Jordie van Rijn has more than 13 years of hands-on experience as an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.
Have you ever received an email campaign and you thought “Wow, this is really great!” ?
Maybe it had a nice design, maybe a strong story, maybe it was very personal.
Let me ask you another question, before I hop on to giving over a 150 email split test examples.
Did you buy from that lovely mail?
As marketers, we know that a single on the mark email can outperform your average newsletter by a mile.
But it isn’t a beauty contest to see who can make the best-looking email or even the smartest email.
The challenge is to get the most engaging result rich email possible.
You might be thinking, simply said, but Jordie which email will do better than others?
Should I do this version or that version?
The ultimate answer is simple: You come up with one great idea.
and then (this is the trick) a second great idea. The second idea can be a different idea or a variation of idea 1.
Then you let those (and possibly version 3,4,5 and 6), battle it out for the win by running an email split test.
Can you lift all your email campaign results to that top level? That all depends on the quality of your ideas.
Know what works with A/B email split testing
Knowing what works is key to insightful marketing campaigns. With A/B split testing you have a great result booster at your disposal.
A/B testing will help you pinpoint which version of your email campaigns is the most effective.
But marketers often get stuck or run out of fresh ideas for email split testing, making it repetitive. So I often get asked for examples of good email split tests. Econsultancy research suggests that there are only a few email split tests that are often done by marketers… which is a shame seeing there is so much more to explore. A good reason to try the fresh email split testing ideas below!
150+ A/B email split test ideas
From the subject line all the way through the spectrum of design, copy, offers. Of course the whole anatomy of the email can be tested. Even the core message and your segmentation.
Below is a list with 150+ ideas for A/B email split tests to try. Some I used before with clients and come from own experience, use it for inspiration.
Product image variations
Soft sell (benefits) versus hard sell (buy now)
(Life)style based versus Product based
Headline copy and length
Tell the CEO that he cannot write a lame intro this time
Pricing and discount variations (10% off versus 10 dollars off)
Different mobile responsive designs
Product image sizes
One column vs two vs three column
A negative pitch (loss aversion)
The order of your links and CTA’s
Adjusting the colour scheme
Using (price) ribbons
Optimize for Mobile readers
Add odd-shaped arrows and writing to highlight important parts
Incentives to stimulate engagement
Do a radical redesign
Send time of day
Use price brackets
Use sorting cues as categories
Reword your body copy
Upsell based on previous products purchased
Change product description copy
Offer a trial or test membership / purchase
Balance of content in email versus landing page
Feature one product versus multiple products
Animation – animated gifs
Isolate one feature or benefit
Video in email
A flash sale; how long should your redeem time be
Benefit versus product feature driven
Adding a Teaser email
Personal tone versus business tone
Sending a reminder
Button to go to your survey vs already asking a first (multiple choice) survey question inside the email.
Swap the order and position of your content categories
Adding / removing editorial content
Sending a triggered welcome email series
The number of text links: a lot of links versus not so many links
Top lists, or even list of lists
Most popular items
Using trust icons
Removing links from your header navigation bar
Using line of sight to direct the eye
Different background colours
Use humour or whit (Danger! Can backfire!)
