Learn the language of subject lines: update

Where we're at with our white paper about the key characteristics of effective subject lines...

 Learn the language of subject lines: update

You may remember that last year we asked people involved in email marketing to send in subject lines used in A/B tests.

The data was to be used for a white paper, compiled in collaboration with email agency Alchemy Worx, designed to uncover some of the key linguistic characteristics of winning subject lines.

Here’s an update. We had a good response to the request, but interpreting the data has taken a little longer than anticipated. We now hope to have the white paper available by early summer.

The great news is that the preliminary research suggests some really interesting insights, for instance:

  • imperative verbs (eg “Buy today”) seem to work better when accompanied by personalisation (eg “Dan, buy today”)
  • winning subject lines tend to show knowledge of the recipient (eg “your pet”, “your child”)
  • winning lines use fewer overt directives (eg “How baby-proof is your home?” rather than “Browse our baby-proofing range”)

We’re now at the stage of testing these tentative findings with higher volumes of subject lines, to see if the trends we identified on a smaller scale still hold true. We’ll let you know as soon as the final white paper is available.