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What Is the Best Time to Send an Email in 2021?

Posted by Christin on December 25, 2020

What is the best time to send an email

Christin
Marketing Manager

PR & Media Relations Supporting the team by communicating Mailbird and its great features to existing and potential users and media.

Published on December 25, 2020

With the current and ever-developing marketing tools, the possibilities to get your brand’s message across to potential users are enormous — chat bots, influencers, and the good old Google AdSense, just to name a few. Yet, email marketing is nowhere near dying out, generating as much as $38 for every dollar of spendings, according to one of the metrics. But, as with everything on the market, timing is the key to success, and identifying the best time to send an email is crucial for email marketing.

In this article, you will find the latest data and trends that can give a hint to the most appropriate time to send emails, as well as the day of the week when you’re most likely to get positive results.

Why Does Timing Matter for Email Marketing?

People receive 96 emails daily on average, spending almost a third of their work day reading and replying to them. Yet, even with that much time spent processing emails every day of the workweek, only 65% of the inbox can be managed, leaving quite a lot of messages unanswered and possibly in the trash.

You don’t even have to imagine how those emails keep piling up day by day, because emails go cold within 24 hours with just a 1% open rate. On top of that, some emails don’t even reach your audience’s inboxes, because they put filters in place that make your emails bypass their inbox or they straight-up blocked you.

The key takeaway here is this: inboxes are overflowing with emails to the point where a lot of people don’t manage to go through all of the new messages. So the competition becomes about making sure your email hits the inboxes at the right time of day, when recipients are most likely to open and read it.

The day of the week matters as well, so let’s start with a bigger target and see what research suggests about that.

What Is the Best Day to Send Emails?

The short answer is Wednesday through Thursday. The longer and possibly more valuable answer is that it depends on the source of data, type of audience, country, and a lot of factors to keep in mind when sending emails.

Most studies show that working days have a significantly higher open rate than the weekend. Engagement metrics show that subscribers are mainly active from Monday to Friday. Weekends are considered leisure and family time, resulting in lower traffic.

That said, weekends are also when fewer emails are being sent, so it might be worth running an A/B test with a list of recipients scheduled for the weekend and another for Wednesday and Thursday.

Best time to send an email
Best time to send emails

What do the numbers tell about the best days to send emails?

According to GetResponse, the best day to send emails is Tuesday, with the highest open rate. A study conducted by Experian found that Tuesday’s emails have an open rate of about 18%. Thursday has a slightly lower rate, making it the second-best choice. In a Hubspot report, Wednesday and Monday were also good picks, though the winner was also Tuesday. 

Customer.io and MailChimp agree that the middle of the working week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) gets you the highest open rates, especially for informative emails that don’t require any action.  However, the best day to send sales or promotional emails is Friday. GetResponse found that Friday has the highest open rate (20.58%), while Tuesday had the best click-through rate.

Customer.io and Experian’s data also shows that not only do Tuesdays get the highest open rate, but also Saturdays. This can indicate that weekends shouldn’t be ruled out completely.

Interim conclusion

Based on a number of studies on the best time to send emails, Tuesday is your best bet, as it has the highest open and click-through rates. If you send two emails a week, make Thursday your second choice. In most studies, Wednesday also closely followed the aforementioned days.

However, a lot of marketers read these studies, so if you decide to go with Tuesday, keep in mind that your email wouldn’t be the only newsletter. If a user gets ten emails from different companies on Tuesday, what are the chances it’s yours they would click?

Now that you’re halfway to choosing a day of the week for sending commercial emails, let’s discuss the most appropriate time of the day.

What Is the Best Time to Send Emails?

The lifespan of an email is about an hour after they arrive in your inbox. The open rate drops to less than 8% after 4 hours. After 24 hours there’s less than a 1% chance your email gets opened. You are more likely to avoid getting your email sent straight to the trash if people receive it when they are reading.

Studies vary significantly when it comes to the best time to send an email. The tried-and-true strategy is somewhere in the middle — middle of the week and middle of the day. However, some studies suggest mornings between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. are most efficient. That’s when a lot of office jobs begin, and it’s not hard to imagine that an office day starts with a cup of tea or coffee and checking emails.

Campaign Monitor‘s research also shows that email opens correspond with an average person’s working hours. 53% of emails are opened between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with a slight drop at lunchtime. 47% of emails are opened outside of work, and most of the opens occur on mobile devices.

MailChimp noted a peak at 10:00 a.m., quoting it as the optimal send time across their system. HubSpot gets the most email opens at 11:00 a.m., and WordStream’s data shows Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. as the best time to send email newsletters.

Bets time to send marketing emails
Best time of day to send a commercial email

What do these numbers tell us?

If you’re looking to engage your audience, send your emails early in the morning between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. or in the evening between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. For other purposes, send your emails between noon and 4:00 p.m. The rates decrease during lunchtime, but you have a window of opportunity just after that time.

Metrics vary for different industries and according to the nature of your email. To determine when is the best time to send an email newsletter or other promotional materials, first consider the type of email you’re sending and the target audience. Paint a picture of your average client, how they are likely to spend their day, and when they are likely to take peaks into their inboxes. Do they use email notifications or check emails at set times like productivity experts suggest? There’s a lot to consider.

What to Consider When Choosing the Time to Send Emails

The data that studies give us isn’t the only thing you should factor in when scheduling any promotional materials via email. Let’s take a look at other contributors you should take into account.

