Do personalized subject lines improve campaign results?! Check out these stats now!



We’re back with more stats! So far, we’ve provided data that shows that Video emails and Confirmed Opt-in improve your campaign results. This time around, we’re demonstrating how personalization can influence results in several different ways.

Though most agree that email personalization is a good thing, there are varying views on how and when to use it. Some encourage you to personalize all your messages, no matter who you are sending it to . There are also voices warning that personalized emails may look like SPAM and end up in junk folders.

Now we are happy to offer our opinions, but it would only be words if not backed up with stats, right? That’s why we decided to perform a targeted analysis of personalized emails based on GetResponse user campaigns, then discuss the results with you.

We analyzed over 53, 000 unique messages sent form GetResponse accounts between  September and December 2009. The results clearly show that emails with personalized subjects averaged 26% higher open rates and over 130% higher CTRs than emails without personalized subject lines.Pretty impressive at first glance!

Unfortunately, the same stats clearly show that email with personalized subject lines averaged 26% higher complaints and over 71% higher unsubscribe rates than emails without personalization. This time it doesn’t look as impressive. So are both viewpoints correct? We think we can provide some insight into these weird numbers.

Names catch the reader’s attention, no doubt about it. It’s clear that recipients are more likely to open and click through emails when they see their name in the subject line. They also tend to open personalized messages more often if they recognize (and trust!) the sender.

If recipients are automatically deleting emails with their name in the subject line, it’s probably because they don’t recognize the sender. Or just as bad, they might not find any interesting content in this message (or the last) and decide to unsubscribe. Can you blame them? Imagine how annoying it must be to receive message with “Dear Ron” in the subject, but absolutely nothing of interest to you in the entire message. You think someone sent it especially for you and find out it’s just another lame mass mailing. You get angry, label the message SPAM, and unsubscribe from the list immediately!

You can reap the benefits of personalization AND avoid the pitfalls if you are conscientious about list hygiene and target your message content as much as possible. Use the name and/or business throughout the message, target the offers and discounts, mention previous purchases and preferences, etc. Then your recipients will know that you’re sincerely trying to give them what they need and would treat you as reliable sender.

You may remember that last year we also wrote a blog post about personalization where we advised that when sending a message to a new customer, it might be wise to use a catchy subject line to get them to open, and include any personal information in the message.  After 1-2 messages are accepted, everyone should be on a first-name basis.  Of course, it’s always best to split test both subject line approaches and see what works with each target audience, so experiment! After all, you can test up to 5 versions for free!

Let us know your views on email personalization in subject lines. Have you had similar results…or not? Maybe you have some suggestions or experiences to share. Feel free to leave us your comments!