Email Analytics: Open Rates/Time of Day

I haven’t forgotten that we’re still exploring email analytics. Since it’s Monday, I’m going to take it easy on you. We’re looking at the best time of day to send an email campaign. We could look at such factors as open rate, click rate, click-to-deliver rate, conversion-to-revenue rate, bounce rate vs. depth of visit, etc. But I want to tackle analytics in manageable bites.

Look at the reports for your last several email campaigns. We’re going to look at a few items:

  1. Delivery rate. To find this number, take the total # of emails sent, subtract the # of bounce backs, and divide that by # of emails sent. Most of the time, bounce backs are out of your control. It could be that the recipient’s inbox is full. Or perhaps the company has a tight spam filter. If you run a spam test on your campaign before you push send, it will highlight any red flags. (If I use an exclamation point, talk about young adult novels, and use the word “free,” I’m just asking to spend time in your junk folder.)
  2. Open rate. Find this by dividing the # of emails opened by the # of emails delivered.
  3. Open rate over time. If you sent your campaign at 2:00 p.m., how many opens did you have from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.? How many from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.? If your email marketing software doesn’t provide this data, you can make your own spreadsheet to compare open times.

Although a lot of attention is given to “when do your customers open their email” it might be better to consider two things: who are your customers and when do they typically open email? And what do they usually do in the 4-hours after they receive your email? Are they performing the action you desire, such as buying a book, RSVP’ing, or reading staff reviews?  Since most emails are read in the first 4 hours after delivery, consider their typical habits.

Take a look at your own inbox. When do you receive the most email? Since you want your email to be on top, send your campaigns when recipients are less likely to be inundated.

When you determine the best time of day, look at your open rates for the next several campaigns. Then test a different time of day. Did your open rate improve?


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay