In a fast-paced mobile world with rapid-fire news cycles, information gets outdated very quickly. Rarely does push content remain relevant, and after a few hours it's likely already stale. Users come from all over the world, so the perfect time to send a particular push notification could be when half of your users are sleeping.
So how do you make sure that your messages stay relevant for your users in all time zones? At first glance, it may sound like a tedious task, considering that there are 37 different time zones around the world!
Fortunately, OneSignal has an easy way to do this. OneSignal's platform offers powerful features like Time Zone Scheduling, Per-User Optimizations, Intelligent Delivery, and the choice to Optimize by User Time Zones which can change the way you send push notifications out to your users.
Time Zone Scheduling
Instead of sending your notifications immediately, you can schedule them to start going out at a certain time. Clicking Schedule in OneSignal's dashboard lets you select from different notification delivery options:
1. Begin Sending Immediately
2. Begin Sending at a Particular Time
Selecting option 2 will schedule a push notification, and wait until that specific time to begin sending that message to your users.
The dashboard detects your own time zone based on your computer’s clock, so keep that in mind when setting up a time to send your notification. To learn how to do this, go to Step 4. Scheduling in the Sending Notifications document.
Another way to customize your notifications by time zone is to target specific users in different ways. You could do this under the Per-User Optimizations in OneSignal’s notification system, in which there are three options:
1. Send Immediately
2. Intelligent Delivery
3. Optimize by User Time Zone.
Notifications that are highly urgent or time-sensitive, should be sent immediately regardless of time zone. Apart from urgent notifications, we usually recommend using Intelligent Delivery.
Intelligent Delivery is powerful because you can target devices at times when they are most active and likely to engage with your push notification. Based on a rolling average of the last three months, OneSignal's system tracks the time of day when each user is most active in your app.
For example, if one of your users is most active at 2:00 PM in New York, your notification will be delivered at 2 PM EST. If another one of your users is most active at 8:30 PM in Los Angeles, she will get the same notification at 8:30 PM PST.
We found that using Intelligent Delivery results in 23% higher open rates than using the Send Immediately option, and 10% higher relative to the Optimize by User Time Zone option.
Optimize by User Time Zone
If you want to send your notifications at a particular hour for each user, for example, at 4 PM in their own local time zones, you could use the Optimize by User Time Zone feature.
While using this option, it is important to start sending at least 24 hours in advance in order to capture all time zones within your user base. For instance, if a time zone has already passed an hour before sending the notification, people in that time zone won’t receive it until the next day.
Next up: How to connect with all of your users from different cultures and languages through Localization.