Put Your Newsletter In The (Time) Zone

Time ZonesOne of the challenges that we all face as email publishers is getting subscribers to open our messages and take action.

Many factors influence whether they do this or not.

One that I frequently see people discussing and testing is the time of day that messages are sent.

How can we do this, considering that subscribers come from all over the world, and their schedules are scattered across the day?

The Best Part of Waking Up…

Lately, many people have reported that sending a message early in the morning gets the best result. (an aside: as always, test this on your own. Your subscribers may prefer a different time.)

Of course, there’s a problem with this: 8:00AM in New York is 1:00PM in London. And 3:00PM in Johannesburg. Got subscribers in Sydney? Forget the morning because it’s 11:00PM – those guys are already turning in for the night!

Sure, you could just assume that with so many people sending email from the USA, they’re just used to it by now.

Or, you could take advantage of AWeber’s geographic targeting to send them the message in their local time.

I Can DO That?

Sure! Consider:

So, you can send out broadcasts to your subscribers, and use views to deliver the message to people at the same local time.

Break Your List Down By Time Zone

To do this, you’ll use the coordinates for the lines of longitude (meridians) for the appropriate regions/time zones.

Specify an area/time zone by doing a two-part search:

For example, to get subscribers who are on Eastern Time, do the following search…

Eastern Time Longitude Search

This will return subscribers who are connecting to the Internet from locations that follow Eastern time.

Save the view…

Name and Save Your View

Choose that view while setting up your broadcast…

Select Your View

…and set the appropriate time for the message to be sent:

Schedule Your Broadcast

This will deliver your broadcast to your Pacific Time subscribers at 8:00AM local time (since Pacific time is 3 hours behind Eastern time).

Using Meridians To Estimate Time Zones

Meridians are generally 15 degrees apart.

Time zones don’t run perfectly north-south with the meridians, so you may have some subscribers who see your message up to an hour earlier or later according to their local time than people who are not located far away as the bird flies. Please bear in mind that the regions listed are approximate.

Here’s a breakdown of some major time zones by longitude to help guide you. I’ve provided the differences from UTC and from Eastern Time (ET). Your broadcast times are scheduled by ET so base your send times on the difference from ET.

You can get a complete set of timezones/meridians at the CIA Factbook.

Region Difference from UTC Difference from ET Min. Longitude Max. Longitude
USA (Indiana to the East Coast) -5 hours 0 -82.5 -67.5
USA (Illinois to Kansas) and Central America -6 -1 -97.5 -82.5
USA (Colorado to Utah) -7 -2 -112.5 -97.5
USA (Nevada to the West Coast) -8 -3 -127.5 -112.5
United Kingdom 0 +5 -7.5 7.5
Western Europe (Spain to Poland) +1 +6 -7.5 22.5
Eastern Europe, South Africa +2 +7 22.5 37.5
Eastern Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) +10 +15 142.5 157.5
Western Australia (Perth) +8 +13 112.5 127.5
India +5.5 +10.5 67.5 90.0

Copy/paste the appropriate longitudes from the above table when creating your views, then set up and queue broadcasts for the appropriate times.

A Couple Things To Remember

Use this tactic to reach more subscribers at the times when they are most responsive, increasing your opens, clickthroughs and sales!

By:
Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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47 Comments

  1. Brilliant article thankyou. It is information like this (Oh I think we knew this but most of us haven’t actually done anything about it) that helps us marketers and therefore creates a better relationship between aweber and us.

    I wonder if everyone will learn the real lesson here?

    Namely that you (Aweber) are showing us the kind of things that we (hard working marketers) should be doing for our own customers!

    I for one really value these articles.

    3/27/2007 10:01 am
  2. Oh and a quick question..I assume that any given ‘view’ re-queries the data in the list it pertains to when it is used on subsequent occasions?

    3/27/2007 10:03 am
  3. Great info and I’m sure it will be very helpful.

    Just one aside though – I’ve found that some of my subscribers are actually in a different geographical location to the one reported, usually because the ISP they use is not in the same country.

    But I’m sure it’ll work for the majority. Thanks again Justin, I especially like having the PDF for reference because it saves me having to work out the time I want to broadcast to UK subscribers ;¬)

    3/27/2007 10:36 am
  4. Mike,

    Yes, the view is always live at the date it’s used. Meaning it’s self updating with any new subscribers that match the same criteria.

