Shocking! You Won’t Believe This About Clickbait…

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by Emma Weir Clickbait is a very prominent tactic used in lots of aspects of our lives. It can be very beneficial to businesses but ca...

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Clickbait is a very prominent tactic used in lots of aspects of our lives. It can be very beneficial to businesses but can it be used within email marketing?
Nowadays the use of clickbait dominates our social media networks and web pages. It’s one of those things Marketers hate to love because it’s annoying, but it works.

So what is clickbait?

It’s predominantly an Internet based fad consisting of content with the main purpose to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page. Sounds good right? Clickbait may work on Facebook, YouTube and other social networks but Marketers should avoid using it within email marketing, no matter how tempting it may be.

Return Path conducted a study that looked into email marketing subject lines. Results were pretty interesting and showed that clickbait subject lines such as ‘You won’t believe this shocking secret…’ were among the least effective of the 10 subject lines they examined. Using words such as ‘Secret of’ resulted in a 8.69% decrease in read rates compared to emails sent with similar content and different subject lines. Be careful when using the following phrases in subject lines:
  • Shocking
  • Won’t believe
  • Get rid of
  • What you need to know
  • Secrets of

  • This doesn’t mean to say you can’t include snappy and clever subject lines, it just means you need to put a little bit more thought into them. The study also found language that promoted a sense of urgency resulted the best e.g. ‘still time’ which performed an amazing 15.54% better than average! Some other urgency-based language could include:
  • Last chance
  • Expiring soon
  • Today only
  • Ends today
  • Still time
  • Limited time

  • In conclusion, subject lines are a powerful part of emails and email marketing. You want to gain the attention of readers and encourage them to read your email but it’s better to do this using clever subject lines rather than clickbait. Take a look at some of our other tips for optimising subject lines to increase open rates here.


    Read the full Return Path report here.


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