Black Friday Email Highlights

The Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Email Campaigns

This post was updated on November 8, 2018. It was originally published in November 2016.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are crucial dates on every email marketing calendar as email accounts for 25% of online transactions. Adobe Analytics calculated that in 2017, American shoppers spent $19.62 billion in the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, which was a $2.6 billion (15%) increase over spending in 2016.

With this type of money on the line and the competition for consumers’ attention being tougher than ever, it’s vital to send engaging emails that will convert.

Before we dig into what makes a Black Friday or Cyber Monday email awesome, let’s talk about an important step you need to take before you hit send this holiday season. According to Practical Ecommerce, Black Friday 2017 mobile shopping trumped desktop, grabbing nearly 37% of all sales and 54% of site visits. Cyber Monday 2017 also saw mobile commerce set a new record, with $2 billion sold that day. This year, it’s safe to say that number will only grow. That’s why it’s critical to test your email to ensure it renders properly on different mobile devices before you deploy your email.

If you want access to the fastest and most affordable email QA suite, try Email on Acid free for seven days to unlock unlimited email testing. Our All Access trial will also let you try out our spam testing and email analytics.

In the spirit of giving back, we scoured the internet and our inboxes to find the most compelling email campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Look below to get your creative juices flowing this season.



In this first campaign, we’re focusing on the first element everyone sees in an email: the subject line! Your subject line is your first (and perhaps only) chance to make an impression; your subject line should stop readers in their tracks.

So, what makes a great subject line? One that tells what’s inside, instead of sells what’s inside. ModCloth did a great job with the email below. The subject line read: “What’s on sale? Anything & everything.” No fluff; they just get straight to the point with an incredibly compelling offer.



This subject line is also powerful because it gives a quick summary of the message content. Plus, the subject line, images, and content all work together to focus on a singular goal, the Cyber Monday sale. This focused approach is more likely to keep your reader’s attention.



FATFACE truly embraces the holiday spirit by giving back to local charities. Instead of doing the usual discount that you see plastered across most emails, they donated up to £250,000 to local charities from the profits they made on Black Friday.

This grabs your attention because it’s something different, and it’s also engaging because of the noble cause.


Plus, can we talk about the text that says, “thanks for GIVING.” We’re suckers for creative content and wordplay like that.



Uber followed suit in the “giving vs. getting” mentality, but this Black Friday campaign is great for two other reasons. First, there’s an element of surprise. They are offering discounts on five products over five days, but they don’t unveil what the gifts are until the day of the giveaway. This creates reader engagement over several days.

The second way this email campaign is compelling: the $5,000 prize.This goes above and beyond any sort of discount or coupon code.


Also, this campaign is a co-marketing effort with multiple brands and products, so more than just one company’s bottom line will benefit here.



J.Crew always has fantastic email, holiday or not, but they stepped up their game with this Cyber Monday message.

The way J.Crew tied their copy and creative together is worth a mention. This sort of ingenuity is what marketing is all about. Taking a theme and making every element of the email creative and conversion-driven is one for the books.


Also, props on using dynamic content at the bottom to locate the nearest store to the reader!


Forever 21

Animated GIFs in email increase CTR by 26%. Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday are one of the biggest days for email, there’s no better time to incorporate a GIF in your campaign.

Nevertheless, GIFs can be finicky in certain email clients (we’re looking at you, Outlook), so it’s important to test your email across different platforms to make sure the message looks exactly how you intended it to look.

Forever 21 did a fantastic job of incorporating GIFs with their Black Friday campaign below. They used a scratch card design to represent three possible gold fields with different prizes underneath: 15%, 20% or 25% off the user’s purchase. Not only is this visually compelling, it’s also a great way to get readers to engage with the email.

Forever 21

Plus, we give Forever 21 a few points for the simplicity of their design and CTA. Job well done.


Lou and Grey

Before we wrap up, let’s look at one of the most important elements to close a sale: creating a sense of urgency.

This whole email — from its copy to the imagery — makes your palms sweat. They do a great job of interweaving scarcity into all the elements in the campaign below.

Lou and Grey

Most people have FOMO (fear of missing out), so try this in your next campaign and see if it garners more conversions.



In this series of impressive Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, we’ll end with one that was gutsier than the rest, REI.

REI has built their brand around outdoor living. They stuck to their core mission in this email and used it on the biggest email day imaginable.

In the email, they announced they would close their doors Black Friday. Instead of sending their employees to work, they paid their employees on Black Friday to do what they love, getting outside.


Not only did REI stick to their company’s core value, they also started a frenzy on social media. REI invited the nation to #OptOutside. Twitter went crazy with the hashtag #OPTOUTSIDE, which helped get lots of new eyeballs on the REI brand.


What are your favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails you’ve seen this year?

Share your favorite campaigns in the comments section below to spread some email inspiration!