Email marketing is amazingly effective… except when your newsletters get trashed before they’re even opened.
Much of the success of email marketing depends on timing. At certain times on certain days, people are much more responsive to opening and actually reading newsletters — and conversely, other times they’ll be more inclined to delete them. The trick is figuring out which is which.
Luckily, you don’t need to guess. We’ve looked at different studies on the best times to send email newsletters, based on open, clickthrough, and conversion rates. We’ve compiled all the data below so you can get the quick answers you need without rummaging through a bunch of statistics. But first, let’s discuss why timing is so important in any email marketing strategy, so you understand how sending newsletters at the right times leads to more business.
Does it matter what time you send email newsletters?
Absolutely! Think of it like sending a text. If you send a text during the day when the receiver is free and energetic, you’re more likely to get a reply. If you send a text at 3 AM, not so much.
Email works in the same way. For one thing, you want your newsletter to be seen as soon as possible. If your email gets buried under a pile of more recent emails, by the time your subscriber gets to yours they’ll be a lot less enthusiastic.
The goal is to get your email at the top of a person’s inbox, as most people go through emails from top to bottom. The closer you are to the top, the more attentive and receptive your reader will be, before email fatigue sets in. Getting the perfect timing is crucial since any email sent after yours, but before the recipient checks their inbox, creates an obstacle.
Moreover, in some parts of the day, people just aren’t in the mood to read newsletters or marketing emails. Even if you’re at the top of the inbox, your recipient may delete your email without opening it just because that’s not where their mind is at.
Marketing emails are always tricky to get opened compared to personal and business emails. People tend to compartmentalize these, allocating time for reading personal emails, for business emails, and for marketing emails. So there’s more to timing than just getting emails seen quickly.
On the bright side, if you do manage to find the best time to send email newsletters, the results are quite remarkable. It’s not just about improving open rates, but clickthrough rates and even conversions as well. Just by changing your delivery time a few hours earlier or later, you can drastically improve the email’s effectiveness, and as a result your business.
So what are the best times to send email newsletters? We’ll begin with the best days to send marketing emails, and then narrow it down by the hour.
The best days to send email newsletters
In general, the consensus is that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send email newsletters, with Wednesday coming in a close third. This is confirmed by a 2023 study from Coschedule and a 2021 study from Mailgun, plus it echoes the data from a 2014 study from MailChimp.
What that boils down to is the best time for sending email newsletters is the middle of the week. It makes sense when you think about it: most people aren’t really thinking about marketing emails on the weekend, and Mondays have a lot of distractions, as the beginning of a new work week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, however, catch people in that middle ground between too tired and too busy.
While these figures reflect multiple studies, a 2022 study from GetResponse found slightly different results. Their data still showed strong performance for emails sent Tuesday through Thursday, but they also showed a small bump (roughly less than 1%) in open, clickthrough, and conversion rates on Friday.
Keep in mind that the boost is slight and that other studies show Tuesday or Thursday as the top-performing day. However, it’s worth pointing out in case you want to experiment a little, which we recommend.
Different types of subscribers and different industries may have their own unique email habits, so if you’re curious, try sending a newsletter on a Friday to see how it does. You can always change it back later if the results are lackluster.
No matter which study we looked at, the worst days to send email newsletters are always the same: weekends. Saturday and Sunday are universally considered poor times to send email newsletters.
People aren’t really concerned with emails on weekends unless they’re for personal correspondence or related to a weekend activity. Just wait a few more days until mid-week rolls around. The only exception to this depends on the industry, which we explain below.
The best times of day to send email newsletters
Chances are you’re not the only one emailing on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. What are the best times of day to send email newsletters that land on the top of your subscriber’s inbox and get the most attention?
Again, different studies report different results. However, most agree that the best time to send email newsletters is 9 AM – 11 AM. After all, most people check their email in the morning, but not first thing in the morning. Between 9 AM and 11 AM, your recipient is likely getting settled and ready to review your newsletter with full attention.
The next best time is 4 PM-6 PM, when the work day is winding down. At this time, people are beginning to deal with the personal matters they couldn’t address at work, and that includes catching up on missed emails.
The best times to send email newsletters by industry
The times listed above are generally agreed upon by each study we’ve seen; however, as mentioned, different studies tend to produce different results.
