The Send Time Optimization feature lets Admins configure messages to be sent to recipients when they are most likely to open the message. Communications Enterprise queries historical "open" metrics in order to determine when recipients typically open email messages, and then sends messages as close as possible to that typical-open time in order to increase the likelihood of the message being at the top of their inbox and being opened.
NOTE: Send Time Optimization is available in all Communications Enterprise accounts, but it is not enabled by default. To have it enabled in your account, create a case.
Set optimization for a message
When this feature is enabled, the Send on multiple schedules check box displays on a message's Send Message To Group page.
When the box is checked, two radio buttons display.
- Optimize send time and
- Throttle Job [refer to Understand throttle settings, below])
- Select Optimize send time to apply Send Time Optimization to the message.
The system will use the logic described in Send Time Optimization process, below, to determine what time to send the message to each recipient based on when they have historically opened messages.
Understand open histories and optimization
To better understand how open histories are calculated and optimization applied, consider the following two scenarios.
- David is historically sent messages at 3:00 PM and opens his messages by 4:00 PM. There really isn't any need for optimization because David is seeing the messages shortly after they're sent.
- David is historically sent messages on Mondays but doesn't open them until Wednesday 4:00 PM. Using optimization, the system would calculate that sending messages to David closer to or on Wednesday might increase his engagement with the messages.
Send Time Optimization merely considers the historic send times and open times. It uses these to calculate, per recipient, the optimal time to send messages. The goal is to get as close as possible to when recipients are most likely to open messages. If that optimal time cannot be determined, the system will send message at the first scheduled send time.
Several factors influence the effectiveness of optimization.
- Multiple sends per day, especially if those sends are over several days. There might be multiple sends between Monday and Wednesday, but the recipient still might open messages at 4:00 PM on Wednesday only, regardless of the day the message was sent. The system will assess these trends and might still suggest Wednesday as the optimal send time.
- Recipients have irregular opening patterns or use software that manages their email messages. There are tools in the system that will provide metrics for you to manually determine the best send times.
- Delayed sends and failed sends can affect optimization calculations.
Send Time Optimization is:
- A process that aims to assist with identifying better send times, per recipient, based on each recipient's engagement with your messages. This process can't just be "checked" to confirm that it's working. If messages are sending, the process is working.
- Primarily associated with message sends that are targeted to groups because there are fewer/no campaign conditions with which to contend.
Understand throttle settings
Throttle Job is an optional setting that aids in optimization. It lets you set a number of hours over which to send a message to sub-groups of a large group of recipients, instead of sending the message to all recipients simultaneously.
EXAMPLE: You are sending a message to 500,000 recipients.
Check the Throttle Job box and set 11 hours. The system will send the message to 100,000 recipients per hour over the 11 hours.
NOTE: Throttle Job is not enabled by default. Discuss with your Customer Success Manager whether it will accommodate your deliverability needs.
Higher Logic requests that you notify us prior to sending out extremely large deployments.
Send Time Optimization process
If Send Time Optimization is enabled for a message, the system follows the process that is detailed in this section.
NOTE: If there are recipients who have never been sent a message (i.e., have no "open history"), the message will be sent to them at the first scheduled time.
Then, the system:
- Considers any throttle settings for the message. Messages are spaced out for every hour in the throttle setting. If throttling is not set, then messages are sent over 24 hours.
- Considers when recipients have opened prior messages within the throttle window. Recipients are sent the message during the hour in which they have the highest number of opens.
IMPORTANT: The system also considers a Days To Look At setting, which is set, as needed, per account, by Higher Logic. Discuss with your Customer Success Manager and/or the Higher Logic Deliverability team to determine the ideal "number of days" setting for your deliverability needs.
Any recipient who has opened a message in the past <Days To Look At> days will be sent the message based on:
Multiple opens at different times
If a recipient has opened multiple messages at different times during the day, the system will consider the combination of two factors: the earliest time of day that has the most number of opens.
If the message was scheduled to send at 8:45am and recipient John opens his email messages at:
- 10:20 and 10:30am
- 11:20, 11:40, and 11:50am
- 12:20, 12:45, and 12:50pm
then the system considers that there were three opens in the 11:00 and the 12:00 hours, but 11:00 is earlier.
As the message was scheduled for 8:45am, the system applies the :45 to 11:00am and sends the message to John at 11:45am.
If a recipient has a send history but no recorded opens, the message will be staggered over the scheduled period starting at the scheduled time.
Any recipient who has been sent a message in the past <Days To Look At> days BUT who has not opened a message during that time, then the message will be sent:
- If the "throttle hours" is 0 or 1, then send at the scheduled time.
- If the "throttle hours" is more than 1, then divide the recipients over the number of "throttle hours". BUT also make sure that if a recipient has received a message earlier at one of the hours, that the recipient does not get the message again at that hour.
Let's consider 4 recipients with the following open histories:
If the message is scheduled to be sent at 9:30am and Throttle Job = 3, the possible send times are 9:30am, 10:30am, and 11:30am.
- Adam has already received a message at Hour 10 and Hour 11 so he has only one available slot: 9:30am.
- Betty has all three slots available.
- Carla and Dina have been sent at all slots, so the message can be sent to them at any of the three slots. But we want to equally divide when the message gets sent, so if it is sent to Carla at 9:30am, it will be sent to Dina at either 10:30am or 11:30am.
Whom to send to and when
Which recipients will be sent the message and when is decided at the start of the send job (at 1st hour) for all hours.
If there are 100 recipients in the receiving group and messages are sending at 10 per hour, this data is stored. This means that the calculation is performed once, at the start of the job for the full job, not each hour as the job is running.
- When the calculation is performed, "deduping" is also performed.
- Any recipients who are added after the initial hour will not be sent the message.
- Any recipients who unsubscribe or are suppressed after the initial hour might still get that one message.