A/B subject line test winners

Now find out if you are right as to which subject lines won and read on for our analysis of why. The what happened is just the result, the why is even more important since that is the learning to re-use on future campaigns.

A: Thank You For Making Us Your Florist Of Choice
B: 15% Off – Our Way Of Saying Thank You!

What happened and the uplift
The A subject line had a higher open rate, but it wasn’t the winner. The click rate on B was 60% higher and the revenue from B was 56% higher. This is a good example of ensuring evaluation metrics are closely aligned to marketing objectives. Had evaluation been based on open rate the wrong winner would have been picked. After all opens are not normally the goal.

Why B won.
The reason B won is that subject line A is not well targeted to the objective of the email. This causes the wrong people to open the email. A is very weak in explaining anything about the email contents and the higher open rate was achieved because of this, customers had to open in order to find out just what it was all about. Only the most engaged customers would have gone to this trouble, likely to be the recent customers and brand loyal customers.

Whereas the B subject line is very clear, open this email if you are in the market to buy flowers and would like to have a 15% discount. Thus it focuses on people who are considering buying flowers and this explains that whilst the open is lower, the click rate is higher. Simply those who opened were already more qualified to take the offer.

A: Last chance to order for Valentines Day is this Wednesday, Order Now
B: Only 48 hours to order for guaranteed Valentines Day delivery

What happened and the uplift
Whilst the two subject lines are basically giving the same information, subject line A won with a 23% uplift in sales. Urgency is a very good driver of action and this test shows that just messaging urgency is not enough, how you say it does make a difference.

Why A won
There are two factors at play here. The words ‘last chance’ sound more urgent than ‘only 48 hours’. Remember doing your school homework? If you had only 48 hours to do it then for sure you would wait until tomorrow. Its the same here, only 48 hours means no need to act today, wait to tomorrow.

Also given that many people will not have opened the email until the day after send the A subject line would then be truly urgent, given the day after the send is already Wednesday. Whereas with the B line there is still 48 hours left.

Both subject lines sensibly have the key urgency message at the start of the subject lines. Whilst no test was made, had A been “Wednesday is the last chance to order flowers for Valentines day, Order Now” we don’t think it would have been as effective.

We hope these tests give you some inspiration and understanding of the revenue value testing delivers. Call us to find out about our robust five step optimisation process and our workshop on effective email subject line, copy and design.