4 Factors That Influence the Best Time to Send an Email Campaign

Living in a society where we constantly need more than 24 hours in a day, is there a perfect time to press the send button on your email marketing campaign?  The answer is yes and no.  How can that be?  Well, there is not a single perfect time for every marketer to send every email.  That’s the “no” part.  But there probably is a nearly perfect time for your company to send your messages.  And that time may even vary by message, with different messages to different audiences having its own “perfect” time.  That is the “yes” part.

Instead, look at the bigger picture.  Whether you’d like to admit it or not, we all have some sort of daily routine.  The answer as to why timing is not so sensitive lies in how people engage and process their email inbox.  Personally, I’m checking my email on my iPhone the moment my alarm goes off in the morning.  I always notice the influx to marketing emails between 6am-10am.   But does being the first to the inbox all that important?  If you find yourself asking this question, please refer back to the beginning of this paragraph.  As the industry shifts to weighing heavily on engagement rates, marketers should be focusing on other aspects besides what time to send a campaign.

Consider the following factors:

  1. Content relevance:  Subscribers are more likely to open emails that contain content relevant to their preferences.  When a customer sees a preview of an email in their inbox, they are more likely to participate if they can relate directly to the content.  The ultimate goal is to build a relationship with your subscribers by offering valuable content that encourages engagement.
  2. Subject line and FROM name: Is your brand easily recognized by subscribers?  Are you telling your valued customers who you are and what you’re offering immediately when they see the subject line?   People are naturally attracted to timely and relevant offers, thus your subject line should be tailored accordingly.
  3. Brand Loyalty: Marketers love returning customers.  Take special care of these subscribers, as they will become your most loyal fans.  Allow subscribers to choose which lists they would like to join.  Personalized targeting will make a more enjoyable experience for the customer.
  4. Previous experience with your messages: Each subscriber is unique, so pay attention to how they’re interacting with your messages.  Can subscribers easily access your website from the email?  Is the message easy to navigate? Create messages which meet your customer’s needs.


An infographic released by Pure360, an email marketing software company, breaks down the best and worst times to send emails.  Generally, email open and click rates varies about 10% throughout the day.  If you’re a sender offering a 12 p.m. flash sale, then you want your message in the inbox a few hours before.  If you found through testing that having campaigns deployed by 6 a.m. drives the highest response rates, keep sending at that time. Periodically test to see if there are any trend changes.  Return Path offers a tool called Campaign Insight that can also help determine optimal times to send emails.  Campaign Insight provides additional data regarding the active users of your email program.  You can easily identify when a campaign was opened and look for trends.

It all comes down to what makes sense for your brand. Is there a best time to send an email campaign? Yes and no.  If you’re waiting around for the perfect time to press send, you’ll probably never launch the campaign.  Prioritize your mail deployment based on what your subscribers are telling you.  Listen!  If your audience tends to purchase after lunch, make sure they have your campaign in their mailbox before then.  Target the loyal customers with relevant and appealing content and any time is the perfect time to hit send.

How are you determining your perfect time to send?

Shannon Rosic
Account Coordinator
Return Path