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Defining The Best Time Of Day To Send Email Campaigns…
Do you know when the best time of day to send email is? As a marketer, you need to be an expert on all things marketing. Yet many times, that’s easier said than done. The phrase ‘it depends’ comes into play more often than not because things change quickly in marketing; consumers change their behavior, marketing budgets increase/decrease, and goals or objectives fluctuate. In fact, there’s only one constant: marketing is a moving target…always.
This is especially true for one of the more popular questions marketers hear, “When is the best time of day to send email campaigns to receive the best possible response?” And, you may have heard numerous answers before, along with the popular, “There is really no one right answer.”
Well now, there’s at least one place to find the answer! Citing over 20 marketing experts and research, as well as adding in our own marketing expertise, this blog article evaluates multiple send times, so you can best determine where your company fits and and what is the best time of dat to send email campaigns. After reading the informative (and even interesting) information we compiled for you, you can credit yourself as an expert in defining the ONE right answer for YOUR organization- not only now, but two weeks from now, a year from now, and so on. Enjoy!
We have to tell you, there is no one simple answer for everyone, but there is a lot of great research we found that can be quite advantageous in determining the best time of day to send email. Although this may not be a historical novel, we intend to pack as much email marketing wisdom into your head as humanly possible. Read on to find out what the worst and the best time to send email is.
The Best Times To Send Out Your Email Campaigns
The trick here is knowing the best time to send in relation to when people are most likely to open and click through your email. Because we can track that activity, we have some golden research nuggets for you to take in…
Early Morning Send Times
According to KISSmetrics, click rates are highest in the early morning – at 6am in fact. Uggg…we haven’t even had our morning coffee yet! This said, bounce rates are also at their highest during this time.
Mid-Morning Email Send Times (10am-12pm)
Although some of the experts assume people are not opening emails during this time because they’re focusing on work, MailerMailer found the best email open rate to be 10am. The open rate climbed rapidly after about 4am, reaching a maximum of 7% at 10am. After this peak, it declined steadily throughout the rest of the day.
Late Afternoon Email Send Times (3pm-5 pm)
You’ve experienced it – that afternoon slump where you start thinking more about your personal situation than job related duties. Well KISSmetrics claims this is the reason property and financial services promotions are most opened during this timeframe.
MailChimp found the most email activity happening overall from 2-5pm in the afternoon and for a research team that sends 200-300 million emails every day, they have a lot of data to back up any claims of the best time to send email.
Evening Send Times (5pm- 7pm)
Holiday and B2B promotions are most opened from 5-7pm while some recipients are working late. KISSmetrics shares some notable stats around this theory:
- 17.9% of all emails classified as “Holiday Promotions” were opened in these two hours.
- 26.4% of recipients opened B2B promotions as well.
Pure360 (mostly focused on the B2C world) analyzed 660,000 emails sent by 34 companies and the research highly contradicted what a lot of marketers held true for years: that recipients are far more likely to open emails in their own time rather than at work, which disputes the media’s stereotype of employees who take advantage of work-based email and internet for personal use. Almost half (48%) of all marketing emails were opened outside of office hours.
Late-Night Send Times (7pm-10pm)
According to MailerMailer, messages scheduled for delivery early evening led to better email open rates:
- Open rates reached their height of 15.1% for message scheduled for 8pm and 11pm.
Is Midnight the Best Time to Send Email?
Thank goodness for those email marketing programs that can schedule emails in advance, because research is showing midnight is where it’s at! That is…until word gets out! Now while a few experts referred to this time frame as the ‘abyss’ or ‘the black hole’ of email marketing, recent studies show a different side to the story…
- With the lowest percent of email volume, Experian researchers found that sending emails from midnight to 4:00AM has the highest response rates in all areas.
- According to MailerMailer, email messages scheduled for delivery between early evening and early morning led to better open rate
- Open rates peaked at 20.4% for messages scheduled for 12am
- Click rates responded similarly to open rates – the highest click rate occurred for messages scheduled for 12am (6.7%)
As we all know, there can’t be good times without the bad. The good news? You can keep your lunch hour…
Lunch Time (Noon Hour)
Although Mail Chimp found most opens after 12pm, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should send your email at noon. This may be one of the worst times to send email.
According to Pure360, people are unlikely to open marketing emails during their lunch, choosing instead to spend time on news and magazine alerts or get out of the office for a bite to eat.
Early Afternoon (1pm-3pm)
Marketers tend to stay away from this time frame for the reason that people are in the ‘work zone’, focusing on work but some respond to emails offers relating to financial services.
- Both H1 and H2 experienced their lowest open rates, of 5.5% and 7.9% respectively, for messages scheduled for 12pm.
- H1 experienced its lowest click rate of 1.1% for messages scheduled for delivery at noon, while H2 bottomed out at 1.2% for messages scheduled for 10am and 11am.
Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum
Some marketers may be saying by now ‘to heck with it – I’ll send when I want!’ To this point, Haley Marketing evaluated the email campaign send times of 50 of their clients and email open rates were really all over the board. (source)
Does the Early Bird Gets the Worm? Sometimes!
The research shows midnight and/or very early in the morning are untapped email marketing goldmines…and it makes sense. So…is this the best time of day to send email? By sending in the middle of the night or super-duper early in the AM, you’re at the top of the inbox when people get into the office, bright eyed and ready to take on the day (or read your entire email and even click through to learn more)! Now, there are a few variables to this finding, but while the traffic stays slow during the quiet hours, you may just benefit.
I send emails at 1:00 am with the subject of 'Good Morning!' When most folks wake up in the morning, the first thing they do is check their computer or phone for email and my emails are there, waiting to be read."
