Every marketer wants to figure out the “perfect” number of email campaigns they should send: enough to get the best response, but not so much that subscribers stop paying attention. Or worse yet, get annoyed. Our data suggests that sending a new campaign roughly every couple weeks is optimal.

Send frequency influences both opens and unsubscribes

Not surprisingly, we found that the highest open rate is always on the first send. But, we also found that the more campaigns you send, the more unique numbers of people will open your campaigns…. to a point.

From over 2 billion emails, we found that the highest overall open rate for companies who sent over 5 campaigns in a 3 month period with under 25,000 subscribers is always after the 1st campaign. That same group had a unique open rate on their 6th campaign of 44%. This correlates to an increase in unsubscribes and thus, results in a decrease in overall open rate as shown in the graph below.

Campaigns with 25,000 subscribers

The good news: after the 6th campaign, almost half of your subscribers have seen at least one of your campaigns and at least 13% of people have clicked.

The ideal send frequency

But, as we all know, you can’t just keep sending more and more email. There comes a point where you have to consider diminishing returns. As the unique open rate slows, so do the unique clicks. So you need to weigh your increase in unique opens against how much response you are driving. And weigh the cost of producing campaigns against the potential return of those additional campaigns.

Bottom line? Our data suggests every two weeks is the “sweet spot” for getting the most people to see your emails without burning out your subscriber list. Though of course, you should always test to see what works best for you.

Finally, now you’ve seen our data, we’d like to hear from you. Have you experimented with email frequency? What have you found your “sweet spot” to be? We’d love to hear your experiences and observations in the comments below.

  • http://www.dsgnone.com Paul

    Hi Anna, great insight thank you!

  • http://emailinspiration.co.uk carl.michael

    Most companies probably send monthly campaigns, unless they’re advertising promotions. I find weekly campaigns good where high quility articles are concerned.

    In publishing we send a highly targeted monthly newsletter using dynamic content (not with CM), then ad hoc stand alone emails for new publictions expected to sell over a certain amount.

  • http://www.dan123.co.uk Dan

    In retail is not that easy to send monthly newsletter. It would be nice to see what is the sweet spot for weekly and more frequent deployments.
    Good read.

  • http://campaignmonitor.com Anna

    @Paul and @Dan, Glad you found it interesting.
    @carl.michael, Thank you for sharing publishing industry email trends.
    @Dan, we will see what we can find on retail industry trends.

  • http://www.campaignmonitor.com Anna

    Also, please let us know what other kinds of email marketing trends interest you all. Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.nottheusual.co.uk Rup

    We’re an online retailer and we’ve found the best frequency is one high quality email a week to coinside with evening TV and people using two screens…. Send a resend to the unopenes and the unsubscribes increases dramatically for little benefit.

  • http://www.jakency.be jan


    Great article thanks for sharing

  • http://www.estyledigital.com Andy

    Hey Anna, interesting post but whilst this is interesting, I’m not sure it’s not much more than that. Bear with me!
    I’d say that if you’re making email marketing decisions based on views or clicks you’re missing the point of email. Surely optimising for your end goal makes more sense.
    So if you’re an online retailer, it’s money in the till you should be measuring and using to make your frequency decisions. If you’re an event company, you should focus on event registrations. Sure, aim for a view rate of 100%, good for you, but how much money did it make you or how many events registrations did you produce?
    I know what you’re thinking, more views means more clicks and therefore more sales. Well maybe but I’ve never seen anyone produce statistical evidence to back that up in 15 years of doing email.
    Optimise for sales, not views :) A study on that would be more useful.
    Sorry to be a party pooper!
    Oh, @Rup – resending to unopens?! A big no-no surely!

  • http://essentialmedia.com.au Kim

    Great article Anna, would be great to see this drilled down into industry and call to action types. @Andy – Agree that we should optimise email with the end goal in mind, but the conversion doesn’t end with the email. If a user views and clicks then email is working, if the sale, registration or action doesn’t convert then chances are your website, messaging or user experience in the next location is off.

