Updated: Dec 7, 2022
When is the best time to send an email? It’s one of the most popular questions we hear when we meet people at conferences or talk with our customers.
It’s a great question! Your subscribers have busy lives and the last thing you want is to send them a newsletter while they’re preoccupied with work, or dreaming about their weekend plans.
Ideally, you want people to have the time and mental space to read your newsletter. You want to choose the sending times that will give you the best email engagement.
Is there a time when your subscribers are perfectly primed and ready to receive your email? And if this ‘perfect time’ does exist, wouldn’t everyone be sending their newsletters at exactly the same time? That would defeat the whole purpose.
Before we get too philosophical, let’s get back to the facts (aka the data). We’ll cover:
The conventional approach to email timing
What our 2022 data shows about email timing
Other factors which influence email timing
Best email marketing tools for email sending
We want to help you figure out this million-dollar question!
We analyzed over 2.5 million email campaigns sent with MailerLite in 2022, and here’s what we found this year:
Which day of the week is everyone sending their campaigns?
Email marketers favor Tuesday (closely followed by Thursday) for sending out their campaigns
Which day of the week generates the most opens?
Wednesday is the weekday with the highest open rate, closely followed by Monday
What time of day generates the most opens?
Regardless of weekdays, most email opens occur between 10AM-12PM, with another peak between 5-6PM (in the subscriber’s time zone)
But as you’ll read in the article, it’s important to know your subscribers and base your sending times on their preferences. And when in doubt, test and learn!
What conventional wisdom tells you about email timing
As a starting point, put yourself in the shoes of your subscribers. Think about their daily routines, habits and mindsets. You might not have all the data yet, but you probably know your target audience pretty well. When would they be most likely to engage with your email campaigns?
Often, their week plays out something like this:
Email marketers generally agree that Monday is the wrong time to send a newsletter. People are busy adjusting back to their workweek. Business emails will inevitably be prioritized over promotional emails. Because of the emphasis on catching up with work, many say that Monday is one of the worst times to send your newsletter (although our 2021 data suggests it can still generate surprisingly high open rates). 🤷
Most email marketers believe that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are good days. In the middle of the week, your email subscribers are settled into their work routine and consistently checking their inboxes.
On Friday, everyone is daydreaming about the weekend and rushing to finish work so that they can go offline. However, we have found that Friday afternoons can be a good time, especially right after lunch. People are usually winding down for the weekend and are less likely to start new tasks, giving them more time to check their inboxes.
This is a tricky one. Although there are always exceptions, some cultures, such as in France and Italy, will rarely check their mailboxes outside of working hours. But in other cultures, such as the United States, Sunday evenings can be an ideal time, as Americans tend to prepare for the work week the evening before.
Also, people generally receive fewer emails over the weekend, so it could be easier to capture their attention. As a rule, it’s best to test different sending times for your target audience, to find out what generates the highest open and click rates.
By logically going through the days of the week, you can make some educated guesses about when to send your email. But we’ve taken it a step further and dug up our 2021 stats compiled from over 2.5 million campaigns.
The numbers don’t lie...
We love crunching the numbers, and we’re big believers in analyzing data from a human perspective. We’ve looked at over 2.5 million MailerLite campaigns to find insights that we paired with our own, real-world experience to see if there is, in fact, an ideal sending window.
What’s the best time to send an email, based on day and open rates?
What is the best day of the week to send emails? Let’s compare these two graphs showing sending rates and email open rates throughout the week.
Ta da! The data shows that most newsletters tend to be sent out on weekdays. Tuesday and Thursday are the most popular days for email marketers to send out their campaigns, while Saturday and Sunday bring up the rear as the least popular (awww, bless them 💔).
But how does this correlate with average open rates for each weekday? Let’s take a look below.
Reassuringly, open rates are fairly consistent across the week. The most favorable options would be Wednesday (29.73% opens) and Monday (29.64% opens).
On the other hand, bear in mind that far fewer emails are sent at weekends, so this could be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. However, Saturday is also the worst day for open rates, and email marketers generally agree that weekends are the worst time to send out a campaign—so the decision is yours! It might be a goldmine, or it might be a hard pass.
If in doubt, test different sending days and compare your campaign reports (more on that later).
What’s the best send time, based on the hour?
Let’s take a look at each weekday to get an idea of which times have the highest open rates. Overall, most opens take place between 10AM-12PM (based on the subscriber’s time zone).
Many industry experts have hailed these times as a prime sending window, as your subscribers have settled into their day, but are not yet too focused on their daily tasks to ignore their inboxes. The data also shows higher open rates around 5-6PM.
Best time to send an email on a Monday
According to the data, 10AM is the peak time when people open their emails on a Monday—and there’s also a nice little boost between 5-7PM, as well. In mid-afternoon, open rates drop a little, perhaps as people shake off the “Monday blues” and get on with their workday tasks.
Best time to send an email on a Tuesday Again, email opens peak at 10AM, and then they remain fairly consistent throughout the afternoon, before tailing off from 6PM onwards. This may be due to subscribers settling into a rhythm for the week, routinely checking their emails and then signing off at the end of the day.
Best time to send an email on a Wednesday
And (surprise, surprise), 10AM takes the gold medal again! Wednesday’s open rates follow a fairly similar pattern to Tuesday, with a sharper decline after 6PM in the evening as people switch off from their devices, start their commute home and spend time with their loved ones.
Best time to send an email on a Thursday
As always, 10AM is still the prime time for open rates, but interestingly, on Thursdays there is also a smaller peak between 1-3PM. This might be due to people taking their lunch breaks and looking for a distraction as they approach the end of the working week.
Best time to send an email on a Friday
On Fridays, open rates are consistently high from 10-11AM, with another spike around 2PM. This can be an interesting day to send a newsletter because you’re catching people just before they head out for the weekend, when they might be most inclined to buy something, or try a new experience.
Best time to send an email on a Saturday
Saturday open rates are pretty similar to weekdays, with a spike at 10AM and a steady decline throughout the afternoon, as people switch off to enjoy their weekend.
Best time to send an email on a Sunday
Yet again, 10AM wins the day, with an even sharper decline in afternoon open rates, compared to Saturday.
So, when is the best time to send an email?
Our data shows that while open rates are consistent across all weekdays, Wednesdays and Mondays are leading the pack. But regardless of which day you choose to send your newsletter, 10AM appears to be a favorable sending time for maximum open rates. These stats also show the worst time to send an email is anywhere between 9PM-9AM, when subscribers are winding down for the evening, sleeping and then rushing to get ready for the new day.
Pick a time and keep it consistent
No matter when you send your newsletter, the best practice is to keep it consistent. We are all creatures of habit, and we subconsciously crave consistency. By maintaining a regular email cadence, you build trust and anticipation. Your audience will expect to receive your content during a designated time. For example, I always look forward to Seth Godin’s email, which comes into my inbox daily. Paul Jarvis’s thoughts always come in on Sundays, and on Fridays, there’s an email from Tim Ferris. Not only do I love these newsletters, but there’s a Pavlovian response to regularly receiving these emails that brings me joy.