October 3, 2011, 12:04 PM

Flash-sale e-mails spark more purchases when sent late in the afternoon

The best time to send the marketing messages is after 3 p.m., a study says.

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Flash-sale e-mails sent after 3 p.m. generate more transactions and more revenue than do e-mails sent earlier in the day, according to an Experian CheetahMail analysis.

Flash-sale e-mail messages sent after 3 p.m. have an open rate 90% greater than e-mails sent at mid-day, the e-mail marketing vendor’s data reveals. The transaction rate coming from late-day e-mails is 23% higher and the revenue per e-mail is 30% greater than mid-day e-mails. 

Experian CheetahMail says late-day messages stand out more in consumers’ inboxes because fewer e-retailers send messages late in the day. “The lack of inbox competition for the customer’s attention later in the day offers e-mail marketers an opportunity to optimize flash-sale campaigns to improve ROI,” the company says.

E-mails advertising flash sales that last only two hours are opened the most often, but sales that last three hours generate more transactions, Experian CheetahMail says.

Traffic to flash-sale sites increased 128% during June compared with the same month a year ago, the company says. E-mail is the leading source of referral traffic for these limited-time offers, generating 18% of site traffic. Other primary traffic drivers are social media, at 13%, and search, at 11%.

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