What is Send Time Optimization?
Send Time Optimization (STO) staggers email campaign launches over 24 hours and sends each email at a time after which the recipient is most likely to open it.
How does it work?
It uses machine learning to analyze your contacts’ behavior and identify the times when they are most responsive. This is independent of time zone, language or region.
For new contacts with no behavior history, their first emails will be sent at a time calculated on the basis of your account’s aggregate historical data on open times. But the algorithm analyzes new responses for every contact on a daily basis and updates its model accordingly.
This means that we will have more accurate data over time. Our research shows that, after sending 10 send time optimized campaigns, you can expect around 2-12% increase not only in opens, but also in clicks and purchases.
Are there any limitations?
- Send Time Optimization can currently only be enabled for ad hoc email campaigns. It cannot be used if the Advanced Scheduling options are used.
- The campaign launch cannot be scheduled for the current day, the earliest available option offered in the date picker is the following day.
As Send Time Optimization needs past contact behavior data to determine the optimal sending times, we do not recommend using STO until you have at least 1 month of email campaign history. Turning STO on too early can actually result in a decline in your engagement results.
How do I send a campaign using STO?
If Send Time Optimization is enabled for your account, it will appear on the Scheduling page of all campaigns where it is available. You can turn it on and off via the toggle switch.
You can decide to launch the campaign instantly or schedule it for later.
When you schedule the launch, you specify the launch date and time for the email sent to the control group and not for the first STO launch. The first send time optimized launch will always occur at 00.00 AM on the selected day.
How does this affect the campaign launch?
An STO campaign is split up into 12 child campaigns, sent on the hour at two-hour intervals.
So that you can measure the benefits of STO, a control group is also created for each campaign. The engagement results of this control group are used as benchmarks against which STO results are compared. This is done completely automatically, so you do not need to devote time and effort to performing A/B testing on your own.
If you click Launch Now, STO will instantly start to calculate the sending times for each recipient. Your email to the control group will be sent out once the calculation has finished, while the first STO launch will occur at the next available time slot, i.e. the next even hour.
The time it takes for STO to calculate the best sending times may range from a few minutes to 2 hours. The actual calculation delay depends on the size of your database as well as the complexity of the contact segment and the launch list.
If you schedule the campaign, emails to the control group are sent as scheduled, on the day and at the time selected, while the STO emails are launched in 12 batches between 00:00 AM and 11.59 PM on the day for which the control group email launch is scheduled, irrespective of the time you selected.
Where can I monitor the performance of my STO campaigns?
You can get an overview of how STO performs in the Send Time Optimization widget shown on the Emarsys B2C Marketing Cloud Dashboard. Here STO engagement results are compared against those of the control group.
Why is this good for my customers and for me?
You want to maximize the chances that your emails will engage your customers. Send Time Optimization is designed to help you achieve just that. For your customers, this is one more example of how you are treating them as an individual, strengthening their loyalty to your brand and improving their experience.