Newest / new in stock items
Segment customer versus non-customer
Test different navigation structures and designs
Changing colours to highlight an important element
Show spokespersons or ambassadors
Use an interesting looking graph or flow diagram
Casual case versus Camel Case in your subject line
Make it look less like an offer / advertisement
Clear versus teasing subject line
Link to archives or related content
Long copy versus short copy
Use of bullet points
Adding a footer navigation
Testing the from name
Use steps or a progress indicator in a series
Add a variety of social proof
Showing personal data (name, customer number)
Loyalty points and customer levels
Tie in to special days / events
Being less lazy in your Call to Actions than “click here, read more”
Repackage products into combinations and packages
Repetition of the CTA and button
Reuse last year’s successful campaign
Change the writing perspective of the copy: He, Me, She, We
Intellect Versus Emotion
Write down your assumptions, then assume nobody knows
Present a search box in the email
A Call / Chat / contact now option
Don’t sell to the ones that can’t buy
Follow up on any downloaded content
Change you Landing page design
Present decision-required information (eg for an event, show date and time)
Focus on the Greedy nature of the subscriber
Change your incentives
Rename (even if only in the email) your product / content
Using a different designer
Adding / removing index links
Changing image Alt-texts
Use the from name to show the type of email message
Shopping cart abandonment emails
Hook on to a popular trending topic
Send more of previously successful campaigns
Adding scroll indicators or scroll promoting design
Ask to fill a wishlist
Promote updating preferences
Placement of Social Media buttons
Highly personalised offers and content
Call to action (CTA) button colour en design
Add a see / search all catalogue link
Customer versus non customer segmentation
Segmentation based on engagement
Introduce your team to the reader
Make an unexpected offer
Day to send
Individualized Send Time vs. Universal Email Send Time
Abandoned cart offer and timing
Add a sense of urgency: “last chance, last dance”
Equal or increased size for lead articles
Reminder versus service update
Behavioural data interests segmentation
Social buttons design
Think before you send
Adjust your triggered emails by Season
Personalizing images based on customer profile
Splitting your CTA up into multiple, deeper linking CTAs
Adding a PS
The number of products in your mail
Mail based on RFM scores
Document the impact of the test on the funnel
Coupon code versus a direct link mechanism
Send Frequency and cadence
Offering third party products or content
Tone-of-voice: Human versus corporate
Resending to non-openers
A non-selling email
Add / remove a contact center employee image
Adding reviews or scores
Product images versus people using the products
Images of a successful outcome of using the product
Different ways of segmenting your subscribers
A mystery email
Test call-outs, text pointing to particular parts of a picture
Test violators, attention-grabbing shapes such as starbursts, ovals and banners
Image heavy versus text heavy
Inserting personal data in copy (name of business)
Pintrest style email
Use of first name in copy or subjectline
Brainstorm more variants of a previous test
Curated content versus original content
Different CTAs inside product images
Single message in your email versus multiple items
Transactional email promotions
Repeat your offer and main benefits on the landingpage
Use of a Survey
Using in-email banners
Product versus product category
Using different fonts and font sizes
Mail based on engagement level (heavy opener versus never buyer)
Category landing page, versus product landing page
Use of (previously) bought product
Removing the intro
Retest the test you did more than 3 months ago
Email exclusive content
Adding click indicators to your CTAs
Loss aversion (don’t miss) in subject line and email
Different type of offers (free shipping versus discount)
Using a contest or prize draw
Adding easter eggs
Add an indication of reading time (eg approx 2 mins reading time) for articles
Break one email into several more focussed emails or vice versa
Adopt for preview pane reading
For once: don’t offer a discount
Add or remove a highlighted / featured article
Move the email header and navigation down below your primary text/imagery and call to action.
A/B split testing your email newsletter
A/B split testing is a great tactic to optimize your messages. You know, there isn’t one right way to create, design and send your email marketing campaigns that will work for each brand and audience Not all of the above are suitable for your own email marketing program. But with that many variables, there are equally enough combinations of A/B split tests you can do.
If you are looking to improve your email marketing results, A/B split testing your emails is a great tactic and it should not be missing from your . As you can see there is so much more to explore!
Let me know about your own split testing experiences, tips and questions in the comments.
Come forth and step into our time machine to the future of email marketing and Marketing Automation with our 8th annual review of all email marketing trends and predictions.
When we want to future-proofing your digital marketing strategy, it is important to understand where we are and anticipate where email marketing is moving. Especially where these changes impact the day-to-day business.
What does 2019 and beyond hold in store for the inbox? What tactics and best practices you need to start using? And way email marketers deal with the ever evolving marketing landscape? What about those pesky customers, leads, subscribers and their behavior?
