What is the best time for sending a campaign?
It feels like one of the most critical questions that pops up in your head when you are preparing to send your campaign. With your finger on the trigger button, you are wondering when the campaign should launch. As with most of those questions, there is no one right answer. It depends largely on your audience – who they are, where they are, and what they do. As always, the best solution is to use your reports and analysis and get to know your audience better.
But still. You have to start somewhere?!
Understand your decision factors
First of all, you need to be clear about your decision factors.
You want to send your email as close as possible to the time of day when your contact is most likely to open it. Otherwise, you risk it being lost within a bunch of other emails. When they open their email, you want to be at the top.
You want your email to be opened, clicked through, and lead to conversions. You cannot have conversions without the email being opened but that does not necessarily mean that the largest amount of email open clicks lead to the most conversions.
Day of the week
As a standard, stick to the workdays. Aim for the beginning of the week for a higher return on investment and for the end of the workweek for higher click-through rates. Mondays are too hit or miss. Start your sending week on Tuesdays.
Your statistics will probably not skyrocket on the weekend, but engagement rates are high. If for any reason you perceive this campaign to be complicated to understand and interact with, try and send it out on Saturday and Sunday to give the majority of your contacts more time to get the message. There will be much less competition for their attention.
There is also a much lower unsubscribe rate on Sunday and even Monday.
Be aware that these are general tips. Every audience is different. If you're in B2C, the weekends might work great for you. Your ideal sending day might even vary for specific promotions. Test this out to see what works best for your content and audience.
Time of day
Those times of day could be different, depending on the purpose for which your audience uses your emails.
Roughly speaking, if your email requires action, you will be better off sending it in the morning. If it requires reading, thinking and analysis, you will do better in the evenings.
If the majority of your audience will use your emails for work, target your emails between 10:00 - 11:00 and 13:00 - 15:00.
If the purpose is leisure, you can try for 07:00 – 09:00 but you might be more successful around 18:00 – 21:00. (Unless it is the weekend).
Mobile vs. Desktop
Mobile users will be more likely to check their email in the earliest of those hours and in the latest of those hours. Maybe even later. Right after waking up and right before bed. Of course, if you are targeting this audience you will have the largest success if your message is coordinated – i.e. it could be easier to read an article on your smartphone but not as easy to type in a feedback form.
Be cautious of the time zone of the majority of your audience. To hit your target timing, you might need to create segments of contacts.
Beat around the bush
Even when you discover your best timing, we recommend you do not overdo it. Do not always use your best timing. Try five minutes to an hour later or earlier. Always keep an eye on those statistics. You want to stay on top of your game if things change. Your best timing might skew a little. You are just keeping it interesting that way.
However, on your most important campaigns – invitations, sales, discounts – aim for dead eye.
Use the power of workflows
Workflows are a great way to reach the perfect timing for important campaigns.
Whenever your contacts hit a trigger – they fill in a form for you, they receive one of your campaigns or click on a link that puts then in a particular interest group, your workflow is set off.
It can automatically do one of the following for you, depending on your set up:
- Send a pre-defined campaign immediately – works best for confirmation or informative emails.
- Send a pre-defined campaign in a preapproved timeslot – works best for series of emails such as online classes or stories. You can schedule your workflow to send the new campaign on the next working day after the trigger was hit, in a time frame – for example, 10:00 to 12:00.
- Send a pre-defined campaign exactly 24 or 48 hours after a previous campaign message was opened – it is a good way to make sure you are hitting the free time of your contact specifically.
Use your reports
Last but not least, make sure you are using your reports to determine the commencement point for the majority of your emails. For every campaign, you can export a detailed list with timestamps when your emails were opened or clicked through.
Always stay on top of your game and be flexible. Adapt to changes in your audience to always give yourself your best bet.
You can find lots of articles online stating that the best days for sending email campaigns are Tuesday and Thursday. When we look at our traffic, those are generally speaking the busiest days in the inbox. That means your email gets a lot of competition on those days. Are they sending on those days because they read somewhere that that's ideal? Or do they because they've tested it and it works best for them?
Never assume best practices will automatically work for you and find your own strategy: with a tried and tested approach aimed at your audience.