Ten long years ago in January of 2007, the New York Times published an article titled ‘Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad’, a comment on the then advertising boom.
Whoever wrote that comment, didn’t see the era of #DigitalMarketing coming. Today, we are exposed to about 10,000 brand messages per day on an average. And, we switch between screens up to 21 times an hour (AMA, 2017). So what does that mean for you as a marketer?
It means that you have to do more to catch your consumer’s attention. Your job is to make sure that your message is THE ONE that your consumer remembers, out of those 10,000 that he/she sees daily. This is hard work. How do you make it easy? Through personalisation.
Marketers have cracked the code on email campaigns – the digital marketing channel that reigns supreme with the highest ROI – by using actual names from the database, instead of generic salutations. But, technology today allows you to go a big step further. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Send-Time Optimisation helps you execute your email campaigns with much greater degree of personalisation.
BEST TIME TO SEND EMAILS
As a Modern Marketer, you know that the time of delivery of emails is as important as your subject line. Yet, most marketing automation tools need you to schedule an email campaign either by date and time, or in batches over a period of time. Google ‘best time to send emails’, you will find a plethora of the same industry-specific, data-backed research, giving you tips on what are the best days (Never send emails on a Friday!) and times of the day to send your email. At times, they might even throw in data on the best months (Open rates in December are low!) for the desired response.
However, this question will pop up: ‘If everyone is using these cookie-cutter type broad-based market recommendations, aren’t we back to square one? How am I, as a marketer, going to do things differently to ensure I succeed? If all email campaigns are thus optimised, how do I stand out?’
This is how YOU do it.
Run A/B testing on your email campaigns with different send times. You need a futuristic approach: use big data to run extensive analysis on historical precedents. The only catch: you will end up typically focusing on optimising send time, and miss out on personalisation.
SEAL IT WITH AI: AI-enabled Send Time Optimization (STO) works for you.
AI uses machine learning (ML) algorithms to analyse historical data on each recipient’s responses and identifies time slots when they are most responsive. It also takes into account any changes in behavioural pattern by recording and analysing new responses and updating its model accordingly. The system then schedules campaigns based on the recipient’s preferences, irrespective of time zones, thus personalizing their experience, and as a result, driving better engagement.
For instance, if you normally read your emails in the morning on your commute to work, say between 10:00 am and 10:30 am (IST), then irrespective of the time zone, the system makes a note of that based on when you opened the campaign emails sent to you. Later on, if you happen to start reading your emails early in the morning around say 08:00 am, the system notes that and updates that as the best time to send you emails.
Top of the inbox
Let’s be clear about one thing: If your email is on top of the inbox, it’s as if in the front of a queue. And therefore, it’s most likely to be opened. This is why STO is so important. An increase in engagement metrics such as open rates, click rates, and response rates is to be expected because your email will usually be closer to the top of inboxes when the contact is most engaged.
AI-enabled Send Time Optimization not only answers the question, “What is the best time for sending emails?” but also improves campaign performance, email deliverability and inbox placement.
Are you using AI-enabled Send Time Optimization to improve your campaign performance? Tell us in the comments below.