Note: The overview is “Trendslated” – Translating the trends and predictions spotted by experts inside and outside the email marketing automation industry. Capture the essence, summarize in different words and an observation and joke here and there all for your trends overview reading pleasure.
So let’s jump in and see what email industry today has to say about email marketing automation tomorrow…
– your host, Jordie van Rijn
What will Email Marketing look like in 5 years?
Econsultancy asked marketers how email marketing will evolve. “Looking ahead five years, what do you think the single biggest change to email marketing will be?”
The Big Topics for the coming 5 years are: …Drumroll please… AI, Data, Personalisation, Content, GDPR and Automation. Just have a look at this Word Cloud created from their predictions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hottest topic of all, as brand marketers look 5 years into the future of email marketing.
Looking at the 5 year trends in email and automation, what will be the biggest change?
Interesting snippets from brand marketers answers:
“AI, meaning a lot of decisions and campaign planning will become automated.”
“Brand distinction. While I saw a 23% increase in conversion using AI subject line testing, as the providers gained more clients we all began to sound alike. The increase was robust at first and began to flatline; lost momentum but not a downturn.”
“Far more automated and intelligent email marketing. Content will be pulled from existing sources and there will be less pressure on marketers to do it manually.”
“Email will become almost a ‘luxury’ channel – customers’ email addresses will be reserved for highly relevant, highly personalised content and brands which fail to deliver will rarely get a second chance. It will be one of the channels with the highest and fastest growing ROI.”
“Voice-based interaction. As people move away from using screens, emails copy needs to work equally well for someone reading it, or having it read to them.”
“Web-like experience within the email (shopping, purchasing, etc.) without the need to launch into a browser.”
The No Bullsh*t 2019 Email Marketing Predictions
Kickbox asked 6 email experts to weigh in on expected changes and new opportunities in email marketing – while cutting the male cow excrement. Here is their view on email marketing trends and how they can help your email marketing strategy.
2019 Will Be the Year of Customer Experience Email Marketing
Kath Pay: Marketers will begin to carry the same principles that make the lifecycle messages work i.e: helpfulness, personalised and customer-focused, into their regular Business As Usual / promotional emails.
This is called Customer Experience Email Marketing. Consumers expect brands to deliver upon the original promise they signed up to when they subscribed to your email program.
Predictive Automation For the Win
Dennis Dayman: With massive amounts of data collected, increasing use of automation systems and automated emails are to expect. But instead of a strategy of email programs to look back to that data, it will be about what they will NEED and want to buy next.
If presented right, predictive email it is not creepy. No one gets creeped out when Amazon suggests something based on your purchases and profile.
Brand Authenticity & Customer-Centric Marketing Will Shine
In the Email Addiction research we uncover how consumers use email and think about email marketing.
We all want to know the views and behaviors of consumers that have the greatest impact on email marketing.
But as an email marketer, it is easy to stop seeing email the way consumers see it.
(no registration needed)
In the report you will find answers to questions like:
What are the most attractive reasons for people to sign-up for newsletters?
How do consumers feel about no-reply addresses?
What is the desired frequency for brands to send offers?
How easy is it to read emails on mobile?
What do people expect to get after they sign up for a newsletter?
And of course, what is the favourite channel to receive promotions? (hint: it is email)
Here are a few findings from the report:
During many years of helping Brands with their email strategy, we found that knowing how your customers interact and perceive your emails is key for successful email marketing.
1. Email is checked all the time, everywhere
There is little you can assume about the context of the reader. In the bathroom, on vacation, in restaurants, regardless of where more than a third are checking their email.
77% turn to email in a moment of boredom. 70% check their email in bed and almost equally as many immediately when waking up.
2. Over 50% of unengaged are waiting for the right moment
Why don’t customers unsubscribe from brand emails they opted-in for but mostly ignore?
The majority says it’s not because they’re no longer engaged in the brand. They are either waiting for the right offer (37%) or because they expect to buy from the brand again. (24%).
