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Send Time Optimization: Let AI Make the Decision for You

As we all know, there are many decisions to consider when planning an email campaign that can have a direct impact on success. The subject line, to call to action, and content personalization to name a few. But there is one decision that has continued to baffle even the most experienced of marketers since the evolution of email marketing. The $100,000 question: “When is the best time to send an email?”

I have seen customers base send time decisions on a number of factors, including:

  • Sending at times that won’t conflict with campaigns from other parts of the business, rather than what’s best for their customers
  • When the business’s website can handle the traffic
  • Best time to avoid deliverability issues was a deciding factor at one point

Any way you look at it, marketers have relied on their gut, hunches and/or what has worked historically for a long time.

There have been several reports written and benchmarks published on this topic over the years, yet we still haven’t identified that silver bullet. Experian’s benchmarks published back in 2013 pointed to Monday as having the highest transaction rates. However, CoSchedule’s recent blog post from Sep 24, 2018 identified Tuesday at 10am as the best day and time to send. Search Google and you will find any number of other reports.

Data like this is always nice to have, but ultimately send time is not a case of one-size-fits-all. So, how do you find the right silver bullet for your business? It most likely comes as no surprise that marketing strategists recommend testing when making decisions on content, subject line, call to action placement, and send time regardless of what reports indicate. Test, test, test has been a time-trusted method for years, but the time part challenges a lot of us. There just isn’t enough of it.

The send time question is only getting more important. Inboxes are getting more crowded and other media channels are continually vying for your customers’ attention. This makes sending the right content to the right audience at the most optimal time critical to successful customer engagement.

The good news is that technology can now help inform and even make the decision for us. By now you must have noticed that artificial intelligence, or AI, is getting a lot of mention among marketers and marketing technology companies. But what business problems does AI solve?

For email marketers, AI can be used to help answer the $100,000 optimal send time question. Send Time Optimization (STO) capabilities are integrated into the Oracle Responsys and Eloqua marketing platforms today. Oracle’s AI-based Send Time Optimization solution utilizes proprietary algorithms, crunching historical data to determine the optimal day and time to send to email recipients on your list, removing the need to pick the one best time for your whole list.

The results that marketers using STO have seen have been tremendous. One travel industry customer, employing Send Time Optimization, saw unique open rates increase 37% and unique click rates go up 28%, compared to customers receiving the campaign at a default time. Optimized send times can also improve overall email deliverability. The same customer saw a 53% reduction in email bounces on one campaign. A retailer using STO has seen increases in opens and clicks upwards of 33%.

With results like these, it’s time to take the guesswork out of the send time decision and recoup some of the resource and time spent testing optimal send times. Technology in the form of Oracle’s Send Time Optimization product  and resources, such as Oracle’s Advanced Services Customer Success Managers, is here to answer that $100,000 send time question.

Learn how AI can do even more for you and even help optimize your customer experience with “All AI Is Personal.”

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