Emotion Drives Email Clicks, Study Finds

Emotions are not strictly for relationships or when watching the news -- they can be powerful motivators in email marketing as well. 

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York City, Persado powers what the company describes as a “Marketing Language Cloud.” The marketing technology company has scored more than a million words and phrases in the English language by the emotions they trigger. 

“Love,” for example, could generate feelings of affection, while “ending soon” could generate feelings of anxiety. Persado analyzes the diction marketers use, and with the help of AI-powered predictive intelligence, suggests subject lines that will most resonate with subscribers.

In a study of more than 3,500 subject lines, sent by 142 brands to an average mailing list of more than 1.5 million subscribers, Persado discovered that anxiety is actually one of the biggest motivators inspiring British and American subscribers to click on email campaigns.



Both UK and US subscribers were more likely to react to messages that evoked a sense of anxiety, according to the report. Phrases such as “read this very carefully,” “don’t forget,” and “important update” were tagged by Persado as generating feelings of anxiety.

British subscribers were also more likely to engage with emails that made them feel guilty, according to the report -- while Americans were more likely to click on campaigns that inspired feelings of achievement. “Don’t miss out” and “don’t ignore this” were phrases that prompted feelings of guilt and regret, according to Persado, while “you’ve earned this” and “you are being rewarded” inspired the emotion of achievement. 

Europeans, on the other hand, most engaged with languages that generated feelings of gratification and gratitude. Phrases recommended by Persado that inspire gratification and gratitude include “we are treating you,” “we appreciate your loyalty,” and “thank you.”


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