Email marketing effectiveness depends on the time of the day

By October 19, 2012
young woman having coffee in the morning with laptop

Email has remained in marketer favor due to its nearly universal accessibility and economical cost. But making simple changes to a campaign’s timing can greatly increase open ratios and click-through rates.

While many factors can affect open and engagement rates for email marketing campaigns, timing is a significant one. GetResponse researched US accounts from the first quarter of 2012 to determine how the time of day can have a critical impact on how many recipients actually read or interact with an email. There are two main influences on email campaign effectiveness that were defined in this study: the time that has elapsed between when the email is sent and when a recipient checks their email, and the hour of the day. An optimized campaign must keep these two elements in mind, as well as incorporating tools to send messages at different times by subscribers in different time zones.

Timing includes email checking times and email traffic patterns

Morning messages are the most popular - 38.7 percent of emails are sent between 6am and noon. The afternoon gets 25.8 percent of emails, and the evening gets 29.6 percent. A small amount (5.9 percent) are sent between midnight and 6am. Because so many emails are received in the morning, messages sent at other times of the day, particularly in the afternoon, have more of a chance of “being noticed, opened and clicked.” Morning open ratios and click through rates are weaker than afternoon and night rates, with top CTR at 8am, 9am, 3pm and 8pm, while top open hours are 8am, 9am, 3pm and 4pm.

Emails have a short lifespan

The top hours are important, but the morning rush that consumers receive makes it more effective to send emails up to one hour before these times. An email is most likely to be opened within one hour after delivery - or 23.63 percent of the time. Within the second hour, that rate drops by half, the third hour drops another 30 percent. The fifth hour sees that rate drop over 90 percent. With proper timing, including matching local times if a campaign is international, marketers can more effectively schedule campaigns to hit inboxes at times when they will most likely be opened and read.

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