When to send your email campaign?

Is there ever a perfect time?
Email Marketing - when to send
Email Marketing – when to send

We’re often asked when the best time for sending emails is. Do days of the week affect email opening rates? Will sending a campaign on a particular day get more click-throughs?

A lot of research has been done into email marketing and days of the week, time of day, week of the months, etc. There still isn’t a clear answer as to whether there’s one weekly sweet spot. In fact, a lot of the data changes radically from year to year – and, as in all things, it depends on your email list, your customers, and the content of your email marketing campaign.

Email Opens by Day of the Week

The highest percentage of email opens generally happens at the beginning of the week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are when people are most likely to go through all of their emails.

This is also when the majority of mass emails are sent out. Some speculate that part of the reason for more opens early in the week is because of the greater volume of emails sent. That’s more likely to be cause than the effect: email marketers have heard that more emails are opened at the beginning of the week, and deliver them when people are most likely to open them.

Email Click-throughs by Day of the Week

Despite the fact that the early week yields the largest open percentage, later in the week – specifically, the weekend – tends to generate the largest percentage of click-throughs from email campaigns. Monday is often one of the worst days for click-throughs. Email marketers often interpret this as users having more time to go through their emails and read them in depth.

While at the start of the week people are trying to clear out their inboxes and shuffle through in an attempt to get on top of their workload, later in the week the pace slows down a bit and people are perhaps more eager for a distraction from their day-to-day routine.

Time of Day Factors

People have also done research into the best time of day to send emails. This research is less clear-cut, but in general it seems that emails sent in the middle of the day — around lunch time — have the highest open rate.

Again, the logic is that at the beginning of the day users are clearing out their inbox and more likely to delete mass emails. At the other end of the day an email is more likely to be saved for the next morning, at which point it’s subjected to the early day purging.

Putting it Together

It’s generally agreed that the statistically ideal times to send out mass email campaigns is Tuesday or Wednesday, in the middle of the day.

But… Optimal Email Time Depends on Your Users and Your Content

Ultimately, while we can speak to some statistical generalities — more email opens early in the week, more email click-throughs later in the week, and more of both in the middle of the day — the right answer really depends on both the content of your email campaign and on your users.

If your email is about hot spots to visit over the weekend, the end of the week is going to yield more opens than early in the week. If you’re sending B2B emails, you probably want to target that Tuesday-Wednesday area. It’s not hard to work out that some content works best as a back-to-work boost on a Monday, whereas some suits a relaxed Saturday afternoon.

Your Data Determines the Best Time To Send

Internal testing on your email list will yield useful results for your campaigns, and let you know if there’s a better time for you to send your emails. Experiment by sending your emails on different days of the week and measuring the click-through and open rates. Note that this only works if you’re sending similar emails out to the exact same list with all tests. Even then, you’ll want to test each day several times to average out the odd email that is more attractive to users.

You may well discover that for your email campaign and your readers, a non-standard day works best. But it’s only testing your campaign and tracking the metrics that can tell you for certain what’s the best time to send out your email campaign.

David McElligott
Web Developer
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