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MailChimp determines location and time zone for your subscribers by collecting data when they sign up for your list or are active on a campaign. The geolocation and time zone information is used for our TimeWarp feature, Top Locations, and in your subscriber profiles. Below we'll walk you through how that information is gathered and used in your account.Contents IP address and geolocation
When a subscriber signs up for your list, we collect the IP address from their signup location. The IP address information is then sent to a geolocation service provider to get an estimate of your recipients' locations. The location is maintained dynamically by gathering the new IP address through a subscriber's campaign activity.
The accuracy of the location information that's generated from the IP address can vary greatly in different locations. The data we get back is accurate to within a few meters or a few miles, or more depending on how IP addresses are handled. This Linux Journal article gives a detailed explanation of this process.
In regards to accuracy, it's important to note how IP addresses work in general. Many people connect to the internet without using a static IP address, instead their IP address is constantly changing. When this occurs it requires the geolocation service provider to tie the different addresses to a single point, a "canonical" location. This is how we create the locations used in your account.
When creating a canonical location, multiple areas often get lumped in together. For instance if we look up the IP address of the MailChimp office, the system tells us we're in South Carolina instead of Atlanta, GA. It's pretty close as far as time zones go, but maybe not the exact city or state. The locations created are usually accurate within about 150 miles or so.Time zones
MailChimp uses the geolocation data gathered to determine the time zones for your subscribers. This subscriber information is used when you choose to create and send a Time Warp campaign to your list.
Time zones can occasionally vary within the meridians and aren't simply straight up and down. To help you better understand how the time zones are laid out, take a look at the following resources:
- Timeanddate.com Provides you a chart of multiple countries, cities, and their respective time zones.
- TimeZoneCheck.com Provides you with an interactive map of the world's time zones.'
Everything we do behind the scenes for scheduling and sending campaigns officially uses a time that doesn't change with daylight saving time, or based on location. This is called Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC.MailChimp reports
The geolocation data is also used to populate the Opens by Location map in your campaign reports. This map easily displays where in the world your subscribers are opening your campaigns. A list of Top Locations for each campaign is visible to the left of the image.Notes
If you imported or manually added subscribers to your list and they haven't opened or clicked a campaign, we won't have a location for them. In that instance, they'll be assigned to the time zone and location for your account. If you need to check your account time zone, head to Account > My Defaults.
Thanks for the feedback. Ensuring the right message is being delivered to your customers at the optimal time is powerful, and makes a lot of sense. We don't have send-time optimization on the roadmap currently as some other items are currently taking priority. We took your idea and batted it around a little bit to discuss what could be feasible, and while it's not in the immediate plans, we could take the steps to provide something similar at some point in the future.
Ahead of that work are some upcoming editor enhancements like pre-header text, rows to help accomplish multi-column layouts in the editor, some advanced response metrics like open by device, and a clearer, better workflow to send test mailings and mailings. We also have a response-centric iPhone app around the corner that I can't wait to share.
We also have some other concepts a little further in motion around advanced segmentation and audience visualization that might in a way provide a shortcut to providing some of the send-time optimization tools you're asking about.
I know that's not the answer you were hoping for, but hopefully the upcoming work is also of interest and we can then turn our attention to stuff like this if and when the time is right.
Thanks again for your feedback! Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or other suggestions.
We send our campaigns globally. It would be great to set up a time schedule within Emma that sent the same campaign to various time zones so that all audience members could receive them first thing their morning. Thanks for the tip on sending first thing in the morning @Rachel Rogers!