In email marketing, every element plays a crucial role in capturing the attention of recipients and driving engagement. One such element is the preview text.

In this article, we will explore its concept in email marketing, differentiate it from the preheader, discuss its compatibility across various email clients in 2023, and delve into strategies to optimize its efficiency.

What is Preview Text in Email Marketing?

The preview text refers to the concise snippet of text that provides a preview of the email content. It appears prominently in the recipient’s inbox, right next to or beneath the subject line. Its purpose is to offer a glimpse of what awaits the recipient upon opening the email, compelling them to open the email.

Differences between Preview Text and Preheader

In the realm of email marketing, the terms “preview text” and “preheader” are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion. However, it is important to understand their distinctions to effectively utilize both elements in email campaigns.

While both are essential components of an email, they serve different purposes. As mentioned, the preview text is a teaser snippet of text that appears alongside or below the subject line in the recipient’s inbox. On the other hand, the preheader refers to an optional text displayed above the header area of your email.

Back in the day, it was strategically placed within messages to grab attention in the inbox. As the very first element in the template, if cleverly coded, it would be displayed right there. But times have changed and with the growing emphasis on maximizing precious space and the ever-evolving features of ESPs, the preheader has lost some of its shine and taken on a different role. That’s why the terms still get mixed up sometimes.

Fast forward to today, while the preview text aims to grab attention and encourage recipients to open the email, the preheader can however keep serving as a supportive element, further engaging recipients who have already taken the step to open the email. By differentiating between the two, you can leverage each element strategically to optimize email engagement and convey a cohesive message to recipients.

The Importance of Preview Text for Email Open Rates

The preview text plays a significant role in determining email open rates. It is one of the first elements recipients see when browsing their inbox, influencing their decision to open or ignore an email. Crafting compelling and relevant preview text can pique the curiosity of recipients, making them more likely to engage with the email.

The preview text can also be leveraged as a branding tool to reinforce your brand’s identity and values. Use consistent tone, language, and visual elements that align with your brand. Incorporate your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) in the preview text to distinguish your emails from competitors and strengthen brand recognition.

Ideal Length of Preview Text to Prevent Truncated or Cut-off Preview Text

The ideal length of the preview text in email marketing is a crucial consideration for capturing recipients’ attention and enticing them to open the email.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, aiming for a concise and compelling preview text is generally recommended. Keeping it within 40 to 100 characters ensures that the message is concise and impactful, while also avoiding truncation or cutoff in various email clients and devices.

However, it’s essential to balance brevity with providing enough information to pique recipients’ curiosity and give them a glimpse of the email’s content. Experimenting with different lengths and analyzing the response rates can help determine the optimal preview text length for your specific audience and objectives.

Optimizing Preview Text for Mobile Devices

Given the increasing prevalence of mobile email usage, it is crucial to optimize the preview text for mobile devices. Use shorter, attention-grabbing phrases, ensure it displays correctly on smaller screens, and test its appearance across various mobile devices and email clients.

How should you address the challenge of email clients having varying character limits?

When faced with the reality of email clients having different character limits for preview text, it’s essential to approach the situation strategically. You typically have two options:

First, you can choose to go with a longer preview text, but this runs the risk of embarrassing truncation if it gets cut off by email clients.

Alternatively, you can opt for a shorter preview text, but be aware that email clients may pull in URLs and other “non-optimized” content from your emails to fill the remaining space.

To overcome this challenge, thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making like the following are key:

  1. Prioritize the most essential information within the limited character count to ensure it is effectively conveyed in the preview.
  2. Instead of writing a long text that may get cut off, divide the preview text into bite-sized segments separated by symbols like a pipe.
  3. Seamlessly integrate with the opening allowing the preview text to flow into the greeting or opening of the email (this is great if you are cold emailing in a personal way!)
  4. Consider repeating essential information within the preview text (while we Bancomailers do not endorse this technique, it is worth mentioning that it is used by Facebook)
  5. Utilize whitespace strategically as you will see later on this article.

Avoiding Preview Text Followed by Other Email Elements

By structuring your email template and coding correctly, you can avoid that the preview text in your email is immediately followed by additional content, such as “View this email in your browser.”

One approach is to place the “View this email in your browser” link within the body of the email, rather than adding it directly after the preview text. For the same reason, when composing the email, avoid immediately following the preview text with elements like images, social media icons, or calls-to-action.

Additionally, ensure that the email template and layout are responsive and optimized for different devices, as rendering inconsistencies can sometimes cause extraneous elements to appear.

