Let’s Talk About Send Times

Graph of Emails Sent on Black FridayAs an email marketer, you’re always trying to optimize every aspect of your campaigns – send time is a big one. As tempting as it is to scour the Internet in search of the Holy Grail time to send emails, though, studies can only tell you so much. Finding your optimal send time is very much dependent on your industry, product, and unique customer base. Basically, one size does not fit all, but there are steps you can take to find your best send times – namely, testing.

General Rules

Although your optimal send time is unique to your business, there are a couple of rules you can adhere to:

  • Unless you have an extremely specialized business, you should be sending during the work week.
  • Unless you’re trying to reach a very specific demographic, you should probably be sending mid-morning (between 9:00 AM-12:00 PM). Certain demographics are more apt to open emails at different times – i.e. college students, retirees, etc.

What We’ve Observed

The above graph of emails sent on Black Friday reveals several things. For one, most stores send emails within the same timeframe, and there are definitely peak hours when more emails are sent. One interesting note is that Amazon sent two emails on Black Friday, both outside of these peak hours. If, for holidays, you’re increasing your emailing frequency, it’s important to bear this in mind when you’re choosing send times – two emails in short succession is likely overkill.

There are “dead zones,” too. At 2:00 AM and from 9:00-11:00 PM, no emails were sent by the businesses in our sample size. So, unless your target demographic is night nurses or some other group that keeps a nocturnal schedule, you probably don’t want to be sending emails during these time periods.

A/B Test Send Times

A/B Test Send Times

A/B testing send times doesn’t work quite the same way as A/B testing content. While there will still be a winner, there is no feature that allows you to send said winner to the remaining recipients, since time is the variable being tested.

Because of this, A/B testing send times should be used for future campaigns instead of as an immediate fix for a particular campaign. The good news is, though, that you can test up to five different send times at once, which will help you speed up the process of isolating the optimal one. Once you’ve experimented with enough send times, you’ll be able to determine which works best for you and plan your future campaigns accordingly.

Send by Time Zone

FL Advance reports

If you have a widespread customer base, you may want to consider sending based on recipients’ time zones, so everyone will receive your emails at the same time locally. Using our new campaign mapping feature, you can quickly visualize where your customers are concentrated and determine if sending by time zone might lead to higher open rates.

It is important to remember, though, that different demographics across the world might have a shifted schedule, so the same time may not be ideal for everyone. Furthermore, if your emails are time-sensitive in nature – if you’re running a flash sale, for example – you will have to adjust accordingly.

Conclusion

To find your optimal send time, your best bet is to A/B test several variations within working hours and see which yield the highest open rates. If you have a unique customer base that doesn’t follow this regular nine-to-five schedule, feel free to alter this model as you see fit. Remember to account for the frequency of your emails, and considering sending based on time zones if you have a large international audience.

What time do you send your campaigns? Have you tried A/B testing by time? If so, what have you learned? Let us know in the comments.

 

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