Mornings and lunchtimes worst time to ask people to re-subscribe, says study

With GDPR coming into force in just over two months, the issue of trying to reconfirm marketing preferences and asking consumers to re-subscribe is weighing heavily on a lot of company’s minds.

The new regulations make it a requirement for companies to gain the explicit consent of individuals if they are going to store and user their data. Individuals will have to specifically opt-in for things like marketing emails, instead of having a box pre-ticked for them.

One effect is that a lot of organisations in the marketing and advertising industries will have to conduct extensive consent-gathering outreach programmes to make sure that their existing databases are compliant.

So, what time is the best to ask a consumer to consent to their data being used for marketing purposes? A new study by SmartFocus studied user behaviour in relation to 1.4 billion email marketing messages sent by a subset of aggregated, anonymous data by UK retailers to try and find out.

As a result of their analysis, the company thinks it has pinpointed the best time of the day to send marketing emails with the aim of increasing reconfirmations and minimising unsubscribes.


The data showed that between 10:15am and 12:30pm is the worst time to ask people to reconfirm, with a 20% spike in email unsubscribe rates compared to the rest of the day. Such a high rejection rate could have serious consequences for a company’s marketing database.

6pm proved to be the time that consumers were most unlikely to unsubscribe, 15% lower than the daily average. In fact, almost half of the marketing emails looked at were opened between 6pm and 9pm, while half that volume are opened at 9am.

“Timing is an important part of a successful email campaign and an opportunity to build a better customer relationship. Knowing when to contact your audience with a request for information or consent can make the difference between success and failure,” said Sarah Taylor, CMO at SmartFocus.

“This analysis, based on unprecedented access to anonymised email behaviour data, suggests that mornings and lunchtimes are increasingly seen as an intrusion. Whereas in the evening and after the working day, a marketing message will get a much more positive viewing.”

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12 Mar 2018, 10:11 a.m.

While I believe that this is great insight, I don't think that times or numbers apply - mainly because the audience that they sent this to might not have been subscribed in the first place and because it's only consumers - who are at work until 6pm. From my experience with B2B and B2C - int B2B it's the best to send around lunch and in B2C it's better before/after work, considering that before work people won't pay attention as the interaction rate of e-mails are low. Hope this helps.