How to get the most from your HTML email efforts

If you are sending out HTML e-mails that you have designed, you may be able to improve your ROI and CTR by changing the placement of your content.

In print media, people's eyes move in a fairly predictable pattern. If you design an ad with that in mind, the product is easier to read and comprehend. While there are some differences, electronic media operates on the same basic principles.

Studies have been done on the relationship between eye movement and placement of ads and content in newsletters. They have shown most newsletters are set up in one of three ways:

  • Content broken up by ads or promos vertically
  • Content on the left, ads or promos on the right
  • Content on the right, ads or promos on the left

The analysis determined that most people's eyes move in a "U" pattern starting at the upper left corner. Two design options for setting up the e-mails are compared below.
Using the "U" pattern findings:

  • Viewers of newsletter "A" went down the ads, crossed over and went up to the content
  • Viewers of newsletter "B" saw the content and then the ads

So which format had more clicks, better conversions and higher ROI?

  • Format "A" had a 10 percent higher click rate on the ads
  • However Format "A" had a 20 percent lower conversion rate from clicks than "B"
  • Format "A" had a 12 percent lower effective CPM than "B."

If your newsletter is a type "A," changing the design may improve results.


These results are based on one study. As always, they may or may not hold true with your newsletter. If you do some testing and determine you fit this example, a simple format change could make a big difference in profitability.

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