October 4, 2004, 12:00 AM

Shorter subject lines boost e-mail response rates, study says

To build e-mail response rates, keep subject lines short but include a large number of links within the message, EmailLabs reports today in a study of 650 e-mail marketers during the first quarter. The length of the message itself was less important.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

To build e-mail response rates, keep subject lines short but include a large number of links within the message text, EmailLabs reports today in a study of 650 e-mail marketers during the first quarter. The length of the message itself was less important.

Subject lines under 50 text characters performed better than subject lines of 50+ characters in two measures: The shorter lines had open rates 12.5% higher and click-through rates 75% higher, EmailLabs says.

E-mails with 25 or more links in the message text also fared better than e-mails with fewer than 25 links. They had a 12% higher open rate and a 29% higher click-through rate.

“In addition to a shorter subject line being visible in its entirety in most e-mail clients, recipients comprehend shorter subject lines more easily and quickly,” says Loren McDonald, vice president of marketing, adding: “The more links there are, the greater the chances that one or more will resonate with the recipient and motivate them to click through. While 25 links may sound like a lot, navigation and administrative-type links in best practices newsletters can easily reach 15-20 by themselves."

Messages within the 20-79 kilobyte size range produced only slightly higher open and click-through rates when compared to messages in the 3-19 kilobyte range, EmailLabs says.

 

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