Email Marketers Have Only 12 Words To Capture Readers

Email marketers have less than 3 seconds to capture the attention of their readers, according to a new study by email marketing company Movable Ink.

In its quarterly US Consumer Device Preference Report, Movable Ink analyzed over 1.3 billion emails in the third quarter of 2015 to discover that the vast majority of email reads last between zero and three seconds.

“There’s a really short window of time as people quickly scan an email, decide if it's relevant, then act or not,” says Vivek Sharma, CEO at Movable Ink.

Email read lengths vary by device, but less than three seconds was the overwhelming majority across Kindle Fire, 64.5%; iPhone 53.9%; iPad, 42.4%; Desktop, 48.9%; Android Tablet, 48.8%; and Android phones, 50.2%.

Not surprisingly, email reads on desktop computers were the most likely to result in an increase of reading time. Some 24.6% of email reads on desktops last more than 15 seconds, followed by iPad readers at 22.6% and Android tablet users at 21.9%. Only 15.5% of Android phone users spent more than 15 seconds per email, the lowest ranking device in the study.

“One way marketers may look at this is to try to improve on email read length even before the customer opens it,” Sharma says. “That's one reason why contextual content is really important.”

Email marketers should also consider how to optimize engagement and reads with email their email subject lines,

Word choice is key for email marketers. If the average adult reads 250-300 words per minute, that means email marketers have about a dozen words at their disposal to incite a consumer to continue reading before their message is deleted in three seconds.

The word “choice” in a subject line considerably boosts rates of engagement, and a similar trend applies to “Black Friday.”

Email subject lines containing the word “Black Friday” have increased open rates when compared to other holiday promotions, according to a recent study by Persado.

Persado’s study also highlighted the power of emotion in email subject lines, which saw holiday emails open rates increase when “Black Friday” was combined with the emotion of urgency, excitement, or anxiety. 

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