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Christopher Knight

Hit Send At 8AM EST For Your Ezine? New Insider Email Report From AWeber Communications
By Christopher Knight

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Recently Tom Kulzer, CEO & Founder of AWeber Communications released an open rate, undeliverable rate and day of week open rate report to their clients. I begged Tom to share this with our Ezine-Tips audience so that you can benefit from his firm's email delivery & open rate research. First I'll give you the exact report as Tom Kulzer provided it, and then I'll give you some of my comments on the research.
Below is some interesting information relating to various open rates on cumulative data gather from AWeber customer newsletters sent over the last 30 days. Obviously, your own results may vary and a big part of response is based upon your own lists expectations and relationships. Average open rate of HTML and Text/HTML newsletters is 29.7% over the past 30 days. Sunday generates the highest average open rate of 41.1%, followed by Saturday at 36.7% for newsletter sent date.

Average Open Rate by Sent Date: (higher is better)

Sunday 41.1%
Saturday 36.7%
Wednesday 34.0%
Friday 32.8%
Tuesday 29.6%
Thursday 24.6%
Monday 23.2%
Sunday generates the fewest undeliverable bounces at 0.36% for newsletters sent on that date.

Average Undeliverable Rate by Sent Date: (lower is better)

Sunday 0.36%
Saturday 0.45%
Friday 0.47%
Thursday 0.56%
Wednesday 0.77%
Tuesday 0.83%
Monday 0.88%
Monday is the most popular day of the week for customers to send their newsletters with 17.1% of newsletters being sent.

Percent of newsletters being sent by customers weekly:

Monday 17.1%
Tuesday 17.0%
Thursday 16.2%
Wednesday 15.8%
Friday 14.5%
Saturday 10.3%
Sunday 9.0%
An 8:00 AM EST send date generates the highest open rate of 50.6%. Interestingly sending at 9:00 AM EST has a significantly lower open rate of 33.7% with the worst time to send being 3-4 AM at only 19% open rate. Plain text messages are the most popular format of sending newsletters with 65.9% of all newsletters sent. Mime format Text/HTML messages follow at 23.8% and a remaining 10.2% of customers still send HTML only messages even though it is strongly recommended not to. Plain text messages generate the fewest undeliverable bounces at 0.46%. Mime format Text/HTML follows at 0.56% and HTML only messages have a whopping 1.09% undeliverable rate. This is a significant reason behind our recommendation to always send a plain text alternative with HTML formatted messages. Subject line personalization using the date generated an average open rate of 51.4% compared to personalization using the subscriber's first name generating 40.9% open rate. Newsletters sent without personalization of any type in the subject line generated average open rates of 28.9%. 17% of customer newsletter subject lines sent in the last 30 days contained date personalization while 19% used the subscriber's first name. 56.3% of subject lines did not contain any type of personalization. Interestingly, using the subscriber's full name or last name generated lower average open rates at 20%. 99.34% of all email was delivered successfully in the last 30 days. 0.66% of all email was undeliverable in the last 30 days. (mailbox closed, non-existent user, etc.) Tom Kulzer
CEO & Founder
AWeber Communications
Christopher Knight comments: Kulzer's stats are based on open rates based upon the send date of the email newsletter and not necessarily when the opens actually occured. He also mentioned that there is a B2B versus B2C factor involved here that they didn't measure in this report and that would have an impact on the stats if they segmented their report further. Interesting that Tom indicated that 10.2% of his clients send HTML only emails instead of their recommended MIME-Multipart which allows both TEXT or HTML depending on what the recipient can detect or receive. I currently only send HTML-only or TEXT-only depending on the application as I don't currently perceive a real advantage to the additional labor expense it creates to build a TEXT and HTML version of each newsletter. Perhaps if I further drilled into my stats to see if it's really creating a similar 100% greater undeliverability rate, I'd reconsider sending MIME again.
SIDE NOTE: MIME or Multipart means creating an HTML and a TEXT version of your ezine and having your ESP or email list hosting software send whichever version each of your members can receive with a priority to HTML and a drop down to TEXT if they can't accept HTML emails.
I've found the same thing about Sunday, Saturday leading the open rates even though my overall web traffic is weakest on Friday and Saturday. Lately I've been testing driving my lists hard on the days when people naturally visit my sites rather than trying to lure them on off-days. I think I was wrong to try to bring them to visit on days when it was not natural for them to have time or want to make time to visit. Monday's, Thursday's and Tuesdays are my heaviest web traffic days and thus the bulk of my ezines go out on those days. If driving web traffic isn't your main objective, then be sure to factor in the sales revenue your ezine generates this becomes an important factor that will dictate which way you test your 'send times' to generate a better response and/or conversion. It's easy to get lost focusing on open rate when you should be focusing on whether or not your ezine is producing the end-result that you produced it for in the first place! :-) Also interesting to note that .66% of all of his clients mail was undeliverable (hard bounce) in the last 30 days. Annualized, that means almost 8% lost due to hard bounces which means you must grow your list by 8% or greater annually just to stay even with your current membership levels. This is truly a very real and frustrating part of ezine publishing and I think many ezine publishers have an even higher number of annualized list attrition to worry about. The one item that I'm taking away from Tom's report is to test the 7am CST delivery time instead of my normal 11am-3pm delivery times during the business week. You may wish to test that also if you don't already send during those times. International audiences should take into consideration the start time and coffee drink period of the first 15-30 minutes of every business day as this seems to be a high open rate time to send and receive ezines. :-)

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for August 02, 2005

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