Determining Email Send Times: Why It Matters, Best Practices, and AI Solutions
By Ian Donnelly
Every marketer knows that email marketing is a powerful tool that businesses can use to connect with their audience. So much so that every aspect of marketing emails is considered important and test-worthy — from the subject line to the CTA you use to entice your subscribers to click through, it all plays a major role in successful email campaigns.
But one of the most crucial elements that often gets overlooked is determining the right time to send your emails. If you don’t hit your subscribers’ inboxes at the right time, you risk getting buried in their inbox, not getting any response, and losing out on potential conversions.
But what is the best time to send an email campaign? The answer isn't always cut and dry, especially if you want your emails to reach peak performance and maximize your customer engagement.
In this blog, we'll explore why timing matters for email marketing, lay out some best practices for determining send times, and give you all the tools you need to send your emails at the right time and reach your audience when it counts.
Why Does Timing Matter for Email Marketing?
Finding the best time to send marketing emails can have a huge impact on your KPIs, including:
Improved Open Rates
The timing of your email can greatly affect your open rates, which is a top-priority metric for building email engagement. Sending emails at the right time ensures that they land in your subscribers' inboxes when they are most likely to see them instead of falling through the cracks.
The average email open rate across all industries is around 21%, which is a good point of reference for measuring campaigns.
It’s important to track and analyze your email campaign metrics as you build out your strategy — good analytics are vital for achieving the highest open rates and reaching your campaign goals.
Better Click-Through Rates
Timing also affects the click-through rates of your email campaigns. When you send emails at the right moment, your recipients are more likely to engage with your content, click on links, and take desired actions. This can lead to increased website traffic and conversions.
Click-through rates can vary by industry and campaign goals, but a great click-through rate to aim for is 4%.
Increased Audience Reach
By considering the best timing for your email campaigns, you can reach a larger portion of your target audience. Different segments of your subscriber base may have varying preferences and behaviors, so it's important to tailor the timing of your emails based on these variations.
For instance, if your target audience is mostly located in the United States and Europe, you might want to split up your campaigns and send emails during different times of day for each region. This ensures that they’re seeing your message when they’re awake and likely to be checking their email.
When you take the diversity of your recipients into account, you can capture the attention of a wider audience, maximizing your reach and potential impact.
Key Things To Consider When Choosing Email Timing
Choosing the best time to send emails shouldn't be a shot in the dark. Adopting an informed, methodical approach is an effective way to determine the right time to launch your campaigns.
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Weekdays Work Best
Research says that weekdays are generally the best days to send emails, with Thursday, Tuesday, and Wednesday yielding the best results (in that order).
Morning Hours Are Peak Times for Engagement
To reach and engage with the greatest majority of your audience, studies show it’s best to send emails between 9 a.m. and noon, with noon to 3 p.m. coming in at a close second.
Build on Industry Best Practices
The best email send times can vary by industry. Researching the best practices for your particular business type is a good starting point when determining the optimal time to send your emails.
According to recent studies, while weekdays are favorable for both B2B and B2C audiences, there’s a wide discrepancy between daily optimal send times, and it's important for each brand to take the established norms into account when building an email strategy.
Best Day (On Average) To Send an Email Campaign
Best Time (On Average) To Send an Email Campaign
Tuesday or Thursday
Tuesday or Thursday
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Professional Services (B2B)
Monday or Tuesday
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Tuesday or Thursday
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
While these send times aren’t hard-and-fast rules, they’re good benchmarks to build and test your campaigns against. They can serve as a starting point to find the best time to send your particular email campaigns.
Your Audience Behavior and Demographics
Understanding your audience's behavior and demographics is crucial for timing your email campaigns effectively. Factors like age, location, and job title can all play a role in determining when it's best to reach them.
You need to know your customers on an individual level, taking their work schedules, time zones, personal tastes, and cultural norms into account.
The only way to do this is by leveraging data and analytics to gain insights into their preferences. With a comprehensive view of your audience — created by compiling accurate data points like their purchase history, site activity, personal details, etc. — you can tailor your email timing accordingly.
