When is the best time to send my email? It’s one of the most popular questions we hear when we meet people at conferences or talk with our customers.
It’s a great question! Your subscribers have busy lives and the last thing you want is to send them a newsletter while they’re preoccupied with work, or dreaming about their weekend plans.
Ideally, you want people to have the time and mental space to read your newsletter. You want to choose the sending times that will give you the highest open rates and click-through rates.
Is there a time when your subscribers are perfectly primed and ready to receive your email? And if this ‘perfect time’ does exist, wouldn’t everyone be sending their newsletters at exactly the same time? That would defeat the whole purpose.
Before we get too philosophical, let’s get back to the facts (aka the data). We’ll cover:
We want to help you figure out this million-dollar question!
As a starting point, put yourself in the shoes of your subscribers. Think about their daily routines, habits and mindsets. You might not have all the data yet, but you probably know your target audience pretty well. When would they be most likely to engage with your email campaigns?
Often, their week plays out something like this:
Email marketers generally agree that Monday is the wrong time to send a newsletter. People are busy adjusting back to their workweek. Business emails will inevitably be prioritized over promotional emails. Because of the emphasis on catching up with work, many say that Monday is one of the worst times to send your newsletter.
Most email marketers believe that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are good days. In the middle of the week, your email subscribers are settled into their work routine and consistently checking their inboxes.
On Friday, everyone is daydreaming about the weekend and rushing to finish work so that they can go offline. However, we have found that Friday afternoons can be a good time, especially right after lunch. People are usually winding down for the weekend and are less likely to start new tasks, giving them more time to check their inboxes.
This is a tricky one. Some cultures, such as in France and Italy, will rarely check their mailboxes outside of working hours. But in other cultures, such as the United States, Sunday evenings can be an ideal time, as Americans tend to prepare for the work week the evening before. Also, people generally receive fewer emails over the weekend, so it could be easier to capture their attention.
By logically going through the days of the week, you can make some educated guesses about when to send your email. But we’ve taken it a step further and dug up our 2020 stats compiled from millions of campaigns.
We love crunching the numbers, and we’re big believers in analyzing data from a human perspective. We’ve analyzed millions of MailerLite campaigns to find insights that we paired with our own, real-world experience to see if there is, in fact, an ideal sending window.
What’s the best send time, based on day?
Which day of the week is best for sending an email? Let’s compare these two graphs showing sending rates and open rates throughout the week.
Ta-da! The data shows that email marketing campaigns tend to be sent out on weekdays. But interestingly, the open rates are fairly consistent throughout the week, particularly in the US and Canada.
Many agree that emails sent on a Tuesday are more likely to be opened, compared to other weekdays, but Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays can also be favorable, according to this data.
Far fewer emails are sent during weekends, so this could be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. However, Sunday is the worst day for open rates, and email marketers generally agree that weekends are the worst time to send out an email campaign.
What’s the best send time, based on the hour?
Let’s take a look at Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays as examples, to get an idea of which times have high open rates and click-through rates.
Best time to send an email on a Tuesday
And we have a clear winner! Opens and clicks both peak at 11AM on Tuesdays. This might be because people often take a coffee break around this time, and they could be looking for a distraction from their workday. After that, open and click rates decline steadily through the afternoon and evening. This might be as people get on with their daily tasks in the afternoon, after which they commute home and spend time with their families, or do leisure activities in the evening, meaning they have less time to check their inboxes.
Best time to send an email on a Friday
11AM has done it again! In a similar pattern, opens and clicks are both at their highest at 11AM on a Friday, and then steadily decline through the rest of the day. Many industry experts have hailed 10-11AM as a prime sending window, as your subscribers have settled into their day, but are not yet too focused on their daily tasks to ignore their inboxes.
Best time to send an email on a Sunday
Weekends are a little different! Sunday open rates and click rates are more consistent throughout the afternoon. This may be because people are spending more time on their mobile devices, using social media or skimming through their inboxes.
You will want to send your email at certain times, depending on your goals:
Our data shows that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays have fairly similar open and click rates, while engagement at weekends is less consistent. When it comes to the best time to send an email, the consensus is that 11AM is a favorable time on weekdays, whilst timings are more variable at weekends. The general consensus is that the worst time to send an email is between 9PM and 9AM, when subscribers are winding down for the evening, sleeping, and then rushing to get ready for the new day.