Essentially, there is no “best time to send email newsletters” that works for everyone — the best time for you depends on your industry and the personality of your subscribers (although following the universal best times will still yield better results than merely guessing).
The only accurate way to learn about the email habits of your specific subscribers is to test and experiment (more on that below in the tips section). However, we came across a couple of studies that examined the best times to send marketing emails broken down by industry.
A 2019 CampaignMonitor study (found through the Adobe blog) analyzed which day of the week is best for sending marketing emails for a handful of industries. This study found that most industries’ marketing emails still perform best on Tuesday and second-best on Wednesday, congruent with the general findings above. The specific industries mentioned by day are:
- Advertising & Marketing (Tuesday)
- Leisure & Entertainment (Tuesday)
- Travel (Tuesday)
- Healthcare (Wednesday)
- Food & Beverage (Wednesday)
One surprising point the study found was that marketing emails in the education industry actually performed best on Sunday. This was an interesting turn considering that most other marketing emails don’t do well on weekends.
Another study by Brevo took a look at the best times to send marketing emails by hours during the day. Their approach was a lot more focused than other studies, as it was categorized by clearly defined industries. Here’s what that study discovered:
- B2B — 8 AM – 10 AM Monday or Tuesday
- Nonprofits — 3 PM – 4 PM Tuesday or Thursday
- Ecommerce — 10 AM Tuesday or Thursday
- Brick-and-mortar retail — 8 AM – 10 AM Thursday
- Software/SaaS — 2 PM – 3 PM Tuesday or Thursday
- Marketing — 4 PM Wednesday
- Hospitality — 8AM – 10AM Thursday
For what it’s worth, their aggregated results concluded that, overall, the best times to send marketing emails are 10 AM and 3 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The best times to send email newsletters by country
Just like with certain industries, the best times to send email newsletters vary depending on the country. Different cultures have different routines, and people of those countries may follow trends based on their lifestyles.
A 2021 Mailjet study reveals subtle but noticeable differences in email habits among people of France, Spain, Germany, the UK, and the US. While most of the data follows the same general trends, there are a few outliers and peculiarities you’ll want to look out for if you’re sending newsletters to people in those countries.
Specifically, notice how people in Spain and Germany are much less likely to open emails first thing in the morning. Similarly, most people in Spain and France prefer not to check emails during lunchtime. While people from other countries enjoy reading emails after work in the evenings, Spain has a sheer drop off in that time period. But Spain has a comparatively high rate of responding to emails just before bed, second only to the US.
Expert tips on choosing the best time to send email newsletters
Before you jump in and follow this data to the letter, keep in mind that each subscriber is different and the general trends don’t always apply to each individual. These statistics can help you narrow down the best times to send email newsletters, but you still need to take steps to find the best times for your particular recipients.
Below, we share 6 tips on how you can optimize the time you send your email newsletters, based on your subscribers’ unique habits.
1. Experiment with different times
You’ll notice above that the data on the best times to send marketing emails often show either multiple options or ranges of time. You can further pinpoint an exact time to send your email marketing newsletters just by a little trial-and-error.
All you have to do is experiment with different times and record the results. As with all experimentation, you want to take a scientific approach:
- use a large enough sample size
- test only one variable at a time (e.g. Tuesday 10 AM vs Thursday 10 AM)
- use a long enough testing period to give accurate results
- avoid special circumstances that could corrupt your data, such as testing during a holiday period
Furthermore, because experiments are unpredictable, don’t test times with significant emails. If you have a marketing email that’s more important than others, it’s better to play it safe than risk it underperforming in a new time slot.
2. Look at CTR and conversions, not just open rates
When it comes to email marketing statistics, there’s a lot of emphasis on open rates. Getting your emails opened is seen as a success, whereas deletion is a loss.
Of course that’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. Don’t forget that the ultimate goal is a conversion: your subscriber performing the intended action, whether completing a purchase, visiting a web page, fulfilling the requirements to monetize a newsletter, or whatever else your marketing campaign was designed to do.
To maximize your business, you need to look at all the statistics, not just open rates.
Consider this. What if one of your email campaigns has a great open rate but a poor conversion rate? What if another email campaign had a lackluster open rate, but most people who opened the email ended up converting?
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the second campaign is probably more successful, despite its low open rate. The end goal is conversions, and the open rate is just a means to that end. Don’t put the cart in front of the horse!
