A common question we receive from our clients is, “Do mailings sent in late December have engagement rates that differ from average?” In order to optimize campaigns to provide the best results for our clients, we sought to understand the patterns of recipient behavior better. What we found is that contrary to popular belief, HCPs do engage with emails sent in late December — they just may not engage with those emails until after the Christmas holiday.
When looking at dates when the engagement occurs, we did see a very small overall reduction in open rates, meaning that recipients are slightly less likely to open their emails on the last business day before Christmas and on the first day after the holiday, compared to the Dec 1st through 20th average.
However, the results varied by briefing and year. For instance, in 2020, the pre- and post-Christmas open rates were virtually no different from the average.
With that said, just because an email isn’t opened on the date it is sent doesn’t mean that those emails will not be opened at all. When looking at open rates by the date of send rather than the date of engagement, what we found defied popular belief: for mailings sent directly before and after Christmas, open rates tend to be about 2 percentage points higher than average. This means that rather than opening an email on the same day when it was received, many HCPs simply read their inbox a few days later. A likely explanation is that HCPs have additional free time after Christmas and spent some of it catching up on the latest updates in their field. Or, upon returning to the office after the holiday, they catch up on emails.
Regarding click-through-rates, these were not negatively affected during the holidays.
When splitting the timeline by the time when clicks actually occurred, we see that HCPs are just as likely to click on the content on the last business day before Christmas as they are on any other day of December. Moreover, on the first business day immediately after Christmas, click-through-rates tend to increase by 30%!
If we look at CTR by send date, the data tells us a very similar story: for mailings sent immediately before Christmas, our recipients have the same probability of clicking on content as for any other mailing sent in December, while mailings sent right after the Christmas holidays receive more clicks than usual.
What this data suggests is that people are busy directly before Christmas, however, once the holiday is over, HCPs spend time catching up on what they missed. Thus, emails sent directly before and after Christmas do tend to perform at or above average in terms of open rates and CTRs, marketers just may have to wait a few more days than usual to allow HCPs to open and engage with those emails.
Maintaining top-of-mind awareness requires consistency. And with engagement rates above average post-holidays, this is a great time to put your brand messaging in front of HCPs.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your brand achieve its goals during the holiday season and beyond.
Manager, Data Insights & Analytics