How To Determine The Best Time To Send Marketing Emails

Today, more than 330 billion emails will be sent worldwide. And again tomorrow. And the next day. And every day that follows.

That’s twice as many emails every hour as people in the world.

Marketers are responsible for a considerable chunk of that, with the email lists of many companies reaching into the tens and even hundreds of thousands.

With such a high volume of emails reaching the inbox of the typical consumer each day, it’s little wonder that only a small percentage of them get opened, clicked on, or responded to.

What if we carefully explored the data on email marketing metrics such as these and analyzed the results to understand precisely when we should be pushing out email sends?

That’s what we’re going to do in this article. 

We’ll review several important studies demonstrating the best time to send marketing emails for different industries and goals (click-throughs vs. open rates). We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide to determining the best time to send emails for your organization.

Table of Contents:

When is the best time to send a marketing email? 

Across the board, the best time to send a marketing email is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

That’s a pretty broad range. It’s basically the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.

Part of the problem is that this is too broad of a question. What does “best time” mean? Is it about the perfect time for open rates? For responses? For click-throughs? And what type of emails are you sending? Shareholder updates? Promotional emails? And are you sending plain text emails or HTML-enhanced emails?

And the truth is, if we’re talking blanket statements (without factoring in aspects such as the industry you’re in, your customer preferences, whether you serve a B2C or B2B audience, the types of emails you’re sending, etc.), then there is no silver bullet.

Ideally, you should be conducting your own tests (something we’ll cover in more detail later in this article) to understand the best days and times to send emails to your customers based on the goals and the types of emails you’re sending.

The other reason for such a broad recommendation is that when you review all of the most up-to-date data available (which we’ll do together shortly), you come to find that studies disagree.

One data set indicates that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days for sending emails. Another says Wednesday and Thursday. And it’s not as easy as picking the most common denominator here (Wednesday), as the two studies demonstrate that Tuesday and Thursday are better than Wednesday.

Tricky stuff, we know. 

But there are some high-level assumptions we can draw from this information. If we flip the question on its head and ask, “When is the worst time to send marketing emails?” then the data tends to be in a bit more agreement.

By and large, you should avoid sending emails on Monday and Friday. Across all studies, these days perform poorly as far as open and click rates go.

While the data can only tell us what happens and not why it happens, we can make a couple of assumptions here. 

Monday is, for most, the beginning of the week. It’s often filled with team meetings, setting up workloads for the week, and frantically catching up on tasks that were meant to be finished last week but weren’t. In short, we’re working on more important things than opening a marketing email.

Friday is a bit of a mixed bag. Being the end of the week, the morning is often quite full-on (everyone is working hard to clear the week’s workload), and by the time the afternoon rolls around, you’re likely checked out and ready for that 5 p.m. drink.

This “avoid the extremities” approach works for choosing an email send time as well. Most studies show that the periods before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. perform poorly for marketing emails.

A similar reason applies here. Meetings are regularly scheduled in the morning (because we’re all oh so fresh at 9 a.m.), and that late afternoon slump makes it hard for us to focus on the tasks at hand, let alone the 12 marketing emails we’ve received in the last hour.

Okay, time to get a little more specific.

Best day of the week to send emails 

The best days of the week to send marketing emails are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Narrowing down further becomes a bit tricky.


Findings from Intercom’s database demonstrate that Tuesday gets the highest open rates, followed closely by Thursday. Wednesday looks stronger than Monday and Friday but sits relatively far behind Tuesday and Thursday.

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best day to send emails
Best day to send emails

However, a study by Wordstream examining email open rates by day highlights Thursday as the strongest, with Wednesday coming in second and Tuesday, which performed best in Intercom’s study, taking third place.

best time to send marketing emails
Best time to send marketing emails

If anything, these findings simply show that Monday and Friday (and the weekend) are bad days to send emails.

Best time of the day to send emails 

The best time of day to send marketing emails is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

However, the data from the Intercom and Wordstream studies once again differ.

Intercom shows that the period between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. performs best, with the hour before this seeing impressive open rates, too.

best time of day to send emails
Best time of day to send emails

Wordstream’s data, however, shows that email open rates climb steadily from 8 a.m., peaking at around 2 p.m.

best time of day to send marketing emails
Best time of day to send marketing emails

What we can draw from this contradiction is simply that the period in the middle of the day seems to be when the email open rate is highest.

Wordstream also presents a couple of other interesting findings. The hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. performed better than any other hour (contradicting the across-the-board finding that 2 p.m. is strongest), but this period on Tuesday and Wednesday performed worse.

Best time to send B2B emails

Contrasting other types of emails, for B2B customers, the ideal time of day to send emails is before 8 a.m. Business emails sent during this time see open rates of between 20% and 35%.

