The Surprising Truth About When to Send Your Promotions

The Surprising Truth About When to Send Your Promotions

You’ve got your eye catching message written, your discount or offer finalized, and all that’s left is to click send on your promotion. But wait – should you send your special deal out now or tomorrow morning? Is it a bad idea to send your promotional messages in the afternoon? When exactly is the best time to reach your customers?

Instead of using your best guess, we studied more than 7 million messages sent from our network of small businesses in search of an answer. 

We took a deeper look at Fivestars Promotions, our marketing tool for sending special offers through email, sms (text message) and mobile app push notification. These offers are sent by small businesses across a wide variety of industries including retail, fast casual and coffee. We analyzed when these promotions received the highest response rate by time of day and day of the week.

Because of its multi-channel delivery method, we’ll be using a promotion’s “claim rate” as the measurement for response. Claims, one of several trackable promotions results, are the total number of people who actively responded “Yes” or “Claim” to a Fivestars promotion sent via mobile app, text message, or email.

A Claim is equivalent to say, an open and click through on an email, as it requires action/engagement from a recipient and indicates high intent or interest in the offer. Let’s dive into the results:

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Popular days aren’t always the best days to send your promotions

First, we started our analysis by taking a look at which days were most popular for sending promotions – It’s important to know what other businesses like your own doing, including the days they send promotions. We found that 35% of messages are sent on Friday and Saturday. But, is this the best day to send? Let’s take a look at actual claim rate in the graph below this one. 

Volume Sent by Day Updated with Title

You can see from the graph below, Monday and Tuesday are the clear leaders in terms of garnering a high response/claim rate. Claims stay strong throughout the weekdays and begin to drop off on Friday through Saturday. While Friday and Saturday seem to be the top choice for sending, you’ll be better off timing your promotion to fire out at the beginning of the week when there’s less noise. 

Claim Rate by Day Updated Resize copy


Prime times to send promotions may not be when you’d expect

The next thing to consider when sending out a promotion is the time of day you’re most likely to capture the attention of your customers. Again, let’s look at what’s most popular in our network of small businesses. Below, you’ll see the percentage of messages that are sent at each hour of the day and the breakdown of each channel, which is determined by a Fivestars user’s preferences.

By a landslide, the early hours of 8am to 11am are the most popular promotion send times. In fact, over half of all promotions are sent before 12pm. Does that mean you should be sending your promotions first thing in the morning?

Volume Sent by Channel Updated Font copy

The common advice heard by marketers is to get your message out at the beginning of the day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its the best move for your business. Unlike the huge disparity in popularity between the morning and afternoon hours, claim rate and visit rate holds steady as the day goes on, particularly around 3pm. This means that customers are slightly more likely to respond to your message sent in the afternoon hours. Surprising, right?

Claim Rate by Hour of Day Updated final

Best days/times for retail, casual dining and coffee

We also took a look at some popular industries to see how well promotions perform at different times of the day for businesses in retail, casual dining and coffee.

  • Retail shops see consistently strong response rates throughout the day, with a peak at 2pm.
  • We found that coffee shops perform best in the morning hours between 8am and 12pm, but also see strong response in the evening hours as well.
  • Businesses in casual dining see some of their highest response rates after 4pm.

Recap of exactly what you need to know

That was a lot of data, here’s short and sweet recap of what you need to know:

  • Send your messages or promotions out earlier in the week (Monday, Tuesday) rather than Friday or Saturday. Now’s the time to try out that Tuesday special.
  • Send your promotions in the afternoon. Especially during popular shopping holidays, your message may get lost in the noise if sent out first thing in the morning.
  • If you’re sending a promotion for a retail business, send it our in early afternoon to grab your customers’ attention.
  • If you own a coffee shop, try send your promotions in the evening so customers can plan their next-day visit.
  • For casual dining businesses, maximize your claim or response rates and send your promotions in the evening after 4pm.

Just like mastering the perfect message and offer to intrigue your customers, timing your promotions will take some practice. Remember to always review your results after each campaign so you can learn what’s best for your business.

Kacy Gaydos
About the Author
Kacy Gaydos

Kacy is a Product Marketing Manager at Fivestars. When she isn’t delivering new and exciting products to Fivestars clients, she loves to paint, drink boba, and hug puppies.

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