Why write email that’s easy to skim?

Because only 19% of e-zines get read thoroughly

Email newsletter subscribers skim 69% of the e-zines they receive, according to the Nielsen Norman Group’s latest eyetracking study.

They skim the surface Mobile readers skim email newsletters 74% of the time; they fully read just 24% of the time. Image by Nicole Honeywill

Subscribers in the NNG study:

  1. Thoroughly read just 19% of e-zines
  2. Read the majority of the content of 6%
  3. Glanced at but did not read at all 6%

“They don’t spend much time, and they don’t read full content,” write the researchers. “The dominant approach to newsletter content was to skim.”

Learn a system for writing emails that get the word out to nonreaders …..

Subscribers skim even more on mobile.

In NNG’s most recent study, mobile newsletter readers reported that they:

  1. Skimmed newsletters 74% of the time
  2. Fully read newsletters 24% of the time
  3. Glance at but don’t read 2% of the time

So which words do they read?

They read the microcontent.

Email newsletter subscribers in NNG eyetracking studies read:

  1. Headlines
  2. The first line or two of the story
  3. Bulleted lists
  4. Links

They often skipped the paragraphs, sometimes because they were scrolling too quickly.

“Scannability is important for websites, writes NNG principal Jakob Nielsen, but it’s about 50% more important for newsletters.”

So put your message where their eyes are: In the microcontent, or online display copy.

Inside the Inbox - Ann Wylie's email-writing workshop on Nov. 7-8 in D.C.

Get opened, read and clicked through Learn a system for writing email newsletters, invites and e-blasts that get the word out. Join me at Inside the Inbox, our email-writing workshop, on Nov. 7-8 in D.C.

Save $100 when you register by Oct. 6.

“I cannot believe how much I changed and improved one piece in this session. I also enjoyed the ability to hear more from the other professionals in the room. Very interactive, which I loved.”
— Megan McCarl, public relations associate, Lambert, Edwards & Associates