140 Characters Or 140 seconds… How Twitter’s Impacting Email Campaigns


Accepted wisdom is that you have no more than 3 seconds before a recipient decides whether they’re going to read your email, save it for later, or delete it.

Who’s to blame?

Our attention spans are getting shorter and although Twitter and the like can’t be blamed entirely, as Forbes have said, the ‘24/7 media barrage of sound bites we face every day could be taking its toll’.

Like a peacock, consumers expect suitors to get their proposition out there pretty darn quick.

An attention-deficit ripple effect?

Forbes go onto say that beyond social media, ‘Fox News and others have shortened stories to be quickly digested and even media outlets like CNN now rely on the pretty faces of their news anchors to keep our attention’.

It’s no coincidence that Twitter requires users to get to the point in 140 characters or less and it really does seem to be revolutionizing the way we communicate across other channels both online and offline.

140 characters or 140 seconds?

Content consumers today reject the waffle, fluff and unnecessary filler words and although I’m not suggesting you send 140 character length emails, reader attention span absolutely should be a consideration when writing your email campaigns.

I got the idea for this post when this email popped into my inbox:


This online legal contracts provider promised me that I could start and finish reading their newsletter inside of 140 seconds.

They weren’t lying, I finished it in about 2 minutes, although I’d probably go back and read a few of the email’s lines again as I whizzed through them in an effort to beat the clock.

The hook

However, regardless of whether it takes some of their subscribers slightly longer to digest the information and read it in its entirety, the point is that they got me. The hook that appealed to my short attention span worked.

I subscribed to them because I find their emails useful, but it’s very rare that I click on an email like that whilst doing something else, but I found myself thinking ‘heck I’ve got 140 seconds’ and and the next think I know, I’m on their blog!

Today’s email consumers want instant gratification and quick fixes so make sure that your email messages are tailored for a world of dwindling attention spans. Read 6 ways to get better response from your email content.

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please get in touch using the comments section below.

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