Close-up of pocket watch

Copywriting tip 24: Synchrographics

Close-up of pocket watch - trimmed

Well, that’s a new word for most of you: synchrographics.

Let me explain.

The best copy in the world isn’t going to work if it’s sent at the wrong time.

I remember working with a not-for-profit on their Christmas appeal, many years ago.

We were in the boardroom signing off the artwork (for a piece of direct mail).

I asked: ‘When’s the mailing likely to lodge?’

‘Oh,’ they said. ‘It’ll hit their mailboxes on Monday’.


What chance is there of getting a donation out of you on a Monday night?


So, we changed the lodgement day. And it was one of their most successful appeals ever.

Now, timing (the synchrographics – you can read a definition, here) isn’t the only contributing factor, of course. I like to think my brilliant copy made a difference too. (Only kidding.)

But it can play a huge role.

Not just in marketing, but life.

In 2011, a study looked at over 1,100 parole rulings by eight judges on two different parole boards in Israel.

Decent sample size.

They were testing the old saying that justice is ‘what the judge ate for breakfast’.

At the start of the day, 65% of prisoners were granted parole.

Just before lunch, almost none.

After lunch, 65%.

End of the day, none.

Here’s the chart from that study:

Judges parole decision chart

Scary. Your chance of being released has little to do with the merits of your case: and more to do with how tired or hungry the judges are.

What does that mean for you?

Sure, you want the demographics. The psychographics. What about those synchrographics?

The timing of your messages is vital.

Judges were more likely to take a risk (by granting parole) first thing in the morning, or after a break.

Clients and colleagues are more likely to say ‘yes’ to something first thing in the morning, or after a bite to eat. When they’re feeling fresher.

Customers and prospects, too, have times they’re more engaged.

Email, for example, has specific times of day for better open rates.

Here’s a breakdown of open and click through rates by industry, by day.

Social media: here’s a COVID-19 update on times and days of the week for social engagement, by platform.

Now, you can question (or hopefully test) these specific results.

But just be aware, timing – the synchrographics –  is everything. If you’re just getting your message out ‘when it’s ready’ or to hit a deadline, you’re missing a trick.

Remember that the next time you’re up in front of a judge.


This tip is based on my 30 Tips in 40 Minutes webinar.

Feel free to download a version of the slides and watch a video of the one-hour webinar.

Image source: Pixabay


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Jon Maxim

Jon is a multi-award winning copywriter. For over 30 years, he’s helped clients – large and small – develop engaging concepts, content and copy. For 25 of those years, he’s been teaching people how to do it themselves. His courses on copywriting, ideation and presentation skills are highly sought-after and highly effective. Jon lives in Sydney, Australia: but is often found on a plane, heading to where he’s most needed.