When setting up your emails for a new campaign, you undoubtedly want to do everything in your power to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts. This typically entails creating an email which scales across multiple devices and platforms, has a visually appealing layout, and features compelling, clear copy which drives the reader to perform a given action.

But that’s kid stuff. The 101. You want the real inside scoop on people’s email-reading behaviors so you can glean some insight which will give your campaign an edge. Well fortunately we have amassed data on people’s behavior patterns when viewing emails which reveals subconscious inclinations towards certain formats. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of your customer’s preferences regarding the position of links in your emails.

Where are links typically positioned?

click rates vs link y-position

In the graph, the X-axis represents how far down the page the links appear (0% being the top and 100% the bottom) and the Y-axis represents the click rate the links received. The amount of links towards the top and bottom can be attributed to images in the header containing links, typically to a company’s homepage, as well as the large number of links in the footer, typically opt-out links or links to social media channels. Besides those two standard link positions, the hot spot for call-to-action (CTA) links comes about 30-40% down the email with a broader acceptable range of ~20-60%. The lateral location of the links does not seem to vary much with only a slight inclination to position links towards the left of the page. However, this only shows where most people position their links, not necessarily what is most effective.

Where are links typically clicked?

Email click heat map

As you can tell by this heat map, the links in the top third of the email get the most traction. Your CTA link should be placed in the center or slightly aligned left in this section. This is the first area a person sees when they open the email so this is where the most important part of your message should appear. Make sure to avoid placing anything besides less important links (homepage, opt-outs, disclaimers, etc.) in the header and footer since these areas are usually overlooked. The best course of action is to place the most vital links in places which the user can see without having to scroll. Links experience a significant drop-off when they are located in areas of the email which require scrolling to access.

Take away

  • Only include basic links in your header; your logo linking to your homepage, for instance
  • Make sure your CTAs have a single corresponding message
  • Position all CTA links so they appear at eye level to the reader upon opening
  • Include anything you want clicked within the area of the email which doesn’t require scrolling to access
  • Only include basic information in your footer like contact info, opt out links, or access to social media pages

It may seem obvious but you might be surprised at the amount of emails that get sent out with poorly positioned CTAs, resulting in a significantly poor performance. These simple guidelines are important to remember when configuring the layout of your email campaigns and could just give your campaign the edge over your competitors.