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To Send Or Not: Email Open Rate Trends During The Holidays

blog-11.15.2018-1047503164The volume and frequency of email marketing communications during the holiday season creates an inbox blizzard—one in which you don’t want to get stuck. All those reliable best practices you use to make sure your healthcare emails stand out in an everyday inbox become even more important, as the chance of getting lost in a flurry of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Clearance emails intensifies.

In addition to those best practices, it’s helpful to look at the past year’s trends to gauge optimal opportunities for deployment.

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What Trends Teach Us

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend routinely hits a lull in regards to engagement

As one might expect, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend routinely hits a lull in regards to engagement. People travel, spend time with family and friends, and shop for top deals. Because this holiday weekend is consistent year-to-year (Thursday-Sunday), you can predict these trends will stay fairly constant.


Based on last year’s open rate trend, engagement starts to rise again Sunday night into Monday and continues to climb throughout the week.



Christmas and New Year’s present similar patterns, but it is possible engagement trends skew based on the day of the week these holidays fall. Since that day is Tuesday this year, one might see a considerable lull Saturday through Tuesday with a spike in engagement Wednesday to Friday.


If healthcare professionals are fortunate enough to take vacation time during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, it provides an opportunity to “catch up” on emails they may have been neglecting—which is a reasonable explanation for the dramatic boost in engagement.



Don’t Forget the Basics

During the holidays, when inboxes are even more cluttered than usual, email design is critical. Subject lines and preheaders need to be catchy and inviting, and adhere to recommended character counts. Calls to action should be easy to find (and click), using text links or buttons—no images. Be sure to render test across multiple browsers and email service providers to avoid display issues.

The way to achieve true segmentation is by working with a high-quality email list

The ever-growing use of mobile to check emails—approximately 54 percent across all age groups and industries, according to an Experian email marketing benchmark study—may mean we’ll eventually see steadier patterns of engagement thanks to “immediate access.” Designing for mobile provides the space for busy physicians to read your email at their leisure, maybe after Thanksgiving dinner or on the plane ride home. Render testing is especially important for mobile, as a poorly formatted email is likely to be deleted in under three seconds and could even lead to an unsubscribe.

Segmentation of your audience lays the foundation for precision targeting and personalization, which is one of the most impactful factors that prompts recipients to either engage or disengage. The way to achieve true segmentation is by working with a high-quality email list, which assures you have the accurate data necessary for building that foundation.

As healthcare marketers, you are constantly creating and refining the content within your emails in order to ensure the highest engagement. Understanding these holiday trends and practices should be equally important. Keep them in mind to make the most out of your deployments this holiday season.

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About DMD

DMD, an IQVIA business, offers the only authenticated database available that can reach, report, and respond to the dynamic digital behavior of fully opted-in physicians and NP/PA prescribers. Through this database, pharmaceutical marketers, hospitals and health systems, medical societies, publishers, medical marketing agencies, and others have digital access to more than 90% of physicians with email addresses and real-time web activity data that unlocks precision targeting and engagement capabilities across the most influential healthcare audiences.