What Time of Day Should You Send Your Email Campaigns?

What’s the best time of day to send emails? The answer to this often-debated question is not so simple: it depends. It depends on the demographics of your particular audience and their email reading habits. Optimally, you want to have your email near the top of the list when your recipients open their inboxes. You also hope that when they see your email they’ll have the time to devote to opening, reading, and acting on your marketing message. But one thing is for sure – timing does indeed have a significant impact on the response to email campaigns.

A large study by research firm MarketingSherpa, for example, compared sending emails early (9 a.m.), midday (noon) and late afternoon (4 p.m.) The early time was optimal – outperforming the midday mailing by 10% in click rates and the late afternoon mailing by 15%. This data is supported by email-marketing company Pure360’s finding that indicates people are most receptive to marketing emails during the first hour of their workdays, with 16.5% of the emails in their study opened between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Email service provider Silverpop took it a step further and calculated the best time to send emails based on when individual recipients had opened and clicked emails during previous campaigns. By delivering emails based on this information, they observed a lift in:

  • Open rates (20% to 46%)
  • Click rates (30% to 50%)
  • Revenue (52% to 75%)

Consider Segmenting Based on Time

What time of day works best for driving responses from your audience? To best answer this question, you can set up a test to measure subscribers’ response to emails sent at different times during the day. You also could look at email campaign metrics from the last several months to see if any response patterns are associated with the time the emails were sent. Using this information, you can then create segments based on recipients’ response behavior. Then, time your emails to be sent at different intervals, such as:

  • 5 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Have you determined a best time to send emails for your list? Please share your observations with us!

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