Is There an ‘Optimum Time’ for Marketing Emails to Hit?

— March 15, 2017

You’re getting all your content and data together for your next batch of marketing emails. You’ve nailed the subject heading and are pleased with your preview pane too. The only thing left is to decide exactly when you want that email to hit the recipient’s inbox, to make it more successful than your last campaign.

Obviously, you need to get it out in the morning, say between 930 and 1130 AM, on any day between Tuesday and Thursday. Right? Maybe. But that shouldn’t be your immediate – or only – plan.

What the Data Shows

There are numerous studies about the optimum date and time to set your potential customer’s inbox pinging with your new email marketing campaign. The results differ, some of them only slightly and others wildly.

But, according to MailChimp’s Send Time Optimization report, the success of your email campaign depends on who you are and what you’re trying to communicate.

If you’re sending B2B or other business related marketing emails, then weekdays are best for email campaigns. You’ll receive higher open and click-through rates, which will reassure you all your hard work is being appreciated by at least a few potential customers!

However, if your product or campaign is related to recreational activities such as shopping or hobbies, then the weekend works better. And, because there tend to be fewer emails sent over the weekend, clogging the recipients’ inboxes up, they’re more likely to be opened and clicked on.

Why Morning Emails Aren’t Always Best

email timing

Data from an Experian Email Benchmark Study shows that the number of marketing emails being sent was 19.8% higher in the third quarter of 2016 from the same period in 2015. But, its figures also show that total open rates fell 12.6% over the same period – the fourth straight period of decline.

We don’t know the exact time every one of the emails measured for this report was sent. But, given the generally believed detail that mornings are best for email campaigns, we can assume many of them were sent out in the AM.

Figures from other reports, meanwhile, highlight that for some industries and email campaigns, the evening is actually a great time for a marketing email campaign to go.

According to analysis by B2B Marketing business Vendasta, based on its own email campaign data, emails sent out after 5pm on weekdays, average the highest open rates of almost 23%. And, click through rates were higher too, at over 7% for evening email campaigns.

email timing

Why does the evening work well for B2B marketing campaigns?

Well, given the people who are receiving your emails are working during the day, they might be monitoring their inboxes for emails they’re expecting and that contain information they need to do their job.

And, although the information you’re sending out could also help them do their job, quite often those details need some consideration before they can be put into action.

That’s why, in many instances, late afternoon or early evening email campaigns perform well. The recipients are less busy and have time to read your carefully constructed subject heading and realize it contains potentially interesting, useful and relevant information for them.

Consider Your Market, Subject and Target Audience

Of course, we know you already do this. But, think about it from your perspective – not as a marketer – but as a business or consumer. When do you prefer to browse your emails and open up business-related information versus consumer-related messages?

For consumer emails, weekend mornings are probably a time when you’re more inclined to open up sales, coupon and special offer emails for your favorite stores – or for items you’re interested in.

When it comes to work-related campaigns, maybe you open up one or two emails you’ve mentally logged as interesting, on your way home from work. Or, how about sometime during the evening, when you’re mentally planning (come on, we all do it!) for the next day at work?

If you find you do behave that way, then chances are, you’re not alone. At the very least, it’s worth making a change to the timing of your email campaigns and monitoring analytics data those campaigns produce.

While personal views are always useful, for the best results, try combining them with a checklist:


If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it!

Of course, if you’re email campaign is a regularly anticipated message that your audience expects and devours as soon as it’s delivered, then don’t play around with your timings!

There’s a right time for experimentation to improve performance and there’s also a right time to just let things be.

However, given that email volumes are rising, but open rates are falling, it seems that for some of you, at least, this might be a good time to try something new. Be it the day, time or CTA wording, if there’s room for improvement, give it a try and shake-up that email campaign delivery schedule!

Have a Marketing myth or ancient best practice you’d like us to test out? Let us know in the comments!

Next Steps:

Are you happy with your email open rates?

If the answer is no, you must not have our Ultimate List of Email Subject Lines Do’s and Don’ts.

Grab your 14 page guide to Email Subject Lines by clicking HERE.

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