How to Add Preview Text to Your Email

Adding preview text to your email can be done through common email marketing platforms as they often provide a dedicated field or option to input the preview text. When creating your email campaign, look for a section specifically labeled “Preview Text” or “Preheader Text.” Enter the desired text in this field, keeping in mind the character limit recommended for preview text which we will discuss later on.

If you’re coding your email from scratch or using HTML templates, you’ll need to include specific code to add the preview text. To control the preview text and ensure it displays as intended, you should use a hidden <div>, <span>, or <p> tag to enclose the preview text.

Typically, it is recommended to add the preview text at the very beginning of your email, right after the subject line. This ensures that it is visible in the email preview pane or in the list view of an inbox, providing recipients with a glimpse of what the email contains.

Here’s an example of where and how you can structure the HTML code to add the preview text:

  <!-- Include any necessary style or meta tags here -->

<!-- Preview Text is the first thing in the body -->
<div style="mso-hide: all; position: fixed; height: 0; max-height: 0; overflow: hidden; font-size: 0; display: none;">
Add your preview text here: it will be hidden from the front end view but displayed in compatible email client!

<!-- Insert some space after hidden preview text -->
<div style="mso-hide: all; position: fixed; height: 0; max-height: 0; overflow: hidden; font-size: 0; display: none;">

<!-- Rest of your email content goes here -->

In the code snippet above, the <div> tag is initially hidden using inline CSS: this ensures that the preview text is not visible to the recipient when they open the email. However, email clients may still recognize and display this text as the preview.

You might have noticed the unusual text after “Add your preview text here”. But why is it needed?

The Preview Text Trick to Hide Any Content after the Preview Text and Create White Space

The repetition of spaces serves two purposes. First, it fills any remaining preview text space, allowing you to prevent the display of unwanted text in the preview. Second, it creates white space after your desired preview text, preventing email clients from pulling in other distracting text or characters into the preview area.

To apply this technique, simply add a series of zero-width non-joiners

(‌&#847; or &zwnj;)

and non-breaking spaces


after the preview text that you want to be displayed. This ensures that your preview text appears as intended and maintains a clean and visually appealing preview for recipients.

However, it is important to note that there is a caveat. The preview text hack for hiding content after the preheader may not work universally (for instance, there have been reports indicating that this hack may not work effectively on Yahoo Mail) due to the constantly changing nature of email clients. However, this should not deter its usage. Rather, it should be seen as a progressive enhancement that improves the experience for subscribers whose email clients support it, rather than a hack that works universally.

M.J. Robbins, an expert in email marketing, has extensively studied this topic and has curated a diverse collection of Good Email Code in his library. Within this library, he has explored various alternatives and combinations related to non-breaking spaces and their implementation

Although there have been concerns raised by the community and email marketers regarding the impact of using the preview text hack on email deliverability, it is important to note that there is no history of significant issues. In fact, it is believed that this technique may even contribute to better deliverability by creating a positive subscriber experience, leading to higher engagement levels—an aspect that inbox providers value.

However, as with any element in email marketing, it is advisable to exercise caution and conduct proper testing to assess the impact on deliverability. By conducting thorough testing and keeping a close eye on deliverability metrics, you can make informed decisions about using this hack while ensuring that your emails continue to reach your subscribers’ inboxes effectively.

Ensuring Compatibility of Preview Text across Email Clients in 2023

In today’s diverse landscape of email clients, it is crucial to ensure the compatibility of preview text across various platforms. Different email clients may display preview text differently, and therefore, optimizing its appearance becomes essential for consistent user experience.

Preview text is however currently supported by most major platforms – with the exception of the following email clients:

  1. Outlook versions prior to Outlook 2013
  2. Lotus Notes 8.5

By conducting audience analysis, marketers can gather valuable insights into the email addresses and webmail services predominantly used by their audience. Additionally, email service providers (ESPs) often provide data on the specific email clients used by recipients, enabling marketers to assess compatibility with precision.

Understanding the predominant email clients used by your audience allows you to prioritize testing and optimization efforts accordingly.

Tips for Creating Compelling Preview Text

To maximize the impact of the preview text, consider implementing the following tips:

Drive Recipient Action

The preview text can be used strategically to encourage recipients to take action. Whether it’s directing them to a limited-time offer, urging them to click for more information, or enticing them with exclusive content, leverage the preview text to create a sense of urgency or highlight the value they’ll gain by engaging with the email.

Unleash the Synergy Between Email Subject and Preview Text

The email subject line and preview text should work together harmoniously to create a cohesive message that entices recipients. Ensure that the preview text complements the subject line, expands on its promise, or adds an additional element of intrigue. Consistency between the two elements can enhance the overall impact and improve open rates and establish trust and credibility with recipients.

