There’s never a good time to send a bad email. And there’s no shortage of debate over the best time to send a good email…with content that’s relevant and timely.
Too many variables make a tidy proclamation on perfect timing reckless. Variables range from the relationship between the marketer and the people on the list to noteworthy shifts in how and when we read our emails.
“We’re seeing growth in the number of emails that are saved and read later,” says PowerInbox CEO Jeff Kupietzky. “The rise of Google’s tabbed email display has correlated with people time shifting and opening emails significantly after they are sent and/or re-opening and interacting with them later.
“It makes it easier to stay organized and go back and find emails that you wanted to read, but maybe didn’t have time for the moment they arrived.”
Research from PowerInbox helps us understand why there is no witching hour, no ideal time of day or day of the week to send marketing emails.
“Our data shows there’s a significant difference in the days and times when people most often open emails versus when they actually interact with the content in the newsletters,” says Kupietzky. Where the most popular days and times for opening are weekdays around mid-morning, the weekends are when people are more apt to engage and take action, by clicking on content in those emails.”
The Weekend Effect
It may be easier for us to tuck an email away to read and react to later, but the inconsistencies of our behavior fuel the uncertainties of email response.
A subject line which captures our attention on Tuesday runs the risk of losing its appeal and becoming irrelevant on Saturday. One of the core principles of direct marketing involves getting an immediate reaction and attaching little or no hope to a delayed response.
This principle is challenged by weekend clickthrough rates, which have been relatively strong since the dawn of email marketing.
“It seems to be a consistent finding,” says Kupietzky. “The theory is that people not only have more leisure time on the weekends to actually read emails, but also there are fewer emails sent on the weekends because most publishers plan their sends based on the most popular open times, during the workweek. This data shows that they should be rethinking that strategy.”
Fine Tuning Email Marketing Tactics
Wondering when to send an email is probably not as important as looking for ways to improve the email content. Marketers from J. Peterman to Sur La Table email their lists on both weekends and weekdays.
“Delivering fresh, personalized content contributes directly to higher engagement,” says Kupietzky. “Content that is updated on the open will be more relevant. In addition, using email as a unique identifier is important as it gives us a much clearer picture of the individual user – their demographics, click behavior, interests and more – than other types of personalization and audience segmentation.
“Having that richer, more accurate knowledge of the individual helps publishers deliver more relevant email content and creates more opportunities for monetization.”