By Alan Graner
The following is based on a study by Alchemy Worx: “Subject lines—length is everything” ©2008. You can download the study at http://www.alchemyworx.com/Alchemy%20Worx%20Subject%20lines%20-%20length%20is%20everything.pdf
Disclaimer: Daly-Swartz Public Relations has no relationship with Alchemy Worx.
Ask any email expert how long your subject line should be and chances are most will reply: “Short.”
Indeed, most studies assure us that subject lines fewer than 35 characters are the strongest for open rates and clicks.
But hold on there, Sparky.
After analyzing 205 million emails and studying their subject lines, Alchemy Worx concluded:
- Subject lines under 60 characters generate higher open rates (a measure of reader interest) but much lower click-to-open rates (clicking on a link in the email).
- Subject lines over 70 characters generate a much higher click-to-open rate (an indication of real relevance).
- Subject lines between 60-70 characters are a “dead zone” where neither metric is optimized.
Subject lines influence open rates, click rates and click-to-open rates.
Once the email is opened, the subject line continues to influence customers’ expectations. The study states:“ Research indicates that the proportion of customers who go on to click a link in an email they open is directly affected by the length of the subject line.”
The AOL factor
So why do all the other studies indicate the opposite?
Perhaps the answer can be found in AOL and other email clients that once ruled cyberspace. They were only able to display 40 characters max. Obviously, all subject lines were short.
Today’s email clients display 100 characters, making it possible to write longer subject lines (regardless whether you count characters or words)., which attract more serious customers and generate higher click-to-open rates.
Why do longer subject lines work better? Do shorter subject lines attract less serious customers? Download the study to find out.
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a PR campaign that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.