The biggest shopping weekend of the holiday season may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit the tactics that made us stop and take a closer look this year.

Related Content: 2018 DEG Holiday Marketing Hub

Leading up to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday you can experience holiday-sale messaging overload. That’s why it’s almost magical when you stumble upon an email, social post, or ad that actually works. We’ve gathered the holiday marketing tactics that worked on us this year, and explain how they broke through the noise.

Jenn Horner, Senior Relationship Marketing Strategist

Some companies did well with incorporating their names into the shopping season, like Frye Company’s use of its name for Black FRYEday. It’s a clever way to pull a company’s branding into the topic, and it stood out to me as I scrolled through my inbox.

I like the Wayfair example as a way of truly optimizing for the scroll. The subject line was self explanatory, but the way the preheader is optimized with emoticons and the everything-ships-free messaging shows the power of maximizing your subject line and preheader text on these key dates to stand out.

Also, I LOVED this email from REI. The brand is known for its Opt Outside campaign around Black Friday. I thought this message sent to REI’s California subscribers was an excellent way to stay on brand and still acknowledge how difficult it has been in California recently.

Brett Terp, Marketing Automation Strategist

It was great to see that local small businesses can do email extremely well without being a large brand with a big budget for holiday marketing messages.

This Nest email struck me with its subject line not being so in your face about Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. It had a good take on the brand’s tone of voice and pulled me out of the inbox with a decent joke. Once opened, the email features a clean, high-resolution layout that focuses on the product. It also translated really well in the mobile environment and actually may have worked better than viewing it on a larger screen because the images looked great in a stacked mobile format.

A local Kansas City brand, Charlie Hustle sent me an email for Small Business Saturday that had a holiday-friendly look and feel, and used well-placed animated GIFs to draw interest to the calls to action.

I also liked this Giving Tuesday email from Charlie Hustle for similar reasons. It was great to see that local small businesses can do email extremely well without being a large brand with a big budget. All you need to do is execute a great message to stand out in the inbox.

Adam Seybold, Paid Media Manager

Self-promotion alert: one thing I enjoyed was our work for Bushnell Golf. Using segmentation to show specific ads to people based on their journey with the brand, DEG served up ads in a three-phase approach. Ads were targeted to prospects (those with no digital touchpoint) interested in golf and golf accessories, and remarketed to people with a digital touchpoint using both general promotion and product-specific messaging. Once prospects interacted with a digital touchpoint, they were served the remarketing ads throughout the weekend.

 

This strategy produced higher conversion rates than previous ads at lower customer acquisition costs.

Chelsea McDonald, Senior Social Media Strategist

REI called Cyber Monday the “shop-at-work day,” which is pretty funny and right on the nose for many people spending the day finding the best deals online.

I liked how REI called Cyber Monday the “shop-at-work day,” which is pretty funny and right on the nose for many people spending the day finding the best deals online.

Travis Mccan, Senior Relationship Marketing Strategist

Matching donations have been popular in the past, but this year we’ve started to see the evolution to the triple match.

A trend I noticed a lot this year was the idea of triple matching donations for Giving Tuesday. Matching donations have been popular in the past, but this year we’ve started to see the evolution to the triple match. The Save the Children email was a great example of this new trend.

I’ve always noticed Charity Water does a great job with clean visuals and simple messaging for its Giving Tuesday communications. Using celebrities in Giving Tuesday communications isn’t new, but a good example from this year was the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital email. It’s short and pushes for recurring donations—a direct way to get more donations on an ongoing basis.

 

Another trend I noticed was retail companies pushing their charitable deeds. Patagonia is a great example. It has pushed for a number of causes and on Giving Tuesday its message was to help activists. Toms locations opened late to allow its employees time to volunteer on Giving Tuesday.

Jordan Warren, Marketing Copywriter

I saw more brands using video or GIFs in their emails and ads this year. Not only do these draw your focus quickly, but you have to continue watching them to get the full story. I saw this in a Tarte Cosmetics email that included emojis and an ALL-CAPS subject line that delivered an animated email message of its Cyber Monday deals. In addition, I was served up Febreeze and Hefty social ads that included video as well.

Two additional social ads that caught my attention were the Dove and Southwest Airlines native ads on Twitter. Dove played nicely into the Cyber Monday reality of waking up early for the best deals and plugged its #DryShampooDay. The Southwest ad was another great example of native advertising, promoting its biggest benefit of “bags fly free” while communicating its 4-day Cyber Week sale.

Thanksgiving weekend sales soar

Related Content: How Brands Can Thrive in an Era of Amazon

These marketing tactics are all good, but did they work? Not only did our team zero in on the shared tactics, but the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, more than 165 million consumers shopped either online or in stores. Adobe Analytics data, released Monday morning, showed that weekend sales totaled $24.2 billion with Cyber Monday projected to end at a record-breaking online amount of $7.9 billion. NRF also found that mobile was used by roughly two-thirds of shoppers to make holiday purchases over the holiday weekend.

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