When are the most popular times to send out a press release? When will you be competing the most for attention? To find the answers to these and other press release distribution timing questions we analysed over 50,000 press releases indexed by PRFilter in March 2011.

The key findings were (all timing UK i.e. GMT/BST):

  • 25 per cent of all releases analysed and 17 per cent of those originating from the UK were timed ‘on the hour’. I.e. between 8.00-8.01, 9.00-9.01, 10.00-10.01 etc.
  • 31 times more releases (24 times for the UK) were timed ‘on the hour’ than for the least popular individual minute within the hour.
  • 13:00-13:01 was the most popular minute in a day to distribute a release from the whole sample with 5.5 per cent of releases sent.
  • 16:00-16:01 was the most popular single minute for UK originating releases with 2.2 per cent of releases sent.
  • 49.6 per cent of all releases analysed and 47.6 per cent of UK originating releases were timed between 12:00-17:00 GMT/BST.

Timing of all releases

Timing of UK originating releases


Is ‘on the hour’ the best time to send?

The large amount of activity observed around the hour mark makes these times potentially ones where a press release will have a lot of competition for attention. In the case of investor related announcements there may be little flexibility over timing and also the need to co-ordinate the exact moment when announcements are made.

Where flexibility does exist however PROs should perhaps consider avoiding the more obvious timings and look at distribution at times of lower concentration. This could be beneficial to pick up as your release is arguably more likely to be read – assuming it is relevant of course – if it is one of few and not one of many.

Is the release of UK announcements affected by US media timings?

A large majority of the overall sample originated in the US or Canada. The high concentration of releases between 12.00-17.00 UK time (49.6 per cent) reflects the fact that a high proportion of these North American releases are distributed in the morning local time.

It is interesting to note therefore that there is a similar pattern of concentration with UK originating releases with almost the same proportion (47.6 per cent) being timed between 12:00-17:00 UK time. This contrasts with a much lower proportion (22.8 per cent) timed between 7:00-12:00.

This suggests that potentially UK PROs are holding back announcements until later in the day which may be due to waiting until the US media is awake. This may be beneficial for announcements with a strong US focus, but PROs should consider whether there could be benefits to targeting relevant UK publications with their announcements in the morning when there is less activity.

The full slides are shown below. We would be interested in any other observations people might have.

Methodology

RealWire analysed a sample of 54,160 press releases indexed by PRFilter throughout March 2011. Of these a separate sample of 3,750 press releases that were identified as originating from the UK were also analysed.

Based on the release time the press releases were grouped into one minute intervals across the month of March. Releases sent in the same minute of the day, for example 13:00-13:01 each day, were summed for all days in the month.

The number of releases was also summed based on the particular minute within an hour they were timed at. For example releases timed in the 1st minute of each hour – 00.00-00.01, 01.00-01.01, 02.00-02.01 etc were summed for all hours and all days in the month.