Xmas email results

A few people contacted us, asking if we’d share the results of our Xmas email. For those of you who missed it, here’s a recap.

In the five days leading up to Xmas, a new shape was revealed each day. It was delivered via one dynamic email rather than five. By tracking our email subscribers location via their IP address, we displayed a countdown to Xmas and a reveal in their timezone.

StyleCampaign dynamic email

The creative was not pre-rendered (if it was you’d need 190 images per shape & 432,000 for the countdown!), but generated in real-time.


The big shift was the no. of times each recipient opened the email.

If you take the total no. of opens and divide by unique opens, it works out that each recipient viewed the email 5.36 times. (yeah I’m keeping the 6!)

I did the same calculation for our five previous newsletters:

2.2, 2.5, 2.5 2.9, 2.6.

What we found was that users who “got it” were really engaged. Opening the email 15-278 times (highest no. of total opens by one user!). I’d say 20-50 opens was typical for this group.

The vast majority of those opens occurred within the first 48hrs. Day 2 received 43% the total no. of opens as day 1.

Compare that with our previous email campaign, that same stat was 11% on day 2. So an unusually high number of recipients were enticed to check back again the second day.

After that we saw a big drop-off, day 3 amassed 9.5% the total no. of opens as day 1. Partly waning interest and the proximity to Xmas, which was only 2 days away. We saw the no.s pick up again after Boxing Day.

We also saw an increase in replies, a favorite was a short and sweet,”Niiiiiiice”. Our CTR was 40.5% up from 35.8%. We did not track forwards, SWYN or read rate. Though the creative was designed to be taken in at a glance.

BTW How do you measure engagement?


StyleCampaign dynamic email

16.7% (12.8 iPhone) viewed the email on a mobile device. An all time high, up from 12.5% for our previous newsletter. I’d designed the email for mobile first for a number of reasons:

1. The email dynamically updated over 5 days and nights, outside of business hours mobile usage goes up.

2. The closer you get to Xmas, the more people are on holiday or traveling.

3. In 2009 we sent out a mobile optimized email 5pm Xmas Eve, mobile usage more than doubled over the previous month.

4. The dynamic tech works beautifully on an iPhone, iPod or Android. Automatically updating when you hit the forward/back arrows on the iPhone or when you reopen the email on an Android.

5. The content suited the mobile environment. If you were waiting in-line for lunch, you could check the emails progress before making your order. Bored on the commute to work, it only took seconds.

For efficiency, I’d designed the email so the countdown and shape fit into the first screen (see on my iPod above). You have around 280px in height, once you subtract the navi, from, subject line and toolbar. I did not want iPhone users to have to scroll every time they checked back.

I found it helpful to print out early drafts, cut them out and see how they looked actual size (I need a wooden/metal iPhone cutout to stick my mock-ups to!).  Working with pixels is deceptive, everything looks oversized in Photoshop.

Persistent emails

Litmus found 51% of recipients delete your email within 2 secs of opening it. Designing an email which is not disposable comes with its own challenges.

We had timed the reveal to take place 8-6pm during business hours. From 6pm-midnight nothing much happened. From midnight-8am a question mark appeared along with a message like, “Are you still up!?”. That’s a lot of downtime.

I wonder if creating more content for insomniacs, or playing a word game with the evening crowd would have increased engagement?

More to come…

Our email list is not in the 100′000s, so I see these results as an early indicator only. This campaign enabled us to give our dynamic image tech a test drive, before deploying on a larger scale with clients next year.

I’d like to thank everyone who played along. Cheers and Happy New Year!

» Check out Dynamic video in email & real-time 3D content in email

» Check out Dynamic time-based images


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