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Trends Q: Should you use multiple exclamation points in email subject lines? Or any at all?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Sometimes with the Stash we try to dig deep and uncover hidden ideas. But other times we just want answers to simple, common questions. For the next few weeks we’ll be doing just that around the theme of email subject lines. Today our query is whether using multiple consecutive exclamation points (or any at all) will actually increase open rates. Take a look.

The Goods
To find our answer we looked at email campaigns from resorts that regularly used all three subject line types (no exclamation points, one exclamation point, at least two exclamation points). To be included in our sample each campaign had to have been sent to over 10,000 recipients. Here’s how it shook out:


From this sample, using one exclamation point in your subject line may actually decrease your open rate versus using none at all. What surprised us, however, was that using at least two consecutive exclamation points (i.e., “It’s snowing!!”) did increase the open rate compared to leaving out these characters completely.

What This Means
Does this mean you should add a handful of exclamation points to the end of every subject line? Probably not. In fact, one of our account managers might strangle you if you try. Clearly the use of these characters fits only a certain type of message from a brand with a certain type of voice.

And remember that some spam filters are triggered by exclamation marks. It doesn’t mean that using them is a death sentence, but keep this in mind as you plan your campaigns.

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
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