One of the most common questions email marketers ask themselves is, “When is the best time to send an email campaign?” 🤔
Ask this question to three different marketers, and you’ll probably get three different answers. 🤦♀️ Unfortunately, that’s not very helpful when you’re looking to boost engagement for your email marketing campaigns.
Factors like time zones, whether it’s a work day or not, as well as the demographics and preferences of your target audience all affect a campaign’s open rate. (Not to mention the content of your email campaign itself!)
At the end of the day, trying to consider every contact’s personal schedule, work hours, lunchtime, and everything in between can be overwhelming.
Here at Sendinblue, we wanted to be able to give our customers a more precise answer to help you boost email engagement and drive conversions. When really is the best time to send an email blast? Thankfully, we had tons of user data just waiting to be analyzed! 🤤
Specifically, we broke things down based on these six types of businesses:
|Business Type||Best Day to Send an Email Campaign||Best Time to Send an Email Campaign|
|Ecommerce||Tuesday or Thursday||10:00 AM|
|Software/SaaS||Tuesday or Thursday||2:00 PM – 3:00 PM|
|Marketing Services||Wednesday||4:00 PM|
|Offline Retail/Hospitality||Thursday||8:00 AM – 10:00 AM|
|Professional Services (B2B)||Monday or Tuesday||8:00 AM – 10:00 AM|
|NGOs (Nonprofits)||Tuesday or Thursday||3:00 PM – 4:00 PM|
|Overall||Tuesday or Thursday||10:00 AM or 3:00 PM|
Here is a deeper look at some of the insights we gained after looking at email engagement for our users:
To give you an idea of how this article is structured, there are two main sections. The first section looks at the best time to send emails across industries. The second section dives deeper and analyzes differences between industries.
Within each section, we address the best day of the week as well as the best time of day to send email blasts.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the numbers! 🚀
Overview: Best Time to Send Email Campaigns
Let’s start with an overview of our methods and findings. Here are the performance metrics we looked at in the study:
- Open rate: the number of emails that were opened divided by the total number of emails sent. For example, if 5,000 of 50,000 emails sent were opened, the open rate would be 10%.
- Click-through rate (CTR): the number of clicks divided by the total number of emails sent. For example, if 2,500 of 50,000 emails sent were clicked through, the click-through rate would be 5%.
- % Open volume: a percentage of the overall number of email opens sent during a specific period. For example, 20% open volume for Tuesday means that 20% of the total number of emails opened in a week came from emails sent on Tuesday
- % Click volume: a percentage of the overall volume of clicks from emails sent during a specific period. For example, 8% click volume for Thursday means that 8% of the total number of clicks-throughs in a week came from emails sent on Thursday
You’re likely more familiar with the first two metrics than the latter two. When trying to answer the question, “When is the best time to send an email blast?” percentage open volume and percentage click volume become extra helpful.
Whereas open rate and click-through rate can help us understand how a single email marketing campaign performs on its own, the latter two metrics allow us to compare engagement across multiple email blasts.
Overall email engagement by day of the week
- Across industries, emails sent on Tuesday and Thursday accounted for the greatest share of opens.
- Emails sent on Wednesdays had the most click-throughs.
Unsurprisingly, weekdays tend to have the most engagement, comprising over 85% of the total weekly open volume and nearly 95% of the weekly click volume.
More specifically, emails sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays accounted for the greatest share of opens.
However, emails sent on Tuesday and Wednesday saw the greatest share of click-throughs. While we would expect more opens to lead to more clicks, this clearly isn’t always the case.
Let’s try to make sense of this. People on Mondays are often time-strapped and playing catch-up after the weekend. Tuesday for many people may feel like the first real day of the week.
We see that as the week goes on, people continue opening emails, but the volume of clicks trails off significantly, likely indicative of the fatigue brought on by the work week. 😫
Overall email engagement by time of day
Takeaways: Across industries, there are two best times to send an email: 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM.
Next, we took a look at our data on an hourly basis, revealing some interesting email engagement trends.
