Best Time To Send an Email According to Studies (With Examples)

Best Time To Send an Email According to Studies (With Examples)
06 November, 2023 • ... • 1063 views
Kate Shokurova
by Kate Shokurova

You can only capitalize on the famous 36:1 email marketing ROI by paying attention to every little detail, including finding the best time to send an email marketing campaign. We examined several recent and reliable studies and have some definite information on how to choose the best day and time for sending your messages.

Why it matters

Have you ever met your perfect match who’s moving out of the state next Saturday or just not into relationships at the moment? If you have, you know what people mean by saying you not only have to meet the right person but do it at the right time. It’s the same for many things in life, including emails in an inbox.

Regardless of an email’s purpose, first, it needs to be spotted and opened. If the recipient does it, you are more likely to get a sale. So what you ultimately want are more opens and more click-throughs. However, it turns out that almost 20% of all email campaigns are opened in the very first hour after they’re sent, and almost a third of all the clicks happen at the same time. So each passing hour means fewer chances for success.

We have detailed articles about email open rate (OR) and click-through rate (CTR). These metrics depend on various factors from the quality of your contact list to whether you use emojis in subject lines. The choice of the right day and time when you send your messages is also essential. Emails sent at the right time will likely get more opens and clicks, which means more sales.

OK, moving on to the data on timing.

Spoiler alert: there is no best or worst day or hour for sending emails.

But we still have to give you an answer you can start with, so we are going to analyze several studies to see which days are the most popular among email marketers and which of them show better OR and CTR results.

What are the best days of the week to send emails?

Let’s go from bigger to smaller and first examine the days of the week.

#1 GetResponse

Folks at GetResponse analyzed 7 billion emails sent throughout 2022. Here’s what they found:

A chart showing OR, CTR, Click-to-open rate, and the percent of messages over the week. Most of the metrics have little performance variations with OR and the percent of messages dropped sharply on Saturday.
Source: GetResponse

According to their study, there’s not much difference between weekdays in terms of email marketing metrics, especially the click-through rate. The open rate drops a bit on weekends which is totally understandable.

What’s interesting is that the open rate and click-through rate are the highest on Tuesdays. With click-to-open keeping pace, according to GetResponse, Tuesday seems to be a solid option for starting with your email campaigns.

However, the difference between open rates on Tuesday and Friday is small. And in previous years, Friday held the title of the best day of the week to send emails. So if you are sending promotional campaigns or your regular updates on Friday, you don’t have to change things. In fact, at the moment we are trying the Friday option at Selzy, sending our blog digest on Fridays:

Screenshot of a part of the Selzy email digest showing the email was sent on Friday

By the way, you can subscribe to our newsletter too, and get emails with helpful email marketing advice, tips on how to use our service, and links to the hottest articles every two weeks. Plus, every subscriber receives a PDF of our epic list-building guide for free 🔥

#2 Brevo

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) analyzed engagement metrics of the platform’s users across industries:

A chart showing open rate, click rate, open volume, and click volume over the week. The click rate is mostly flat, the open volume spikes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Source: Brevo

According to Brevo, most email opens happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But the most click-throughs are actually linked to Wednesdays with Tuesdays holding the second place. This is consistent with the previous research.

Researchers at Brevo theorize that on Mondays most people are too busy at work or other commitments. And on Tuesday, when the first day of the week is over, people have time to dive into their inboxes.

#3 HubSpot

The most recent research on the list. In October 2023, HubSpot surveyed 150+ marketing and advertising professionals in the US. Here are the day-of-the-week results:

A chart showing the percentage of respondents indicating a day of the week as the best one to send emails. Tuesday is the most popular option with 27%, followed by Monday at 19% and Thursday at 17%.
Source: HubSpot

This data proves that Tuesday is the best day of the week to send marketing emails. However, the second most popular option is Monday which is unique to HubSpot’s research.

In short

As we can see from the research, there is no significant difference in the rates of emails sent on weekdays. At the weekend, the figures are lower.

