Timing and Email Marketing: Sunday generated 23% higher clickthrough than Tuesday in test


In the MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 79% of marketers found delivering highly relevant content to be an either somewhat or very significant challenge.

When you break down email relevancy to its core components, it is essentially a combination of:

  • Getting the right message …
  • To the right person …
  • At the right time.

While we often write about email messaging on the MarketingExperiments blog, today we’ll focus on that last element of relevancy – timing – in the following experiment with a MECLABS Research Partner



Background:  A large financial institution offering a financial service requiring an application to consumers

Goal:  To increase the number of completed applications

Primary Research Question:  Of the send times tested, which time will result in the highest rate of completed applications from delivered emails?

“We conducted some research on the best times to send email, and the test was intended to see when current customers were more likely to complete an action,” said Ashley Hanania, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS.



The test had a total of 14 treatment paths. Each path had the same subject line, email body copy and design.

The only treatment value that was tested was send time. Two emails were sent each day of the week, one at 3:00 a.m. EST and one at 3:00 p.m. EST. The recipients were all in U.S. time zones.

“We tested 3 a.m. EST because the email would be first in your inbox, regardless of where you lived,” Ashley said. “This was also taken into consideration for the 3 p.m. EST send, because every recipient would be in the same mindset, afternoon work/weekend activities, as opposed to a 6 p.m. EST send, where the East Coast would be making their commute back home and the West Coast would still be at work.”



The 3:00 p.m. send time had a 13.5% increase in clickthrough rate.

Sending on Sunday increased clickthrough rate by 23.2% over Tuesday.

For more information about this experiment, including interpretation, watch the free video Web clinic replay, “When Should You Send An Email? How one of the largest banks in the world discovered when to send their emails.”


Related Resources:

Email Marketing Timing: When is the optimal time to send your next marketing email?

Marketing Research: Top email elements to test

Email Relevance: 8 tactics for leveraging timing, segmentation and content (via the MarketingSherpa Blog)

Infographic: Email open rates by time of day  (via the MarketingSherpa Blog)

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  1. Steve Baxter says

    Should this type of test not aim to discover the optimum time for OPENING emails, rather than sending? It may seem a fine point, but consider this: Sunday appears to be the best time in this test but did the people who were sent emails on Sunday open them on Sunday or first thing on Monday morning? Once you know when the optimum opening time is, you can work towards sending emails so they arrive near that time.

    1. John Tackett says

      Hi Steve,

      Great question. I followed up with a member of the research team and they confirmed that emails sent on Sunday were opened on Sunday.

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