We found two “best times” to send an email campaign on any given day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Opens and clicks both peaked at 10:00 AM. In the afternoon, opens peaked at 3:00 PM and click-throughs peaked at 4:00 PM.
Let’s think about why these times see the highest open rates and click-through rates.
- People typically check their email not long after getting to work. Once they’ve responded to their more time-sensitive messages, they often start perusing the various email newsletters and promotional content they’ve received.
- The afternoon peak we see between 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM is likely when people are checking their emails again after lunch or towards the end of the day before they leave.
You’ll also notice that click volume remains high through 6:00 PM, and even 7:00 PM to a lesser extent. As people’s focus starts to dwindle near the end of the day, they turn toward distractions like their inbox. 😵💫 And once work is finished, it’s not uncommon for people to check their email on the way home.
So in general, we can say that email open rates and click-through rates have both morning and afternoon peaks. But once you take a look at the data for different types of businesses, more email engagement trends come to light. Let’s take a look:
Email Campaign Timing by Business Type
To get a better idea of the best send time for different types of businesses, we looked at how different industries either matched or differed from the above overall trend.
This made it easier to visualize the results and understand email engagement behavior a bit more specifically. Let’s take a look at the trends for best days of the week and times of day across different industries:
Best day of the week to send an email blast
Ecommerce, Saas, and NGOs
- For ecommerce, SaaS, and NGOs organizations, emails sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays had the highest open rates.
- Emails sent on Wednesdays had the highest click-through rates.
Ecommerce, SaaS companies, and NGOs closely matched the trend we discussed above — that emails sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays account for the greatest portion of weekly opened emails.
All three of these industries have spikes for the open volume on Tuesday and Thursday. But, if you look at the click volume graph below, you’ll see that the largest amount of clicks by far takes place on Wednesday.
Again, we didn’t expect to see such a difference between the open and click trends. But, it just goes to show that opens don’t always equate to more meaningful engagement. 🤷♀️
But, there are several logical explanations for why you might see stronger engagement in these industries closer to the beginning of the week:
- Ecommerce: People want to get their shopping done early in the week so that it gets delivered in time for the weekend. (Some might also just be looking for a distraction at work because they’re still wishing it was the weekend. 😉)
- SaaS: SaaS companies mostly send newsletters with content related to their product’s functionality. Since readers most likely use these tools for work, it makes sense that they would want to read related content during the week.
- NGOs: NGOs and nonprofits are usually driven by a cause. This means that their audiences have high motivation already, so that post-weekend refreshed feeling might just be that extra kick that people need to read about their cause.
Want to learn more about email marketing in these industries? Check out these articles:
- 14 Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategies for 2022
- A Complete Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits
Marketing services, offline retail, and B2B:
- For B2Bs, emails sent on Mondays and Tuesdays had the most opens.
- For marketing services, emails sent on Wednesdays had the most opens.
- For offline retailers, emails sent on Thursdays had the most opens.
- For all these industries, emails sent on Wednesdays had the most click throughs.
Marketing services (agencies), offline retail businesses, and other B2B companies had more unique engagement patterns than the business types we looked at above.
The most interesting of these three is probably B2B. As you can see, there is a surge of opens at the beginning of the week, with the highest number of opens on Monday and Tuesday. The engagement drops sharply after that. 📉
For offline retailers, opens were fairly even throughout the week. The volume gradually increases day to day, with the most amount of emails opened on Thursday and Friday.
Marketing services saw its peak midweek on Wednesday, with well-below average numbers on Monday and Tuesday.
Despite showing different trends when it came to open rates, these three business types seem to have stuck to the trend when it comes to click-through rates.
Most surprising was the click distribution for B2B, which almost exactly traced the overall trend line. This was a stark contrast from its unique distribution of open volume over the week.
Although these deviations from the overall trend seem strange, we thought of a few reasons why they might make sense:
- Marketing services: Out of the three industries that were far from the overall figures, marketing services was still the closest. It’s likely that these emails simply follow a similar pattern to the SaaS companies — people want to read content that is relevant to their job during the week.
- Offline Retail: The pattern of opens for offline retail likely corresponds to the email subscriber’s intent. Most people wait to go shopping until the weekend, so they might be waiting until the end of the week to read them.
