America’s Birthday – 2017

Article by John Landsman CATEGORIES: eCommerce, Holiday/Event, Trends & Analysis TAGS: ,

By John Landsman, Director, Strategy & Analytics

With summer in full swing, Independence Day offered a convenient midweek holiday, and therefore a happy opportunity to celebrate with one, or even two, very long weekends.  Email marketers seized this opportunity with increasing gusto, lining our inboxes with messaging to support various red, white and blue themed, mostly promotional events.


We looked at related email, based on several subject line keywords related to Independence Day, for the thirty days ending July 4th, as compared with the similar period last year, analyzing both activity and performance across eleven key industry sectors.  Key metrics show campaign activity, inbox performance and reader engagement.  Our key findings are in the tables below.



  • We noted that the midweek positioning of this year’s holiday did not compel more than a trickle of related campaign activity after July 4th.
  • The heaviest campaign activity (table below) came from the Apparel and Accessories sector, followed distantly by Sporting Goods categories.
  • Overall campaign activity across the eleven sectors increased 34%, year-over-year.  The largest activity increases came from the Supermarket sector (though on a relatively small base), followed by Online Shopping, Sporting Goods, Jewelry/Watches and Airlines, Cruises and Transport.  The smallest increases occurred in the Travel and Tourism and Retail and Department Store groups.

July 4th Email Campaign Metrics

  • We see (just below) a slight year-over-year erosion in deliverability; that is, the percentage of campaigns showing a 90% or better inbox performance.  This reflects an improvement over the much worse deliverability downtrends we’ve observed over the past year; an encouraging development, in that we’d also seen and reported a significant deliverability uptrend for this year’s Father’s Day related email.
  • And — also mirroring recent events on which we’ve reported — year-over-year read rates continued to improve, as measured by the percentage of campaigns driving 20% or better read rates.


July 4th Inbox and Read Rates


Most subject lines reflected use of “4th” or “Fourth,” to reference the event, but a significant number of other subject lines used “Independence” and variations of “Red, White and Blue.”  With respect to the latter group, we saw considerable ingenuity in the use of “Red, White and . . .” with rhyming-with-“blue” words like boom, crew, cruise, views, brews, new and you.  And with other word-endings, such as delicious, dawn, hot, save, stylish and beautiful.


Below are ten examples of best performing July 4th emails.

  • Seven campaigns use subject lines that are explicitly or implicitly promotional, although the highest performing email carries a subject line that is not at all promotional.
  • Subject lines with variations on “Red, White . . .” are less likely to have promotional references, and more likely to have more product-related themes.
  • Seven subject lines reflect mailing quantities that suggest significant audience targeting in relation to the respective brand’s estimated total list size.
  • Two imply exclusivity with use of “VIP.”
  • Sporting Goods and “outdoors” themed retailers produced four of the campaigns noted below.


July 4th Email Subject Lines

Next up?  Our report on this year’s Amazon’s blockbuster “Prime Day — July 11th.  We’ll show you what Amazon and competitors did, and with what effect.