You have your email campaign created: The graphics are perfect, the copy is engaging, and your CTA is on point. So, how do you make sure your message gets read?
There’s a lot of research out there aiming to answer the age-old marketing question, “When’s the best time to send emails?” So, we gathered some of the most recent studies and broke down the answers for you.
The Golden Rules for Email Send Time (and Why You Should Forget Them)
Mid-week, late-morning. has long been considered the best time to send emails in the marketing world. It’s been the general rule of thumb for years.
The reasons why make sense:
- Emails sent during waking hours get read. Sending emails earlier during the day is more sensible than late at night (like, say, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.). You have a better chance of getting your emails read by your recipients when they’re awake.
- Weekends are for R-and-R, not emails. Most of your audience members spend their weekends either out living their lives or just trying to rest up for the work week. They usually aren’t in the mindset of reading their emails with all the other things on their to-do list.
- Manic Mondays are a real thing. Mondays are too early in the week if you want your readers to take action. Although they’ll be checking their emails as they get into the swing of the work week, their focus will be more on productivity and chances are they’ll skim or ignore anything that doesn’t require their immediate attention.
- Fridays are too distracting.Your audience members may be more focused on their weekend plans than spending another moment checking their email.
All of that seems like common sense, and it’s what built the best email send time rule in marketing. But, what does the data say?
Tons of studies have been done over the years to help marketers and business owners find the best email send times for their campaigns. And according to most of the research, the mid-week, late-morning rule holds true – however, there is more to consider when figuring out the best time to send emails for your campaign.
Best Day of the Week
Most studies show that weekdays are still the best time to send emails; but, surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between engagement for each day.
According to a Hubspot study, Tuesdays are the best days to send emails, with open rates at 20% higher than average. While that’s impressive, Monday and Wednesday were close behind with 18% more open rates than average – which also debunks the idea that Mondays are too busy for email sends.
But before you set your email sends to strictly Tuesdays, we recommend checking out other research. MailChimp recently held their own study for email sends and also found that weekdays are the best time to send emails. However, Thursday revealed to have the best results, as opposed to earlier in the week, with engagement beginning to drop drastically over the weekend.
And another study by Sendinblue showed once again that mid-week seems to result in better email engagement. According to their research, Tuesday and Wednesday were the golden days for email sends.
Bottom Line: According to the research, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are your best bet for email engagement – but don’t count out Mondays just yet!
Best Time of Day to Send Emails.
Now that you have a general idea for the best days to send emails, what about the time? Well, the answers vary, according to the studies. But one thing is definitely for sure – you have more options for better email engagement, outside of late morning. While most studies do show that late morning seems to be the best time to send emails, they’re also noticing some interesting behavior changes for later in the evening.
A 2018 quarterly benchmarking study from GetResponse showed us that the late morning is still an effective time for sending emails, with peak engagement landing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, they noticed that email engagement has been on the rise later in the evening, past the 5 p.m. cutoff time that most marketers live by.
The Hubspot study also backed an 11 a.m. send time, with results showing that it’s consistently the best time to send emails every day of the week except Sunday (when 9 a.m. has a 35% higher open rate for the day).
Sendinblue’s studies revealed late morning and afternoon to be winning send times, but at slightly different hours. Their results showed that 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. were the times of day with the highest engagement; however, they didn’t see a very drastic difference in engagement until later in the day – all the way through 6 p.m.
MailChimp noticed similar results, with 10 a.m. showing the highest engagement, but no drastic differences throughout the day. As they noted in their study, their data (and that of other studies we’ve shown) proved that there’s no specific time of day that everyone just sits down and answers their emails. If anything, there are only times that may have a slightly better chance of your email getting read.
Bottom Line: If you’re aiming to send your email during the week, late morning seems to be the best time for engagement. However, a surprising trend emerged that people are checking and engaging with their emails later in the evening after they’re off the clock. While it’s not considered peak time by far, the studies do show us that this shift in email behavior is an opportunity to reach your audience later in the evening (when they’re probably more likely to make a purchase).
So, yes: According to the studies, on the surface, mid-week, late morning is the safest bet for the best time to send emails. However, each study also noted that there are other factors to consider when trying to plan the best time to send emails for your campaign, like the industry and audience that you’re targeting.
Best Time by Industry
While these findings for the best time to send emails act as a useful guide, it’s important to also remember your audience. Depending on who you’re targeting, a lot of the results we’ve covered go right out of the window.
For example, according to MailChimp’s research, bartenders and college-aged students have very different peak engagement times than lawyers or people over forty, shifting their results to late afternoon and early evening.
Sendinblue delved deeper into how different industries affect the best time to send emails. Comparing some of the more common industries for email campaigns, they also showed that peak engagement times can vary, but still primarily fall from early morning to late afternoon.
Bottom Line: When it comes to finding the best time to send emails, know your target audience and industry. People tend to check emails at times that work on their schedule, and their occupation and age play a huge role in their peak email engagement times.
Finding the Best Time to Send Emails for Your Campaign
Even with all the studies in the world, the best time to send emails for your campaign will vary based on your business. It’s up to you to find the peak engagement times for your audience; and while these studies provide a good starting point, there are other actions you can take to find out when your audience is most likely to engage with your email campaign:
- Create an ideal customer persona: The more you know about your audience, the better chance you have of finding the best time to send emails. Create a persona for your ideal customer and include all the details you can, including occupation, age, hobbies, and habits. If your ideal customer is a suit-wearing business person who clocks in at an office every day, you may want to aim your email send times for the middle of a workday. If you’re targeting college-aged students, you may have better luck later in the afternoon, when their classes are winding down.
- Check your social media engagement: If you have a social media account for your business (which you really should), then find out the times of day that your follower engagement is the highest. It’s a good bet that your audience will be more likely to check their emails when they’re already online.
- Recognize different time zones: If your company spans across Canada, then keep in mind that your audience may also reside in several different time zones. For global companies, there’s even more to consider. To ensure that your subscribers get your emails at the right time, segment your audience by time zone for your email sends rather than sending out a single blast to everyone at the same time.
- Test, test, test: Like everything else, you won’t know the best time to send emails unless you test and compare. Use the details above to select a few key times that you think will work for your audience, then set up an A/B test to find out which send time has the best results.
- Adjust as time goes on: The only constant in the marketing world is change. If you start noticing a drop in your open rates, consider switching up when you send your emails and see if that gets you any improvement. To stay one step ahead of the issue, plan to A/B test regularly to see if your audience preferences changed over time.
Knowing the best time to send emails is a guaranteed way to get more people reading your message (and ensuring that all of your hard work didn’t go to waste). But finding the best email send time may be easier said than done. Using the research as a starting point, run your own tests and get to know your audience to find the best time to send emails for your campaign. For expert help and more ways to get your emails read, contact our marketing gurus at Wired Messenger and schedule a meeting today.