Prime-Time Messaging: Advantages of Optimizing Email Send Times
Customers in the digital age are perpetually connected with brands. And as a marketer, it’s our job to take advantage of this situation, but also to be wary of its risks.
Today’s customer is flooded with round the clock messaging of all sorts. From transactional messages that inform them that their package has arrived from Amazon, to promotional emails asking them to check out a sale on Macy’s website. Today’s marketers also have more messaging channels at their disposal than ever before. Email, push notifications, SMS, phone calls, websites… and the list continues to grow.
The average customer has over 119 apps on their phone, and they receive over 50 marketing messages a day via various channels, and they browse over 96 domains on a monthly basis.
All this communication represents a sea of opportunity for a marketer to tap into. But it also has the potential to create a massive and unwelcome burden on the digital life of a customer. And the evidence is clear: most consumers miss or disregard almost 80% of the messages they receive on a daily basis.
So how can your customer communication fall into that 20% of messages that actually reach consumers? Why are some brands consistently engaging their audience while others fail?
We noticed that brands that excel at engaging their users via messaging apply a two-tiered strategy.
- Personalization: One of the ways you can earn the attention of your prospects is to engage them as individuals, and not en-masse. According to a survey by Boomtrain, personalization can lift user engagement for brand messaging by 40%.
- Continuous Optimization: Successful brands continuously iterate and build on strategies that work and drop the ones that don’t.
Prime Time Messaging incorporates both of these strategies to help boost the engagement rates for your messages across all channels. Prime Time Messaging (aka send time optimization) basically means delivering messages at the right time to the user on their most active channel, to maximize the chances of engaging them and minimize the chances of going unnoticed. It uses advanced machine learning to identify the precise moment—and channel—when a user is most likely to engage, so that marketers can deliver messages their consumers actually want to read.
Here are 5 ways in which Prime Time Messaging creates a better user experience and business results:
1. No more missed messages
When a customer ignores your email or dismisses your push notifications, it may not be because they aren’t interested in your messages at all, but maybe they’re not interested in it at that moment.
If your email arrives at the same time as 10 other emails from different brands or while the user is busy clearing their inbox for the day, it’s going to be hard to get their attention. It doesn’t matter how lucrative your offer is, timing is everything, and that timing will be different for every user.
This is where prime time messaging comes to marketer’s rescue. Imagine a situation where one of your targeted users has a habit of using their mobile device at 10 AM. If we use prime-time messaging here (send time optimization), our message would be delivered at least 5 minutes in advance, at 9.55 AM. This gives our brand’s message an advantage over other messages that have been waiting in the inbox since 9 AM. Just by being closer to the top of the inbox, the chances of a user interacting with your message increases ten fold.
Traditional rule-based messaging optimizes send time manually, for all users, which means for most users, those messages will arrive at a decidedly sub-optimal time.
2. It’s a better experience for the customer
Push notifications and messaging are a blessing as well as a curse for marketers. They enable us to effectively reach out to a customer in a quick and immediate way, but they can also be irritating for the user when they are delivered at the wrong time (or multiple times).
If a user likes to enjoy a quiet morning routine of reading and coffee, interrupting them with special offers could be aggravating, but prompting them with the day’s news articles is helpful and therefore more likely to engage.
Prime Time Messaging/Send time optimization coupled with push notifications enables brands to serve up relevant messaging in a non-intrusive and intuitive manner for each individual user. This can make a huge difference, both in terms of increasing engagement and decreasing churn/unsubscribe rates.
3. It learns from user behavior
People have habits, but they also like to change things up. These varied engagement patterns can create a trap for marketers who tend to think of users as static data points.
Traditional ruled based messaging system cannot keep up with changing user behaviors (without a ton of manual oversight). A send-time optimization or Prime Time Messaging system, uses machine learning to continually update its understanding of an individual user’s behavior. And even if they change the pattern, the system is smart enough to notice it and change things on the fly. It’ll automatically monitor the user’s activity level and serve messages when they are most likely to notice the message, even if that’s a different time every week.
4. It makes your life easier
Imagine a scenario, where your company is rolling out a product update. Now you have to create some sort of messaging to announce the update to your audience. You sit down and write the email copy, mobile push copy, find images and develop content for the announcement. But now you’ve got to decide when to send it.
- When should we send this message to maximize exposure and user engagement?
On the Boomtrain platform, like most marketing automation platforms, you can create segments and manually set send times for them, but you can also select Prime Time Messaging, and then just sit back while your messages are delivered to every one of your users at the moment when they are most open to hearing from you. One click, perfect timing.
5. It drives higher engagement
Timing can make a HUGE difference. Engagement rates for communications sent with Prime Time Messaging are substantially higher, even with exactly the same content.
Prime time messaging (or Send time optimization) is a relatively new technology which harnesses the power of AI and machine learning to understand when our customers are most likely to engage with our messages and leverage this knowledge to create the ultimate marketing win-win scenario:
Better (less annoying) brand experiences, and better business outcomes.
So next time you develop a marketing or sales campaign for your audience, ask yourself this question: Is there any reason not to optimize send times for messages based on when the audience is most likely to engage with it? If you can think of one, we’d love to hear it!