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Salesforce recently released the most exciting new addition to Marketing Cloud since Journey Builder - Einstein! But it’s not just one component - it’s five, and knowing how each fits into your email marketing strategy should be an achievable goal for the upcoming quarter.

This is the first of five blog posts about the individual components of Marketing Cloud Einstein that Salesforce released in 2019. Visit KELL Labs to read all the posts in this series.

Send Time Optimization (STO)

Let’s start our series with one of the most requested features from the past several years: Send Time Optimization. STO uses machine learning to predict when each of your individual contacts is most likely to engage with an email. It evaluates 20 different factors that relate to engagement (email volume, open, clicks, etc.) over the past 90 days of actual data. Einstein presents this information in a few different ways to help you improve your email engagement.

Send Time Optimization Summary

The Send Time Optimization summary provides great visual insights into how your subscriber base engages with your marketing during certain hours of the day and days of the week.

 

Einstein Send Time Optimization Summary

 

 

One thing you'll notice is that there isn't one best time or one best day to send emails to everyone.  Your subscribers engage at different times of the day. For example, you wouldn't expect undergraduate students to be interacting with email at the same times as alumni or major donors. The cool part is that Einstein doesn't make you pick one time for everyone.  

Einstein STO Flow Control in Journey Builder

Einstein puts this data into practice with a specific Einstein STO flow control step in Journey Builder. You add this step before an email send in a journey to let Einstein select the best send time for each individual subscriber that will enter that step in the journey. 

Einstein Send Time Optimization Flow Control Step

 

Testing Einstein STO in Your Journeys

I encourage you to test Einstein in some of your journeys to see how it can help. If you've been sending emails on a regular basis, you probably have good grasp of your open and click rates. With Einstein Send Time Optimization the whole point is to deliver your message at the time each individual subscriber is most likely to open it. Therefore, your open and click rates should improve by incorporating this tile into your journey sends.

If you have Journey Builder then you should already be eligible to have Einstein STO enabled on your account. Talk to your Salesforce account representative if you don't already see it. 

Here's how to test it. Select a journey and segment off of a small percentage (10%) of the traffic using a random split. Then drop in the Send Time Optimization tile only on that small branch. See the screenshot below:

 

Einstein Send Time Optimization in Journey Builder

 

 

After enough contacts have flowed through the journey, compare the open and click rates of the email that follows the STO activity to the open and click rates of the email that does not follow the STO activity. Congratulations, you're now experimenting with AI and machine learning in Marketing Cloud!

If you want to go farther and faster with Marketing Cloud using Einstein or just get better with the basics, KELL Partners can help. Our dedicated Marketing Cloud team has unparalleled expertise on the platform with over a decade of experience. Contact us today!