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Which day gets the best email results?

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Pic credit: Master Isolated Images

Email marketing experts will tell you that some days of the week bring better results than others. Some say Sunday is best while others say Monday, and most agree that Wednesday to Friday are likely to produce poor results.

The fact is, results depend on the quality of your email list, the relationship you have with them and the type of offer you are sending out.

For consumer offers, Sunday is a good day because many people spend time online at home on a Sunday (as opposed to Saturday when responses tend to be lower). For business emails, Monday is a good day because it’s the start of the week when people are alert and ready for action. Time of day can also make a difference. You may find it better to send out your emails mid morning, so they don’t end up in the jumble of others that arrive first thing.

I did a comparison of two identical email campaigns sent to two lists by different providers. I can’t share the names with you as they are confidential, but the email offer was an identical theatre promotion sent by two separate ticket promoters.

List 1 had less than 35,000 subscribers. List 2 had less than 120,000. Both offers were sent within two hours of each other in the afternoon of 17th May 2011. List 1 had 6.4% opens while List 2 had 8.3% opens, although the number of clicks for both were almost identical (0.4% and 0.5% respectively).

Here’s another comparison. On two separate occasions, both lists sent out sale notices. On Sunday 30th October at 1.30pm, List 1 sent a newsletter titled “Sale ends today” to 39,000 subscribers. This achieved a 12.49% open rate and a 0.98% click-through.

On Thursday 29th September, List 2 sent a newsletter titled “Sale ends in 24 hours” to 132,000 people. This achieved a 9.53% open rate and a 1.26% click-through.

In the first comparison the smaller list got a better comparative click-through. In the second comparison the larger list got more clicks – this could possibly be because a sale that “ends today” is likely to be seen too late by recipients to make a click worthwhile.

I could share other comparisons but, essentially, fluctuations in results can depend on your offer, time of day, day of week, quality of list, the frequency with which you email your users. Examine your email results to see which times, days and subject lines get you the best responses.

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Published inCRM


  1. Interesting analysis. Our approach was always to try and get messages to an inbox as near to a Monday morning 9 am start as possible in the theory that most people will check their emails first thing – however that only really applies if your list contains work addresses and on the nature of the business. Whilst I believe the first thing people do is to check their emails, this won’t always be their home accounts.

    Of course aiming for 9am isn’t always easy. Even if you schedule an email for, say, 8:45am, you have to allow enough time to take into consideration server load, number of recipients and how quickly the EMS can get the messages out. Sending over night isn’t good as you want your email at the top of the list on Monday morning, not the bottom.

    I’m pretty sure we found that the 7am-9am timeslots were the busiest.

    • Steve Masters Steve Masters

      Thanks for the input Stuart. The server speed is an important issue because you can sometimes find people receive the email much later in the day than you expected. I always take this into consideration when sending emails – especially in trying to avoid time-critical information. One other factor is holidays. Monday morning is less responsive when it’s a bank holiday. In Portugal, holidays often fall near the end of the week.

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