Senior Marketing Consultant | Valpak of Mid-Jersey
Once you do find a time that works best for your audience, a number of experts recommend staying consistent with that so recipients know when to expect your email and can plan accordingly.
Don’t forget to take time zones into effect. This may mean segmenting your list to avoid those bad times we listed above.
A Whole Other Ball of Wax for the Best Time to Send Email…the Weekend Enigma
Want to dally in sending during the weekend? If so, you may be wondering ‘what time is best for a Saturday or Sunday send?’
Well unfortunately, most of the data reported is based on people sitting at their computers during the workday, so there aren’t many studies that pinpoint a great time during the weekends. Yet, one study did show that people are getting ready for the work week on Sunday evenings, so sending after dinner time on Sunday may be the best time to send email during the weekend.
Wanna learn more how send times differ from B2B vs. B2C? Find out now! Or maybe you have a lot of mobile email users in your list. The devices that render your email have a huge impact on send times – learn more now.
Now that have have some more information around the best time of day to send email campaigns, we want to help you how to best determine the optimal send time for you and your company with our 5 Step Guide…
5 Step Guide To Finding The Best Time/Day To Send Your Emails
Up to this point we have made minor recommendations based on what other email marketing experts have found, combined with a bit of our own marketing expertise. Now it’s your turn to find out what works best for you and your company. Sorry to say, but this going to take some work on your part. The good news is, your efforts won’t go unnoticed and should positively impact your open, click through and conversion rates. And don’t worry – we’ll guide you down this path step-by-step.
Step 1: Get to Know Your Audience
It’s time to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think about who they really are and what their email reading habits are. A few questions to ask yourself about your customers and prospects:
What does their typical daily routine look like?
(Do they work from 8-5? Are they college students with different sleep patterns? You get the point here…)
- When do they usually buy?
- When would they likely have time to read an email about your product or service
55.6% of girls age 17-24 check their email constantly (on their phone) Hercampus – “Ultimate college life survey” (2013)
Step 2: Look Back – Anaylze Your Past Email Send Results
Sometimes if you’re lost, you can retrace your steps to find out where you should be. A big part of this is just looking back. In email marketing, this correlates to revisiting and analyzing past send reports. The information contained in these reports can help you because you can uncover a lot of useful data that can help you determine what send days and times were the most successful. Going back about 6 months should be sufficient. What your looking for here is any patterns that emerge. Specifically, certain send times associated with a higher response and click through rates.
Maybe you're a newbie to email marketing and don’t have any statistical data to pull from. In that case, you may want to use some of the recommendations outlined in this ebook as a starting point and go from there.
Step 3: Know Their Device – Mobile Email Users Vs. Desktop Email Users
I know we threw some mobile email stats at you previously, but did you know that 61% of consumers now read at least some of their emails on a mobile device? More alarming, 48% of marketers don’t know what percentage of their emails are read via a mobile device and 22% have no mobile email marketing strategy at all (source).
So where do you stand? Do you have a firm grasp on what are the top devices rendering your email campaigns? If so, are you using that information to your advantage? Knowing this data will help you figure out the a good strategy on sending to your mobile email users.
Step 4: Consider Your Message – B2B Vs. B2C
Your message can change the course of your send day and times. If your message is focused around a business product or solution, you may want to keep your send days and times within the average business work week. On the other hand, if your promoting dating services or recreational activities, you may opt late night and weekend sends.
Step 5: TEST, TEST, TEST (and test some more)
If there is one step to hammer on the hardest, it would be this one. If we could stand up on a mountaintop and scream “TEST YOUR EMAIL CAMPAIGNS!” – we would. Try A/B split testing and send the same campaign out on various days and times. Then analyze the results of multiple campaign sends. Doing a comparative analysis will give you the most conclusive data about what day and times are the most advantageous for your email marketing strategy.
Disclaimer: People are unpredictable, and after you think you have nailed the most effective day/time to send, it could change. Therefore you should continue to test (there’s that word again) and analyze the results.
Interested In What the Best Day To Send Is?
We have you covered…click here to see a comprehensive breakdown of each day of the week and how they impact your email marketing sucess.
Sometimes having confidence in what you know and what you don’t know can make all the difference in becoming a successful email marketer. We hope the knowledge you’ve gained by reading this article will give you the confidence needed to try and try again.
Even though we don’t have one right or one wrong answer, the research reported to date gives us marketers a good idea of where to start; whether that’s going against the grain and ignoring all the ‘rules’ or staying consistent each and every time you send an email. Just don’t forget to measure your results. This goes with our suggestion of testing, but even to a greater extent. You should be commended for your efforts so make sure to measure all your email marketing attempts.
Pinpointe Tools For Email Marketing Success
We have truly hammered home the importance of testing and analyzing the effectiveness of your email campaigns to determine the best time to send your email campaigns. Pinpointe has powerful email campaign tracking and reporting tools that make it easy to view and mine data so you can best refine your email campaign send strategy. For each email marketing campaign sent, Pinpointe reports exactly how many people opened their email, how many unsubscribed, which links they clicked, the email forwarding statistics and more. Combine the send day and time statistics with the email campaign statistics overview report and reap the benefits of knowledge! Along with the start/end date and time, you get an overview summary of each campaign and consequent information like the email subject (with a link to the actual message), which contact list or segment was used, number of messages delivered and the sender. ‘Unique and Total Opens’ are also displayed in pie chart form and can be clicked on for a detailed listing of each open. Simply click on any pie chart segment and get a detailed drill-down list of all contacts that apply to the pie segment. Click on any tab to see the drill-down campaign statistics and hard/soft bounce details.
Pinpointe wants to see you succeed, so we are giving you the tools to make it happen.
Get started with Pinpointe today and determine the best send time (and day) for email your campaigns. And if you need any help along the way…we've got you covered.
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