Email marketing is a careful blend of art and science. And a ton of trial and error. Working out what your customers want and adapting your email marketing strategy accordingly isn’t easy and takes a lot of work to get it right.
Even when you think you’ve got it spot on, something happens, your open and click rates suddenly drop and you’re back to square one again. The job of optimizing your marketing campaigns to constantly improve results and drive more ROI never ends.
This article looks at the statistics behind this topic, as well as why the answer may not be so simple.
So when is the best day and time to send email marketing messages?
We did some digging so we could try to find the answer to one of the main questions on marketers’ mind: when should I send email marketing messages to get the best open and click rates and conversions?
Here are the answers.
Thursday at 10 am
According to MailChimp, it’s best to send emails to most subscribers on a weekday. Thursday just about edges out the other weekdays, but it’s a close run competition. However, different industries record different optimal days.
In terms of hour, MailChimp says that the best time to send emails is at 10 am in the recipients’ own time zones. Most email marketing systems will automate this process for you so you don’t have to manually work out the time on the West Coast or worry about how many hours behind Mountain Time is.
Again this is dependent on the industry, as recreational content sees a lot of success before 8 am.
This study also shows that there are different optimal times to send email according to the country. In Norway, many people open email marketing messages outside of business hours, while in Spain 10 am still reigns supreme.
MailChimp also looked at age, political affiliation, and job titles. It found that lawyers mostly open and read emails first thing in the workday at 9am, and then again after lunch, but not normally outside of office hours.
GetResponse’s analysis of the best day and time to send an email marketing message yielded different results. It found that emails sent on Tuesday have the highest open and click-through rate (CTR). Although it also reported that most emails are sent on Tuesday, which could cancel this first point out if your marketing message gets lost in a sea of other newsletters.
The data also showed that the top CTR was on Fridays which also had the second highest open rate after Tuesday, but Saturday and Sunday were the least successful days in terms of clicks. There wasn’t much to choose between for any of the weekdays.
During business hours (especially late afternoon, but not at lunchtime)
Campaign Monitor’s report found that 53% of all opens occurred between 9 am – 5 pm with the exception of lunchtime. In fact, the open rate at lunchtime (1 pm in this case) was only 7%. Before work – which was recorded at any time between midnight and 8 am – had an email open rate of 16%. After work (6 pm – 11 pm) was a bit more successful, as open rates were recorded as 24%.
However, the report also found a correlation between the time of day the email was sent and the platform used to open the email. Email opens on mobile increased before and after work, while the open rate on desktop declined outside of office hours.
What does all of this mean for my business?
As you can see from the data above, there is no overall consensus on the best day and time to send email marketing messages.
The problem with this data is that it provides a simplistic overview of different types of industries, different business sizes, and different types of campaigns and content. There is little segmentation.
While doing some research into best practices is useful to get an overall picture, the best day and time to send emails is different for every single business. Your business is unique, your customers are unique, and so you need to work out what works best for your own company and customer needs.
This also applies to the aim of your email, the audience, and the type of content. Welcome emails might get more opens on a Monday while email newsletters get the best CTR on a Friday. People who live on the West Coast might open most emails on a Tuesday, whereas their East Coast compatriots prefer Wednesdays.
The importance of collecting data and A/B testing
You need to collect as much data as you can on your customers so you can start to segment them according to demographic information and past interactions with your brand. Once you’ve done that you can not only better target email marketing messages, but also better understand customer likes and dislikes, including when is best to send them emails.
You might find that the best time to send welcome newsletters to customers aged between 18-24 is at 6 pm on a Saturday. When you have that information, you can then segment this group and send them emails at this day and time. If you find out that customers aged 30-40 click most on Fridays at 8 am then you could send emails to this segment at this time.
One of the best ways you can get this data is by A/B testing the time you send emails. Send the exact same email but at different times and see which gets more opens and clicks. Sending one or two emails isn’t going to give you reliable enough data but, as time goes on, you can get a clearer picture of when you should be sending emails.
However, remember that measuring and testing is a never-ending process. You need to always keep an eye on how your email marketing campaigns are performing, and slicing and dicing data so you can see what is still working, and what you need to switch up to ensure the continued success of your messages.