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There are a lot of factors that go into making an email campaign a success. One of them is timing. As a deliverability analyst, I often get asked what the best days and times are for sending emails. Numerous theories exist about this but the answer is not as cut and dry as many marketers might think. In order to determine the best day to send emails, brands usually need to consider their industry, campaign engagement metrics, conversation rates, and more.
The first step to determining the best-performing day of the week for email deployment is finding out what ‘best-performing’ means to each marketer. Whether ‘success’ is defined by the most opens, the highest click-to-open rate (CTO) or the best conversion rates (the number of clicks resulting in a purchase), establishing that will greatly impact which strategic steps marketers should pursue.
In this day and age people have 24/7 access to their email. According to a survey by Huffington Post1, US workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. The same survey showed that 90% of workers check personal emails at work and 87% of them looked at their emails outside of working hours. Furthermore a recent Gallup Poll2 estimated that 80% of full-time US workers stay connected to work via smartphone. These survey findings illustrate email as a strong component both at the workplace and in our social lives. Not only do people now have around the clock access to email, they are frequently checking their inboxes as well. The consumers’ ability to check their emails at any minute of the day presents many opportunities for marketers to engage their email audience. Yet, one day did stand out as the best day of the week (in terms of engagement) to send emails.
Yesmail’s latest Q2 2016 benchmark study found that Thursday was not only the most popular day for marketers to deploy campaigns, it was also the day that generated the highest email engagement across all standard metrics – opens, unique clicks, and click-to-opens (CTO).
A possible theory could explain why Thursdays performed so well. Thursday is typically when people begin to see the light at the end of their (workweek) tunnel and are starting to transition into weekend mode. By then, the workload eases and more time is likely devoted towards sorting through personal emails and checking out promotions and current offers as consumers prepare their weekend shopping lists.
However, when looking at conversion rates, Thursdays underperformed. In fact, emails sent on Saturdays and Sundays generated the highest conversion rates. This come as a surprise because weekends are typically perceived as time spent unwinding with friends and family, going outdoors, or just being away from screens that many people stare at for hours during the work week. But what may have slipped marketers’ minds is that most people get paid on Fridays. So when people head into the weekend with a bigger bank account they might be more likely to purchase.
A combination of free time and being recently paid is a recipe for high conversion rates. In addition, more and more consumers are avoiding the weekend madness of shopping malls and brick-and-mortar stores in favor of the convenience of online shopping, which in turns increases that conversion rate even further.
Despite these trends, the weekend was least popular for email deployments with Saturdays accounting for only 11% of Q2 email volume and Sundays making up just 10%.
Depending on a marketer’s specific campaign and program goals, testing a two-pronged deployment approach based on the above day of the week findings may dramatically improve engagement and conversion rates. For example, brands can consider the following:
To reiterate, complementing an email schedule with two well-timed deployments during the week will drive engagement at the right time, on Thursdays, and conversions at the right time, on weekends.
When deciphering what day of the week to send on, it comes down to engagement and conversions. In order to go above and beyond and drive both engagement and purchases marketers should not just focus on a single success metric but instead consider a variety of factors to determine a winning day of the week deployment strategy.
For more day of the week performance, including day of the week metrics for 5 major industries, download Yesmail’s Q2 2016 Benchmark report . Trust me, it’s worth it!