1. The demographics and common behaviors of your audience

Knowing your demographics is a deal-breaker in email marketing efforts. Understanding the needs and habits of your audience can also determine your email open and click-through rates.

Demographics trump any safe “best time to send email” bet. For example, most studies advise against sending emails at night, but if your audience consists of a large number of nurses or bartenders (as suggested in Mail Chimp’s post) with atypical working hours, then you’ll notice an increase in your open rate even at night.

2. The niche you work in

Your niche determines most of your audience, so if you’re in the retail or entertainment industry, or run an eCommerce website, then Friday’s the best time to send emails and reach out to people just as the weekend’s approaching.

3. Seasonal changes

Seasons and locations play an equally important role. You can easily reach audiences in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere even on Saturday and Sunday. To reach your audiences who live in different time zones at the right time, customize your email send times.

4. Frequency of emails

Open rates aren’t affected only by send time. If you’re looking to increase your open rates, you’ll need to consider other factors, such as the frequency of your emails, the subject line, and the length and appearance of your email message — and, possibly, perform a deliverability check.

Most marketers send email blasts two to three times a month. Marketing Sherpa conducted a survey about the frequency of promotional emails, which should give you an idea to start with. However, their findings are based on their audience. Schedule out the frequency of your emails based on your list.

Best time to send emails
How many times a week you should send emails

5. Subject lines

Subject lines are crucial in email marketing. They’re what gets your email opened and are probably just as important as the message itself. Give your emails an intriguing title, enough to tickle the curiosity of your audience. Pair it with a quality message, and you’ve got a winning combination.

6. User experience

The appearance of your email on the screen, the paragraph organization, and overall esthetics, plays a huge role in getting your message across. With over 42% mobile open rates, it goes without saying that your emails should be mobile-friendly. People want something they can skim read, so write short paragraphs and include bullet points. And yes, replace those 1000 words with an image.

How to Measure the Performance of Your Emails

As you can see, the recommended times for sending emails differ, as do the factors that affect email opens. With all the aforementioned information in mind, it’s safe to say that you will need to find your benchmark and perform tests to find what time is best for your niche, audience, and type of emails.

For identifying your benchmark, you can take the average recommended time, Tuesday morning. Measure results and try different times of the day and days of the week. You might need to test different times more than once to make sure the results are credible.

Metrics to use when measuring performance:

  • Open rate. The percentage of people who opened your email. This metric might mean the number of loyal clients or that your subject line was enough to catch their attention.
  • Click-through rate. This metric is the total number of clicks divided by the total emails sent (excluding bounced emails). It shows the level of engagement people have with your emails.
  • Click-to-open rate. This metric is used to compare the number of unique clicks and unique opens and indicates the effectiveness of your message as a whole (content and design).

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all kind of solution to the question: “When is the best time to send an email?” Studies show varied results, though if you take average data, sending emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays, closely followed by Wednesdays, will increase your chances to get higher open rates.

As for the time of day, taking into account an average office day, you’re more likely to receive good open rates if you schedule emails to hit the inboxes in the morning, after lunch, or in the evening.

Of course, this data is only enough to find your benchmark results. Identifying the best time to send an email for your business will require A/B testing. As your audience increases so will the variety of habits you’ll need to cater to. Do the tests while the segments in your audience are on the smaller side.

If you work with business email and not mass promotional materials, try Mailbird to manage your email communication. It offers multiple email account support and email tracking, so you can connect separate email addresses for different projects and track open rates to test your theories on a smaller scale. Mailbird is also suitable for beginner-level email marketing.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

FAQs about the Best Time to Send Emails

Does it matter what time you send an email?

In most cases, yes. The whole idea of email is for it to be read by the recipient, and if you send it without proper timing, the chances it is read dwindle — in particular, when you send commercial emails.
In addition to that, it’s not just your email that will land in an inbox. There will be another 40 to 90 emails crying for attention. It’s a competition you’ve no way to decipher, so angling at the right time should be your main priority

Is it bad to email at night?

Generally, no, but it depends on the purpose you’re sending the email with. If you know the recipient is expecting your email or maybe even a reply to another email, then sending it at night is okay. On the other hand, if you want to send a promo email or even a job application to an HR specialist, it’s best for you that the email comes at the right time and on top of all other emails.

Now, even if you are sending a message to an acquaintance, it’s best to schedule your email. This way, it is more likely that your email will be viewed first. Messengers have a schedule function now, so it’s a given that you can set a custom time for your email.

How to schedule an email:
— Write your email, check for grammar and misspellings, and add a signature.
— Add a subject line that describes the contents of your email.
— Add a recipient or recipients.
— Find an arrow button beside the Send button and click it.
— Choose a time and date for scheduling, then press Send.
You can then find this email in the folder titled Schedules.

Should you send emails on the weekend?

Yes, it’s a viable option.

There’s an argument to be made about sending emails on the weekend. On the one hand, weekends are time for leisure and family. Subjectively speaking, it might not be the right or appropriate time for sending emails, and a lot of studies show lower open rates on Saturdays and Sundays.

On the other hand, weekends are also when fewer businesses send emails. So if your audience works on weekends or is likely to check their inboxes, it’s worth trying to schedule for Saturdays, which is better than Sundays, according to a handful of studies.


Christin
Marketing Manager

PR & Media Relations Supporting the team by communicating Mailbird and its great features to existing and potential users and media.

Published on December 25, 2020

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