Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gone in 51 seconds

People spend an average of 51 seconds reading an e-newsletter, according to a study about e-newsletter usability published by the Nielson Norman group.

The study also found that the first two words of a headline are key and that most readers only skim the content because they've got so many other emails competing for their attention.

I always prefer newsletters with articles that have a headline, a single short paragraph about the article and a link to further information rather than the full article in the newsletter itself and I suppose this study shows that I'm a typical user.

So keep e-newsletters short and make the articles catchy and easy to read.

There's no point in spending time composing long and detailed e-newsletters 'cos they won't get read. But if the full content of the newsletter is on your website (and available as a web feed) then it's always available to everyone (which an e-newsletter isn't - especially after it gets binned).

P.S. My interest in this study stems partly from a web application called Mass Mailer whose development I'm involved with.

No comments: