What We’ve Learned About Send Time Optimization

After you’ve spent time perfecting email messages—crafting personalized versions for each of your targeted audiences, it all comes down to this critical question: “What are the best times to send them?”

This has been a challenging question for marketers ever since email emerged as one of their leading marketing strategies.

If you send an email at just the right time, you could see significantly higher open rates than if you totally missed the mark on delivery time.

And what happens if only a sliver of your subscribers could end up noticing it? It could mean the difference between surpassing your sales goals and losing your job.

With the many time slot possibilities available to you—24 hours a day, seven days a week, figuring out ideal email delivery times always has been a challenging prospect.

Of course, with data being your friend in digital marketing challenges, you’ve been able to glean insights based on numerous research studies.

For example, this 2014 report from Campaign Monitor looked at data from 192 million opens, breaking down the best time to send your emails. It found that only 53% of opens happened between the hours of 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (minus lunchtime), meaning that 47% of emails are opened outside of work hours.

You can also dig deeper to find research that is broken down by industry. Based on those millions of data points, you could get an even more accurate approximation of the best times to send your emails.

We’ve learned much more about send time optimization since then. With technological advances and even greater insights from billions more data points, you have a much better chance of sending emails at just the right time—for each of your subscribers.

How send time optimization works now

Send time optimization, which enhances your ability to connect with audiences at the right time through automation, has significantly improved. Software platforms are equipped to deliver a much more personalized experience.

With advanced marketing automation, it’s not only possible to determine ideal send times. You can switch it up for each person on your subscriber list.

That means you can start seeing better results with your email marketing campaigns.

And the timing couldn’t be better. You need a strategy that helps you cut through the massive amounts of emails hitting inboxes every day. Globally, about 269 billion emails are sent daily—a number that is expected to reach 333 billion by 2022, according to a recent Statista report.

And with more people opening emails on mobile devices, you also must be strategic about targeting subscribers who are likely to quickly check messages at even more varying times.

These statistics tell more of that story:

  • 55% of subscribers opened their email on mobile devices—up from 29% in 2012. That compares to 16% of users who prefer to open emails on desktops or laptops—down from 34% in 2012. - Return Path
  • About 60% of consumers check email on mobile, according to Fluent’s 2018 “The Inbox Report: Consumer Perceptions of Email.”

Using email marketing automation enables you to more accurately target your subscribers when they’re most likely to check email.

Graduating to advanced send time optimization

While personalization of content has received a significant amount of attention among marketers, personalization of send time is a critical component of any strong email marketing campaign.

No matter how well crafted the message—or how well personalized, it may never resonate with the subscriber if they don’t have time to notice it.

But this is not news to you.

More than likely, you’ve already engaged in some type of send time optimization, at least at the very basic level.

Here are some common options:

Analyzing the data from various research and studies.

Analyze data from relevant research about the best times and days of the week to send email. Even if you select the right industry-specific data, the results may not accurately reflect the habits of your subscribers.

Conducting your own testing.

A/B testing is an effective way to determine which times are better to reach your audience. However, it has its limitations. Unless you are able to test a significant number of times and days, you are still only guessing…and ultimately choosing the better of two or three times. The ideal times may still prove to be elusive.

Time zone optimization.

Sending emails to subscribers in Seattle at 7 p.m. requires a different “send time” than if you were also trying to reach Chicago subscribers at 7 p.m. Time zone optimization takes into account the variations in time zones. This is beneficial but it still lacks accuracy about ideal times.

Using common sense.

Of course, you can always rely on your own judgment to narrow down possible send times. For instance, you may conclude that Fridays at 3 p.m. could be among the worst possible times to send an email to a B2B subscriber. Or you could determine that a subscriber is more likely to check in on emails at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday as opposed to 9 a.m. on a Monday when everything is competing for their attention.

Although these all have some merit, the ultimate solution would involve sending emails to every individual on your subscriber list at the time they’re most likely to open it.

Sounds too good to be true? The technology is already here. And you may have access to it but have failed to invest your time and resources in it.

With email marketing automation, you’re able to use personalization features as a way to leverage data on your individual users. That means you can confidently send Susan emails on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. — no matter what the research and reports generally say about people with similar demographic traits.

How automated send time optimization works

Technological advances have paved the way to this time of personalized delivery of email. By gathering data on each of your subscribers, analyzing the number of opens and clicks and on which days, algorithms can determine how and when to best connect with them.

This behavior-based solution can drive better results with your marketing campaigns while saving you both time and resources.

Graduate to a more effective way of delivering email with send time optimization features. Check out a demo of Delivra’s automated marketing platform to see first-hand how it can transform your email marketing strategy.

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