Best time to send an email blast
When we broke things down by time of day, we saw slightly more consistency across industries as well as between opens and clicks.
SaaS, offline retail, and B2B:
- For SaaS companies,
- Emails sent at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 2:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
- For offline retailers,
- Emails sent at 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
- For B2Bs,
- Emails sent between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
As you may recall, the overall engagement trend saw two peaks, one in the morning around 10:00 AM and the other in the afternoon around 3:00 PM.
SaaS, offline retail, and B2B businesses all followed a relatively similar trend. All three showed about 75% of the open volume taking place during business hours and 2 peaks located in the morning and early afternoon.
One slight difference to be aware of is that B2Bs and offline retail had spikes occurring slightly earlier than the overall peak, around 8:00 AM. 🌅
As you can see in the above graph, SaaS has a major spike in clicks at 2:00 PM, accounting for about 20% of the total daily click volume. It’s hard to say what caused this specifically, but it could likely be due to the workflow of recipients throughout the day, and the fact that they might have more time in the afternoon to look through emails.
Ecommerce, NGOs, and marketing services:
- For ecommerce businesses,
- Emails sent at 7:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 5:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 6:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
- For marketing services,
- Emails sent at 4:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
- For NGOs,
- Emails sent at 9:00 AM and at 3:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of opens;
- Emails sent at 4:00 PM accounted for the greatest share of click-throughs.
Although ecommerce, marketing services, and NGOs all had figures that were farther from the overall engagement distribution, they still followed a similar pattern of peaks and valleys. These businesses just had more extreme numbers.
Marketing services had the most unique trend, with low levels of engagement in the morning building up to a single peak at 4:00 in the afternoon. It also had a significant lift later in the evening.
Clicks were a different story. All three of these businesses had a single maximum that spiked in the late afternoon from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Quite the difference from the overall click volume results which had two clear peaks.
Other Considerations When It Comes to The Best Time to Send an Email Marketing Content
So far, we’ve paid a lot of attention to open and click rates as metrics for the best time to send an email blast. Of course, these are helpful ways to measure, but the time and day you send an email aren’t the only factors affecting your open and click-through rates.
Without a good subject line, effective email design, and well thought-out email copy, your content is unlikely to be opened, much less clicked through, even if you send it at the perfect time.
The best email campaigns out there use high-quality content as a starting point, providing their subscribers with value in every email. Once you’ve optimized your copy, design, and crafted the perfect email subject line (this is especially important for high open rates), you can start paying more attention to the timing of your emails.
With Sendinblue’s send time optimization feature, you can be sure your email will land in subscribers’ inboxes at the perfect time. Our software determines the best send time for every contact on your email list based on their previous engagement patterns. The best part? Email automation takes care of all the heavy lifting — all you have to do is click a button. 💅
Finally, to stay on top of your email marketing performance, there are a few key metrics and industry benchmarks to be aware of. To learn more, check out our article on Email Marketing KPIs and Benchmarks.
The Bottom Line
What have we learned?
- The optimal time to send an email will depend on what type of business you have
- Over 85% of opened marketing emails were sent on weekdays
- Over 90% of marketing emails that received clicks were sent on weekdays
- In general, it’s better to send email campaigns in the middle of the week between Tuesday and Thursday
- Email engagement is generally best for emails sent in the morning at 10:00 AM or mid-afternoon at around 3:30 PM
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that finding the best time to send an email is just one part of your overall email marketing strategy. After the data-driven recommendations above, the best advice we can give you is to experiment and see what works best for your target audience.
Getting higher open rates, more click-throughs, and ultimately increasing your conversion rates is a long-term process. Knowing the best time to send an email is part of this process, but don’t expect to see results overnight.
To take your email marketing to the next level, try Sendinblue. Our all-in-one marketing platform is perfect for creating and sending promotional emails, email newsletters, and most other types of business emails. And if you’re looking for more than just email marketing, we’ve got you covered! Sendinblue offers sales CRM, SMS marketing, live chat, and transactional email features all under one roof.
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