One of my pet peeves is a web form with an email address input box that is too small. 

Look at this example:

Short Web Form

For anyone with a longer email address, this is a common occurrence.  Not only is this annoying, but how can I be sure I keystroked correctly if I can’t see what I typed?

The bottom line is too small an input box is a threat to the quality of your acquisition efforts!

But how big is big enough?

That question came up the other day, so I asked one of our data scientists to get me some answers.  Running through a dataset of approximately 90 million email addresses we’ve processed recently on behalf of clients, this is what we found:

Email Address Length

So over the last few months, the average email address we saw was 21.9 characters long.  If you want your form to accommodate 80% of the email addresses, you need to display 28 characters.  And if you want 95% of your web visitors to be able to see what they typed, you need to show at least 31 characters.

The Long Tail

It is important to remember that no matter how large your input box is, there will be some that are even longer.  Here’s one that is a whopping 60 characters long:

Long Trail Email Address

Fortunately for the employees of this organization, they have now renamed themselves and shortened their domain, but you can imagine their frustration when trying to enter their email address in forms!

The Bottom Line

Try to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to provide their correct email address.  And integrate our SafeToSend email validation API to validate and spellcheck email addresses at the point of entry.  The future success of your email marketing efforts hinges on collecting quality email addresses from the start.  Good luck!

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