The best time to send out your Email Campaigns- The Science Explained

The best time to send an email campaign? The answer is not as simple as picking up a time slot. This is because email marketing in itself is a complex ecosystem that changes dynamically. Results you see today may not be seen the next week, and good results can always be topped with better results and vice versa. This is what makes email marketing tough to crack, hard to pin down and exceptionally difficult to master.

Why traditional timing charts don’t matter

There is no one standard practice that we can follow when it comes to timing email campaigns. As with any type of complex system, it depends heavily on various factors. Getting an aggregate time by taking the average rate at which time respondents are most active may give you a solid number- but that doesn’t mean ‘your’ recipients will react similarly. Every single email marketing campaign is unique in its own sweet way. The list may be the same that you used last time, the content may not be, the offers may not be and the CTAs might differ. This is what makes it dynamic.

This graph clearly explains the concept of the first-hour glory that your email campaign sees. Keeping up the tempo is not an easy task and there are very few brands that can actually show you a positive number as the hours go by. These are the unicorn brands that get massive engagement regardless of what the email is about.

email-campaigns

This is usually how the graph of open rates looks like for a normal marketing campaign sent out during various days of the week. It does look like mid week winning the open rate trophy and it does apply to the large section of the email marketing sector. Saturday and Sunday are obviously not the best time since these days are most probably holidays for most over the world.

email-opens-by-day-of-week

Now take for example a sample of a B2C email marketing campaign. The results are surprising. Maximum engagement happens to be on the one day you would think no one opens an email! This is exactly the reason we believe there is no standard regulation time to send your campaigns.

email-performance

Globally, with the collected data over billions of email campaigns, Wednesday and Thursday seem to be the global best times. These may be because it is the middle of the week, people are bored or they have nothing better to do! Anyway, these timing results do matter to email marketers and should be taken into consideration if you are short of time and do not have the necessary resources to execute testing and other such requirements.

 How to find the timing sweet spot

It all boils down to your email campaign, the list, the product or service and the engagement you generate. The power to find the sweet spot is totally in your hands, and we mean quiet literally. Email campaigns need to be tested relentlessly so that you understand how your prospects are reacting.

  1. Test to understand- Testing your email campaigns gives you an indication as to when your viewers are inclined to open and engage with your content. Take into consideration the content type, offers and other such dynamic properties that influence open and CTRs.
  2. Mobile usage- Mobile friendly emails are a must today. People behave differently on desktops versus mobile. With 54% of emails being opened on mobiles, it is the majority and naturally you need to take it into consideration. This also brings us to the point that the traditional 9-5 open timings are obsolete as of now.
  3. Content type- Promotional emails are opened the maximum during Saturdays and the least on Wednesdays. Traditional newsletters see higher open rates during the mid week and towards the morning sessions
  4. Timed offers- These need to be timed to perfection. They are on a different level of relevance. Time bound offers need to be hyped. You need to make sure that the timing is set according to the time zone your readers are in.

There are many things that determine the best timing for your email campaigns. Here are some aspects that can actually help you in nailing that elusive timing to sweet perfection.

  1. Brand loyalty- This is an important aspect of open rates. A new campaign will surely show you poor results. Making your subscribers happy is what gets you loyalty and in this world, loyalty is worth more than gold. Engage your subscribers in the best way possible and you will get to see higher numbers faster and consistently.
  2. Content matters- Understand what type of content is opened more and then segment based on these choices. Create similar content for these segments. You will see higher opens and you can also get to understand when they are opening. It’s a double win.
  3. Segment for better engagement- Segmentation increases your open rates exponentially. Testing these segments makes things better. Understanding customer behavior improves the chances of engagement. The best email marketers have variable timings for various segments based on their behavior.
  4. Global delivery- This is a crucial factor for email marketers. You need to be using software that is aware of setting the right time, irrespective of the time zone. With over 24 hour’s difference between the farthest continents, you need to look into this aspect closely and then adjust the time of delivery, if you are sending mails to a global audience.
  5. Email list strength- All the testing and segmentation is worth naught if your email list is not up to date. The data will be misleading and will show negative results if your database is not worthy of good results. Cleansing and appending are important aspects of database hygiene.
  6. Subject lines- These are the enablers of your email campaigns. A good subject line gets your mail opened. That is the first battle won. You’re FROM address also makes a huge difference to deliverability. Testing various types will give you a clear idea of what works. Fine tune them and let it coincide with the best time.

Timing isn’t everything. It is an important part of the process but it does not have a singular answer or a magical best time. It needs to be figured out through analysis, testing and a thorough understanding of your clients and their needs. There is no one best time to send emails. It differs based on the above mentioned factors. Your product and service matters too. If you are selling to a B2B market, the responses will be different than a B2C type product. These differences need to be understood and taken into consideration.

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