Dead Poets Society and Subject Line Length

Discussion in 'Noob Central' started by roundabout, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. roundabout

    roundabout Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2011
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    Anybody who has seen Dead Poet's Society remembers the scene from a seemingly divinely inspired Robin Williams when he rips out an essay by the fictional Dr. J. Edgar Pritchard:

    Here is Roundy's J. Edgar Pritchard page for you to rip out as well:

    The ideal subject line length. Size does matter, especially in B2C.

    Subject lines can have a huge effect on the response rates of your email campaigns. Adestra recently published a subject line report for which it analysed nearly a billion email marketing messages.

    From this research comes the answer to the question: “What is the ideal length of a subject line?”.

    How long should your subject line be?

    Even if you keep the content of the email campaign exactly the same, changing the subject line can show dramatic improvements. With increases of 10%, 20% or even doubling your click troughs, subject lines are a very important part of an email. The length of the subject line is one of the influencers. Let’s see how the number of characters in the subject line corresponds with email marketing results.


    In this graph we see the deviation from the average open, click through and click to open rates grouped by number of characters in the subject line. The open rates ( the green line) have a positive spike for the very short and very long subject lines. When taking click through and click to opens into account, it seems the longer subject lines are a lot more effective, both gathering more opens and more click throughs.
    Ideal subject line length per sector

    It is interesting to see these results, but of course they are averages across all industries. When the subject line length were split by industry, the results shifted. For instance in the Event sector using 9 to 14 words in the subject line produced a lower than average open rate and in most cases click through rates too. While in Publishing, these were not nearly as negative with subjectlines in that range even doing better than average.

    This again shows that you cannot take general statistics and translate the directly to any list or sender.

    More continued (ad nauseum):

    "RIP IT OUT!"

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