3. These are the top innovations in email marketing
What are the email marketing innovations that consumers are most interested in? 38% wants emails to include product ratings and 35% offers based on their past purchases. Consumers are looking for qualification and relevance to help the decision to click. Surprisingly the enthusiasm for location based email is high with 31% seemingly no big concern of brands being too intrusive.
The report was compiled by email marketing consultants Jordie van Rijn of and Tim Watson of Zettasphere. The statistics are based on a survey of 417 predominately North American consumers sampled at random and representing all demographics. Feel free to get in touch with questions about the research.
PS: We encourage you to quote the research findings or use the graphics from the report inside your blogs, presentations, online publications. But only if you include proper attribution and a link to this page (the source). We also encourage you to use your think-muscle in general, no attribution needed for that.
Smartphones and tablets can no longer be ingnored by email marketers. They represent a massive part all email interactions and revenue. But just how massive? I searched near and far for all (useful) available statistics and compiled the ultimate mobile email statistics overview with insight into the current state of mobile email. These numbers will keep on changing, almost every day. So I will update them regularly. I last updated in Nov 2018
Feel free to share these stats with everyone, a link back would be appreciated.
Ultimate mobile email usage statistic
The ultimate mobile email usage stat, this is all you really need:
Ultimate mobile email usage stat:Mobile email will account for 22 to 77% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type. eMailmonday– “the Ultimate mobile email stats” (2018)
Mobile email statistics: Growth and usage of email on mobile
Mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens, followed by webmail opens at 35%, and desktop opens at 18%. – Litmus “Email Client Market Share Trends” (Jun 2018)
59% of email opens occurred on mobile, 15% on desktop and 28% in a webmail client. – Adestra “Top 10 email clients” (July 2018)
About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go (mobile) and 75% of say they use their smartphones most often to check email. – Fluent “The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)
Email is always read first on mobile for an average of 25,6%. 40% aged 14-18 will always read emails on mobile first, 29% for ages 19 – 34 and 8% of the group of 56 – 67. – Adestra “Consumer Adoption & Usage Study” (2016)
68,9% of recipients view marketing mails on the smartphone 2-3 days per week. – 250OK and 42labs “What recipients really think about your email marketing designs” (2018)
55% of consumers 56-67 say they will never read email on their mobile first. This is only 18% for the age group 19 – 34. – Adestra “Consumer Adoption & Usage Study” (2016)
More email is read on Mobile than on desktop email clients. Stats say 47% of email is now opened on a mobile device – Litmus “The 2017 Email Client Market Share” (Jan 2018)
47% of people use a mobile device to check an email campaign on average, while 26,9% uses desktop and 26,1% uses webmail. – Vision6 “Email Marketing Metrics Report (Dec 2017)
81% uses a smartphone for regularly checking emails. 21% uses a tablet. Smartphones are the most common device especially for younger individuals (less than 35 years old) and females. – Adobe “Email Use 2017 – US Report” (2018)
33% of emails are opened in a mobile application, 17% in a webmail client and 48% on desktop. – Freshmail “Best practices for email coding” (May 2015)
56% of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q4 2015, compared to 54% in Q3 2015. – Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q4 2015)
40 percent of consumers said that their mobile phone is their primary device for checking email. – The Relevancy Goup “Inbox Evolution: Consumer email marketing trends and behaviors.” (2018)
Over 98 percent reported owning a mobile device of some kind and 86% of consumers reported that they access one or more of their email accounts via a mobile device. – The Relevancy Goup “Inbox Evolution: Consumer email marketing trends and behaviors.” (2018)
Women interact with email for just over a hundred million more minutes per month than the industry average. Per individual, it means that women spend seven minutes more per month on a smartphone checking email compared to men. – UKOM & Comscore data (2016)
Nearly 4m adults do not use a desktop/laptop to access the internet. Younger audiences, females & parents most likely to be ‘mobile only’. UKOM Insights – UK Digital Market Overview March 2017 (2017)
Majority of Email Is Opened on a Mobile Device. According to Kahuna data, 86% of emails in Q1 2016 were opened on a mobile device. – Kahuna “The Kahuna Mobile Marketing Index” (Q1 2016)
