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Here we’ll answer five frequently asked questions about the preview text. You’ll learn everything you need to boost your open rates with the preview text of your next email campaign.
The preview text is a short copy that displays below the subject line in many email clients, such as Gmail and Outlook. It’s a teaser that gives more info about the email.
In one-to-one email exchanges, it’s often the email’s opening: “Dear Katja, Thanks for your email…” Most email marketing software, however, let you choose what preview text to be displayed. That’s because for business communication it’s important to control this real estate in the inbox. It’s additional space for your message. Relevant preview text increases email open rates.????
As an email marketer, you don’t want to waste this vital space. It’s your last chance to impress your readers in their inbox before they scroll on, leaving your email campaign unopened.
Here’s all you need to know about email preview text so you can get the most out of it.????
Most marketers use “preview text” and “preheader” interchangeably. That’s because in many emails, these are one and the same thing.
If you want to get technical about it, they are actually different things. ????You’ll often find subtle differences in what your email marketing software lets you do with your preview text and your preheader.
The email preview text is the text that displays in the inbox. It shows a brief preview of the email you’re about to read. Typically, it simply is the first line of the email.
The preheader is a small text that appears at the very top within the email itself. In most email marketing software, by default it is a link to the browser version of the email. Which is why unless you change it manually, your preview text will read, “View this email in your browser.” But you can do better than that!
The preheader text that appears above the header within the email body. In this case it is “View in browser.”
The preview text adds value, expands your message, makes it clearer what the email is about, and helps get the recipient to open it.
Now, with that purpose in mind, the email preview text should complement the subject line, not complete it.
When writing preview text, remember that it doesn’t display in all email clients. This means you want to avoid including information necessary to understanding the subject line because then some subscribers will miss it. Don’t make the message of the subject line + preview text dependent on the preview text.
Now, supplemental doesn’t mean boring! Write your preview text using the same methods you use for crafting a subject line:
One common practice is to put an additional CTA in the preview text. An example would be: “Check out our latest articles!”
Another good practice is to use the preview text to summarize the content of your email campaign. This way the recipient sees what it’s about at a glance.
This strategy is particularly useful if you send a regular newsletter. From nonprofits to blogs, just listing the top stories included can go a long way to increase open rates.
Now, if you ignore the preview text, by default it will usually show text linking to the web version of the email. With Sendinblue, for example, this will happen automatically if you don’t set the preview text. This helps the user experience by making the email readable in their browser, sure. But we suggest you go beyond the default.
Here are some good and bad email preview text examples to help you come up with ideas.
Remember to avoid the spam filter! Just like with subject lines, watch out for anything that could be perceived as spammy behavior in preview text. This means avoiding writing in all caps, using excessive exclamation points, or stuffing it with too many emojis.
Did you know that the preview text does not display in all email clients?
Also, each email client displays a different number of characters in its preview text. These range between 40 and 140.
The table below gives you an overview of current display limits in the most popular email clients.
|Provider||Displays Preview Text?||Maximum Character Count|
|Apple iPhone||Yes||81 (vertical); 137 (horizontal)|
|Gmail||Yes||97 (web); 90 (iOS app); Varies (Android app)|
|Outlook 2013 and up||Yes||35 (Windows); 55 (Mac); Varies (web)|
|Outlook 2010 and earlier||No|
|Yahoo!||Yes||Varies (web); 45–50 (mobile app)|
|Android & Windows phones||Yes||40|
Just look at these preview text email examples from my inbox and how the preview text length varies each time:
Every sender tried something different to handle varying email preview text length.
There are four recommended approaches to diverse character limits:
Tip: “But how do I create blank space after the preview text,” you ask?
Warning: Inserting blank space after the preview text is known as the “preview text hack.” Like all hacks, it has some drawbacks. There are several ways to do this, and none of them is foolproof. There will always be some email client that doesn’t display this properly.
These preview text hacks revolve around inserting a long line of alternating zero-width nonjoiners with nonbreaking spaces.
Whether you do it in HTML or in Unicode, some email clients will display the former as code and the latter as boxes. So you have to choose, based on your target groups’ email client preferences whether you want to use this hack.
Email preview text written in chunks that can be cut off easily.
In Sendinblue, email campaigns are created in four steps: Setup, Design, Recipients, and Confirmation. ????
On Setup, you have the text previewer (see below) where to set the preview text as you want it. Then, you’ll create your design and add the email content in the Design step.
The preview text can help you boost your open rate. It’s best to use it to convey additional information that expands on the subject line, not information that completes it.
Preview text length ranges between 40 and 140 characters, depending on the email client recipients use. Look at your email stats to find out which are the most used by your email list to decide on your preview text length strategy.
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