Campaign of the Month

Penguin Random House use advanced segmentation to create highly targeted Valentine’s Day campaign

Brand: Penguin Random House


Campaign details

Subject Line: Sweets for your sweet: Ottolenghi’s bakes for Valentine’s Day

Open rate: 55%

Click rate: 27%


Penguin Random House is an international publisher headquartered in New York City. The global brand publishes 70,000 digital, and 15,000 adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction titles annually. Their mission is to nurture a comprehensive eagerness for reading by collaborating with authors to help narrate and communicate ideas that educate, delight, and inspire, to connect them with readers worldwide.

What data was used?

Penguin Random House support a number of specialist interest websites such as The Happy Foodie cookery website and community. Readers can sign up for weekly email newsletters featuring recipes from Penguin Random House cookery books and authors.

Since late 2018, the Penguin team have been using behavioral (click) data to segment their subscriber data and serve their readers even more relevant content, a strategy which is proving very successful. For example, for this campaign they have identified readers who have shown an interest in ‘high end’ cookery books such as Yotam Ottolenghi.


  • Share seasonal recipes to coincide with Valentine’s Day
  • Use personalization to engage subscribers and show them recipes from books they may be interested in purchasing
  • Use segmentation to target ‘high end’ readers who are fans of Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Drive sales of Ottolenghi’s recipe books

What makes this a performing campaign?

The recipes featured are inspirational and relevant for Valentine’s Day. The email design is distinctive and in a clear, readable format, with strong CTAs to click through onto The Happy Foodie website. The phrase ‘Sweets for your sweet’ at the beginning of the subject line is engaging, effective and an appropriate reference to Valentine’s Day.

The results

This highly targeted campaign achieved an impressive 55% open rate and 27% click to open rate. This is a significant uplift compared to an average open rate in 2018 of 27% across all The Happy Foodie newsletters and an average click to open rate of 24%. This proves that the strategy of using click behavior to inform more relevant content for Happy Foodie subscribers is very effective in driving higher engagement with The Happy Foodie website and increased exposure for Penguin Random House authors and cookery books.

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