‘How do I make sure my audience sees and interacts with my content?”
This is the burning question every marketer asks themselves. No matter what product or service you’re selling, whether you’re an online store or a brick-and-mortar business, if your customers can’t find you - they can’t buy from you.
Why Timing Matters
Aside from the quality of your content, it’s also important to consider when to distribute it. Posting your daily Instagram or sending your monthly newsletter at the wrong time means you risk your target audience missing the content altogether, resulting in little interaction with your brand and a potential drop in website traffic. To avoid putting your content creation efforts to waste, you’ll need to find the right time to engage with your followers and subscribers.
If you hit the sweet spot - aka the time your target audience is online and willing to read your emails and posts - you will see your opens, clickthroughs, likes and shares increase. More engagement means more traffic on your website, more potential customers, and therefore more sales. That’s why timing matters.
Is There a One-Size-Fits-All Posting Time?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing.
If you’ve done your research, you will have noticed there are many different answers to the question ‘when is best time to post content?’. Most marketing blog posts will tell you: “it depends”. And really, it does. No two audiences are the same. That’s why there is a lot of different data out there.
One study might say that Wednesday is the best time to post on Facebook, whilst another one claims that Saturday is the Golden Day. The truth is - both studies are probably right. They’ve simply looked at two different audiences with varying habits. In the end, your ideal posting time will depend on the following factors:
- The platform: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
- The target audience: how does your target audience interact with each platform, i.e. when are they online, when are they most willing to read/watch and share your content?
- The region: different segments of your target audience are located in different parts of the world. Therefore: time zones matter!
Nevertheless, we’ve found a general trend for the best time to post and send an email based on previous studies and research. The following guide is a great starting point for ideal posting times. Have a go at testing these times on your target audience, then gather your results, see what works, and make the necessary adjustments.
The Best Time To Pop Up In a Subscriber’s Inbox
Start of the Week
When it comes to sending emails, your best bet is midweek. And if you think about it - that makes sense. Monday is the first day back at work. Picture your inbox on a Monday morning: overflowing with urgent emails, instructions and tasks for the week ahead. No one has time to open marketing emails on Monday morning. So consider Monday off the table.
Tuesday is a completely different story. In fact, Tuesday has been found to be the best day to pop up in people’s inboxes. Wednesday is also not a bad choice, often coming in second after Tuesday. So if you’re sending out one email per week, Tuesday and Wednesday are a good starting point for testing.
‘What about Thursday?’ you may ask. Thursday is a great complement to Tuesday. If you want to send out two emails per week, Tuesday and Thursday are a winning pair. Wednesday and Thursday are too close together. Your subscribers will still be digesting Wednesday’s content on Thursday, so two days in a row might seem like spam, which is the last thing you want.
Friday wasn’t mentioned in most studies regarding email timing. So let’s forget about Friday.
The weekend is an interesting one. In general, email traffic is lower on weekends, as most marketing emails are sent throughout the week (let’s be honest, every other marketer has probably read the studies and concluded that midweek is the best time to post content). This means that your best chance of being discovered in a usually overcrowded inbox is on weekends. But there is a reason that weekends haven’t placed first in the race of best day to send emails: people check their emails less on weekends. So weekends are a gamble. A gamble you can figure out through testing.
The Winning Hour(s)
We’ve figured out the best day to send an email, but there are still roughly 12-24 options during that day. Based on the data from email opens and click throughs, we’ve identified three popular times: late mornings between 10 and 11am, 2pm, as well as 8pm-midnight.
Looking at the daily schedule of the average working person, these timings make sense. The first one is the morning break, the second around lunchtime, and the third the after-work browse.
Some studies have also noted 6am as a popular email checking time, but it’s a risky one. It’s true that many people check their emails first thing in the morning whilst still lying in bed - we’re all guilty of it, right? But at 6am, you’re probably checking emails for productivity reasons and preparing for the day ahead, rather than checking whether your favourite brand has posted a blog or announced a sale. So, keep 6am in mind, but rely on the three main times (10-11am, 2pm and 8pm-midnight) to be on the safe side. Remember, you can find out which of these times is most suitable through testing.