67,2% of consumers use a smartphone to check their email, 42,3% use a tablet while 93,3% uses desktop environment. – BlueHornet “Customer Views of email marketing 2015” (2015)
Webmail and desktop opens have steadily declined throughout 2015, each dropping 13% since January. Litmus –”Email Analytics” (Nov 2015)
75 percent of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. Gmail now has 900 million users. – Google / TechCrunch “I/O developers conference” (May 2015)
Responsive design results in a nearly 15% increase in unique clicks for mobile users from a 2.7% average to 3.3%. – Litmus and MailChimp “The Science of Email Clicks: The Impact of Responsive Design & Inbox Testing” (December 2014)
The first link in a responsive design email on mobile has a 30% higher click rate than non-responsive design. – Litmus and MailChimp “The Science of Email Clicks: The Impact of Responsive Design & Inbox Testing” (December 2014)
The iPhone is the most popular platform in the mobile email space (60%) followed by Apple iPad (21%) and Google Android (18%) Litmus “Email Analytics” (March 2016)
The iPad is the third most popular email client (11%). But iPad opens have been on a continuous decline over the past year, dropping over 7% from January to July 2015. – Litmus “Top 10 Email Programs” (July 2015)
The percentage the percentage of overall opens happening on smartphones has gone up about 7% from 2015 to 2016. – MessageGears “Mobile Email Engagement Is On The Rise” (2017)
Smartphone click rates are significantly higher than before. More clicks are now happening on smartphones (47.5%) than desktops (41.7%). – MessageGears “Mobile Email Engagement Is On The Rise” (2017)
Android phone users spent the most time viewing emails. Android smartphone 52,99% of users spent 15 seconds or more viewing each message. Desktop users came in second, with 43,99% spending 15 seconds or more viewing an email. Movable Ink “US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q2 2014” (2014)
The biggest turnoffs people have with mobile email are: Receiving too many (44%), Not relevant (37%), Too small to read and interact with (32%), Website and landingpages not mobile optimized (26%) and Not well formatted for mobile phones (21%) – LiveClicker and The Relevancy Group “Exploring the Benefits Real-Time Email – Driving Marketing Effectiveness” (2015)
Replies sent from phones are 54% faster than those sent from desktops. Mobile replies have a median reply time of only 28 minutes, followed by emails sent from tablets with 57 minutes and finally replies from desktops with 62. – Yahoo “Evolution of Conversations in the Age of Email Overload” (April 2015)
Work email is 40% less likely to be checked on a smartphone than personal email. 35% checks mobile email on a smartphone, compared to 59% doing so for personal email. Adobe “Email Use 2017 – US Report“ (2018)
Replies sent from mobile devices are 60% shorter than those sent from desktops. Replies from phones have a median length of 20 words, replies from tablets are 27 words and from desktops are 60 words. – Yahoo “Evolution of Conversations in the Age of Email Overload” (April 2015)
Mobile email per industry
Mobile readership across industries ranges widely. Leisure, Sports & Recreation have the highest
mobile email readership with 60.0%. Which makes sense for leisure industries as their very nature attracts a younger and literally mobile audience. – IBM Watson Marketing “2018 Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
Schools & Education have the lowest mobile email readership with 38.2% percent. – IBM Watson Marketing “2018 Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
TV / Radio / Film, Events and B2C Retail sectors show the highest levels of mobile email consumption. – Sign-up.to “2018 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
Education and Training, Online Services and IT show the lowest levels of mobile email opens and consumption. – Sign-up.to “2018 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
12 of the 29 sectors showed an increase in mobile opens with the largest differences being in the sectors: – B2B Retail (+14.14%) – Sales / Marketing / Design (+13.27%) – Engineering / Manufacturing (+7.56%) – Sign-up.to “2018 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
19 of the 29 sectors showed an increase in mobile click-through with the largest differences being in the sectors: – Fashion (+16.79%) – Sales / Marketing / Design (+16.79%) – Health / Beauty / Spa / Wellbeing (+12.08%) – Sign-up.to “2018 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
B2C emails get 47,8% more opens on mobile than B2B email, ranking 46% opens on mobile for B2C compared to 24% for B2B. – DDMA “Nationale email benchmark 2018” (2018)
The majority of email opens occurred on mobile phones or tablets for all industries except business products and services. – Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q4 2015).
