How Message Size, Number of Links and Subject Length Affects Email Results

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Contrary to popular belief, e-mails with short, succinct subject lines and multiple hyperlinks throughout the text seem to help e-mail marketers get their messages out to their customers. More people respond favorably to subject lines that are 50 characters or less in length and content with easy to read text that gets the message across and offers a hyperlink for extended reading. Click through rates on these types of messages are higher than on ones that contain only a few hyperlinks. Message size has little to no effect on click through rates.

Recently, messages of different lengths and styles were analyzed by a group of industry experts. They separated the messages into groups with subject lines between 0 and 49 characters and 50 or more characters. The shorter subject lines had a 12.5% higher open rate and a 75% click through rate then their 50+ character counterparts.

When the hyperlinks were analyzed, experts found that the open and click through rate differences were considerably smaller than expected. E-mails that contained 25 or more hyperlinks were opened 12% more than e-mails with fewer than 25. Click through rates were 29% higher for e-mails with 25 or more hyperlinks.

This research supports the information what e-mail marketers have been saying for years. The shorter and more to the point the e-mail subject line is, the more often the e-mails will be open. The more hyperlinks are included in the e-mail, the more likely it will be read. When there are more hyperlinks in the message, you have a higher chance that one of them resonates with your reader and it will be clicked and used. 25 hyperlinks are not considered to be a lot while included in an e-mail message, especially if the e-mail is a newsletter.

The actual size of the message is less important than what the message contains and how it is set up. The addition of multiple hyperlinks in the message does not increase the amount of kilobytes the message takes up either. It is interesting to note however that messages smaller than 3 kilobytes have the highest open, bounce, and unsubscribe rates. Why this is experts are unsure. The average size of an e-mail marketer’s e-mail is between 20 to 79 kilobytes and their open and click rates were around 3.9%.

Message size is not really an issue and experts did not see any negative performance out of larger-sized messages. It should be a rule of thumb, however, to keep message size limits in and around 40 to 50 kilobytes in order for the reader to easily receive your message and not have it bounced back.

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