    3/27/2007 10:42 am | Follow me on Twitter
  5. Hey Justin,

    Thanks for the update – this is killer info.

    Nice meeting you and Tom in DC!

    Keep the upgrades coming and I’ll continue spreading
    the word about Aweber!

    Here’s that blog posts I mentioned during dinner:
    http://www.musthavemarketing.com/blog/date/2006/09/

    Later

    3/27/2007 11:02 am
  6. Thanks Tom,
    Thought so…which leads to…
    Is there a way of saving ‘only’ the subscribers that were sent a particular broadcast?
    Let’s say I want to put out a quarterly offer and only keep broadcasting/conversing to the first group queried..(hope that makes sense). Then I start again a quarter later to a new sub group?

    3/27/2007 11:13 am
  7. Mike,

    Use specific dates in the search area to create a view of subscribers who were added during that period. Since it’s impossible for new subscribers to be added during February 2007 at this point, a view that contained the following would never change.

    Date Added >= 02/01/07
    Date Added < 03/01/07

    3/27/2007 11:21 am | Follow me on Twitter
  8. Ahhhhhh….

    Of course…

    Many thanks

    3/27/2007 11:46 am
  9. Hi Tom,

    If time segmenting a broadcast is worth doing, wouldn’t be worth setting a goal of automating the whole process?

    That way we would have the option to broadcast a message at, say 8am local time, everywhere. That way my subscribers is California, Maine, Scotland, Dubai, Kasikstan, and Singapore would all get their mail first thing in the morning.

    Worth thinking about?

    Neill Neill

    3/27/2007 1:28 pm
  10. Hi Neill, Tom,

    I second that one (automating the whole process), Neill, if it’s possible.

    Living and working in Australia (while most of the rest of the world is asleep) I am all too aware of the size of my inbox when I start work in the morning. Even with spam filters in place, sorting through ‘missed spam’ and dealing with emails quickly means email I receive overnight often gets less focus than email I receive during my day.

    I’m less likely to follow newsletter links in the morning when there are plenty of business emails in the box needing priority before I ‘start’ my working day. During the day, I’m more likley to follow newsletter links for a break.

    Jane Teresa

    3/27/2007 6:16 pm
  11. Another great feature in Aweber that I didn’t actually know about!

    These articles are very valuable and remind me why I am so glad that we picked Aweber over and above any other auto-responder system.

    Good work guys.

    3/27/2007 7:16 pm
  12. I didn’t know the views were updated real time. I have been created new views for a certain group every time I send out a new broadcast.

    By the way, is there any way to delete the old views? The system doesn’t allow me to do so as it says I have sent a broadcast to that view previously. As a result, my views are ever increasing.

    3/27/2007 8:35 pm
  13. Yes I agree with Neill Neill.

    Would be a great addition to Aweber’s arsenal.

    3/28/2007 3:02 am
  14. It would be nice to see a blog posting on how you capture the geographic location. I understand it is done through IP addresses captured, but I am unsure how accurate this is.

    3/28/2007 5:09 am
  15. Hi Tom,

    They’ve got you now haven’t they. What a brilliant idea (and a great and marketable selling point for aweber too) The option to send a message at 7am or 8am or 9am local time for all members of a particular view/list.
    I bet one of your backroom boffins is working on it already yeah?

    3/28/2007 9:43 am
  16. Lyle

    Interesting. But, as someone else pointed out, this is really functionality that broadcast message setup should provide. E.g. Beside the Send On Time a simple checkbox for delivery in the receivers timezone would be much more useable.

    The problem I see with Justins original idea is that I’d have to setup multiple copies of the broadcast message, each with the timezone related views. And the problem with that is there is no simple quick way to duplicate a message other than copy and paste. This is tedious and error prone. Especially if you have plain text/html messages. Why doesn’t the create message function give us the option of copying a previous message?

    3/29/2007 10:46 am
  17. Let me join the others who have already pointed out that it would be terrific if you could automate this — for follow ups as well as for broadcasts.

    4/1/2007 12:49 pm
  18. Actually, what I want is something much simpler: to have the e-mails posted from *my* time zone. That is to say, the date stamp on AWeber mail is Eastern (Standard|Daylight) Time. I live in Mountain Time. I’d rather the mail "I" send to my customers would show *my* time zone, rather than the time of one of my providers in another state.

    4/5/2007 8:23 pm
  19. lady

    this is a great way of synching with a client’s circadian rythms

    6/6/2007 9:44 am
  20. This is great for broadcast messages.

    Is there any way of controlling or influencing what time an auto- responder message goes out (rather than a broadcast)? What determines when an auto responder message is sent?

    I have some subscribers who are getting messages after work on a Friday which is not much use (I know because I get the out of office response).

    Is it determined by the original sign-up time?

    If I add to my list of messages (after a break) is it then determined by when I added the messages to the list?

    6/29/2007 1:04 pm
  21. Phil,

    Autoresponder and follow up messages aren’t scheduled for a particular time of day. They’re sent during a 24-hour "window."

    Example: I sign up & receive your autoresponder at 2:15pm on Monday. Your next message is set to go 2 days after that autoresponder. I’ll be sent your message sometime between 2:15PM on Wednesday and 2:15PM on Thursday.

    While we try to send each follow up message as close to the beginning of that window as possible, the exact time a follow up is sent depends partly on overall mail volume.

    Hope that helps!

    6/29/2007 1:27 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  22. If it is possible to target Timezones. Is it possible to send out a communication to a specific geographic location? Send an email to all of the people in Sydney, Australia?

    12/2/2007 3:55 pm
  23. Shane,

    Since the instructions in this post target geographical coordinates, you could always narrow those down to a smaller area than an entire time zone to target a little closer to the desired geographic location.

    You could search for subscribers using the "City" value we obtain for subscribers by IP address, but I would caution you that this would target only people who access the internet from Sydney, and not anyone in any near-distant areas.

    12/3/2007 9:32 am
  24. I never saw a response to this important post asked about by more than one customer. Please advise, thank you.

    THIS POST:
    Neill Neill
    March 27th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Tom,

    If time segmenting a broadcast is worth doing, wouldn’t be worth setting a goal of automating the whole process?

    That way we would have the option to broadcast a message at, say 8am local time, everywhere. That way my subscribers is California, Maine, Scotland, Dubai, Kasikstan, and Singapore would all get their mail first thing in the morning.

    Worth thinking about?

    6/10/2008 11:17 pm
  25. Joe,

    Definitely worth thinking about :)

    That is a feature we plan to add to the broadcast tool and it has been passed on to our Development Team. We’ve been pretty busy with a few other big releases but I’ll ping them about this one.

    6/11/2008 8:12 am | Follow me on Twitter
  26. Scott

    I don’t understand why it is so difficult to have e-mails set to specific time zones. As an Australian customer I have to deduct 15 hours from the time I wish to send an e-mail. Surely I should be able to select GMT +10:00 from a drop down and then select a time as opposed to making a backwards calculation manually in order to match up to EST in the States.

    Difficult? I dobut it. Surely correspondence flagged from a different time zone can automatically have the conversion done BoH.

    Presently the more e-mails I send the more I have to make this backwards calculation and the more frustrated I get.

    Does anyone have a solution that doesn’t involve toying with meridian lines and golbal coordinates? I want a GMT +10:00 drop down.

    7/30/2008 8:33 pm
  27. Could you please explain more (or give us a link to a relevant article) about how to use list view or suppression to send to all the people in the list who might not be covered by geographical zones- without people getting the email 6 times…ouch.

    PS Fantastic info in this article!

    2/12/2009 9:58 pm
  28. Rob

    Hi,

    I’m with Scott on this one. Subtracting 15 hours everytime is a pain.

    Another thought – is it 14 hours with daylight savings, or is it 16 hours difference?

    Also do they have daylight saving wherever aWeberland is?

    Too hard!

    A drop down would be nice…

    3/27/2009 7:56 pm
  29. Ayman

    Is this automated yet? I can’t find the function, and this would be a useful and time-saving feature.

    12/11/2009 3:35 am
  30. PS

    I’ll try this. I do believe there are easier ways i.e. to select your local time.

