March 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

Freaky Friday: Who knew it was so good?

No longer considered a bad day to send e-mail marketing messages, Friday has emerged as a key element of e-mail marketing strategies. A study of 230,000 e-mail campaigns finds that Friday leads in open rates.

E-mail marketers once thought that Fridays were the pits for sending out e-mails-consumers were getting ready for the weekend and not paying attention to their inboxes. But in fact, Friday actually leads by a slight margin in e-mail open rates in an analysis of 14 months of e-mail marketing that included 230,000 e-mail campaigns and 2.7 billion messages from 4,000 marketing organizations that e-mail services provider ExactTarget reported in March.

“ExactTarget’s 2004 study asserted that there is no such thing as a universal best day to send e-mail and we still hold this view,” says Morgan Stewart, director of strategic services at ExactTarget and author of the study. “The results of our 2005 study show that organizations still must conduct their own tests to determine which day of the week works best for them, but all organizations should consider Friday and Sunday as viable challengers.”

The average open rates for e-mail messages sent on Friday was 39.6%, a tad higher than No. 2 Thursday, with 39%. Friday may have the highest open rate, but it ranks only 4th in number of e-mails sent. And, in fact, that may be the reason for the high open rates-less competition for subscribers’ attention.

“When deciding when to send an e-mail, organizations must consider their competition in the inbox,” Stewart says.”An organization may have clearly defined competitors in the general marketplace, but competitors in the inbox can be drastically different. Given that the number of e-mails sent on Friday is relatively low compared to other weekdays, the odds of getting the attention of subscribers is higher. The strong e-mail open results for Friday support this notion. The number of e-mails sent over the weekend also is low, so this increases the odds that subscribers will spend time interacting with their e-mail.”

Sundays had the highest click-through rate at 6.9%. But e-mail has seasonality, the ExactTarget study shows. Month-to-month click-through rates for Sunday varied widely, with the average ranging from 4.9% in June to 8.3% in October. “During the summer months, e-mail recipients are most likely spending the weekend outdoors away from their computers,” Stewart says. “In the winter, subscribers may spend more time indoors catching up on e-mail and preparing for the week ahead.”

 

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