Yes, it’s official – size really does matter.

In the world of email marketing, the length of your subject line is very important.

It’s the first thing your recipients see, helping them decide whether to open your email or not.

The usual rule is that it should be somewhere between 40-50 characters in length, but our growing mobile culture is challenging this idea.

A recent report, published by Adestra, looked at the lengths of subject lines in relation to the audiences they were intended for. This is what they discovered:

Business to Business

  • Longer subject lines work best
  • Subject lines with 6-10 words drive open rates, but don’t deliver the click-throughs
  • Those with 6-10 words are best for awareness emails that don’t have a specific call to action
  • Greater than 130 characters leads to a drop in open rates, but increase in click-throughs
  • Anything over 16 words delivers both opens and clicks

Business to Consumer

  • 3-5 words have a detrimental effect on opens and clicks
  • Those with 3-4 words perform about 40% worse than average in both opens and clicks
  • Subject lines with more than 80 characters do well
  • The best performing was a 20 word subject line

As well as these statistics you also have to remember that your subject line and email’s message must also be tailored to your audience if you are to get great results. That’s why it’s not only important to take care over your subject line, but also your message. Think about:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What’s important to them?
  • What do they want to know?

The best way to create successful campaigns is by testing your subject lines because there is no magic formula. Different things will work for different markets.