Marketers: Keep Your Subject Lines Brief

Feb 28 2014, 10:23pm CST | by

I understand, I truly do, the impulse one has after creating a piece of content–an article in my case–to write a lengthy headline that expresses its every twist and turn and nuance.

When I give into that impulse it usually garners a sharp little note from a copy-editor or, if the title gets past her, fewer page views than I had anticipated.

For marketers, the consequences can be equally dire, along with an irate client disappointed over a poorly-performing campaign to boot.

Increasingly, digital content is being viewed on mobile devices—some 35% of all email is now opened on one. We all know this, yet for some reason online content often fails to be packaged as though 35% of its recipients will open the email on a mobile device.

Research from Retention Science set to be released next week drives home this point. After analyzing more than 260 million emails across 540 email-marketing campaigns, it found that subject lines of 6-10 words perform best, generating a 21% open rate, which is above industry standard. Emails with subject lines containing five or fewer words ranked second with a 16% open rate, while those with 11–15 words returned a minimal 14% open rate.

Despite this, the majority of emails sent (52%) had subject lines in the 11-15 word range, the company found.

What is truly astounding is that, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, media agencies are diverting on average 15% of digital spend towards mobile. Yet many brands don’t seem to have the basics down to be competitive in this channel.

Marketers have a short window to get their mobile strategies straight because fairly soon crafting a short subject line will be the least of their worries. Trends tend to emerge in this space quickly and mercilessly. One to watch–pun intended–is the wearable tech space. This category is on the watch list (ditto) of just about every IT consulting firm. Gadgets include watches, fitness bands and smart glass, namely Google Glass.

Google, of course, has said on numerous occasions it doesn’t plan to offer paid advertising opportunities on Google Glass. But what to make of a patent it filed last year for a “pay-per-gaze” cost model? A cynic might be inclined to think that Google does intends to monetize the technology at some point.

Here is how the filing described the “head-mounted gaze tracking device” and how it would work (via Wired Magazine).

…the technology would transmit both images and the direction of a person’s gaze to a server for analysis, and that advertisers could be charged a fee based on whether a person looks directly at the ad in the real world with a premium for ads that hold a users attention longer.

Marketers, the learning curve is getting shorter and shorter as new tech emerges. Let your subject lines follow suit.

Source: Forbes Business


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