Sunday's The Best Day to Send, Says Study: Yawn
By Ken Magill
It’s the age-old question in email marketing and it seems to get a different answer depending on who’s doing the study: What the best day and time to send commercial email?
Well, this week at least it’s apparently early Sunday morning.
According to a just-released study by email service provider Mailer Mailer, client emails sent on Sundays delivered an average click-through rate of 4.3 percent in the second half of 2010. The next highest day click-through wise for the second half of 2010 was Friday at an average 3.4 percent, according to the study.
The lowest days for click-through rates were Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in the first half of 2010 and 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent respectively in the second half of 2010, according to Mailer Mailer.
Meanwhile, average open rates were highest on Sunday at 12 percent in the second half of 2010, down slightly from 12.4 percent in the first half of the year, according to Mailer Mailer.
The lowest average open rates for the second half of 2010 were on Saturday, coming in at 9.9 percent, according to the study.
Also according to Mailer Mailer, people typically open their email messages between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
“Our findings suggest that email marketers who schedule their email campaigns to be delivered between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. can expect higher volumes of email opens and clicks,” the study said.
So does this mean everyone should change their mailing schedules to go heavy early Sunday mornings? No.
It means it may be worth testing.
For example, according to Mailer Mailer’s study, the best day for mailing click-through wise in the first half of 2010 was Saturday with an average 4.9 percent.
What happened between the first half of 2010 and the second? No one can know. And the question isn’t important enough to spend a whole lot of time pondering.
Common sense says the best day and time to send email will vary from organization to organization.
My old newsletter, Magilla Marketing, was sent out on Tuesdays because someone at Penton Media read that Tuesdays at 1 p.m. was the best day and time to send email.
When I started The Magill Report I decided to keep Tuesdays because I figured I had established a pattern with enough readers that it would be important to remain consistent. So far, it has worked. The Magill Report is on track to serve 126,000 ad impressions in July.
Common sense also says consistently compelling content trumps day and time hands down. Time spent debating the best time to send email would be better spent crafting compelling subject lines—ironically, the most important but too often last-crafted element of a campaign—and enticing offers.
And speaking of subject lines, according to Mailer Mailer, subject lines with between 16 and 27 characters generated the highest click-through rates at an average 4 percent. Subject lines with character counts of between 28 and 39 characters came in at a close second, averaging 3.9 percent, according to Mailer Mailer.
This is compared to 3.1 percent for subject lines with between 4 and 15 characters and 1.9 percent for subject lines with 51 or more characters.
Which begs the—not coincidentally 51-character—question: Who in hell writes subject lines of 51+ characters?