As part of its Q4 2012 Email Marketing Quarterly Benchmark Study [download page], Experian Marketing Services has analyzed the best time of the day to send emails, cautioning that the data is retrospective rather than controlled, and that optimal deployments likely vary by industry, and even by brand. But that doesn’t mean it hurts to take a look at the results. And those seem to suggest somewhat of an inverse relationship between email volume and performance.
For example, looking at time of day, the study finds that a plurality 40% of emails were deployed between 8AM and 11:59AM, with that range accounting for 42% of transactions. But, the 16.1% unique open rate and 2.4% unique click rate of this time period counted as the lowest of the 6 distinct periods. To some extent, that could simply be a function of volume, meaning that it could be harder for emailers to differentiate themselves in the morning, when consumers are receiving most of their emails.
Interestingly, the transaction rate (.13%) in that morning period also was the lowest of any time range, revenue per email ($0.17) was among the lowest, and average order value was middle of the pack, at $174.
When looking at the time of day that got the smallest share of volume and transactions (2% each) – between 8PM and 11:59PM – the picture changes considerably. During this time period, unique open rate (21.7%), unique click rate (4.2%), transaction rate (0.34%), revenue per email ($0.48), and average order value ($246) were all considerably higher than during any other time of day. Experian doesn’t offer any suggestions as to why this might be the case, but it could be related to consumers simply being more engaged at that time of the day (and more apt to spend online).
The Experian report also analyzes performance by day of the week, finding again that the days with the lowest volume of emails (Saturday and Sunday) boasted the best response rates (each with a unique open rate of 17.8% and a unique click rate of 2.9%). Saturday (9% of email volume) also sported the best transaction rate (0.16%) and revenue per email ($0.20), although average order values lagged.