Opt-Outs-Per-Sale up 46.06%
  • Opt-Out Rate 58.85%

The most significant shifts were seen in total purchases and opt-outs, most likely due to discounting and consumers cleaning house following holiday purchases to decrease inbox volume.

Key Trend #3: Mobile remains key for opens; desktop key for conversion

The impact of mobile on digital revenue growth continues to be significant as consumers convert less frequently and at lower values from smartphones. As we saw on Black Friday, more than 56% of emails were opened on smartphones, yet mobile delivered the lowest share of revenue per open. The trend continued on Cyber Monday; however, overall revenues increased on Cyber Monday in part due to decreased role of mobile in email opens and clicks.

  • 9% less fewer opened on mobile and 18.35% more emails opened via desktops on Cyber Monday compared to Black Friday
  • 10.5% decrease in mobile conversion and 10% decrease in click-to-conversion rates on Cyber Monday
  • Desktop-based revenue increased 51.48%, but decreased 9% for Mobile on Cyber Monday
  • Revenue Per Thousand Messages Opened (RPMO) dropped significantly for Mobile -20.32% on CM, indicating that while consumers may open personal email at work, they may be doing so from mobile and then shifting devices to their desktop to continue to browse and complete purchase

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–Marielle Habbel, Sr. Manager of Analytics and Optimization