An option, which has already proven itself for a long time, is to try sending on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some new research also suggests Wednesdays and Mondays.

When is the best time to send an email?

Now let’s turn to the time of day.

#1 GetResponse

This yearly research tracked the open rate, click-through rate, and click-to-open rate alongside the percentage of messages. Unlike the day of the week chart, the metrics here have multiple spikes and drops:

A chart showing OR, CTR, click-to-open rate, and the percent of messages by the hour of day. The engagement metrics spike in the early morning and the evening.
Source: GetResponse

Looks like the best-performing hours are somewhere in the early morning around  4-6 am. Then the line steadies and the next time worth attention is late evening — the open rate drops but there are many more clicks per message. The optimal evening time frame is between 5 and 7 pm, and the highest click rate coinciding with one of the lowest open rates is 11 pm.

#2 Brevo

This email engagement by hour-of-day chart shows that the click rate is almost identical throughout the day while the open rate has highs and lows:

A chart showing OR, CR, open and click volume by hour of day. The engagement metrics spike in the morning and afternoon.
Source: Brevo

There are two options with the best engagement prospects, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Both opens and clicks peak at 10 am and then opens spike at 3 pm while clicks — at 4 pm. As Brevo experts theorize, people most probably check their inboxes right after starting work and later just before they leave for the day.

#3 HubSpot

We’ve seen the research data, but what do email marketers think about the best time to send emails? Here is the HubSpot chart:

A chart showing the percentage of respondents indicating a time of day as the best one to send emails. The time frame from 9:01 am to 12 pm EST is the best one for 31% of people, next is the 12:01 pm to 3 pm with 26%, and then 6:01 am to 9 am indicated by 20% of the respondents.
Source: HubSpot

Based on this chart, there are three time frames considered to be the best ones by email marketers. The time most marketers believe to be the best to send emails is between 9:01 am and 12 pm. Slightly fewer marketers, 26%, indicated the next time slot — 12:01 pm and 3 pm. The third popular answer is 6:01 am to 9 am.

In short

According to 3 studies, companies prefer to send emails in the morning when people are not tired and ready to take in new information. The highest open rate and click-through rate also confirm this. The problem is that the morning in question is slightly different. It can start as early as 4 am or as late as 10 am or even 12 pm. Try to estimate when your clients start their day and pick a time that seems the most appropriate.

Of course, because of this, there is heavy traffic during this period, so it is worth trying other options, for example, lunch break (in the studies, this time aligns with 12 pm to 4 pm) and the end of the working day (5-7 pm).

Perfect time for sending different kinds of emails

Does the best time to send emails depend on who they are intended for — employees or clients? Yes, such a difference exists.

B2B emails

For B2B email marketing, emails are best sent to office employees mid-week between 8 am and 12 pm, so that they view your messages at the top of their inboxes. You can also send it when people are considering taking a break around 1-2 pm.

Entrepreneurs and executives open emails more frequently, so the day of the week matters less. The best time for these individuals based on open and click rates is on Saturday at 10 AM.

B2C emails

Studies suggest that there’s no big difference in open rates for specific days of the week for B2C emails. One survey suggests the same morning time from 9 am to 12 pm. You can also use any of the advice from the studies above and start sending after work hours — between 5 pm and 9 pm — when people are ready to consider your products or services.

There are also some tricks you can use. For example, you can send follow-up emails on the same day and time that your customers placed their last order because chances are that’s when they are in front of their computers.

You can also automatically resend the emails that were not previously opened.

In short

B2B: send Monday or Tuesday around 8 am to 12 pm. Try weekends for sending to business owners.

B2C: no big difference. Try Tuesday and Thursday from 9 am to 12 pm or after 5 pm but before 9 pm.

So, how to find the best time to send an email

But wait, why does the data sometimes differ from study to study? Well, that’s the spoiler alert we talked about before.

