Understanding and using a person’s timezone in Ortto

The people in your customer data platform (CDP) have a value set for the Last timezone field. You may also see a Timezone activity attribute in the details of an activity the person is associated with. For example, you might see the timezone in which a person viewed a capture widget or opened an email message.

A person’s timezone data is collected by activities related to the tracking code or when the person’s IP address can supply location data. Activities from which the timezone value can be generated include:

  • An interaction with your content, such as clicking on an email or SMS message, or push notification, 
  • From being shown or interacting with a capture widget (such as submitting a form), or
  • When the person visits (in a web session or user session) a web page which has the Ortto tracking code installed.

If a person in your CDP has not performed activities like those listed above, they won’t have any timezone data associated with them.

What is the difference between Timezone and Last timezone?

Timezone is an activity attribute that identifies the timezone in which a person performed or was associated with a particular activity (e.g. interacted with your content or web page). See, for example, this Timezone data for a person’s interaction with a capture widget:

The Last timezone field identifies the timezone in which a person last (most recently) performed an activity. This field gets its value from the most recent Timezone activity attribute associated with the person. As such, Last timezone is updated upon each interaction for which there is location data. It's intended to provide the most up-to-date information about the person’s current timezone.

The following example shows the Last timezone field available for selection as:

  1. A field by which to segment people (which you can then save an audience, send a campaign, or export or archive).
  2. A field you can set to display in your CDP so you can see at a glance your contacts’ most recent local timezones. 

Can a person’s timezone be changed?

The Timezone activity attribute reflects the timezone in which the person performed or was associated with a particular activity. This attribute value is static because it is associated with the activity event. However if there are multiple events for the same activity that occurred in different locations, you may see a different Timezone value for each event.

A person’s Last timezone value is updated each time we receive an activity event (for which there is location data) associated with that person. As such, it can change frequently if the person is performing activities like interacting with your content in different locations, such as when they are traveling.

You can manually set the timezone in which an activity event occurred if you are sending custom activity events via the Ortto API. In your activity event payload, include the location object and set the location using the source_ip field or a custom location object. This will populate the Timezone activity attribute (and will update the associated person’s Last timezone field value).

Learn more about sending location data for an activity event via the API.

How to use a person’s timezone in Ortto

Having access to your customers’ timezone data enables you to send more personalized campaigns that both land in the person’s inbox in a timely manner and contain time- (and date-) relevant content.

There are a few key ways you can leverage a person’s timezone data in Ortto:

Schedule a campaign to send in a person’s timezone

Email and SMS campaigns can be scheduled to be sent at a particular date and time, and by selecting Delivery optimization, you can ensure the recipient receives your message at the appropriate time/day in their timezone. 

NOTE: The Delivery optimization option uses a person’s Last timezone value to determine their local timezone.

You can find this option at the Review step of an email or SMS campaign, when you click Schedule.

Set journey shapes to occur in a person’s timezone

Within a journey, you can set Delay and Time condition shapes to occur in a person’s local timezone. Simply select the relevant checkbox in the shape setup, like this delay configuration for example:

NOTE: The Adjust to their local timezone (if known) option uses a person’s Last timezone value to determine their local timezone.

Use merge tags for conditional formatting or to populate timezone values

You might want to use a person’s Last timezone value to create conditional formatting in an email. For example, to show content to people whose last timezone was Melbourne, you can create a row condition in an email message like so: