Best Time To Send an Email According to Studies (With Examples)

Best time to send an email

You can only capitalize on the famous 36:1 email marketing ROI by paying attention to every little detail, including finding the best time to send an email. We studied several recent and reliable studies including our own study of 26 billion ⚡ emails and have some definite information on how to choose the best day and time for sending your messages.

Why it matters

Have you ever met someone who’s perfect for being your partner but who’s moving out of the state next Saturday or just not into it at the moment? If you have, you know what they mean by saying that you not only have to meet the right person but do it at the right time. It’s the same for many things in life, including messages in your mailbox.

Whatever the direct or indirect purpose of an email, first it needs to be spotted and opened. If a recipient does it, then the chances that they buy your product or service are higher. So what you ultimately want are more opens and more click-throughs. However, it turns out that almost 22% of all email campaigns are opened in the very first hour after they’re sent, so each passing hour means fewer chances for success.

We have detailed articles about email open rate (OR) and click-through rate (CTR). These metrics depend on various factors from the quality of your contact list to whether you use emojis in subject lines. The choice of the right day and time when you send your messages is also very important: emails will be more likely to be opened and clicked which means more sales.

OK, moving on to the numbers on timing.

Spoiler alert: there is no best or worst day or hour for sending emails.

But we still have to give you an answer you can start with, so we are going to analyze several studies to see which days are the most popular among email marketers and which of them show better results OR and CTR-wise.

What are the best days of the week to send emails?

Let’s go from bigger to smaller and first examine the days of the week.

#1 Unisender

Here at Unisender, we analyzed 26 billion emails sent by our customers from 2016 to 2019. These are the results:

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Looks like most often, subscribers open emails sent via Unisender on Tuesday (8.88%) and Thursday (8.63%). It confirms the universally accepted idea that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most common days for email marketing. The thing is, at first, everyone decided that it was best to send emails on Monday morning, at the beginning of the workweek. But trends changed. Once mailboxes become too crowded on Mondays, marketers had to think of other options.

And there are least of all opens on Saturday (6.17%) and Sunday (5.72%) — something we’re all accustomed to.

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WIRED sending their newsletter on Thursdays

#2 GetResponse

Folks at GetResponse analyzed 5.5 billion messages sent within the period of July 2019 – June 2020. Here’s what they found:

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Source: GetResponse

According to their study, there’s not much difference between weekdays in terms of email marketing metrics, especially the click-through rate. The open rate drops a bit on weekends which is totally understandable.

What’s interesting is that the open rate is the highest on Fridays. With click-through and click-to-open keeping pace, according to them, Friday really seems to be a solid option for starting with your email campaigns.

In fact, at the moment we are trying the Friday option at Unisender, sending our own blog digest on Fridays:

best time

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#3 Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor analyzed over 100 billion emails sent globally between January and December 2020. Here are their findings:

Source:

Same as with GetResponse, Campaign Monitor found that email marketing benchmarks don’t vary greatly throughout the week. However, according to them, it turns out that Friday really stands above the rest: it has the highest email open and click-through rates. The difference is not great but the fact that it’s Friday again is curious.

In short

As we can see from the research, there is no significant difference in the rates of emails sent on weekdays. At the weekend, the figures are lower.

An option, which has already proven itself for a long time, is to try sending on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some new research says Friday is a good option.

When is the best time to send an email?

Now let’s turn to the time of day.

#1 Unisender

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Unisender customers usually send emails from 5 am to 10 am and less often from 8 pm to 10 pm.

Now let’s turn to a graph of the average open rate of emails sent by time of day:

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Interestingly enough, on average, according to our indicators, emails sent in the evening get more opens. Looks like the fewer emails there are, the greater the chances that people will open them.

Not many companies try this approach though. In my own inbox, only Really Good Emails do it:

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Time in all examples is listed as ET.

#2 Litmus

For their 2021 State of Email Engagement report, Litmus analyzed almost 8 billion email opens between January 1 and August 31, 2021. Their findings:

best time
Apart from the United States, they also have data on the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Australia & New Zealand, but it’s pretty much the same. Source: Litmus

They found that people tend to open emails in the morning, with numbers starting to pick up around 6 am and peaking around 10 am and 11 am. This rule works especially well with informational newsletters — morning is the time when people are open to new information and want to recap on what happened since they checked last time.

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OK, yes, it’s called Morning Brew.
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Staying true to their word, Litmus sends their newsletter around 11 am.

#3 GetResponse

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Source: GetResponse

Looks like the best-performing hours are somewhere in the early morning around 3-4 am. Then the line steadies and the next time worth attention is late evening — the open rate drops but there are much more clicks per message.

#4 Omnisend

Omnisend analyzed over 2 billion promotional campaigns sent using their platform over 2018.

best time

Source: Omnisend

Their findings tell the same things about working hours with several distinct spikes when people are about to start or finish working or are taking a break: around 8 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm.

