Fashion retailer Bluefly recently tested animated text in marketing e-mail. The result: A 5% increase in the click-through rate for recipients of the animated version and more spending by customers who clicked through.

Shhhhh! Bluefly is having a top secret sale. Actually, the sale’s over. But the results are in: Animated customers spent more money.

Fashion retailer Bluefly Inc. a few weeks ago conducted an e-mail marketing test. The question: What would be the effect of animated text within a marketing e-mail on e-mail recipients’ behavior? The text in question was Shhhhh, which scrolled across the message. It was a light-hearted approach to promote a private sale for select Bluefly.com customers, who made up 35% of the e-retailer’s e-mail list.

Using web analytics from vendor Coremetrics, Bluefly parsed the data from the test. There was a 5% increase in the click-through rate for recipients of the animated version of Shhhhh (25% of the 35% sample) over recipients of the non-animated version. But more important: Animated shoppers who clicked through generated a 12% increase in dollars spent per thousand e-mails compared with non-animated shoppers who clicked through.

It’s something we’ll send again coming up with another sale, says Joellen Nicholson, director of marketing at Bluefly, No. 131 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. And we’re going to change the percentage, giving more people the animation, and use our analytics to see how the metrics play out to a larger group to see if it still holds true, to see if it’s a clear and distinct winner.

Web analytics are crucial to understanding the success of such campaigns, and Bluefly greatly relies on the technology, the retailer says.

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We use web analytics extensively, looking at daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reports to track e-mail performance, says Nicholson, who also uses analytics from e-mail services provider e-Dialog Inc. It’s continual analysis.

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