ActiveCampaign Expert

How to Increase Your Email Open Rate with Predictive Sending


Email marketing is 40% times more effective to acquire customers than social media, both Facebook and Twitter combined (Mckinsey & Company).

Making sure your emails are delivered to a contact’s inbox, and then opened and clicked can be a problem that has many potential solutions.

In fact, email deliverability is impacted by many different factors. An engaging subject line is only one of those factors.

In this blog, I’ll review how you can increase your email open rates with predictive sending and show you how to use predictive sending in ActiveCampaign.

An Overview of Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is when an email is delivered directly to a contact’s inbox. While it sounds simple, many factors can get in the way of an email being delivered properly. Some of these factors include ISPs, email bounces, and spam complaints.

When an email sending authority (such as your business email address) sends out an email, the receiving email provider looks at the authority your email provides and determines if it can go in the inbox or elsewhere (such as spam).

An email that is delivered to an inbox and opened, helps to increase email sending authority.

An email that is not delivered to an inbox and does not get opened, negatively impacts email sending authority. 

Therefore, if any of your emails are being caught by spam trappers or unopened, your email sending authority will decrease over time impacting all of your email recipients.

What are your Email Delivery Statistics?

If you are unsure of your email stats, ask your email marketing software account manager for the following:

  • % of spam complaints
  • % of bounces
  • % of unsubscribes
  • % of opens in last 90 days (goal: to be in the 17-20% range)
  • % of clicks in the last 90 days (goal: to be 3% or greater)

This will give you a good baseline for where you stand today in order to measure the effectiveness of any initiatives moving forward.

How Does Predictive Sending Work?

Predictive sending uses machine learning and artificial intelligence tactics to identify the most likely time for a contact to open an email. When predictive sending is in place, the email service will identify the best time to send the email and queue the email until that time. The recipient will then receive the email when the system determines it is the most likely time for the email to be opened.

As an email sender, this allows you to provide a customized experience for each of your contacts; sending content when they are most likely to engage based on their own email habits.

Because you are sending email during a time the recipient is most likely to engage, you increase the open potential. The more email opens you have, the more your email sending authority will increase, thus improving your overall deliverability rates.

Predictive sending isn’t just a set it and forget it – the more emails you send, the more your recipients engage, and the better the predictability becomes.

When to Use Predictive Sending

Predictive sending can be used in any ActiveCampaign automation where emails are being sent.

Example automation to use predictive sending include:

Predictive sending will send an email at the best time for the contact, within a 24 hours time period. Due to this, you should not use predictive sending on any time-sensitive or deadline-based emails.

How to Use Predictive Sending in ActiveCampaign

Note: predictive sending is only available on Professional- and Entreprise-level ActiveCampaign plans.

Predictive sending can be used on email campaigns within automations. On any automation, select the email and then the radio button Send with Predictive Sending.

Predictive sending ActiveCampaign

When the receipt hits the step with the predictive send email, the email will be queued to be sent within the next 24 hours.

The email will not display in the contact’s recent activities until it is sent even though the contact will have moved into the next step of your automation.

It is recommended that you create a wait action to “hold” the contact until the email is sent. Otherwise, the contact will move to the next action while they are in queue to send the email.

Activecampaign email automation

What if there is no contact data to determine the best send time?

If the contact is new and there is no data collected on the best send time, the email will be sent at 10am per the timezone of the IP address.

If the IP address is not available, the email will be sent at 10am based on the time zone of your ActiveCampaign account.

Note: when setting up a new automation, always remember to test!

The Business Case for Predictive Sending

Predictive sending is shown to increase open rate up to 20% across various case studies. In some studies. Paired up with behavior tracking and site tracking, this number can increase even more!

For more information on using ActiveCampaign for predictive sending, check out Send Messages at the Perfect Moment with Predictive Sending.

Have you started using predictive sending in your email automations? If so, drop a comment below and let me know how it is working for your marketing automations.

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