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Yes, it’s that time of year again: Black Friday is right around the corner. Over the past several years, offline revenue on the fateful day has fallen, while online sales have soared.

REI will not even open stores on Black Friday this year, and several others, like Staples and Costco, will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. But those companies will be taking online orders.

As online sales become increasingly important, marketers must surely be getting better at promoting their products at just the right times, right?

Well … no.

It turns out that digital marketers have been engaging shoppers on email, Twitter, and Facebook at the wrong times.

New research from Yesmail shows that one of the worst days to email shoppers during Thanksgiving week is on Black Friday itself, yet the greatest number of Black Friday messages (over a third) were sent day-of.

Email engagement data from YesMail

Above: Email engagement data from Yesmail

It’s a similar story for Facebook and Twitter.

The greatest number of Black Friday Facebook posts were made on Friday, although it was the worst day for engagement on the channel.

Friday also saw the second-largest number of Black Friday-themed tweets — again, with the lowest engagement rate.

What’s going on here?

At a time when consumers are inundated with more messages and offers than ever, they are tuning out the noise. We are seeing this on an everyday basis, but the volume of Black Friday promotions exacerbates the situation.

Reaching shoppers with the right message at the right time has become a major challenge, and our research has found that even minor personalization efforts are making substantial differences.

So when is the best time to engage on each of these channels?

Black Friday Facebook Engagement

Above: Facebook engagement data from Yesmail

When it comes to Black Friday, messages sent earlier in the week have higher engagement rates. The engagement levels from 2013 and 2014 are fairly similar, indicating that Sunday has been best for Facebook engagement, Monday and Tuesday best for email, and Thanksgiving Thursday best for Twitter.

Marketers have an opportunity to target and personalize messages more than ever — thanks to the much greater availability of consumer data — yet few are capitalizing on it to the degree possible.

When to send a message is just one part of personalizing the customer journey. As marketers get more advanced, the process of personalization can involve many more customer data points and become much more effective.

Effectiveness of personalization on KPIs

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