Do you know the best time to send emails? If you want your marketing messages to have a big impact, you may need to change when you’re sending them out.
See, your open rates could plummet if your email goes out at the wrong time, but schedule it for the perfect time and it could have a huge impact on your campaign’s effectiveness.
In this article, we share what studies show is the best time to send your emails so they make the biggest splash.
The Truth About Perfect Timing
What’s the perfect time to send emails? In a nutshell, it’s the time that works for your specific audience.
We know how unsatisfying that answer is.
Believe us, if we could tell you exactly when you should send out your particular marketing campaigns we totally would.
The thing is, there’s a ton of data from various studies trying to do just that. However, some of these studies are in agreement, while others are completely contradictory.
In reality, there’s no hard, fast rule for when to send out your emails until you know what times work for your audience. Every email list is made up of a different set of people with different habits.
Therefore, your best send time may or may not be the same as another marketer’s best send time.
So, what are we even doing here?
Well, it’s incredibly valuable to have a place to start, and that’s what we’re giving you in this article. Why start from nothing when other brands have already done testing?
When you have good information to start with, you can test and tweak your send times to further perfect them. So, let’s take a look at what the studies show is the best time to send emails. There are some valuable lessons to be learned.
Then, we’ll cover how you can use this information to find the best time to send emails for your own list.
Best Time to Send Emails
To write this article, we relied on data from the following sources:
- Email Marketing Benchmarks Report (GetResponse, 2019)
- Email Marketing Compass (Yes Marketing, 2017)
- The Best Time to Send Emails (Omnisend, 2018)
- Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
- Best Days & Times to Send an Email Campaign (Klayvio, 2018)
- Best Time to Send an Email: User Data Study by Industry (Sendinblue, 2017)
- What Our Data Says About the Best Time to Send Messages (Intercom, 2017)
- The Best Times To Get Your Business Email Opened, Based on Data From 20 Million Emails (HubSpot, 2015)
What is the Best Day to Send Emails?
In a study by GetResponse, they analyzed about 4 billion emails sent by their customers between January and June 2019, to gather information on the best time to send to individual email addresses in their local time zones.
The study only looked at active senders with a minimum of 1,000 contacts.
Here’s what they discovered about the best day to send emails:
As you can see, there’s very little difference between any of the weekdays, Monday through Friday. Weekends are not a great option for sending emails, with Sunday only slightly better than Saturday.
From GetResponse’s data, we learn that Tuesday has the highest open rate and click-through rate, as well as being the most popular day to send emails. Weekends were the least popular days to send emails, and they also had the lowest open rates.
But what about conversions? And sales?
According to a Q1 2017 report from Yes Marketing, Saturdays are actually the best days for conversion and had been for a few quarters prior. The exception was Q4 when Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing drove higher conversions on those days.
At 3.6%, conversions for Saturdays are 1.1% higher than the highest conversion rates during the week, which fall on Tuesdays and Fridays (both 2.5%). Sundays and Mondays are just behind those days with 2.4% conversion rates from email. Fridays enjoy the highest engagement rates.
This pattern shows that shoppers are engaging with marketing emails on Friday (by opening, clicking, and even browsing) but they aren’t actually making their purchases until Saturday.
You can take advantage of this engagement-conversion relationship by sending your best campaigns on these days.
According to an Omnisend report, Thursday is the best day to send promotional emails, with Tuesday in second place.
Still another report, this one by Campaign Monitor, shows that Thursday is the best day if you’re looking for high open rates with Tuesday being the best for highest click-through rates. Highest click-to-open rates came on Saturdays.
Klayvio, on the other hand, reports that Thursdays are the worst days for open rates. ? Instead, Tuesday is the winner, with Wednesday close behind. Interestingly, Thursdays show a 33.5% higher than average revenue per email recipient.
Sendinblue‘s email engagement research from 2017 shows that emails sent on Saturdays and Sundays had the highest open and click rates, but weekdays, particularly Wednesday and Tuesday, were huge winners in terms of open and click volume.
Rate vs. Volume: Rate is the number of emails opened or clicked divided by the total amount sent. Volume is the measure of the percentage of opens or clicks for emails sent during a specific time period (eg. the percentage of the weekly volume of opens/clicks that came from emails sent on a given day).
HubSpot pulled data from 20 million emails sent over a 10-month period and found that Tuesday was the best day to send an email in terms of open rate. This was followed closely by Wednesday with Monday coming up fast in third.
Of course, as you can see in their graph, the weekdays were all pretty close and slide down into the weekend where opens drop off a cliff.
They discovered that emails sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays were opened at a much higher rate than those sent at other times during the week. For in-app communications, open rates are pretty steady on weekdays, with Wednesday, Monday, and Thursday being the top three.
At OptinMonster, we generally send our email newsletters on Tuesdays or Wednesdays around 10 am and rarely send emails outside of Monday through Thursday. Based on a review of our data, our open and click rates are best on Wednesdays, though Tuesdays are a close second.
What can we make of all of this data?
Well, just by counting up the mentions of each day, we can say that Tuesday is the best day to send emails.
