By Matt Farber


Email marketing – a common practice among marketers throughout the world, yet we are always trying to maximize open and click-through-rates with every email we send.  The goal is to maximize the number of people who read the email as well as maximize the number of clicks each email receives. Does sending an email at different times of the day make a difference in those numbers?  You better believe it does!

MailChimp, a leading email marketing service provider who has more than 6 million users reports that more people open emails in the day rather than the night.  Take a look at this graph below provided by MailChimp:


It’s important to note the industries and lists you’re sending emails to could affect what time to send an email to maximize opens and clicks.

Now picture this scenario – you walk into work and turn on your computer.  You grab your coffee mug and head to the kitchen to pour that mediocre brew in your cup. On the way back to your desk you say good morning to a couple co-workers and make it back to your desk and sit in your chair.  It’s time to open up your email inbox to pick up right where you left off from yesterday. As your inbox fills up with unread messages you begin deleting messages by the masses since most are junk anyway.

Pure360, another email marketing provider published a white paper on the open rate landscape of email.  They found that 96% of emails sent between midnight and 7am never get opened.  These are those emails you delete by the masses first thing in the morning. I think it’s safe to say we can cross those hours off the list.  The white paper also shares data on email open rates segmented by industries ranging from education, marketing, technology, retail, and many more. 

In the same white paper, they argue that “The Post-Work Peak” (5pm – 7pm) is the best time of the day to send and email with over a quarter of emails being opened during those hours. You’ll notice how that time differs from the chart above provided by MailChimp.  According to that graph, 2pm is your bread and butter to send an email as 7% of the recipients open the email.  

Now I could continue sharing different findings from different studies on the topic, but rather than doing that I’m going to stress the importance of testing.  Every marketer should test which times yield the best results.  To do this you will need to cut your email list in half and send both lists the exact same email only at different times. Try sending one at 10am and one at 5pm and then look at the email metrics to see which one performed better. Once you have a winner, try testing against another time for the next email.  Keep testing until you have a time that clearly yields the highest results. Testing is every marketer’s best friend as you can look at data to make a decision rather than theorizing and trying to justify that theory.

There are many factors to consider while deciding when to hit the send button on an email, but the main thing to take away from here is to test.  It’s the only way to find out when your audience prefers to read an email.

Are there certain times of the day you prefer to send email?


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Matt Farber

About the author

Matt Farber is an Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. Using his project management and inbound marketing experience in the B2B sector Matt helps clients build and implement their inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion and revenue. Read more articles by Matt Farber.

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