a man's hands holding a watch

The truth is that even the most masterful campaigns and newsletters risk engagement failure if they are sent at a time that doesn’t suit your customers. This challenge has left many marketers puzzling over a single question: “When is the best time to send email marketing campaigns?” Luckily, there is plenty of expert advice out there for increasing engagement. Here, we summarize the top latest tips, and suggest an alternative solution which can help you rise above the timing game altogether and land at the top of your customer’s inbox every single time.

Three rules traditional email marketers follow  

Various studies have been conducted in order to determine the best time to send email marketing campaigns or newsletters to subscribers. Based on these insights, many email marketing experts have worked out three simple rules for ensuring a successful open rate and the most engagement.

  1. Tuesday is the best day to send email campaigns or newsletters to your subscribers. Thursdays and Wednesdays are the next best days (the response rate by subscribers is the highest in most industries on these days).
  2. Around 10 AM is better than early morning, afternoon, or evening (subscriber responses are the highest at this time for most industries).
  3. Workdays are better than weekends for ensuring the most subscriber engagement

Why one size does not fit all in email marketing

Even though these rules are based on many studies and billions of data sets, they are derived from average values. This means that they fail to consider the preferences of each recipient, and don’t apply to every single industry.

Seeing the big picture can be helpful, but when it comes to running a unique business with a unique set of customers, broadly applied rules fall short.

Our advice? Don’t rely on average values or the assumption that "one size fits all.” Instead, learn about the individual lifestyles and preferences of your customers, and adjust your send times accordingly. Increasing engagement entails making an important shift to a CRM email marketing approach, where it is the individual, rather than a vague pool of customers, that is in focus.

What is “send time optimization?”

Send time optimization solutions utilize AI and machine learning technology to analyze data and detect when your customers and subscribers actually check their inbox. Your message is then sent to each individual at a time that matches the rhythm of their life. In other words, send time optimization ensures that your email marketing campaign or newsletter is received during key, attention-grabbing minutes, and doesn’t get lost at the bottom of the inbox with a bunch of other messages.

Send time optimization can increase the open rate of your email campaigns by up to 25 percent. As a marketer, you benefit from the undivided attention of your recipients, which increases your return on investment.

How send time optimization works

Send time optimization works by creating a personal profile for each recipient and then analyzing their response behavior. And, thanks to machine learning, the longer the customer or subscriber relationship, the more accurate the optimized send time becomes. If a recipient ever changes their behavior, their profile is updated accordingly.

But opens by themselves do not provide sufficient evidence of whether a recipient is interacting with their inbox. That’s why the self-learning algorithm also analyzes click behavior and message opens. Around 70 percent of users now own a smartphone, and reach for it an average of 88 times a day to check their inbox or open a message—even if it’s only to reduce their unread message count to zero. When users check messages, they are much less likely to read your campaign or monthly newsletter in depth or follow interesting links. By taking the click behavior of recipients into account, send time optimization solutions are able to determine when they are focused and responsive, and not just clicking off a notification.

Benefits of using send time optimization for email marketing 

  • Increase the open rate for your emails by up to 25 percent.
  • Decrease the likelihood that your message will go unnoticed.
  • Your advertising messages are perceived as less obtrusive.
  • Send time optimization adjusts to the recipient's behavior, and changes the send time when a recipient changes habits.
  • Send time optimization is automated.
  • Send time optimization has a low learning curve. The solution we offer at Episerver integrates with the familiar, standard features of Episerver Marketing Automation.
  • Virtually infinitely adjustable for up to seven days.
  • A fallback time can be set for new recipients for whom behavioral data is not yet available.
  • Episerver’s send time optimization solution is available for Smart Campaigns (including A/B tests).
  • Analysis function lets you evaluate individual send times.