Forward Thinking

by Alyssa

Publicists are always looking for the best answer to the eternal question, “What’s the best time of day to send an e-mail?” According to new research from the Center for Media Design, people pay the most attention to their e-mails in the morning. Some other findings:

  • Email engagement peaks in the morning. Many users, myself included, start their day by rifling through their email inboxes. Mornings allow email users to spend uninterrupted time in their inbox.
  • In-out-in-out in the afternoon. As the day progresses, users tend to have more fractured interactions with email. Email is checked intermittently throughout the day between meetings and errands. Thus, in the afternoon, there are more email episodes (any time users check into their email inbox), but those episodes are shorter in duration. Between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., users are likely to have five individual episodes of 3-5 minutes apiece, compared to the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. period when users are more likely to have a single episode that is substantially longer.
  • Overall time in the inbox is fairly consistent throughout the workday. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., email makes up between 30% and 35% of the average user’s media exposure. This drops off during the late afternoon and early evening, only to peak again in the late evening (between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.) as users go back to their inboxes to wrap up the day.