How to get more engagement from your emails

Within seconds, the recipient of your email has decided whether they want to read past the subject line. After 10.69 seconds of reading (on average), they may have lost interest completely and clicked off. 

How do I stop that from happening?

The team at Spotler understands that writing the perfect email is a lot of pressure, so we have written several blogs that share our wisdom. If you’d like to know more about writing a compelling email, check them out here

We wanted to understand what goes on inside our brains when we receive emails and determine what makes them either engaging or skip-worthy. 

Using EEG (electroencephalography), we found the Outlook format produced the highest percentage of engagement overall (67%). In particular, the group of executives was the most engaged from this format out of all the versions they saw (66.95%), whereas the marketing team was the least engaged (64.5%). 

What can I do with this information? 

The most obvious answer is to produce emails with a simple Outlook format to engage your audience. However, it is important to recognise that the results are likely due to the familiarity effect. Most participants were comfortable with Outlook due to its familiarity so we’re drawn to it. The group who were seen to have the least positive outcomes from Outlook were the interns, people who have had the least exposure to that format. Therefore, it should be noted that your emails could include a variety of layouts that we explored, such as gifs, pyramid, or zig-zag, to appeal to a broader range of demographics. 

What should I avoid? 

Long passages of text produced 4.96% less engagement than Outlook, making it the least engaging format we tested. While this level of engagement isn’t bad, long text ranked 7th out of 8 formats. On the other hand, short-text only ranked 6th, with an overall score of 322.23 (compared to the long text score of 319.67). Short-text was the second most stressful format, second lowest for focus, and only two participants free recalled it in the post-research survey.  

In the post-research survey, 63.4% of respondents said the shorter format incentivized them to complete the call to action more, compared to 36.6% who said the longer format was an incentive. 

Therefore, to encourage engagement in your emails, short-text is advised, but other formats should be considered as well to reduce the stress that it produces. For example, the zig-zag format, which proved to be the least stressful format (42.77%). 

If you would like to find out more about what grabs people’s attention in an email or on a landing page, download our original experiment report here.


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