Brief and objectives
With email campaign conversion rates plateauing, holiday company Haven, part of the Bourne Leisure Group, wanted a new and exciting campaign strategy that would bring the Haven holiday experience to life for potential holidaymakers.
It therefore approached online marketing consultancy RedEye with a brief to develop an innovative email campaign which would drive higher levels of online bookings through increased conversion rates.
Not only important for the bottom line, this was also to be part of the company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by maximising Web bookings.
Timing-wise, the campaign needed to go out before Easter, in order to capitalise on one of the busiest times for holiday bookings.
Strategy behind the work
RedEye’s strategy was to use an exciting new online technique which makes it possible to embed videos in the email message body so that the video would play instantly, as soon as the recipient opened the email, showing a film encapsulating the Haven holiday experience – a much more impactful means of delivering an interactive message than pointing the recipient towards a link they had to click on before the video would play.
This was key as the campaign needed to grab attention whilst avoiding deliverability and rendering problems. As part of the company’s CRM (customer relationship management) programme, the email would enable previous visitors to relive the fun of a Haven holiday, whilst giving enquirers the opportunity to live the experience virtually.
The email would also link to the company’s new website, www.haven.com, to update guests on new facilities and activities they could now enjoy – and provide them with the opportunity to go on and book a holiday online.
Solution to the brief
RedEye took Haven through a five step process to ensure that the email campaign would create maximum impact with minimum problems:
RedEye manage an integrated database for Haven that maintains data is continually kept up to date removing any email addresses that unengage or bounce back. As Internet Service Providers track activity such as bounce back rates and block emails from senders with a bad bounce back rating this was a key element in maximising email deliverability and maintaining Haven’s reputation.
A five minute video was produced that could be edited down to the most appropriate size for an email. Its content focused on entertainment and demonstrated the varied activities – such as the indoor and outdoor pools, live bands children’s pantomimes etc. – that can be enjoyed on a Haven holiday to provide recipients with a truly ‘virtual’ holiday experience.
Test video clip size:
Redeye spent weeks testing video length to find a file size that email systems wouldn’t bounce and with a sufficiently short download time. Different clip sizes were sent to Haven’s customers’ ten most popular web mail providers or receivers. 20 second clips (equating to one megabyte in file size) were identified as optimal for deliverability, whilst providing enough content to be informative and exciting, while also delivering a snappy marketing message.
Create test design:
A bold but simple email was created in which a 320×180 pixel video box appeared, the video automatically rolling inside the preview pane when the message was opened.
To account for those people who couldn’t see the video (e.g. people who didn’t have HTML images turned on), RedEye included a clear link to a microsite where a 60-second version of the clip could be seen.
A/B test subject lines
The word ‘video’ was tested against a more standard subject line – “Picture yourself at Haven this Easter, watch our video now” vs “Come and enjoy the Best Easter Holiday ever!” to check that the word ‘video’ would not suppress opening rates for the email or trip email filters – (it didn’t).
Results of the work
Embedding a video in an email campaign was a resounding success. The conversion rate for the campaign was 3.45%, 50% higher than previous non-video campaigns, exceeding expectations of the marketing team at Haven and achieving a significant increase in ROI. In addition, another important success was the fact that the 20-second video clip achieved a high deliverability rate of 96% and click throughs of 27%.
Alison Dunn, head of e-commerce for Haven Holidays, said: “We wanted something new and exciting that would bring the Haven experience to life – using an embedded video was the perfect solution to this, providing real tangibility around our offering which led significant numbers to click through and make a booking. We will definitely be doing more of this kind of activity.”