Send Time Optimization – Deliver Messages When They Read Their Email
AUGUST 14, 2012:
Grant Evans, Director of Operations and Digital Publishing
Email Marketing Results
Since the beginning of email marketing, marketers have asked the question, “when is the best time to send an email?” I cringe when asked that question. Ultimately there’s no real optimal time to send an email, but everyone wants to know. There must
be an optimal time to send. Sure, there are generalizations like Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, but those are just generalizations. There’s really no magic send hour that’ll work for all your subscribers. We all live on different schedules and in different time zones. So what do you do?
The traditional way to hone in on your lists optimal send time is to run A/B split tests. You’d split your list, send half at one time, the other half at another time, wait and analyze the results. Once you know which day/time is better you can start sending then or continue A/B testing to try other variations. While this process works, it’s not really the best and most accurate way to optimize your send time because you’re still sending to every subscriber at the same time. It’s also time consuming and even if you determine the best time for your list, will your list perform the exact same way in 6 months? You’d need to regularly repeat this testing process to keep your send time optimal.
BlueSpire uses Silverpop which has a great feature that gets over this hurdle called Send Time Optimization
. The feature uses actual recipient behavior on a rolling basis to find the best delivery time for each recipient.
Here’s a quick visualization showing how this would work for sample subscribers, Jane and Tom. Jane opens her first email at 7:00 a.m. She opens her second email at 9:00 a.m. Silverpop starts learning her open behavior and sends the third email at 8:00 a.m. Tom is an afternoon person, he opens his first email at 2:00 p.m. and his second at 6:00 p.m. Silverpop sends this third email at 4:00 p.m. With each send and each open, Silverpop continually adapts the optimal send time for each subscriber.
So that’s how the data is determined. There are 2 different ways to send using Send Time Optimization. You can send over a 24-hour period or a 7 day period. The 24-hour period optimizes for the time of day that is best for each subscriber. The 7 day period optimizes for the best day of week and
time of day that is best for each subscriber. Ultimately the 7 day period is the most accurate, but there are times when you don’t want to wait that long for your subscribers to receive your email. When you actually hit the send button, Silverpop first sends to anyone who has been determined to have that optimal send time as well as anyone who is new to the list or hasn’t opened an email before. Those subscribers wouldn’t have any send time optimization data yet. Then every hour over the 24-hour or 7 day period Silverpop wakes up, sends the email to the subscribers that have been identified as optimal for that time, then continues that cycle until the 24-hour or 7 day period is over. It’s as easy as that.
If you send emails through us or use Silverpop yourself, this feature is ready for use today. You can send using 24-hour one week and then send traditionally the next. It’s up to you when you want to start testing.
I’ll leave you with this funny video Silverpop put together. Happy sending!