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Strategy |

2014 Easter Marketing Recap – Was it an egg-cellent Easter for retailers?

By Gurjit Sandhu
Marketing Manager

While the Easter holiday is not typically a hotbed of shopping activity compared to the end-of-the-year shopping season, a recent survey indicated that total spending for Easter related shopping in 2014 will be just under a whopping $ 16 billion1. Regarded as the 2nd biggest candy selling event (after Halloween)2, coupled with pent up demand for spring items due to the unusually long winter, industry experts predicted that retailers will focus on Easter themed campaigns to stimulate sales in spring décor, gifts, and candy3. Did retailers follow through in running these Easter-themed marketing campaigns and what were engagement rates like? Let’s find out.

Methodology

Through Yesmail Market Intelligence, we tracked the nation’s top 50 retailers for Easter-themed marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and email in the month leading up to Easter Sunday (March 20 to April 20, 2014). We searched the terms “Easter,” “Bunny,” and “Egg” to ensure a comprehensive sample set of Easter-related digital campaigns.

General findings

  • Throughout the entire period, 38% (19 out of 50) of the top 50 retailers ran Easter-themed email campaigns, while almost twice the number of retailers (68%), ran Easter-themed social media campaigns. This difference is expected since social media campaigns are generally shorter, easier, and quicker to execute compared to email campaigns.
  • Both email and social media Easter campaigns appeared as early as a month prior to the holiday and gradually increased in frequency as Easter Sunday approached. Only 4% of retailers ran Easter-themed email campaigns 3 weeks or more prior to the holiday, while 10% ran Easter-themed social media campaigns. Fast forward to the week of Easter Sunday and we saw the numbers increase to 28% of retailers running email campaigns and 66% running social media campaigns related to Easter.

Email-specific findings

  • Out of the retailers that used offer-based email promotions in the month leading up to Easter, the “percent off” offer was most utilized by retailers. This was in line with engagement as the “percent off” offers also received the highest average open rates.
  • 51% of all Easter-themed email campaigns were offer-based, while 49% used Easter as a general ‘hook’ in their subject line, unaccompanied by a specific promotion:
  • Most utilized type of offers for Easter-themed emails campaigns:
  • Email promotions with highest open rates:     
  • Key takeaway – more retailers could have benefited from higher engagement rates if they included call-to-actions with clear and specific “offers” as opposed to a general message regarding an Easter Sale.
  • When comparing Easter vs. non-Easter-themed email campaigns, findings reveal that Easter-themed email campaigns had the highest average open rate (17.9%) one week prior to Easter. However the average open rate dropped almost 3 percentage points to 15% in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, falling behind the average open rate of 16.1% for non-Easter email campaigns. One potential explanation of this finding is that consumers are more likely to start planning for Easter at least a week in advance which could make them more responsive to Easter-related promotions and incentives. However, as the holiday gets closer, higher Easter-themed campaign frequency may have caused saturation thus making promotions appear less relevant to the fatigued consumers.
  • Key takeaway – to increase the chances of attracting consumers in holiday planning mode, retailers should introduce their Easter-themed email promotions during the week prior to the holiday and follow up with reminder offers to catch last-minute shoppers.

Social media specific findings

  • In terms of sheer number of Easter-related posts, Twitter seems to be the favorite channel amongst retailers, accounting for 57% of all Easter-related social posts during the month leading up to the holiday.
  • Most utilized social channel for Easter-related campaigns:
  • Interestingly, when looking closer at retailers who ran Easter campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, average engagement for those campaigns fell short in comparison to non-Easter ones during the same time period. Non-Easter Facebook campaigns got 18% higher average engagement rates compared to Easter campaigns while non-Easter Twitter campaigns garnered 48% more engagement compared to Easter Twitter campaigns. A possible reason for this finding could be the general nature of the social media campaigns; most did not have clear call-to-actions that prompted response or interaction.
  • Example:  Facebook 
  •  Example: Twitter              
  • However, there were exceptions to the trend above as several Easter-themed social posts from retailers like CVS, Target, Wal-Mart, and Rite Aid garnered a significantly higher engagement compared to non-Easter campaigns. Upon closer look, these successful posts incorporated the following common best practices:

Content included a strong call-to-action, clearly asking the audience to engage via actions such as voting or submitting contest entries. Example: Facebook

Content included themed photo for added visual experience. Example: Twitter

At Yesmail, we help marketers understand historical and emerging trends, themes, and cross-channel strategies for top brands across multiple industries. With Yesmail Market Intelligence, marketers are able to measure their campaign performance against their competitors across all digital channels by specific brand, vertical, and industry to optimize future campaigns. To learn more, click here.

 

  1. http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1804
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101159484
  3. http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1804

Author Bio

Gurjit Sandhu

Gurjit Sandhu has been in digital and direct marketing for over 6 years, delivering marketing and event management solutions in both fast-paced corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Energized by strategic thinking and the power of marketing technology, she collaborates closely with cross functional teams at Yes Marketing to spearhead multi-channel communications that highlight product innovations.

Marketing Manager

Gurjit Sandhu

Gurjit Sandhu has been in digital and direct marketing for over 6 years, delivering marketing and event management solutions in both fast-paced corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Energized by strategic thinking and the power of marketing technology, she collaborates closely with cross functional teams at Yes Marketing to spearhead multi-channel communications that highlight product innovations.