When is the best time of day to send an email?
A (computer) age old question, and one that still perplexes marketers today. Email remains one of the most effective channels for communication, hovering at just over 30:1 in ROI across the globe, but just how much of this is down to time of day send? There are, of course, many other factors to consider.
But first, a quick re-cap of send time optimisation. Based on the idea that humans are creatures of habit, send-time optimisation seeks to identify the time of day that brings most engagement. Historically this would involve testing (lots and lots of testing) to see which day of the week and time of day would yield the best results.
In recent years, there has been a development in tools to optimise the send time on an individual basis by looking at the previous open times and days of each recipient and tapping in to the daily routine.
However, mobile is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, over half of emails are now opened on mobiles in the UK. And this doesn’t bode well for those who have sunk hours into optimising their send times.
Mobiles have enabled people to receive emails much more frequently, depending on how they have configured email on their mobile. They have fewer emails to trawl through at a time so your shiny marketing email is more likely to be seen at the top of the inbox. What’s more, they can be checked at any time of the day. Is there really a need to worry about send time when half your recipient list will read it wherever and whenever they get a moment?
“Emails should be sent in the moment of interaction: real-time messaging designed to enhance an individual customer’s experience.”
I’d argue the emphasis should now shift completely to subject line and content. The average person receives 24 emails a day. If you want to be seen in a cluttered inbox, you have to make sure you have used all of your data to make that message as personal and relevant as possible. Emails should be sent in the moment of interaction: real-time messaging designed to enhance an individual customer’s experience by making that path to purchase as seamless as possible.
Instead of asking: ‘Will this get an open if I send at this time?’, we should really be asking: ‘Will this email enhance this person’s experience by sending at this time?’.
In essence, email should become entirely customer-centric, pushing ageing concepts, such as send time optimisation, further down the pecking order in favour of real-time individual interaction. To do this, you need all the data you can acquire.
Digital Campaign Manager