HubSpot and Litmus have teamed up to put out an excellent new report, The Science of Email 2014. If you’re doing any email marketing, this is a worthwhile read; I encourage you to download it now. (And if you’re not doing any email marketing … what are you waiting for?)
Here are a few of the more interesting takeaways.
Top of the list is an observation worth remembering regardless of the topic: people will tell you what they think you want to hear and what they wish to be true. That means you will always get more accurate results from observational data than from self-reported data. Factor this in to any survey-based testing you do.
The most interesting email-related data, though, was the effect on click-through rates (CTRs) of image height, image width, number of images, copy length, and the day of the week your email is sent.
People say they want image-based emails, but the more large images an email contains, the lower the CTR. Wider images don’t have as strong a negative effect as tall images, but the effect is still negative overall.
CTRs are highest when the amount of copy in an email is kept between 300 and 500 words. Make your point quickly and provide ample calls to action to get them out of their inbox and on to your website.
And, most interestingly, the data we’ve long held as gospel about Tuesday and Wednesday being the best days to send your emails is no longer true. Tuesday is now the worst day to send emails, and CTRs improve as you move through the week.
Obviously, this last item – really, all of the findings – will depend very much on your audience and your message, but it does seem to indicate that the enormous increase in email volume has made it more likely that recipients may click “delete” based less on your subject line, offer, or anything else you have control over, and more on the sheer volume of emails in their inbox waiting to be read. Send on less popular days.
There’s much more to be gleaned, including a lot of data on demographic differences and trends in mobile email. Download the full report here.