E-Mail Subject Line Length – Short Is Good

According to a new study by Epsilon on the importance of the subject line in an e-mail promotion, shorter subject lines do generally perform better than longer ones. Shorter subject lines correlate with higher open rates and click rates. However, subject line word order, word choice, and brand and audience awareness are also critical success factors.

No small part of this issue is the limit the number of subject line characters displayed by default in the  in box:

  • AOL, 22% of the U.S. e-mail market, limits subject lines to roughly 38 characters
  • Yahoo!, 21% of U.S. e-mail, limits subject lines to about 47 characters
  • Hotmail, 14% of the U.S. email market, allows multiple lines of approximately 45 characters per line
  • Mobile devices display even fewer characters

Epsilon advises that because higher open and click rates depend on the optimum combination of subject line length and content, marketers should keep in mind the following rules of thumb:

  • Put the most important information first
  • Keep the subject line as short as possible to convey the message
  • Use longer subject lines only when there is a compelling reason to do so
  • When in doubt, test 

Access the complete white paper for more.

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