In short

According to 4 studies, companies prefer to send emails in the morning when people are not tired and ready to take in new information. This is also confirmed by the highest open rate and click-through rate.

Of course, because of this, there is heavy traffic during this period, so it is worth trying other options, for example, lunch break and the end of the working day.

Perfect time for sending different kinds of emails

Does the best time to send emails depend on who they are intended for — employees or clients? In fact, there is such a dependence.

B2B emails

Our clients’ experience says that for B2B marketing, emails are best sent to office employees mid-week between 6-9 am so that they view your messages at the top of their inboxes. You can also use Omnisends data and send it when people are considering taking a break around 1-2 pm.

Entrepreneurs and executives open emails more frequently, so the day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals based on open and click rates is on Saturday at 10 AM.

B2C emails

Studies suggest that there’s no big difference in open rates for specific days of the week for B2C emails. You can use any of the advice from the studies above and start sending after work hours — between 5 pm and 9 pm — when people are ready to consider your products or services.

There are also some tricks you can use. For example, you can send follow-up emails on the same day and time that your customers placed their last order because chances are that’s when they are in front of their computers.

You can also automatically resend the emails that were not previously opened.

In short

B2B: send Tuesday to Thursday around 6-9 am. Try weekends for sending to business owners.

B2C: no big difference. Try Friday, Tuesday, and Thursday around 6-9 am or after 5 pm but before 9 pm.

So, how to find the best time to send an email

But wait, why is the data sometimes different in different studies? Well, that’s the spoiler alert we talked about before.

In fact, the best day and time depend on dozens of factors: the industry you’re working in, the content of your messages, the audience, the frequency of mailings, the devices where users open their emails more often. There is no single recipe for everyone.

So what to do?

Explore your audience

For that, you need to create your audience’s personas. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What’s their typical day look like?
  • When and how might they want to see triggers that remind them of you and your products or services?

Then paint a picture and imagine yourself in their shoes. Synchronize mailings with the schedule of your clients. For example, as we already know, entrepreneurs are more likely to read emails during their lunch breaks on weekdays, while ordinary workers get to them early in the morning on weekdays or on lunch breaks. Younger people are more active in the evenings, etc.

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TechCrunch informs its readers about breaking news from startups, so they assume that weekends are great for their newsletter intended mostly for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What about people in different time zones?

For superior results, segment your contact list by geography to determine the subscriber’s time zone. Then you have two main choices:

  • Choose a sending time according to the majority
  • Segment and send to several groups.

Consider the content

The type of content also affects opens and CTR. What comes to mind:

  • Business emails, consulting, marketing, and advertising — Tuesday-Thursday.
  • Entertainment and other messages that don’t demand immediate action — Friday evenings and weekends when people relax.
  • Polls — Monday night. Subscribers are reluctant to answer questions during business hours.
  • E-commerce — Fridays, weekends, preferably at lunchtime and in the evenings: mornings are better suited for educational and informational content rather than selling something.

Test all possible methods

What to do when there are several, sometimes conflicting, opinions on when is the best time to send an email?

Test, test, test. There’s no other way to find out what works best for you other than testing.

The best time to send emails is individual for each business sector and for each purpose. You can start with what statistics say: for example, Tuesday-Thursday at 11 am or 5 pm. But after that, we recommend trying different days and times of sending — chances are, something different will suit your audience better.

The point of testing is that you send two versions of the same email to two subscriber groups of approximately the same composition. Emails should be exactly the same, except for the day or time of sending.

Measure the performance of your emails

After each test, make some conclusions using email marketing software. For example, at Unisender, we have a report that among other things allows you to determine the most popular reading time, as well as to understand when the majority of the recipients opened your campaign:

best time

For detailed instruction, go to the report’s page.

You can also schedule a message by specifying the date and time. As a result, your newsletter will be sent at the right time without your participation.

Useful tips for sending

You can improve on opens and click rates by considering other aspects. We advise you to pay attention to:

  • Subject lines. A subject line, like any other headline, is needed to grab a subscriber’s attention and encourage them to read a message. Here’s a guide on writing catchy subject lines to get your emails opened and read.
  • List quality. What matters is how you got to have your list and whether you take care of it. Read our tips on building an email list and cleaning it up.
  • Design. Once an email is opened, email design plays a huge role in how many clicks there will be. Email design matters because following its best practices ensures that your message not only looks great but fulfills its purpose.

Final remarks

The best (and worst) day and time for sending emails is a rather controversial topic. On the one hand, there are studies that show that messages are opened more often on certain days of the week. On the other hand, it is worth understanding that all subscribers are different and it will not be possible to find a convenient time for everyone.

However, the sending day and time can be personalized for different subscribers. A few tips on how to do this:

  • Consider time zones.
  • Straight ask subscribers when they feel comfortable receiving your emails.
  • Test different times and days. Do A/B tests to find out when your audience responds better.

Experiment. Test. Analyze.

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What’s your best time to send emails?

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