If you’re following our advice on experimentation above, pay more attention to clickthroughs and conversions than open rates. You want to focus on the sending times with the best conversions more than those with the best open rates.
3. Pay attention to unsubscribe rates
Likewise, you also want to take note of unsubscribe rates. Just like other email marketing statistics, the time you send your emails impacts whether or not your recipients unsubscribe. If your newsletters are constantly coming at an inconvenient time, your subscribers won’t hesitate to remove themselves from your mailing lists.
Of course, unsubscribe rates are also affected by the content of your newsletters, even more than the time they’re sent. If you’re struggling with too many canceled subscriptions, try following our advice on how to build an effective email marketing strategy. This guide explains how to create email marketing campaigns that actually work, from the bottom up.
4. Segment subscribers
It’s true that subscribers for different industries have different email habits. It’s also true that subscribers in the same industry and even for the same newsletter have different email habits as well.
Even if your subscriber base is highly focused, there are still going to be some groups that don’t follow the standard rules. Instead of using a single email marketing strategy that doesn’t satisfy the needs of either group, why not create different campaigns that cater to different groups?
This idea is known as segmenting, or grouping your audience by their similarities and then adapting your content to suit each group separately. For example, you could try segmenting your subscribers by age, and then create two different email newsletters: one that uses slang for younger subscribers and one that uses older pop culture references for “less young” subscribers.
Segmenting by age is just a broad example. You can segment your subscribers by whatever is most useful. Try digging a little deeper into your subscribers’ data and demographics. While this technique is most recommended for controlling the content in newsletters, it can be equally effective when applied to finding the best times to send marketing emails.
Discover more tips for increasing your engagement rate in our email deliverability best practice guide.
> Not segmenting your list is a common mistake you don't want to make. Check out our complete list of email marketing mistakes and avoid the potential pitfalls many marketers fall into.
5. Subscribe to your competitors
Whether you like it or not, your competitors operate in the same industry as you do. That usually means they have the same type of subscribers, and must address the same problems you do, such as figuring out the best times to send emails.
If you don’t mind giving your competitors a free follow, why not subscribe to their newsletters and see how they handle the same dilemmas you have? What days do they send their newsletters? What time? Are they segmenting recipients with different content?
Not only will this give you more insight into when to send email newsletters, but it will also help you avoid sending your own newsletters at the same time as theirs. In some industries it’s not uncommon for someone to subscribe to both you and your competitors’ newsletters; if so, you can avoid sending your emails at the same time as them by paying attention to when they send theirs.
Just don’t assume your competitors know what they’re doing more than you do. Remember that they could just be experimenting and guessing like you are. Be sure to test any new strategies before implementing them blindly.
6. Use marketing automation
Discovering the best time to send newsletters is only half the battle. The rest is successfully sending the newsletters at that time with regularity. That’s harder than it sounds, considering all the distractions and unexpected turn-of-events life can throw at you.
To mitigate any delays and ensure your emails are sent on time — every time — consider using email automation software. These apps automate the actual sending of your emails so you don’t have to worry about deadlines or take the time to do the actual sending manually. Given the reliability of these apps, they’re the best way to ensure consistency when your newsletters go out.
Note that automated email campaigns work better for newsletters with evergreen content – we wouldn’t recommend them for sending out limited-time offers or holiday promotions.
It should go without saying, but reliability reflects well on your brand. Moreover, if the content of your newsletters follows the best practices for email marketing, your subscribers will begin to look forward to each new email — making sure your emails are sent at the same time encourages and heightens this anticipation.
Best Times to Send Emails: Final Thoughts
Think of the statistics above as a starting point, not the final destination. It’s very telling that different studies reported different results — it shows the email habits of people are hard to pinpoint.
These studies are invaluable for broad guidelines: we know with certainty that the mid-week (Tuesday – Thursday) is the best time to email most people, and that mornings are when the majority of us are most receptive to newsletters.
But when it comes to the details, each person is different. The only surefire way to find the best time to send email newsletters for your company is to both understand your recipients and experiment with different strategies. The data above can help you get started — much better than shooting in the dark — but from there only you can discover what works best for your particular subscribers.
What day of the week has worked best for you – and is it different to the days identified above? Let us know in the comments below!
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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.Our Methodology