No matter when you send your newsletter, the best practice is to keep it consistent. We are all creatures of habit, and we subconsciously crave consistency. By maintaining a regular email cadence, you build trust and anticipation. Your audience will expect to receive your content during a designated time.
For example, I always look forward to Seth Godin’s email, which comes into my inbox daily. Paul Jarvis’s thoughts always come in on Sundays, and on Fridays, there’s an email from Tim Ferris. Not only do I love these newsletters, but there’s a Pavlovian response to regularly receiving these emails that brings me joy.
Many email marketers send out email blasts in the minutes of the hour (00:15, 00:30, 00:45). It might be worth following the sun tactics hack instead, by sending your emails in the quiet minutes (00:07, 00:38, 00:42). This reduces the risk of your email being delayed due to a high number of emails crowding the servers at the same time.
Finding the best day and time from the data isn’t the only variable you need to consider. Look at your campaign holistically, as other factors may influence your sending time, including:
1. Your email marketing goals
Think about what you want your audience to do when they get the email. Read it? Click through? Make a purchase?
Here are 3 types of goals that will inform your sending times.
Do you want your subscribers’ full attention when they click through for a longer experience? Consider sending your newsletters either on Friday afternoons, in the evenings, or even on the weekend. It’s easier to capture attention when fewer or no emails are sent.
If you are happy with your readers quickly scanning your newsletter just to keep your brand at the top of their minds, you can send it anytime during the weekday. Your subscribers will view it, and then quickly move on with their day. This is the time when people read emails methodically throughout the day, but only react to the important ones.
If you want to remind your audience about an event or a webinar, send a follow-up email a day before the event, and then resend it an hour before the event to make sure they remember it.
2. Your content topic
Different types of content are better sent at certain times of day. The most obvious example is a news and media email. If something newsworthy happens, make sure you send it as soon as possible.
Newsletters promoting B2B services or products perform better during working hours when your subscribers are in their work mindset. On the other hand, a travel agency or an author can capture more attention if they send emails after work hours or on the weekend. Some pizza companies send their promotions and coupons at 4:15PM, just around the time that their subscribers will be starting to think about their evening meal!
Think about the type of message you are sending and time it accordingly.
3. Your target audience
Did you know that the ‘best time to send an email’ data is based mostly on desktop users? Check which type of device your subscribers use to open your newsletters. Mobile users tend to be more active late in the evening and during weekends.
Or perhaps your primary audience is not a 9-5 business person, but rather a remote worker, a stay-at-home parent, or retired. Use this to your advantage by understanding their email habits and sending them newsletters at a time of day that works best for them.
Once you’ve analyzed your data and determined the key times to send your newsletters, take advantage of email marketing’s best-sending features. They’ll make your life a whole lot easier!
Most email opens will happen within an hour of arrival. If your message is very important, use auto-resend to re-engage your subscribers without lifting a finger. With this feature, your email will resend automatically to everyone who didn’t open it the first time.
You can add a personalized message to the second email to let people know it’s important. When resending unopened email campaigns, the goal is to make everyone feel as if the second email was designed especially for them.
Deliver emails by time zone
With MailerLite, you can check your ‘opens by location’ to understand where your subscribers are based. When you deliver emails by time zone, you can save your subscribers from receiving an email at 3AM. Each reader will receive the newsletter at the same time in their own time zone.
Sometimes, you can use automation triggers to send emails at the perfect time. Instead of trying to work out the best time to send a newsletter to your entire email list, link triggers send individual emails based on each subscriber's action.
When a reader clicks on a link in your email campaign, they can trigger another email that matches the topic they are interested in at that very moment. This takes out the guesswork and lets the subscriber's behavior dictate a good time to send your message.
When all is said and done, the sending time is a minor detail in the broader email marketing strategy. Your audience will open and read emails because of the content and value that you provide them with. It’s no good sending your email newsletter at the perfect time if it doesn’t match up with other email marketing benchmarks. So if a deadline is coming up, and you’re not happy with your email, wait until it’s ready. It’s better to deliver a quality experience, rather than sacrificing it for the sake of a specific date and time. When your readers are looking out for your newsletters with excitement, the timing becomes less relevant.
To wrap up, here are your main email sending time takeaways:
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2019. It has been updated with new insights from our 2020 data.
I’m Ilma, COO at MailerLite. I love seeing our customers succeed. When they win, we win (like being named one of the top 5 fastest growing SaaS companies). Email is my passion, although I took a rather unusual path. Before MailerLite, I worked in finance and art, which turned out to be the perfect mix for marketing.