When’s the Best Time to Send a Marketing Email? It’s Complicated

A recent email benchmarking guide from Campaign Monitor notes that, based on the average, the best day to send that email is Thursday—but numbers vary wildly by industry and may not make sense for your readers.

When should you send an email anyway, and what metric matters more than any other?

Those are complicated questions, with lots of variables. But a recent report from Campaign Monitor has some useful answers—including for nonprofits.

The firm’s latest email benchmarking guide, based on more than 3 billion emails from 4.2 million campaigns sent in 2018, found that nonprofits have the largest open rates of any field surveyed, at 20.39 percent. However, its click rates are at the lower end of the scale, with clickthrough rates of 2.66 percent and click-to-open rates of 12.99 percent.

Those numbers mostly compare favorably with the overall average rates: an open rate of 17.92 percent, a clickthrough rate of 2.69, and a click-to-open rate of 14.10 percent.

So, when should you email your members? While the best day for most industries is Thursday (an average open rate of 18.6 percent), nonprofits actually do better during the weekend—the best day, per the study, is Sunday, which saw an open rate of 22.9 percent, one of the highest in the study. And while the best day to get people to click in general is Tuesday (an overall average of 2.73 percent), nonprofits see solid click rates of 2.70 percent on two days—Tuesdays and Saturdays.

In comments to MediaPost, Campaign Monitor Chief Marketing Officer Shane Phair emphasized, though, that trying to find the “perfect” time to send a message was more complicated than the numbers hint at.

“One of the questions we typically hear as an email service provider (ESP) is, ‘What is the best day to send an email?’” Phair said. “Individuals who read this report might be surprised to find that there’s not one magic answer to that question, which is why we decided to analyze millions of emails sent from our platform.”

The report recommends using benchmarks to see how your emails compare with industry standards, but it says you shouldn’t stop there.

“We also recommend using your own past results as the benchmark,” the report added. “It’s one of the easiest ways to determine what success looks like for your brand.”

(CalypsoArt/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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