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Published 2 months ago • 1 min read

Duration drives more urgency than dates.

If this subject line had said, read this before Sunday, fewer people would have opened it.

At least that's according to a 2023 study which found that duration (rather than calendar dates) drives more urgency.

Durations (e.g., "3 days") prompt action more effectively than specific dates (e.g., "July 1st").

In Jeong, Hwang & Suk's 2023 study, college students were more likely to start a writing assignment when they were told a duration rather than a calendar date.

❌ Finish by September 10th

✅ Finish in 5 days

This effect also worked for sales contexts:

❌ 50% off (ending Wednesday 10th)

✅ 50% off (ending in 12 days)

And the effect worked for upcoming events:

❌ Join us on March 8th

✅ Join us in 10 days

Oh btw, please listen to the next episode of Nudge. It's out in 3 days.

Cheers,

Phill

P.S I spent 19 hours summarising every email test I've run on you folks and shared the top four (plus one bonus tip) on HubSpot's blog.

Nudge Newsletter

Phill Agnew

I spend 18 hours each week turning marketing psychology into readable newsletters.

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