Rethinking the Relationship Between Subject Line Length and Email Performance

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Marketers, start your subject lines!
The topic of subject line length receives a lot of attention in the industry press. The general thinking is that shorter subject lines make for better overall email performance – measured in opens and clicks.    
 
Yet despite the attention, Epsilon research shows that the correlation between subject line length and response may not be well founded.  More important instead is word order, with more emphasis placed on positioning the content. In other words, marketers should rethink their overall strategy. 

In general, shorter subject lines are associated with better email performance, as determined by opens and clicks. Yet despite the attention this topic has received in the industry press, the correlation between subject line length and response is relatively weak for most email programs.
 
Epsilon’s research shows that word order and content may be as important in eliciting response as the number of characters in a subject line. In other words, marketers should rethink how they develop subject lines and place increased emphasis on positioning the most important elements first – a concept Epsilon calls “pole position” writing. 

 
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