Always Take Your Campaign Goals Into Account
Like all marketing efforts, aligning your email timing with your overall goals is essential. You need to consider the nature of each campaign, the actions you want your audience to take, and whether it's time-sensitive or requires immediate action.
For example, if you're promoting a flash sale, sending emails at the right time becomes even more critical to create a sense of urgency and drive conversions. This urgency differs substantially from the timing needs of weekly newsletters or recurring email blasts, where you want your email schedule to establish an ongoing relationship that your email subscribers can grow to expect.
Triggered campaigns like back-in-stock alerts or abandoned cart emails need a different approach to choosing their timing, while a seasonal sale announcement has to be scheduled to appeal to a vast segment of your audience, likely across multiple time zones and with a diverse array of individual preferences.
Whatever your goal may be, it’s a factor that should be taken into account when calculating the send time of your email marketing campaign.
Why Testing Is Crucial To Find the Right Send Times
For email marketers looking to optimize their efforts, knowing the email send times that work best for most businesses isn’t enough. You need to constantly fine-tune your send times with more and more data, and A/B testing is one of the best tools that companies can use to gather valuable insights and perfect their email marketing campaigns.
A/B testing is a method of comparing two variations of a single variable to determine which performs better. It’s fundamentally a simple process: You have two options, which you put into practice for like-minded audiences, and see which one makes the most impact. Once a winner is clear, you can send it to the rest of your audience.
This approach is a tried-and-true way to improve send times that email marketers have used for years. With the right marketing automation software, you can easily test sending emails at different times or days of the week to determine the ideal time for your subscribers.
Are recipients more likely to click on your email during the morning or the afternoon? Do weekdays work best for your newsletter emails or would the weekend get more clicks? What about for different campaigns like new product launches or special offers?
The more you test with the right questions and metrics in mind, the better your campaigns will perform. Each test you run provides you with more first-party data, offering unique insights into your specific audience that are essential for any successful, data-driven strategy.
How AI Can Optimize Your Email Send Times
While following best practices and consistent A/B testing are some of the best tools to sharpen your email send time strategy, there’s a barrier to success that marketers can’t break on their own: the simple fact that there is no best time to send an email that applies to all customers.
Your customers are unique. Some might want to engage with your email on a Monday morning, while others might want to open and click through on a Friday night. And even if you A/B test these two variables, you’ll need to choose a winner and commit to it — the best you can hope for is to make a majority of your subscribers happy.
For most of email’s reign as the top-performing channel, this was a fact of marketing. It was impossible to pinpoint the email optimal send time for each individual subscriber. Delivering the same email to each recipient at different times based on their likelihood of engagement was beyond what email scheduling software could do.
But now, artificial intelligence gives marketers the power to do just that. Bloomreach Engagement’s send time optimization feature uses the power of AI to channel all the relevant data points you have on a customer — like their previous email engagement, their behavior across other channels, and more — to calculate the best send time for their individual needs.
With the ability to analyze vast amounts of data, our AI can apply this optimization across your entire audience, determining each subscriber’s best send time and storing this data in their individual customer profile.
Your campaigns no longer have to rely on aggregate send times for your entire audience — with send time optimization, they’re sent when each recipient is most likely to open or click.
Always Send the Right Email at the Right Time With Bloomreach Engagement
Timing is everything for marketing campaigns, and emails are no different. It’s one of the many aspects of your email marketing strategy that needs to be optimized and personalized to get ahead in a crowded digital landscape.
With Bloomreach Engagement, you have everything you need to create and execute the best email marketing strategies. Our platform is an omnichannel marketing solution that brings together all your customer data, automation, AI, and analytics in one place. Marketers can build personalized campaigns, test their results, and tailor all their communications to craft long-lasting customer relationships.
Looking for more ways to improve your customer experience and enhance your email marketing efforts? Check out our blog on the must-have elements of building a successful email marketing strategy.