Email marketing is still a primary driver of content ROI, but marketers fail to generate optimal results without poignant timing.

Marketers know that email is far from dead, and ROI potential is actually gaining. Consumers who keep smartphones within arm’s reach give brands a direct line of communication to reach them, but the success of a campaign still hinges on marketers’ execution.

Thanks to new data from GetReponse and Retention Science studies, marketers can create highly targeted campaigns that hit those sweet spots when recipients are most likely to open and click email content. The study analyzed 100 email marketing campaigns, primarily from retailers. The results may be surprising.

Plan for afternoon arrival
Marketers' emails are most effective when sent afternoon.

The latest Retention Science report showed:

  • 28 percent of all email conversions take place in the morning
  • 38 percent take place in the afternoon 
  • 27 percent occur in the evening
  • 6.5 percent happen late at night

It seems that most marketers don’t optimize their email campaigns for this timing because Retention Science report found the majority of brand messages hit inboxes in the morning. Sending digital content too early could significantly impact open and conversion rates if it gets buried by competitors’ messages that were better timed.

Reach out before the weekend

Tuesdays and Fridays are the best days for retail email open rates, with recipients opening around 20 percent of all the messages they receive, according to recent data from GetResponse. However, the data showed that marketers should send digital content on Fridays if they want those clicks to turn into conversions. Consumers click further in 4.9 percent of emails opened on Friday, compared with 4.6 percent on Tuesday. Shoppers seem more interested in promotional offers just before the weekend when they generally make purchases.

However, Saturdays and Sundays are the black sheep for email ROI, driving the lowest open rates (16.9 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively) although holding onto comparable clickthrough rates (4.4 percent and 4.5 percent).Email conversion rates are highest right before the weekend.

Timing ISN’T everything

Even if marketers can pinpoint the exact hours on certain days that provide the best response metrics, they still may not see the results they want. To nurture leads, compel readers to click calls to action and then convert on site, marketers must send emails that will stand out in crowded inboxes and engage readers.

Where email content is concerned, it’s best for brands to send concise messages that deliver on promises made in the subject line, Brafton recently reported. B2Cs sending promotional or discount alert messages should keep it simple with product photos and offer specs. B2Bs delivering updates should include links or clean graphics, saving lengthy explanations for blog content on site. Recipients who trust certain brands to meet their expectations will continue to open and click those emails.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.