Emails marked as confidential are more likely to boost clickthrough

Just one in five Brits will open a confidential message not intended for them, suggesting we’ve become far warier of phishing emails than our European counterparts.

Confidentiality offers marketers a huge engagement tactic as new research from email provider, Mailjet, reveals national audiences across EMEA are as much as 48 per cent more likely to engage and clickthrough with messages that play on our sense of curiosity.

Conducted via a series of tests among Mailjet’s database of over 20,000 subscribers, the research finds open rates rose to 45 per cent in France and 34 per cent in Germany based on receiving exclusive ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (FYEO) messages.

By contrast, only 18 per cent of British recipients engage with test messages playing on their sense of confidentiality and exclusivity, perhaps indicative of Brits being more wary of phishing emails than their European counterparts.

The most nosy country according to the report is Spain. Measuring the percentage increase in engagement, the 48 per cent boost generated by FYEO emails in the Spanish market is closely followed by France, which saw a 29 per cent leap through the same tactic. The UK came a very close third with increase open rates falling just one per cent short of the jump seen in the French market.

FYI – management team

While UK respondents are less likely to engage with FYEO messages, mock-up internal emails intended for a third party immediately caught the eye of a much larger proportion of study recipients.

In this second test, UK respondents were 28 per cent more likely to open an external email marked ‘MANAGEMENT TEAM’. This tactic also produced the highest results among US recipients, with a 9 per cent increase in open rate.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet, comments, ‘Over the years there have been some fantastic use cases of ‘leaked’ information to drive engagement. Take Krispy Kreme, their launch campaign for a new Nutella doughnut involved the mass distribution of a ‘confidential internal memo’ for store managers.

‘The fake leak had the brand trending on Twitter within an hour as people speculated about the supposed mishap and began congratulating the brand on a successful launch.’

Authenticity trumps gossip

This contrasts with gossip related subject lines, such as ‘You’ll never guess what happened last week?!’ which appear to lose impact with recipient, generating a mere 3 per cent increase in open rate in the UK and 5 per cent in the US. Shortcomings here suggest a savviness among recipients to the clear marketing intent of these messages and disengagement at the use of exclamation to drive urgency.

Josie continues, ‘While the well travelled paths of ‘behind-the-scenes’ hints and tips have run their course with some EMEA audiences, the reverse psychology of unintentionally sharing a genuine opportunity with the consumer is a welcome reminder that it still takes human emotion to market effectively to audiences. This is why automation solutions are at their best when they are paired with great creative inspiration.’

Further reading on clickthrough rates

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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