In fact, the best day and time depend on dozens of factors: the industry you’re working in, the content of your messages, the audience, the frequency of mailings, the devices users open their emails on more often. There is no single recipe for everyone.

So what to do?

Explore your audience

For that, you need to create your audience’s personas. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What does their typical day look like?
  • When and how might they want to see triggers that remind them of you and your products or services?

Then imagine yourself in their shoes. Synchronize mailings with the schedule of your clients. For example, as we already know, entrepreneurs are more likely to read emails during their lunch breaks on weekdays, while ordinary workers get to them early in the morning on weekdays or during lunch breaks. Younger people are more active in the evenings, etc.

A TechCrunch weekly review email sent on Saturday at 11:31 am.
TechCrunch informs its readers about breaking news from startups, so they assume that weekends are great for their newsletter intended mostly for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What about people in different time zones?

For superior results, segment your contact list by geography to determine the subscriber’s time zone. Then you have two main choices:

  • Choose a sending time according to the majority.
  • Segment and send to several groups.

Consider the content

The type of content also affects opens and CTR. What comes to mind:

  • Business emails, consulting, marketing, and advertising — Tuesday-Thursday.
  • Entertainment and other messages that don’t demand immediate action — Friday evenings and weekends when people relax.
  • Polls — Monday night. Subscribers are reluctant to answer questions during business hours.
  • E-commerce — Fridays, weekends, preferably at lunchtime and in the evenings. Mornings are better suited for educational and informational content rather than selling something.

Test all possible methods

What to do when there are several, sometimes conflicting, opinions on when is the best time to send an email?

Test, test, test. There’s no other way to find out what works best for you other than testing.

The best time to send emails is individual for each business sector and each purpose. You can start with what statistics say: for example, Tuesday-Thursday at 9 am or 4 pm. But after that, we recommend trying different days and times of sending — chances are, something different will suit your audience better.

The point of A/B testing is that you send two versions of the same email to two subscriber groups of approximately the same composition. Emails should be exactly the same, except for the day or time of sending.

Measure the performance of your emails

After each test, make conclusions using email marketing software. For example, at Selzy, we have a report that among other things allows you to determine the most popular reading time, as well as to understand when the majority of the recipients opened your campaign:

A GIF showing the campaign dynamics over time report. You can view the data for one day, 7 or 14 days, and one month.

You can also schedule a message by specifying the date and time. As a result, your newsletter will be sent at the right time without your participation.

Useful tips for sending

You can improve on opens and click rates by considering other aspects. We advise you to pay attention to:

  • Subject lines. A subject line, like any other headline, should grab subscribers’ attention and encourage them to read the message. Here’s a guide on writing catchy subject lines to get your emails opened and read.
  • List quality. What matters is how you got to have your list and whether you take care of it. Read our tips on building an email list and cleaning it up.
  • Design. Once an email is opened, email design plays a huge role in how many clicks there will be. Email design matters because following its best practices ensures that your message not only looks great but fulfills its purpose.

Final remarks

The best (and worst) day and time for sending emails is a rather controversial topic. On the one hand, some studies show that messages are opened more often on certain days of the week. On the other hand, it is worth understanding that all subscribers are different and it will not be possible to find a convenient time for everyone.

However, the sending day and time can be personalized for different subscribers. A few tips on how to do this:

  • Consider time zones.
  • Straight out ask subscribers when they feel comfortable receiving your emails.
  • Test different times and days. Do A/B tests to find out when your audience responds better.

Experiment. Test. Analyze.

A picture of Bear Grylls from the reality television series Man vs. Wild and the subtitle "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome."

This article was originally published in November 2021 and was updated in November 2023 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

06 November, 2023
Article by
Kate Shokurova
Out and about, exploring the world and its marvels. A writer and editor with 10+ years of experience, I also dabbled in all kinds of marketing and am happy to use this experience to make quality content, useful for the readers and effective for brands. I feel really passionate about helping people understand about marketing and design through easily digestible materials. Outside of working hours, I enjoy hiking, dancing, watching movies and reading books.
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