Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
Text:  A A

The Most Effective Email Subject Line Length

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
March 5, 2014

Emails with subject lines of 6-10 words have the highest open rates, yet most emails sent by marketers have subject lines of 11-15 words, according to a recent report from Retention Science.

For the emails analyzed, those with 6-10 word subject lines had a 21% open rate. Those with subject lines containing five or fewer words ranked second with a 16% open rate, and those with 11-15 words had a 14% open rate.

Despite the effectiveness of shorter subject lines, most emails examined (52%) had subject lines of 11-15 words.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from more than 260 million delivered emails.


Emails with the recipient's first name in the subject line had a higher open rate (18.3% compared with 15.7%).

Sign up for free to read the full article.Read the Full Article

Membership is required to access the full version of this how-to marketing article ... don't worry though, it's FREE!


We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:


Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • Not rated yet.

Add a Comment


  • by Sonia Rishi Wed Mar 5, 2014 via web

    Relevancy would score higher?

  • by H Chou Wed Mar 5, 2014 via web

    Does this include those subject lines that have 3-5 topics in them (like your emails, and which have 12 words? For example:

    "Better PPC Performance | Mari Smith Talks Facebook | Subject Line Length | Native Engagement"

    Personally, I find these effective, b/c I can quickly scan to see what topics are covered. BUT, I didn't even notice the Native Engagement topic, so I suppose 10 words is max for me?

  • by Ayaz Nanji Wed Mar 5, 2014 via web

    Sonia - I imagine relevancy would score well/impact the numbers, though it was not (as far as I know) included as part of this particular study.

    H Chou - I believe it did include that sort of subject line, though MarketingProfs itself was not part of the data set. The folks at @retentionsci would have a better sense of exactly what sort of long subject lines were examined. I'll see if they can chime in here. Agreed that (for me personally) I stop reading at a certain point, even when scanning a subject with multiple topics.

  • by Yulya Toporochan Wed Mar 5, 2014 via web

    I'm very interested in the importance of e-mail campaign's segmentation. I guess, we should segment the mailing list and address people with different content. Is that what the experts suggest? In terms of the subject line, we just now sent out an e-mail campaign with a subject line length of 9 words. Already excited to see the results.

  • by Jose Argudo Thu Mar 6, 2014 via web

    Nice article, short subjects have been always said to help open rates, however I would like to see this data mixed with CTRs

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!