Subject line personalization doesn't impact click rates: study

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Emails that are not personalized with a consumer's name in the subject line generate a 3% click rate, equal to that of personalized emails, according to a study released by email service provider MailerMailer on July 19.

Non-personalized emails outperformed messages with personalized subject lines with an open rate of 11% compared to the latter's 4%, the study found. Emails with personalized body content generated a 13% open rate.

Raj Khera, CEO of MailerMailer, said that email marketers may be better off personalizing a message's body only because consumers may be averse to customized subject lines.

“If you just personalize the subject line, that's a tactic some spammers are using to get you to open the message,” he said. “So if that's all you do, you may not get that extra bump in readership.”

The study found that emails with subject lines four to 15 characters in length had a 14% open rate, whereas those with more than 50 characters saw a 9.9% open rate.

Consumers are most likely to open and click on an email on Sunday, according to the study, with messages generating a 12% open rate and 4% click rate on the first day of the week. The lowest open and click rates occur on Thursdays, at 11% and 2%, respectively.

MailerMailer found that email programs that delivered less than one message a month experienced a 5% bounce rate, while programs with at least a daily delivery saw a 0.4% bounce rate. Khera said that higher bounce rate for frequent messages occurs because of mailing list churn.

“Everybody's list has some degree of churn every month,” he said. “It's just that when you're sending [emails] daily, you clean out your list faster, whereas if you send it once a month, it takes a little bit of a longer time to clean it out.”

The “Email Marketing Metrics Report” is based on 977 million emails sent by 1,600 MailerMailer clients last year.

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