Only multi-channel retailers had 50% or more of their total clicks occurring on mobile phones or tablets in Q4 2015. – Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q4 2015)
The top 3 industries for average of email mobile open rates in Canada are Media and content distributors with 59.2%, Tourism, hotel and entertainment businesses with 55.1% and Retail trade businesses with 53.2% – Dialog Insight “Mobile email open rates: Are you in the top 3?” (2016).
Emails from B2B companies (32,1%) and communication and marketing agencies (25,1) in Canada have the smallest percentage of mobile opens Dialog Insight “Mobile email open rates: Are you in the top 3?” (2016).
Mobile email stats per country
Nearly half (49.1%) of all emails are read on mobile devices throughout the world, with some regions significantly higher or lower. United Kingdom region continues to have the highest mobile readership at 62.9%, almost double that of Latin America & Caribbean at 31.4%. – IBM Watson Marketing “2018 Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
Desktop usage remains the highest in North America with Canada at 30.5% and the US at 19.0%. – IBM Watson Marketing “2018 Marketing Benchmark Report” (2018)
39% of all marketing emails are opened on mobile in the Netherlands. Mobile represents 38% of all clicks. – DDMA “Nationale email benchmark 2018” (2018)
In the Netherlands 29,8% of email opens happened on smartphone, 24,2% of email opens occured on a tablet making a total of 54% mobile opens. – Add to Favorites “Email Open Rate Onderzoek” (2016)
The number of email opens on a mobile device has increased with 6,7% in the Netherlands. – Add to Favorites “Email Open Rate Onderzoek” (2016)
37% email opens are on Desktop, 30% on webmail and 33% on mobile across countries. – Freshmail requested exclusively for “The Ultimate Mobile email statistics overview” (2016)
Poland has a low percentage of people checking email on mobile. With 45% of emails opened on webmail, 30% on desktop and only 25% on Mobile. – Freshmail requested exclusively for “The Ultimate Mobile email statistics overview” (2016)
When and where do people check their email on mobile?
59% of respondents check their personal email on the go (on mobile devices), while 65% check their email at home. – Fluent ”The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)
60% of respondents check their work email on a smartphone and 14% on a tablet, while 57% check their work email on laptop / desktop. – Fluent ”The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)
Ages 18-34 are more likely to use email on a mobile. 60% aged 18-24 check their work email with a smartphone, 65% checks personal email on the go (mobile). – Fluent ”The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)
Smartphone use for reading email dominates throughout the day, desktop use peaks during the mid morning hours and tablet use spikes at night and increases on the weekend. – Movable Ink “US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q3 2014″ (2014)
Americans love to multitask with email. They check email while watching TV or a movie (69%), in bed (57%), and on vacation (79%). – Adobe digital Insights “ADI Email Survey 2016”
A quarter of Americans report checking email regularly right up until they go to bed, with 3% actually gets up in the middle of the night to check messages. – Adobe digital Insights “ADI Email Survey 2016”
The Late morning is peak time for using email apps on smartphones, based on total time spent. – Google “How People Use Their Devices 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know” (Sept 2016)
Of people using email apps on their smartphone, only 45% use them at home. – Google “How People Use Their Devices 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know” (Sept 2016)
In a given hour when actively using their phone, users interact with 4.8 apps – Google “How People Use Their Devices 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know” (Sept 2016)
Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) of Smartphone-first consumers check their email more than once a day, 19% higher than those who primarily check on another device. – Fluent ”The Inbox report 2016, Consumer perceptions of email”..