4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 25, 2014 6:23 PM by 51227

    Best Practice for the length of email subject lines?

      I like positive directions in an email subject line like "Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to XYZ" and "Take Advantage of the New XYZ".  But some of my colleague want to shorten to only 3 words b/c they are concerned that leads can't read the entire subject without opening the email.

      While I don't want the subject line to be too long, I want it catchy.  So, what's too long?
        • Re: Best Practice for the length of email subject lines?
          Hi Angie -

          I think the days of "your subject line can't be longer the X characters" are over, but you still want to convey your message in a way that is easily digestable.

          Check out the reports from Mailer Mailer (http://www.mailermailer.com/resources/metrics/index.rwp) they've got some interesting results in their report.

          From their report: subject lines with only 4 to 15 characters achieved the highest open rate of 15.8% during 2012. Longer subject lines resulted in lower open rates, with a very slight correlation between length and open rate.

          Hope that helps!
          -Sierra
          • Re: Best Practice for the length of email subject lines?
            Josh Hill
            There are also reports from Return Path and Mailchimp and others if you google them. HubSpot may also have some data.
            • Re: Best Practice for the length of email subject lines?
              Michelle Tiziani
              For me when I'm provided with a long subject line for an email, I A/B test it and put the main key words in the shorter subject line.  From what I've seen the shorter catchy subject lines do better for us, but I've tested this from different regions.
              • Re: Best Practice for the length of email subject lines?
                I caution against relling on last year's subject line experiments and best practice claims. Today, more than 50% of emails are opened first on mobile devices. In iOS your email is summarized into:

                17 characters for the "from" name
                25 characters for the subject line
                60 characters of the email (this is the first 60 characters, so if you have Marketo's "view as web page" that's what you get. 

                Android is slightly different...don't remember the details off hand.

                The tests I've done confirm that subject line length should be as long as it needs to be to get the recipient to read on. I've never written and have seen few 25 character subject lines that are effective. If you can do it, go for it.

                At the same time, you better make the most of those 102 characters. Reasonable goals in 2014 are 1) get your email opened, or at least 2) don't result in having your message trashed. Getting clicks are also nice, but then you have to think mobile landing pages....

                BILL