    10/2/2010 3:16 am
  31. Just pointing to a typo

    You use "Eastern" but use "Pacific" longitude parameters

    11/17/2010 10:22 am
  32. Is it possible to just add the same feature as we now have in Follow-up messages that allows us to send the e-mail using the user’s timezone? It automates everything.

    I’m not sure how hard it would be to do it but I think it should pretty easy since the code is already used in the follow-up section.

    1/10/2011 3:10 pm
  33. Can i change the tiem in my aweber to reflect my time zone? So i can monitor what time peopel are subscribing to my list in my time zone (Not USA).

    1/24/2011 8:08 pm
  34. Brian Richards

    Any answer to Johann’s question back in January? I find it frustrating being in Australia and targeting local Aussie subscribers … but having all times showing the previous day (in US time). Everything is out and it gets confusing when setting broadcast times, as has been noted above several times.

    Would be much, much easier to be able to see things in local time, like other platforms do.

    Any response?

    6/19/2011 6:26 am
  35. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for asking! That’s something which is not currently available, but we do intend to add it (I do not know when exactly that will occur).

    6/21/2011 2:11 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  36. A

    It’s really appreciable message for every body thanks for sharing this information.

    9/20/2011 2:50 am
  37. the CIA link is now an efrror 404 page.
    thanks for great info on the rest.

    11/8/2011 8:47 am
  38. Unfortunately (at least for me) this feature doesn’t work. Many of my opt-ins don’t have and Lat Long parameters (when they signed up) so those emails don’t get sent.

    I talked to someone from Aweber (I think it was Wes) and he said the only way to get the other emails sent out is to do manually.

    Kinda defeats the purpose.

    What we need is a filter for subscribers where a Lat and Long weren’t recorded…then you can select that filter and send. :)

    Ken

    12/26/2011 1:42 pm
  39. Tried this and thought it’s easy as 123. Not at all!

    To make it easy, I created three sets of segments with different time zones but does nto seem to capture majority because I only defined certain time zones. I dont’ want to go through the addition ehre and there. and even get the risk of not sending to everyone!

    If I create a broaodcast, it only shows me my timezone- which is GMT 8+. Can I assume, even if I clicked a segment that defined a different timezone, that a 12 am Sunday in my timezone, will then be sent following the segment’s timezone??

    9/12/2012 6:43 am
  40. Looks like MailChimp have this configured as a simple click to enable feature (http://mailchimp.com/features/timewarp/)

    Any reason why the same is not available in Aweber?

    2/21/2014 2:20 pm
  41. Hi John,
    Thank you for your comment and suggestion. We are reviewing this at the moment as a potential new feature to provide our customers.
    - Brandon

    3/4/2014 9:16 am
  42. Celeste

    Brandon,

    Thanks for replying here, but it seems Aweber has been “reviewing” this since 2008, at least. Isn’t it past time to implement it?

    This task is far more difficult than it needs to be, and needlessly so.

    Also, the CIA Factbook link is dead, and there’s a mistake in the article.

    In the “Break Down Your List By Time Zone” section, it says “For example, to get subscribers who are on EASTERN Time, do the following search?”

    But then the longitudes that follow are for PACIFIC time. I almost used the provided example, which would’ve been totally wrong.

    From a mathematical perspective, -127.5 being “greater than” -112.5 is confusing. The chart is helpful if you try not to think about it too much, but I’d rather not be messing around with longitudes in the first place. Time zones would be so much easier.

    Lastly, there’s no mention of how to separate the segments. What’s the dividing line? If a person is at a longitude “greater than or equal to -112.5″ for one zone, and also at a longitude “less than or equal to -112.5″ for the next time zone over, they’d get the email twice, wouldn’t they?

    As I said, this is way more difficult than in needs to be. Please consider this another vote for moving this feature request to the top of the list. Thanks.

    4/10/2014 10:12 am
  43. Celeste

    Just a follow up on the math comment.

    I think the -127.5 Max and -112.5 Min in the Pacific example (screenshot) is actually a second mistake in the article, if I’m reading it correctly.

    If “Min Longitude” represents the “less than or equal to” figure, and “Max Longitude” is the “greater than or equal to” figure, then the Min should be -127.5 and the Max should be -112.5 in the screengrab, the way it is in the chart, right?

    4/10/2014 10:28 am