  • http://www.oktopus.me Nirmal Parikh

    At Oktopus, we’re approaching this from a different angle not only by measuring interactions across multiple campaigns but also considering their unique individual signatures and quantifying that into a score.

    For example, consider 2 individuals with 2 opens and 2 clicks over the past 4 months of receiving a monthly newsletter. If you looked at their “absolute” interactions they’d appear to be the same i.e. 2 of each.

    However, if you layer this info with the recency of their interactions, you could arrive at different signatures.

    Person A: O O C C or C O C O or C C O O
    Person B: C C O O or O C O C or O O C C

    Each of these unique signatures represents an individual or a category that needs a different strategy for targeting. It’s a digital signature that’s unique to that individual and that’s what should determine which email, what content, which offer and how often a person receives it.

  • http://www.campaignmonitor.com/our-story/meet-the-team/#rosh Ros Hodgekiss

    @Andy – Not a party pooper at all, you make a great point. Absolutely, the goal should be more conversions / sales – however, doesn’t optimizing for opens (and of course, having great content) mean that you’re widening the sales funnel somewhat? 😀

    Sending to unopens is something I generally avoid doing, too.

    @Kim – We’d love to get our hands on vertical/industry data, good idea for next time!

    @Nirmal – Very interesting, do you have an example of the differing content you’d offer to each subscriber (ie. re-engagement campaign instead of regular email)? And do you determine best send time, as well?

  • http://autoplan.co.uk Mike Davies

    I promote Car Leasing twice a month, what a good time for campaigns AM, PM or Evenings please let me know?

  • http://www.linktree.me Nir Sagiv

    Great article, I personally believe that each company should find its own sweet spot, but the numbers and guideline you give here are a great place to start. Putting the goal in front of the email is super important too as at the end we all want to achieve our business objectives.

    BTW – I got here from you’re email :)

  • http://craftarena.co.uk Denise

    Thanks for this insight. I’ve found that about fortnightly is best for me; customers say they enjoy reading my emails and this frequency doesn’t seem to scare too many people off! From personal experience I know that much more often hacks me off! Those companies that send to me daily don’t get read at all in the end – I just delete them as I don’t have time to read them.

    I find that sending towards the end of the week generates extra visitors to the shop over the weekend. If I send too early in the week they forget what I’ve had to say by Friday! I have a lower open rate over bank holiday weekends unsurprisingly! I tend to send Thursday or Friday afternoon to catch those who read emails at work, and this timing is also good for those conscientious people who only read at home!

    Several customers who come into the shop after a campaign say they enjoy reading my newsletter, so I must be doing something right!

  • http://campaignmonitor.com Davida Fernandez

    Hey Mike!

    The time of day can really depend on your specific list, industry, etc. Really the best thing to do is some testing by breaking your list into a few segments to test out sending at different times and for a few sends to gather some data on which times perform best overall.

  • http://outdoormommas.com Rosie

    Thanks great article. Something I would love to know is – how do you know on a mobile if people are really opening the email to read? Or, is it just opened as they click into their list of emails? Do you have any stats on the ‘time’ they are viewing/scanning the email?

  • http://campaignmonitor.com Davida Fernandez

    Hey there, Rosie,

    Our reports don’t have stats on how long an email is viewed for, sorry. This is a request we get from time to time and I’ve added a vote for you 😀

    The open stats are based on one of two things: the email is viewed with images loaded and or when a link is clicked. You can read the specifics here http://help.campaignmonitor.com/topic.aspx?t=89

  • http://www.getfoundmarketing.org David Scarpitta

    The best way to handle any email lost is segmentation. Especially for ecommerce, as there are certain people in your audience that would love to know more about the products that mean more to them. The more you get to know your customers, the more they will care about your message. Which means higher overall opens and conversions.

  • http://www.liquistore.com.au Annette

    We’re a manufacturing company and we send monthly newsletters. I wouldn’t send any more frequent than that but I guess retail with many consumable goods would make sense to send more often.

    But I am wary as I think we may be entering an era of email-overload… I unsubscribed from a couple of newsletters today that I receive too often and became annoying.

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