A subject line is only as great as it is visible: you've got to get it as close as possible to the top of prospects’ inboxes. Here are Gem's 2020 numbers on the days and times you’re most likely to see email opens, broken down by role.
When your outreach is competing with 120+ daily emails for prospects’ attention—and when passive talent in particular doesn’t have the luxury of carefully attending to every message they receive—you want to put your email in a position to get noticed. Great subject lines will get you great open rates, sure. But a subject line is only as great as it is visible. And this means getting it as close as possible to the top of prospects’ inboxes.
Over the last three years, Gem has worked with hundreds of customers across a wide range of industries, including tech, finance, healthcare, and professional services. In that time, we’ve analyzed well over a million outreach emails, sent from thousands of sourcers and recruiters. We update this data annually; below are our 2020 numbers on the days and times you’re most likely to see email opens, broken down by role.
Recruiting Best Practice: Plan Outreach Based on Seconds-Until-Open
More than 50% of prospects open emails within the first 1.5 hours of send time—data that underscores the importance of catching passive talent at the right time. In other words, you’ll want to send as close as possible to when prospects will be sitting down at their computers next to tackle email. That’s because most people take a top-down approach to email, reading the messages that came in most recently first. The ones they don’t get to get archived—which often means they remain unopened.
Our hope is that, with Gem’s Outreach Stats, you’ll discover the best window for your prospective candidates through testing, over time. In the meantime, what we’ve discovered at Gem is that weekend outreach—particularly outreach sent on Sundays—does surprisingly well. But perhaps unsurprisingly, “best times” were much more nuanced when we dug in by role. After all, talent in different roles has different relationships to email; and it may be worth it to hypothesize why some of the following numbers are what they are. (For example, we imagine that outreach for sales roles performs so much better on Saturdays and Sundays because that’s when sales folks are online, planning for the week ahead. On the other hand, weekdays during lunch are likely great times for recruiting outreach because recruiters are already on email all day; they may just use lunch breaks as a time to switch over to personal email to see what’s happening there.)
That said, here are the most (and least) optimal send times for email outreach for seven of the top roles you may be recruiting for. Use these as starting places for your own outreach experiments.
Best Send Days & Times by Role
- Emails sent Sunday afternoons perform 9% better than the average
- Emails sent Thursday afternoons from 3 pm - 5 pm perform 3 - 5% worse than the average
- Emails sent Sunday before 4 pm perform 6 - 11% better than the average
- Emails sent after 10 pm any day of the week perform 3 - 27% worse than the average
- Emails sent before 5 am any day of the week perform 3 - 15% worse than the average
- Emails sent Saturday and Sunday before noon perform 5 - 10% better than the average
- Emails sent at 4 pm on Thursday and Friday perform 7 - 9% worse than the average
- Emails sent Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 am perform 8 - 9% better than the average
- Emails sent on Sundays perform 11% worse than the average
- Emails sent at 9 am Monday - Friday perform 5 - 8% better than the average
- Emails sent Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons/evenings perform 5 - 6% better than the average
- Emails sent Saturday and Sunday from noon - 5 pm perform 9 - 14% better than the average
- Emails sent Tuesday-Friday at 5 pm perform 8 - 13% worse than the average
- Emails sent Monday - Friday at lunchtime perform 3 - 5% better than the average
- Emails sent Wednesday - Friday after 4 pm perform 10 - 12% worse than the average
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