Subject Line Suggestions Will Replace Gut Feeling With Data-Driven Insight

Amidst all the announcements at the recent Adobe Summit, one truly caught my eye. It was a very simple step forward, but one that could easily be understood and implemented with minimal disruption and training because it resembles the experience we all have when texting, only in a more useful, data-driven way.

There isn't an executive in email marketing who is unaware of the power of subject lines. Chose the right combination of words and success can be yours. Choose a less powerful sentence and you will soon see the results in open rates.

That's why it was interesting to see, during a glitzy opening, how the company's marketing cloud now offers an email marketing tool that can help practitioners pick the right words. Up on the big screen, for thousands to see, a representative of the company typed in a dummy subject line. It was a very quick look at the tool, and so there is only the one example to offer here. As he typed in a message asking someone to "set up" or "improve" their account, the wording was flagged up as not being particularly appealing. Instead the system crunched the research and suggested that under similar circumstances, the word "optimise" usually performs a lot better.

You see, behind the scenes, analytics are looking at multiple campaigns and determine which subject lines lead to better outcomes. The result is like a thesaurus for subject lines that is backed up by real data on numerous campaigns. I'm sure every marketer has a gut instinct about the "powerful" "enabling" words they can put in a subject line, no doubt with a call to action or time-restricted offer made clear. Well, when this system goes live in the fourth quarter, the promise is that participants will be able to see exactly how well those subject lines perform. And it's not just from their own data but by the analytics looking at all those who are signed up to help improve the system.

It will be interesting when it launches. Will users trust their gut -- or go with a suggested alternative? Either way, at least it will get practitioners thinking long and hard about every word in the subject line, and that is no bad thing.

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