Perfecting Your Email Preview Text

February 14, 2023
Written by
Austin Whiting
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

Perfecting Your Email Preview Text

Not sure what email preview text is and how to add it to your emails? We've got you covered.

When measuring the success of your email campaign, one of the first concerns is making sure the email you send found its way into the inbox (a certain area we like to think we know a little bit about).

Once your email lands in the recipient’s inbox, the next most important thing is grabbing your recipient's attention in a way that drives them to open your email. You’re likely spending a good deal of time crafting your subject line to achieve this, but did you know your subject line isn't your only opportunity to influence at this stage?

What is email preview text?

The preview text is a second piece of real estate that helps influence why your recipient should open. (Think of your preview text as your supporting subject line).

The preview text–sometimes referred to as preheader text–is the copy to the right of your subject line.

Opens are a top conversion and messaging KPI, so considering and spending time on your preview text will also help drive opens and engagement with your recipients.

The following post provides additional explanation about preview text, how to customize it to your emails, and some best practice tips to ensure they are effective!

What’s the difference between preview and preheader text?

The terms preview text and preheader, while often used interchangeably, are not exactly the same thing.

The preheader is the bit of text you'll often see above the header in an email which includes a small piece of messaging. This is generally used to control what shows up in the preview text, or subject line supporting text within the inbox.

But you can also hide and then customize the preheader text from the body of an email, and still have it show up alongside the subject line.

To do this we use the following bit of code:

Email preview text examples

Your preview text is a great opportunity to include secondary messaging to a short, attention-grabbing subject line (brush up on your subject line best practices here). It is also another great thing to test, test, test. For example, if you've zeroed in on a great "abandoned cart" email subject line, see if you can affect a stronger open rate with additional messaging within your preview text.

Here are some of my favorite subject line/preview text combos from some of our customers. Again, the preview text is the copy on the far left and to the right of the subject line:

Notice that the preview text above all combines urgency and wit, along with clear explanations and expectations of what the user can expect once they open the email.

How long should email preview text be?

Your email preview text should be anywhere from 40-140. The range of what's displayed depends on the email client and device your recipient uses.

With that range, we recommend you keep your email preview text around 50-90 characters. This will ensure recipients can read the full message on most devices and inboxes.

Email preview text best practices

Your preview text is really just another opportunity to message alongside your subject line. While preview text is supported by most major email applications, the character count they show does vary, so it's often a good idea to:

  • Keep preview text on the shorter side
  • Include main points and buzzwords towards the front
  • Include a sense of urgency call out

Finally, like any other piece of content in your emails, the preview text is another variable that you can (and should be) constantly testing. For more on A/B testing best practices, check out our A/B Testing Best Practice Guide.

Start sending with Twilio SendGrid

Ready to send better emails (and email preview text)? Sign up for a free Twilio SendGrid account (no credit card required) and send 100 emails per day on our Free Forever plan.

Recommended For You

Most Popular

Send With Confidence

Partner with the email service trusted by developers and marketers for time-savings, scalability, and delivery expertise.