One of the most frequent questions we are asked is when is the best time to send email campaigns.
It is an important question as a campaign’s success (measured by key metrics like opens, clicks, conversions) will vary based on when you send the campaign.
Quite simply, you want to time your sends during hours your audience is most likely to be available to read your campaign. If your recipients are focused on other activities, they won’t be able to engage with your email while it’s still fresh, and your message will be crowded out by more recent messages.
To maximize the chances that your emails are arriving at the tight times, I recommend you follow these 4 principles.
Note: We are focusing mainly on business-to-business campaigns in this blog post. Many of the principles are the same for business-to-consumer campaigns; the main difference are the times and days of availability of consumers.
Principle 1: Emails are most likely to get opened within an hour of arriving in an Inbox.
Consider these figures:
- Nearly a quarter of all email opens happen in first hour.
- The results drop by half in the 2nd hour
- After 5 hours, the chances of an email being opened drop by more than 90%
- Launch your campaign so that it hits your recipient’s Inbox when they are likely to be checking their email within an hour of when you send the campaign.
- If you market in multiple time zones and you know where your customers are located, consider segmenting your lists by time zone. Then launch your campaigns by time zone. Your results will improve.
Principle 2: Send email campaigns during time slots when recipients are reviewing their Inboxes.
Many employees check emails when they arrive in the morning and then later in the day. The middle of the day is often filled with meetings and an out-of-the-office lunch.
Research indicates that top hours for people reviewing emails are 8-9am and then 3–5 pm.
We also see that metrics can be high in early evening as many people check email after work — often on mobile phones.
- Create your campaigns in advance and then schedule them so they arrive during these key time slots.
Note on business-to-consumer emails: new research from Pure360 suggests the best time to send a consumer email is now during the ‘Post Work Peak’ (after 5pm), as people are finishing up at work and heading home. Over a quarter (26%) of marketing emails that are sent in the most successful hour, 5pm to 6pm, are opened, which is 9% above average. Click here for infographic on Pure360’s research.
Principle 3: Send emails on days when your recipients are likely in the office and checking email
- Tuesday through Friday tend to be the busiest days for B2B email sends
- Thursday has the highest metrics in terms of opens and clicks
- Send your email in the morning on Thursday if your campaign starts later in the week
- Move it up to Tuesday morning if the campaign takes place earlier in the week
Principle 4: Test campaigns to confirm your results are consistent with these principles
It may be that in your industry customers respond with different patterns than the research presented above. Consider doing some AB tests to determine if these days and times are best for you.
In the B2B world, to maximize your metrics, I recommend you:
- Create your campaigns in advance
- Schedule them to be sent on Tuesday or Thursday at 8am of your time zone
- For most of us who don’t have our lists segmented by time zone, I would send the whole list at 9am ET
- If you are finishing up a same-day email, I would recommend you wait until 3pm ET to send the campaign
- I would track the metrics. If metrics are disappointing, I would conduct AB tests to determine better times to send