Yes, You Can Put “Free” In Your Subject Line

Thursday, Yahoo! released an email visualization tool. Updated every second, it shows the volume of email being delivered through Yahoo! users across the globe.

Click on the map, and it’ll zoom in to a breakdown of emails in that area (with all emails anonymized). Keep clicking, and it’ll display fascinating facts about Yahoo!’s user base.
You can also choose to either show or hide blocked spam messages.



But the visualizer’s not just fun to look at (though we’re crossing our fingers this is available as a desktop background very soon). If you click on the green “trending keywords” box, you’ll see something very helpful for email marketers:

The Current Top Words in Email Subject Lines

In blue, you see the most common words in subject lines hitting inboxes by the second (though the data’s delayed by about an hour).

Then, if you click the green “show spam keywords” box, you’ll see a gray representation of subject line words for emails being blocked as spam (though probably not for the subject lines).

So How Can You Use This?

Now, we’re not suggesting you start copying and pasting lists of safe words and danger words.

We’re suggesting that, once you get over the awe of this lovely tool, you take note of these two observations:

  1. Every time we take a look, the word “free” is hovering steadily in the “delivered” zone. “Free” subject lines are getting delivered. It’s safe.So no more typing fr.e.e in your subject lines, okay? For one, your subscribers must think your ring finger has a nervous tic. For another, it looks more suspicious than the real word anyway.
  2. If Yahoo is putting this information out there for anyone (spammers, desperate marketers, sane marketers and the general unconcerned populace) to see, they’re not worried about anyone gaming the system.

This suggests that the words you use in your subject line aren’t necessarily what flags emails as spam, and therefore, they aren’t the most important factor.

So instead of worrying exactly which words are “safe,” focus on which words are engaging and entertaining and make the sale.

Keep your focus on subscriber engagement, get whitelisted and work on building relationships – then watch your own subject lines show up in the Visualizer when you click the “queue” button!

Have You Explored Visualizer?

What do you think? Helpful, or just a digital lava lamp?

If you notice anything else about the visualizer that email marketers should know, please share in a comment below!