A recent study conducted by MailerMailer found that, email messages scheduled as the work day begins and progresses see a marked decline in click rates, with rates not picking up again until the afternoon, before peaking overnight; the report covered more than 1.2 billion opt-in email newsletters sent in 2011.
Average click rates began declining at 6 AM and were lowest at 12 PM (1.3%), but increased steadily to 2.4% at 4 PM, reaching a peak of 5.8% at 12 AM.
Email open rates also were found to decline during the workday, before picking up in the afternoon and hitting highs of 18-19% at midnight. This contrasts with March 2012 findings from an Informz study of its association clients’ email performance in 2011, which suggested that email open rates were best in the morning, while click rates performed best in the late afternoon. It is worth noting that the email client samples were obviously different, but also that both the open rates and click rates found in the Informz study were significantly higher than in the MailerMailer study (the former with open rate highs of 39.2% and click rate highs of 21%).
Data from MailerMailer’s “Email Marketing Metrics Report” indicates that open rates were highest on Monday (11.6%) and Tuesday (11.5%) and lowest on Saturday (9.5%). Overall, open rates averaged 12.3%
Further details from the MailerMailer report indicate that personalizing emails may have a negative effect on open and click rates. While emails that were not personalized saw an average open rate of 11.5%, those with the subject line only personalized saw an average open rate of only 5.2%, while those with both subject line and message personalized saw an average rate of 3.2%.
What does this mean? My take is that more, and more people (email readers) are becoming savvier about email and email campaigns. They leave the ‘questionable’ email for later in the work day and deal only with email from people they know. Furthermore readers seem less impressed with the fact that a company has data mined their name and inserted it into a form letter. First in, first out, does not seem to apply as much anymore.