What Time Should I Send My Email?

By , Director of Deliverability for Adobe:

Each day, mil­lions of mar­ket­ing emails go out into the world, and it has become a hot topic of con­ver­sa­tion among mar­keters as to what time is the best time to send them out. Study after study has been con­ducted to try to get into the psy­che of the con­sumer to try to fig­ure out what time is the best time of day to attract their attention.

One study, based on 100 mil­lion online trans­ac­tions and reported by mar​ket​ing​profs​.com, claims that over 65 per­cent of email recip­i­ents open pro­mo­tional emails in the after­noon and evenings. The study found that 38 per­cent of email con­ver­sions (opened, clicked through, and con­verted) occurred in the after­noons and 27 per­cent in the evenings. The least opens occurred in the morn­ings when most pro­mo­tional emails tend to be sent.  If this is true, then as a mar­keter, you have to ques­tion the strat­egy of send­ing emails dur­ing a time when they are rarely opened.

Some say that Tues­day and Fri­days are best for send­ing while oth­ers claim that 3 pm on Thurs­day is the best time for con­sumers to get your mes­sage. This con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sion leaves much room for debate.

The assump­tions being made by many of these stud­ies is that con­sumers have been sit­ting at their com­put­ers wait­ing for a pro­mo­tional email and that they act on it as soon as they receive it. But other stud­ies sug­gest that while 76 per­cent of email opens take place in the first two days after receiv­ing them, 79 per­cent of pur­chases take place after those two days and one-third of pur­chases hap­pen more than two weeks after the ini­tial email offer. What this may tell us is that more and more, con­sumers are in the driver’s seat and they are mak­ing indi­vid­ual deci­sions about when to open their emails. The times they open emails may change from day to day depend­ing on their activ­i­ties and circumstances.

Some peo­ple open their mail at lunch while oth­ers may open them con­tin­u­ously as they come in if they are work­ing on the com­puter all day. Oth­ers may wait a few days before check­ing offers.

One of the fears dri­ving the con­cern over when to send is that con­sumers are being drowned by email offers, and while for some that may be true, other stud­ies sug­gest that may not be true for all. And since most con­sumers are pre­fer­ring to receive com­mu­ni­ca­tions by email, these pro­mo­tions may not be entirely unwel­comed. In fact, if you have used the best prac­tices we have dis­cussed in this blog over the weeks (care­ful tar­get­ing, using a pref­er­ence cen­ter, etc.), your cus­tomer may be quite happy to get your offer.

What this may all mean is that while stud­ies are inter­est­ing and can often yield help­ful infor­ma­tion, there is no rule that will guar­an­tee your emails will be opened and will result in a trans­ac­tion or con­ver­sion. The best strat­egy seems to be to keep exper­i­ment­ing, try­ing dif­fer­ent times of the day and dif­fer­ent days of the week.

After all, the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is the most impor­tant fac­tor. Let them dic­tate when you mes­sage them by allow­ing them to state this in a pref­er­ence cen­ter, or use the behav­ioral data you have as a mar­keter and send to cus­tomers at times when they have opened in the past. (Don’t for­get that email is global and there are dif­fer­ent time zones to con­sider.) Get­ting to know your cus­tomer through an email pref­er­ence cen­ter, pay­ing atten­tion to your ana­lyt­ics, and cre­at­ing the best offer you can are great ways to insure a return on your invest­ment and to cre­ate a great cus­tomer experience.


Alyssa Nahatis

Alyssa Nahatis is Director of Deliverability for Adobe, where she’s responsible for leading the deliverability function for the company’s North American client base, including reputation management strategies and services, and deliverability operations.

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