Does time of day really matter?

A new report from eMarketer offers some new data in answering one of the most often asked questions in our industry: does time of day really matter for email marketing?  The report notes:

  • 41% of Americans check email first thing in the morning
  • 18% check email right after dinner
  • 14% check email right when they get back from work
  • 14% check email right before they go to bed
  • 40% of email users have checked their email in the middle of the night

Oddly, the most popular place to check email is in bed (23%) — followed by in class (12%).  At least I can understand not having better things to do in class

But anyway, the point is that email is unique as an online marketing medium in that you can effectively time stamp when your message gets delivered, though not necessarily when your recipient is interested in reading it.  Television and radio both offer those advantages, but less so these days with the timeshifting of TV (and now radio as well with a growing number of programs actively podcasting).  What of online advertising, though?  What if we could time stamp the delivery of online banners?

Rohitblog_apple1 Apple had an interesting online execution I saw the other day on Yahoo! promoting the new Dashboard Widgets available for OS X.  The ad, which I happened to see in the morning while checking my email (I guess I’m part of that 41%), makes the link between their product and the relatively common morning routine of checking the weather online.  A revelant message at a relevant time – and it connected with me, a home mac user running OS X.  Time of day was a core component of the ad’s relevance and presumably its effectiveness.  I would have been far less likely to click if I saw this ad in the afternoon or evening.  Was this a random timing, the subject of chance – or were these banners time stamped for morning delivery?  And if they were, perhaps it should indicate to publishers that this could be a premium worth charging for.  Forgetting the potential billing nightmare that would be, I know more than a few advertisers that would gladly pay for the privelege of delivering their message at a more opportune moment – if it was possible.

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