This ensures your email is in the recipient’s inbox when they arrive at work, which is a common time for email clearing.

The period from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. also experiences a bump in open rates, probably because recipients are at home and less likely to be distracted by their actual workload.

Best day to send emails for high open rates 

If you’re trying to influence open rates, the best day of the week to send emails appears to be Thursday, according to data CoSchedule aggregated.

best day to send emails for high open rates
Best day to send emails for high open rates

Other studies from Wordstream and Intercom also show that Tuesday and Wednesday are solid performers for email open rates.

Best day to send emails for click-through rates

This one is pretty straightforward.

Sunday is the best day of the week for email click-through rates (2.6%), followed closely by Tuesday at 2.5%.

Best day of the month to send emails

Though performance across the month is fairly stable, the first ten days of the month appear to be the best time to send emails.

Another study presented the following findings on email marketing performance across the month:

Days 1-10 of the monthDays 11-20 of the month:Days 21-31 of the month
Open rate18.56%18.55%17.87%
CTR5.59%5.92%5.24%
Product orders7.166.966.67

Best number of email newsletters to send each week 

Sending a weekly newsletter earns the best open rates, with an average of 33.33%.

However, they also receive the highest unsubscribe rate at 0.24%. This is an interesting insight — the more emails you send, the less likely your target audience is to unsubscribe.

If you’re focused on your click-through rate, daily emails perform the best, with an average CTR of 3.8%.

However, for click-to-open rates, twice a day appears to be the best frequency (17.27%).

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How to determine the best time to send marketing emails for your company

Email marketing benchmarks like those above are a fantastic starting point, but they shouldn’t be taken as law.

What matters most is the performance of your email campaigns, as this will help you understand the best time to send marketing emails to your audience.

Here’s how.

1. Review your current data 

Maybe you haven’t been particularly focused on optimizing email send times in the past. You’ll already have some data to work with as long as you’ve been sending emails (and you’ve been doing so with even a moderately endowed email marketing platform).

Start by reviewing your averages for open and click-through rates, and segment the results by day of the week. If possible (depending on the level of detail your software provides), drill down to hourly rates to understand the times of day that are performing the best.

Review historical data to understand whether your findings are consistent across time. Let’s say, for example, you identify that Thursday has performed strongest overall for you. It’s important to understand that this is an average.

You’ll need to scan back through several weeks or months (or view open rates on a timeline if your email automation tool has that functionality) to ensure this has been the case across the board and there isn’t simply one anomaly email that performed really well and just happened to be sent on a Thursday, skewing your results.

2. Research your audience preferences 

You may often make assumptions about how your customers act, how they spend their time, and how they structure their lives. But these assumptions can often lead you astray.

For example, an email marketer in the B2B environment would be right to assume their clients primarily work standard business hours, so they’ll generally send emails within that window.

However, as we’ve seen, some studies have demonstrated bumps in email open rates after 8 p.m., perhaps because recipients are working at night or receive work emails on their personal devices.

Interviewing or surveying your audience about their email habits can help you understand what your customers prefer and help you avoid becoming an annoyance, reducing unsubscribe rates.

3. Perform A/B tests 

Just as when working on your email subject lines, testing will be the foundation of optimizing your email efforts to maximize open, click, and conversion rates. 

Ratify the findings from step one by conducting strategic A/B tests. If Thursday has been performing strongest in the past, set up a test to send the same email to your database with users split into five segments (one for each day). 

Does Thursday still hold up? Or is the historical data perhaps pointing to the fact that in the past, you’d send a specific kind of email on Thursday, and that was performing better?

You can run similar tests to identify the optimal time of day to send emails (for example, scheduling an email to go out to a different email list each hour).

4. Be careful with your data analysis 

While changes to your email schedule should be based on data, you should also be careful in your interpretations.

For example, the time at which emails are opened doesn’t necessarily indicate the best time to send an email. If you’re experiencing high open rates in the 10-11 a.m. period, does that mean you need to send emails at this time?

Or are you better off sending that newsletter somewhere between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., so it’s in the recipient’s inbox when it comes time to sit down for a coffee and check their emails?

Conclusion 

As we’ve seen, there is no silver bullet when it comes to the best time to send marketing emails.

While the middle of the week (Tuesday to Thursday) and the middle of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) are good jumping-off points, ultimately, you’ll need to test, measure, analyze, and refine your send times to understand the peak for your company.
Better yet, turn to a platform that does a lot of the hard work for you. Check out ActiveCampaign’s email marketing platform, or try it out for free for 14 days, to see how our predictive sending feature can work for you.

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