Email Timing as Important as Message; Considered Less Often

December 29, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Email | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Telecom | Travel & Hospitality

The day of the week and time of day an email is delivered are as important in email campaigns as the message and the group of users chosen to receive the message, but timing is rarely given the same level of attention, according to new research (pdf) from Pivotal Veracity.

Pivotal Veracity’s Engagement Index Q1-Q309 report found that the average elapsed time between when messages are first sent and when they are first seen has grown from 23.2 hours in January 2009 to 25.9 hours in August.

“If you’re mailing time sensitive email campaigns you should consider that the average consumer would not see your email for more than 24 hours,” Pivotal Veracity said.

Moreover, the time period between when a consumer sees the message and when he or she reacts is also growing longer, the company found, suggesting that that timing is becoming more important than ever as email marketers find themselves competing for customers’ attention, not only against other email messages and spam but also social media and mobile phone content.

Time of day is also important. If the campaign is B2B, the morning is an optimal time, as most desk-bound workers start their day by going through their email inboxes,?writes MarketingVOX.

Industry Specifics

The research also found that financial services, technology and telecommunications firms scored highest on the Email Engagement Index, successfully engaging customers during the first three quarters of the year (averaging 77 and 65 out of 100, respectively), with retail, travel and hospitality markers faring the worst (42 and 34, respectively).

Not surprisingly, financial services marketers that send critical communications such as balance statements and payment reminders saw the highest levels of engagement on a steady basis (34% read rates), followed by the “heating up” technology and telecommunications sector (27% read rates) which has witnessed an explosion in smart phone interest and sales over the past year, Pivotal Veracity said.

pivotal-veracity-relevance-response-email-industry-november-2009.jpg

The results for retailers (21% read rates) and travel marketers (18%) trailed the industry-wide average of 25% and reflected the impact of seasonality, with travel marketers seeing a substantial rise in engagement in April and May, just before the peak summer vacation season. Meanwhile, retailers saw the biggest decline in engagement over the summer, with the number bouncing back in August as consumers went back to school, back to work, and returned to shopping mode, and also as the economy and consumer confidence levels began to rebound towards the latter half of 2009.

Travel marketers experienced the highest importance and appeal of any vertical – during the peak vacation booking season – with an average time between first view and first read of 2.9 hours in March and April. Retailers, meanwhile, had a rough August, coming in at nearly 5 hours. These closely map to Pivotal Veracity’s “The Right Time” trending, and further suggest the impact of seasonality on vertical markets’ expected level of email engagement.

pivotal-veracity-email-timing-right-time-industry-november-2009.jpg

About the index: The Email Engagement Index is based on multiple proprietary data sources that are aggregated and analyzed monthly across authenticated mailer domains.

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