You can choose to send a campaign using send time optimisation, available on the second step of the 'Select contacts and schedule campaign' screen.
This will start sending your campaign immediately but will optimise the time of individual sends to maximise open rates based on your contacts' historical behaviour.
This can benefit you by ensuring your sent emails are timed to reach inboxes when they're most likely to be read, increasing your open rates.
Campaigns optimise over a period of 24 hours from when you send, and remain in the outbox until complete.
Sending a time-optimised campaign
Any campaign, with the exception of split test and triggered campaigns, can be time-optimised. In the 'Contacts' stage of the campaign creation process, select Optimised in section two. The campaign sending process can then be completed as normal.
Compatibility with other features
Some of the app's other features won't be available when time-optimising a campaign. Below, we run through what you can and can't use when using send time optimisation.
Time-optimised campaigns can be sent through the API.
- Users of the SOAP API can use SendTimeOptimisedCampaign
- Users of the REST API can use Send time optimised campaign
External dynamic content
External dynamic content can be used in time-optimised campaigns. However, please be aware that each external dynamic content block performs an HTTP request, which can generally be slow to make. If you have a lot of external dynamic content blocks in your campaign then this could significantly reduce its send speed, which could cause delays with send time optimisation.
Pausing and cancelling
Time-optimised campaigns can be paused and cancelled. When an optimised campaign is in the process of sending, it will remain in the outbox. From here, it can be paused or cancelled like any other campaign.
When a paused time-optimised campaign is resumed, any sends that would have been sent during the paused period will be sent immediately. If an optimised campaign is paused for longer than the optimised period (anything up to 24 hours), all sends will go immediately when it's resumed.
ReMail can be used with time-optimised campaigns. However, a minimum wait time of two days applies, rather than the normal one day for non-optimised campaigns. This is to leave a minimum of one day between the last optimised send and the start of the ReMail.
ReMail sends are always non-optimised, even if the original campaign was time-optimised.
Reporting does work with optimised campaigns. Reporting for optimised and non-optimised campaigns works in the same way. However, for optimised campaigns, the reporting overview will display 'Campaign type: Optimised'.
We recommend waiting for an optimised campaign to finish sending before using the reporting statistics, as these are subject to change whilst a campaign is still sending.
A note on sending times: an optimised campaign report shows the time that 'Send campaign' was pressed. It doesn't show individual sent times for contacts (which can be any time from the pressing of the button to 24 hours later).
Scheduled campaigns can't be time-optimised. A campaign can either be sent immediately, scheduled or optimised. When scheduling a campaign, you decide when it's sent. When optimising a campaign, we decide when it should be sent.
Split test campaigns, of any kind, can't be time-optimised. When a split test campaign is sent, we immediately start sending the test versions to the sample group. This happens at the same time as any optimisation would start. As a result, the two are not compatible.
Controlled (spread) send
Optimised campaigns also can't be controlled (using a spread send). However, optimised campaigns are 'self-throttling' - and are naturally spread over a period of up to 24 hours. Therefore, it's unnecessary to add any extra control to an optimised campaign.
Triggered campaigns can't be time-optimised.
How it works
Send time optimisation operates as follows:
- We analyse the historical data for each contact individually. Therefore, an optimised campaign can consist of up to 24 separate send periods (i.e., we don't pick just one send time for the entire send, which would be less accurate).
- We analyse a rolling period of the previous 90 days from hitting the send button. For regular or semi-regular senders, this generally gives us several historical engagements. This also allows the system to re-learn if a contact's behaviour changes, for example if they move country (see also the notes on time zones).
- We only analyse data belonging to the account that's used to make the send, i.e., if a contact's email address exists in multiple accounts, only the open behaviour in the sending account will be used.
- The 24 hour optimise period begins when the send button is clicked.
- For contacts where no historical data is available (they're a new subscriber, for example), we'll send the campaign immediately.
Time zones and sends to multiple countries
Send time optimisation is deliberately time zone-agnostic. When an optimised campaign is sent, we'll deliver at the predicted best time to increase opens - regardless of where the contact is.
This means that for sends to contacts in multiple time zones, time-optimised campaigns are strongly recommended.
AudiencePoint are specialists in email send time optimisation, and a partner of ours. Although smart, our implementation of send time optimisation has limitations in terms of its functionality in comparison to theirs. For example, AudiencePoint uses all of their data in their predictions, and not just the data that belongs to the client. AudiencePoint also allows the optimisation period to be user-defined. If you really wish to advance in this area, we certainly recommend using them.