'Top' Is Tops: Leading Subject-Line Words On Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Words matter -- at least when used in email subject lines on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

A new study by Sailthru shows that "top" and "deal" were among the leading words on both days.

To start with, Sailthru examined 243,925,460 Black Friday emails sent by its clients. 

In general, it found that short subject lines worked better than long ones, and that personalized lines achieved a 20% higher open rate. 

The winning words were "top," "first" and "deal." The winning lines included:

- Our Top Black Friday Offers

- This Morning’s Top Deals

- First, you give. Then, you receive.

- Amazing Black Friday Deals!

- Black Friday Deals Start NOW!

The losing words were "while," "miss," "save" and "last." The worst-performing lines included: 

- Don’t Miss Our Biggest Black Friday EVER

- Seriously, you don’t want to miss this

- 30% of Black Friday Savings



- Ready, Set…SAVE! Black Friday is here

LAST CHANCE! Your Offer Ends Tonight

On Cyber Monday, Sailthru studied 143,455,866 emails. It found that on this day, personalization increased open rates by 97%, compared with 39% in 2017, and that the optimal subject line length was from five to eight words. 

Again, the winning words were "top," "deal," and "only." Among the winning lines were:

- Top gifts to get on Cyber Monday

- Our top 5 gifts inside 

- Cyber Monday Deals Start Now!

- Tick Tock! Cyber Monday Deals TODAY ONLY!

- Don’t Miss – 25% Off Today Only! 

The “Tick Tock” line featured a clock emoji. 

The losing lines included:


- Cyber Monday Savings Inside!

- LAST CHANCE to save on Cyber Monday

- LAST DAY for Cyber Monday Deals 

- Save up to 35% O Order $200+ plus get a FREE Daily UV Kit!

Despite all that, subject lines with neutral sentiments did better in 2018 — a reversal from last year, when negative sentiments did best.

Examples of neutral sentiments:

- Today only: enjoy 70% off! 

- It’s ON: 50% Off For Cyber Monday

- Cyber Monday sales you CANNOT miss!

It’s hard to generalize about emojis — some of the winning and losing subject lines alike had them. The optimal number appears to be no more than three.

Sailthru concludes: "Stay Positive, but don’t be too overly positive. Use emojis, but not too many emojis." 


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