What is the Best Time of Day to Email?

by Christi on February 12, 2009


Herb Lawrence from Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) recently sent me some great information. I gleaned this from one of the white pages by Exact Target. What is the best time of day to send an email? Keep in mind that in addition to the best time of day the best time at all is when you have permission. Sending unwanted email any time of day is not a great idea. Here it is:

Usage Patterns of Email
One of the questions asked most often in the email industry is, “What is the best time of day to send an email?” The answer we typically provide is, “There are several variables that determine the best day to send email. Success will depend upon your industry, permission level for communication, communication type, etc. Given these factors, we recommend you conduct some testing to determine the best time of day to send for your business.”
Self-reported data can certainly be suspect, since individuals tend to report themselves in what they believe to be a positive light, or they respond in a manner they believe consistent with the surveyor’s goals. But behaviors don’t lie. As it relates to usage of different communication vehicles and marketing channels, understanding the habits of our consumer base can be quite insightful.

The chart below shows the results of observations of consumers using email throughout the day, and highlights four variables: Share of Hour, Reach, Episodes per Hour, and Minutes per Episode.

email-graph1

You can see that not only does email reach its peak in the morning hours, consumers tend to spend much more time per email episode (up to nearly 13 minutes on average) in the morning vs. just an average of 2 minutes per email episode late in the afternoon and evening.
What are the implications to a marketer in light of this data?
In the morning, consumers tend to dive deeper into email, where in the afternoon they are consistently in-and-out of their inboxes. Perhaps marketers sending newsletters or pitches that require more consumer involvement should consider sending them earlier in the day, when the consumers are more likely to spend the necessary time. Also, marketers relying on promotions with a “quick and clear” call to action could not only survive, but thrive later in the day when consumers are in quick-hit mode.

One comment on “What is the Best Time of Day to Email?

  1. Thanks Christi, mind if I share this with the Batesville Chamber blog?

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