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Recently I worked on a research project in collaboration with Ball State University’s Center for Media Design — also known to the MediaPost community for their Notes From the Digital Frontier blog. While the primary focus of the paper was on the media consumption habits of different personas including teens, college students, and established professionals, the paper also highlighted a unique perspective on the age-old question about the “Best Time of Day” to send email.
I know that many of us grow weary of questions about the best day or best time to send email. In short, the best answer is to test it for your program and determine what time works best to drive responses from your subscribers. All of the studies I have seen to date on the topic focus on the results. Important? Absolutely. But they do not give us anything in terms of context. Why does one time work better than another? What is going on in the lives of our subscribers when they read our emails or click through to our Web sites? Looking at the results tell us nothing of what was happening with subscribers moments before they took action. We speculate about the context of our subscribers’ actions, but it’s just that — speculation.
The research from the Center for Media Design provides a customer perspective that makes the marketer in me start to salivate. No matter how many statistics we collect on response rates or how often we survey email users, we simply cannot collect the type of information that the researchers at Ball State have collected. They have a field research team that follows consumers for a full day and records how they interact with different forms of media in 15-second increments. Throughout the day, observers record what media participants are using, where they use it, and for how long.
Originally from “New Insights On Time Of Day For Email “| Published November 12, 2008