Marketers won't believe this shocking secret! While this type of clickbait works to gain Web traffic, it fails to lure email recipients to read, Return Path announced on Tuesday.
"The use of 'Secret of' accompanied an 8.69 percent decrease in read rates compared to messages containing similar content sent under different subject lines," reads the announcement from the New York-based email data and marketing software and services provider. "The word 'shocking' accompanied a 1.22 percent decrease in read rates."
To find these answers, Return Path analyzed 9 million emails sent to 2 million consumers by thousands of "trusted brands" for "The Art and Science of Effective Subject Lines." (opens as a PDF) The company made two important findings:
1. Benefit-based Subject Lines Work Best. Incorporating the word "fastest" causes 5.30 percent "higher read rates than comparable messages sent under different subject lines." Adding urgency helps, too. Try "limited time," "last chance" and "expiring" for elevated read rates.
2. Stop Counting Characters in the Subject Lines. While the lowest read rates came from more-than-100-character subject lines, at 8.8 percent, 91- to 100-word ones had the highest, at 15.1 percent. Being in the 40- to 49-character range didn't help much, either. Return Path says those messages had 11.6 percent read rates. So stop worrying about counting characters, because read rates are too random. "Outside of obviously overlong examples, this research suggests that subject line length debate should be put to rest," reads the announcement.
Bonus: What Not to Do—Counter-intuitively, these words and symbols decreased read rates:
Do marketers agree with this research?
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