How To Test The Best Time To Send Emails For More Engagement
As each audience is different, you need to figure out what works for your subscribers. When are they most likely to see and open your emails? What time works best in enticing them to follow your CTA and click through to your website? Here is how you can find the answers to these questions:
1. Segment your email list into different groups
Depending on how many subscribers you have in your list, you can test for more or less groups. A good minimum number per group is 50.
2. Make a list of the different days and times you want to test
Start with the timings that previous studies have found to be the most successful and compare these with the times that you think could work for your audience’s specific demographic.
3. For each segment, assign a different day and/or time.
4. Send out the same email to each different segment
The only thing that should be different is the day and time the email is sent.
5. Use Google Analytics or MailChimp reports
These can be used to check which email has received the most opens and click throughs.
6. Continue testing until you’ve found your winning day and time!
The Best Time To Show Up On People’s Newsfeeds
Similar to email, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule to perfectly time your posts. But studies have again shown that there are, on average, specific days and times that work better or worse for each platform.
Best Days to Post: End of the week - Thursday & Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Best Hours to Post: 9am, 1pm (generates most shares), 3pm (generates most clicks)
Winning Time: Saturday or Sunday between 12-1pm
Testing Tool: Facebook Analytics, Fanpage Karma
Fun Fact: Fridays benefit from a 10% spike in the Happiness Index. This is a measurement of ‘happiness’ used by Facebook data scientists. It is determined by analysing Facebook posts based on keywords, for example “I am sad” or “I am happy”. Based on this index, Facebook users are happiest on Fridays - because weekends are around the corner. And when people are happier, they are more willing to comment, like and share.
Best Days to Post: Wednesdays and Weekends
Best Hours to Post: 12pm (highest number of click-throughs), 3pm, 5-6pm (highest number of retweets)
Winning Time: Wednesday 5-6pm
Testing Tool: Twitter Analytics, Followerwonk
Fun Fact: Commutes are the sweet spot for businesses leveraging Twitter to communicate with their followers and customers. Whilst sitting on a train or bus, commuting Twitter users are 181% more likely to be using Twitter compared to times they are not commuting.
Best Days to Post: every single day of the week is a good day for an Instagram post. If we had to pick favourites, they’d be Monday or Thursday
Best Hours to Post: 2am, 8-9am, 5pm
Winning Time: Monday (simply because not many other platforms can overcome the Monday blues) 8-9 am (to send off your followers with a great Monday morning post)
Testing Tool: Instagram for Business Analytics
Fun Fact: If you want to post a video for increased engagement, do so after 9pm. This can generate up to 35% more interactions. It seems like Instagram has replaced TV as an after-work entertainment source.
Best Day to Post: Similar to Instagram, Pinterest works on basically every day of the week. But your best bet might be Saturday and Sunday, because that’s when people have the time to browse through beautiful pictures and pin them to their boards.
Best Hours to Post: 2pm, 9pm, 2am
Winning Time: Saturday 8-11pm (now you know how most people spend their Saturday nights!)
Fun Fact: on Pinterest, a different subject is popular every day. Mondays are for fitness, Tuesdays for gadgets, Wednesdays for quotes, Thursdays for outfits, Fridays for gifts, Saturdays for travel, and Sundays for food. So if Saturday doesn’t work for you, pick your special day based on the products you sell.
Top Tip: When posting on Pinterest, avoid commuting times. Other than Twitter, Pinterest is terrible for passing time during commutes as users have to leave the app and open the browser to follow pins. And let me tell you - connection on the tube is usually terrible.
Best Day to Post: As LinkedIn is mainly used for business purposes and by professionals, it comes as no surprise that midweek - Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays - are the best time to post.
Best Hours to Post: 10-11am (professionals read LinkedIn like a newspaper), 12pm (entertainment for lunch) and 5-6pm (end of the work day)
Winning Time: Thursday 10am
Fun Fact: Never count on Mondays of Fridays to bring you engagement via LinkedIn. LinkedIn suffers from a severe case of Monday blues. And on Fridays - professionals “gotta get down on Friday” and therefore don’t have the time or will to think about their professional network.
Time To Act!
Ready, set, go.
The time has come to take charge of your timings. Start by scheduling your emails and social media posts at the suggested times, and then test, test, test. Find out what works for your specific audience, and watch traffic to your ecommerce store increase. Once you figure out the best timings, keep it consistent so your audience knows when to expect your content.
*Image via MailChimp