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Email Strategy: Is There a Best Time to Send Emails?

Sep 23, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

Email marketers love to give advice. Sadly, it’s not always accurate. The challenge for practitioners is knowing which advice is the right recommendation to follow. For example, “When is the best time to send emails?” is one key question that is often answered inaccurately-or at least not accurately enough to help the vast majority of email marketers.

This question defies easy answers. For years, mid-week and early in the day were hailed as “conventional wisdom.” But lately, a slew of experts have been suggesting that rule may no longer hold true. However, when it comes to advice, these experts tend to contradict each other, leaving us mere mortals scratching our heads as we try to muddle through the research and decide what’s really best.

Below, we’ve compiled data from four large research projects to determine the best days and times to send email. We were stunned to see that no two reports made the same recommendations:

Source Best Day for Email Best Times for Email Additional Tidbits
Experian Marketing Services
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
  • Saturday and Sunday overall
  • For weekdays, Monday has the highest revenue per email
  • For weekdays, Friday has a higher click rate
  • 8pm-Midnight
  • Midnight-4am
  • 80% of all clicks occur within a day of the email being sent
  • N/A
  • 8-9am
  • 3-4pm
  • Emails achieve best results within one hour of delivery
Email Denome Project
  • Thursday
  • Wednesday
  • 2-5pm
  • Highest email send volume is Tuesdays and Thursdays
2012 Email Marketing Metrics report
  • Sunday
  • Tuesday
  • Midnight-3am
  • Open rates decrease throughout the week
KISSmetrics and Pure360
  • Saturday
  • Sunday
  • 9-10am
  • 5-7pm
  • 7-10pm (esp. for consumer promotions)
  • Email bounce rates are highest in the early morning

So what’s an email marketer to do? We prefer to follow the level-headed advice of Linda Formichelli at Copyblogger: Test and see for yourself what works best for your list.

A few years ago, Linda had been told by an “expert” that no one checks emails on the weekend. Curious as to whether this was true, she started sending out test emails at various times during the weekend, and low and behold, her emails were still being opened. She then started asking around to other marketers what they were doing to see if her results were unusual.

The results she found were all over the board. Linda determined, therefore, that the answer lies not in concrete rules, but in “constantly testing sending emails on different days and times, and not shrinking from sending evening and weekend email messages.” After all, she explained, “You never know when someone is going to be at their computer and ready to buy – so why knock yourself out trying to figure out ‘the very best minute’ to email?”

So what’s the morale of the story? Only you can determine what’s best for your list. Take this opportunity to develop your own set of data, so you can develop your own best practices and become your own expert!

To continue enhancing your email deliverability and improving your inbox placement, download our free guide, “Email Deliverability: 21 Steps to Success.”

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