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Subject Line Analysis Report

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday June 26, 2013 )

A study based on trends in the performance of subject lines in 90,000 email campaigns (2.2 billion emails) has been released.

The Adestra report is quite detailed, so here’s a few highlights of words that aren’t so good in subject lines:

Don’t miss

There’s a couple in there that are just plain boring, a couple of others that sound like hard work and a couple more that probably are a bit whiffy in terms of being associated with spam.

As for words that do seem to work well:


… now if it were only as simple as adding those words – but it isn’t and the report goes into more detail concerning that side of things. For example, it can make a difference if your audience is B2B or B2C. The Adestra report looks at various sectors, including B2B Publishing, B2C Publishing, B2B Events, B2C Events, Retail and ecommerce and charities.

The company examined what words and phrases were the most popular by sector, and then categorised them by objective.

Something else to bear in mind is that depending on the overall nature of and email, some of those “good” words can also add to an email’s spam score enough to reach a tipping point where your communication winds up in a junk mail folder. For example, another word having a positive response is “iPad” – but that is also heavily used by spammers and other bottom feeders of the web.

Subject lines are a tricky beast; I’ve noticed people’s attitudes towards them can change like the weather – what works one week may not work the next time around; so always treat these studies more as food for thought than as gospel.

The 2013 Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report can be downloaded here – take special note of the explainer in the report on how to interpret the results.


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