Each day, mil­lions of mar­ket­ing emails go out into the world, and it has become a hot topic of con­ver­sa­tion among mar­keters as to what time is the best time to send them out. Study after study has been con­ducted to try to get into the psy­che of the con­sumer to try to fig­ure out what time is the best time of day to attract their attention.

One study, based on 100 mil­lion online trans­ac­tions and reported by mar​ket​ing​profs​.com, claims that over 65 per­cent of email recip­i­ents open pro­mo­tional emails in the after­noon and evenings. The study found that 38 per­cent of email con­ver­sions (opened, clicked through, and con­verted) occurred in the after­noons and 27 per­cent in the evenings. The least opens occurred in the morn­ings when most pro­mo­tional emails tend to be sent.  If this is true, then as a mar­keter, you have to ques­tion the strat­egy of send­ing emails dur­ing a time when they are rarely opened.

Some say that Tues­day and Fri­days are best for send­ing while oth­ers claim that 3 pm on Thurs­day is the best time for con­sumers to get your mes­sage. This con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sion leaves much room for debate.

The assump­tions being made by many of these stud­ies is that con­sumers have been sit­ting at their com­put­ers wait­ing for a pro­mo­tional email and that they act on it as soon as they receive it. But other stud­ies sug­gest that while 76 per­cent of email opens take place in the first two days after receiv­ing them, 79 per­cent of pur­chases take place after those two days and one-third of pur­chases hap­pen more than two weeks after the ini­tial email offer. What this may tell us is that more and more, con­sumers are in the driver’s seat and they are mak­ing indi­vid­ual deci­sions about when to open their emails. The times they open emails may change from day to day depend­ing on their activ­i­ties and circumstances.

Some peo­ple open their mail at lunch while oth­ers may open them con­tin­u­ously as they come in if they are work­ing on the com­puter all day. Oth­ers may wait a few days before check­ing offers.

One of the fears dri­ving the con­cern over when to send is that con­sumers are being drowned by email offers, and while for some that may be true, other stud­ies sug­gest that may not be true for all. And since most con­sumers are pre­fer­ring to receive com­mu­ni­ca­tions by email, these pro­mo­tions may not be entirely unwel­comed. In fact, if you have used the best prac­tices we have dis­cussed in this blog over the weeks (care­ful tar­get­ing, using a pref­er­ence cen­ter, etc.), your cus­tomer may be quite happy to get your offer.

What this may all mean is that while stud­ies are inter­est­ing and can often yield help­ful infor­ma­tion, there is no rule that will guar­an­tee your emails will be opened and will result in a trans­ac­tion or con­ver­sion. The best strat­egy seems to be to keep exper­i­ment­ing, try­ing dif­fer­ent times of the day and dif­fer­ent days of the week.

After all, the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is the most impor­tant fac­tor. Let them dic­tate when you mes­sage them by allow­ing them to state this in a pref­er­ence cen­ter, or use the behav­ioral data you have as a mar­keter and send to cus­tomers at times when they have opened in the past. (Don’t for­get that email is global and there are dif­fer­ent time zones to con­sider.) Get­ting to know your cus­tomer through an email pref­er­ence cen­ter, pay­ing atten­tion to your ana­lyt­ics, and cre­at­ing the best offer you can are great ways to insure a return on your invest­ment and to cre­ate a great cus­tomer experience.