Leverage Dynamic Content in Preview Text

Dynamic content allows you to personalize the email experience based on recipients’ attributes or preferences. By incorporating dynamic content in the preview text, you can deliver tailored messages that resonate with recipients on a deeper level, increasing their likelihood of opening and engaging with the email.

Spark curiosity

The preview text provides an opportunity to capture the recipient’s interest and curiosity. Craft it in a way that creates intrigue and encourages recipients to open the email to discover more. Use compelling language, cliffhangers, or enticing offers to entice them to take action.

Use Humor in Preview Text to Capture Recipient Attention

Humor can be a powerful tool to capture attention and create a memorable impression. Depending on your brand’s tone of voice and audience preferences, consider incorporating humor in the preview text. A witty or clever snippet can evoke positive emotions, making recipients more likely to open the email and engage with your content.

Incorporate Emoticons and Emojis in Preview Text

Emoticons and emojis can add visual appeal and emotional impact to the preview text. When used judiciously and aligned with your brand’s tone, they can grab attention and convey the intended message more effectively. However, ensure they are universally compatible and display correctly across different email clients and devices.

Customizing Preview Text for Different Audience Segments

Segmentation is a powerful tool in email marketing, and it can be leveraged to customize the preview text.

To truly customize the preview text, consider audience segmentation where you can gain valuable insights into the characteristics, needs and behaviors of each segment. This knowledge enables you to tailor the preview text to resonate with the specific interests of each group.

If a subscriber has shown interest in a particular category of products, use the preview text to highlight new arrivals or exclusive offers in that category. Additionally, you can leverage the recipient’s geographic location to create localized and relevant preview text. For example, if you have a segment of subscribers in a specific city or region, you can tailor the preview text to include location-specific promotions or events happening in their area.

The key is to go beyond simply adding the recipient’s name and instead focus on creating a tailored experience. Customizing the preview text in this manner creates a sense of personalization and relevance for your subscribers. It shows that you understand their individual needs and are delivering content that speaks directly to their interests. This level of personalization can significantly improve engagement rates and ultimately drive higher conversions.

Conducting A/B Tests to Improve Preview Text Effectiveness

A/B testing is a valuable technique for optimizing various aspects of email marketing, including the preview text. Test different variations of the preview text to identify the ones that generate higher open rates and engagement. Continuously experimenting and refining your preview text based on real-time data can lead to substantial improvements in email performance.

Common Errors to Avoid in Preview Text Writing

Beyond the things you already know to avoid, such as grammatical errors, mistakes, or excessive length resulting in truncation, be mindful of these common errors that can undermine your effectiveness.

Lack of Relevance

Make sure that the preview text aligns with the email’s content and purpose. Avoid using generic or unrelated phrases that mislead recipients. The preview text should provide a clear and accurate preview of what recipients can expect inside the email, ensuring relevancy and setting the right expectations.

Lack of Clear Call-to-Action

Engaging preview text should include a clear call-to-action (CTA) or an enticing hint that encourages recipients to open the email. Failing to provide a compelling reason for opening the email can diminish the chances of recipients taking the desired action.

Misleading or Clickbait-style Content

While it’s important to create an intriguing preview text, avoid resorting to clickbait tactics or misleading content. Honesty and transparency are key to building trust with your audience. Ensure that the preview text accurately represents the email’s content to maintain a positive user experience.

Question-Answer Technique

While an ask-a-question approach could be engaging, it’s important to remember that not all recipients will have access to the preview text or give proper attention to the subject. So these people may miss the intended point. The email preview text should serve as a complement to the subject line rather than trying to complete it.

Overly Salesy Language

While it’s important to create persuasive and compelling preview text, be cautious of using overly sales-oriented language. Avoid sounding too promotional or pushy, as it can turn off recipients and diminish the effectiveness of your preview text. Instead, focus on providing value, addressing recipients’ needs, and piquing their curiosity, rather than resorting to excessive sales tactics. A more subtle and customer-centric approach will resonate better with your audience, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

Unoptimized Formatting

Pay attention to formatting in the preview text to ensure readability and visual appeal. Avoid using excessive capitalization, excessive punctuation, or an overuse of special characters. Properly formatted preview text enhances the professionalism and overall impression of your email.


The preview text is a valuable component of email marketing that can significantly impact open rates and engagement. By understanding its purpose, differentiating it from the preheader, optimizing for compatibility across email clients, and employing effective strategies, you can maximize the impact of the preview text and drive better results in your email campaigns.

Experiment, analyze data, and continuously refine your preview text to ensure it captivates recipients and compels them to take action.