However, you can easily see that there’s no consensus on the exact day of the week to send emails. The day of the week also doesn’t make a huge difference in terms of open and click rates.
According to most of the research, open and click rates tend to decline toward the end of the week, with weekends being the worst days to send emails.
There are always going to be outliers; some email lists just don’t behave the way most of them do.
That’s why it’s so important to do your own research using your own list. You may find that your best day to send emails is completely different from the average. We’ll talk more about how to figure all this out later in this article.
When is the Best Time to Send Emails?
Let’s take another look at the data from Intercom:
From the graph above, you can see that Intercom found the best time to send emails is between 10 am and 2 pm, regardless of whether it’s email or in-app.
HubSpot’s data is largely in agreement, with the peak time for email opens being 11 am.
The only exception is on Sundays when the peak time for open rate is 9 pm.
Sendinblue‘s data shows that there are 2 times of day that are best for open and click volume: 10 am and between 3 pm-4 pm.
According to Klayvio, late-morning send times are more popular, but the afternoon tends to be higher-performing. Here’s a breakdown of the 4 best times to send emails in a typical day:
When you think about the flow of the day, these times make a ton of sense. For instance, sending emails during the night (12 am) is a great way to capture the 60% of us who check email first thing in the morning, before we even get out of bed!
The rest of the times fall during key transitions during a day: after lunch (1 pm), when people need a little pick-me-up to get through the last hour of the workday (4 pm), and during/just after the evening commute (6 pm).
Omnisend’s findings for the best time to send emails were similar to Klayvio’s findings, with emails sent around a traditional workday schedule performing better.
According to their data, the best time to send emails is 8 am or 4 pm. In terms of orders per campaign, 4 pm seems to be the best time. This is likely because recipients have more time to make purchases or are looking for distractions at that time of day.
GetResponse also found that 1 pm is a great time to send emails, but also offer 10 am as another time slot with strong open and click rates.
As you can see from the graph above, there’s also an increase in click rates right around 6 pm, while open rates fall dramatically between 2 pm-3 pm before rising again.
Our data at OptinMonster shows that our best time for opens and clicks is 1 pm.
Bottom line: the best time to send emails is mid-morning (10 am) or just after lunch (1 pm).
However, the data also indicates that you can get great results by scheduling emails to arrive in the recipient’s inbox sometime before that, during the very early hours of the morning, for instance.
That way, your email is ready to be opened by not only the majority of subscribers but also by the early risers on your list.
How to Find the Best Time to Send Emails for YOUR List
Now that you know what works for the majority of email marketers across multiple industries, you have a good starting point. So first, try scheduling your emails to go out in the morning on weekdays (at 10 am on Tuesdays, for example).
After you’ve gathered a significant amount of data, take a look at your open rates. A good open rate will vary depending on your industry, but the average open rate across all industries is 17.92%. You can see a breakdown of industry averages in this table from Campaign Monitor:
Do you have some room to improve your open rate? Good! Start testing your send times to see what time performs best for the goal you’re trying to reach.
For example, if your goal is to make sales, you’ll want to focus on your email conversion rates to find out which time results in the most sales. For engagement with your newsletter, that time could be a lot different.
Remember to always test a single variable at a time. You’ll want to send the exact same email with the exact same subject line when you A/B test your email send times.
How do you decide what times to experiment with? It’s easy:
Write down everything that you know about your subscribers and their relationship with you. What do they do for a living? What is a day in their life like? Also, what is the content of your emails, and when are your subscribers likely to be thinking about that content?
For example, someone like Ryan Robinson, who teaches people how to start their own business while continuing to work their day job, might want to send out his emails in the evening or on the weekends when his subscribers aren’t at their day job.
On the other hand, someone like Rich Page, who helps businesses optimize their website traffic, will likely get much better results by sending his emails during working hours, when his subscribers are working on their websites.
The key is to find out when your subscribers are most likely to engage with your brand.
If your subscribers also follow you on social media, that’s a perfect opportunity to see when they’re active online.
To figure out when your Twitter followers are the most active, type your screen name into the Followerwonk tool.
It will give you a result like this:
In this example, the graph shows that OptinMonster’s Twitter followers are the most active at 10 am.
You can see when your Facebook fans are the most active using a tool like the Sprout Social.
Top Tools: Make your social media work for you with these awesome social media marketing tools!
The engagement report shows response rates by the day, highlighting the highest-performing day:
You’ll also see the response rates by time of day, again, with the highest-performing time highlighted:
From this, you can see when your Facebook followers are the most active on your page. In this example, Facebook fans are the most engaged on Wednesdays from 6 am to 2 pm, with the highest engagement happening at 2 pm.
These are great times to test sending out your emails!
Pro Tip: You can create reports like this with your competitor’s Twitter accounts and Facebook pages if their audience is really similar to yours.
Finding the best time to send emails to your list is really dependent on how well you know your subscribers.
Don’t experiment blindly, but do try out what’s working well for others based on the studies we covered above.
Get to know your subscribers better than they know themselves and use the tools already available to learn their online habits and get a feel for their schedule.
Then, A/B test their most active times and you’ll be well on your way to discovering the perfect send time for your email list.
Have you figured out the best time to send emails to your list? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.