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Using Google Analytics to Find the Best Time and Day for Email Sends

Finding the optimal time to send an email can feel like a shot in the dark, especially when you're first ramping up your email strategy.

However, you can take a lot of the guesswork out by using Google Analytics.

The best time of day to send your marketing emails is when you're actively in the minds of your contacts. How do you know when they're thinking of you?

Well, without psychic powers, you can't really. That said, you can get a solid estimate it by checking your analytics. When a contact is on your site, you're clearly on their mind.

Figuring Out the Time to Send

Right on the front page (dashboard) of Google Analytics, you'll find the "When do your users visit?" widget. This widget shows you your traffic breakdown in hours-in-the-day across one axis and days-of-the-week across the other.

Google Analytics widget shows website traffic breakdowns

The darker the area, the more email traffic in that time frame. This will look different for everyone, depending on when your leads and visitors are the most active.

Obviously, you should aim to send your emails around the times with the most traffic.

In this example, you can see the time of the day with the most visitors is between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. So, sending an email at around 11 a.m. would probably be the best time to send your email because it's the median time within that window.

Figuring Out the Day to Send

This can be a little trickier as there's often a wider window of regular traffic. That said, it is still possible to gain some insights from the graph. It may just take some trial and error.

Google Analytics widget shows website traffic breakdowns

Again, you should search for the days that have more traffic. It is common to see heavier email traffic in the middle of the week compared to Monday, Friday, and the weekend.

Using the same example, you can see that  people frequently engaged for the longest part of the day Tuesday through Thursday. Tuesdays have long been known as a good day to send, so you may want to start there since it does fall within the window.

Alternatively, Wednesday has the most highly active hours (more people for longer), so it would also be a good place to start.

Dialing It In

This is a good way to start with finding the best times to send your emails, but it's just a guideline – your actual open rates should be the deciding factor.

Take a look at your own Google Analytics graph, and start with the day and time you have determined with the highest traffic, then vary your send days and times (one at a time to minimize variables) within your window and compare the results to dial in your ideal send.

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Steven Kielbasa

Steven Kielbasa

Visual communicator, dad, gamer, fixed-gear cyclist, re-poster, random commenter, Art Institute grad, and all around nerd.