In this article we go over some common issues our users run into when an autoresponder doesn't send to subscribers as expected. If you work your way through this article and still aren't sure why an autoresponder didn't send to your subscribers the way it should have, be sure to email or chat with us so our support team can take a closer look!

Is the autoresponder in a draft or paused status?

Autoresponders that have not been started will have a draft status icon next to their title that looks like this:
Draft icon

Autoresponders that were running but were stopped at some point will have a paused status icon next to the title that looks like this:
Paused icon

If either are present next to your autoresponder title, then the autoresponder is not currently sending and would explain why you subscribers didn't receive that autoresponder campaign. Best thing to do would be to click the Edit button for that autoresponder, make any changes you need to the campaign, then head to the Confirm step to start the autoresponder. When the autoresponder is reactivated, you'll be prompted to send to any queued subscribers that would have received the autoresponder while it was paused.
Send to queued

Do the subscribers meet the autoresponder configuration settings?

On the Autoresponder step of the Campaign Builder be sure to take a close look at the trigger settings for your campaign along with the send settings. Make sure your subscribers meet the trigger criteria and also check what days of the week that autoresponder is set to send to your list.

  1. Navigate to the Autoresponders page.
  2. Click on the autoresponder drop down menu and choose Pause for the autoresponder you want to take a look at.
  3. Go to the Autoresponder step to take a look at these settings.

A common issue we see is when a user has an autoresponder set to send based on sign up date, but has added subscribers to a list without using MailChimp's double opt-in process. If you've added your subscribers manually, via the API, or through a list import you'll need to check the Also trigger on import checkbox on the Autoresponders step. That will tell our system to use the import time for users that don't have a signup date.
Also trigger on import

Do your subscribers meet the segmenting criteria for this autoresponder?

If your autoresponder isn't sending to your list as expected, check for any empty or incorrect segments:

  1. Navigate to the Autoresponders page.
  2. Click on the autoresponder drop down menu and choose Pause for the autoresponder you want to take a look at.
  3. Click the Recipients option on the navigation bar.
  4. Check the segment to make sure it includes the specific subscribers you'd like to target with this autoresponder.

What time were these subscribers added to the list?

Everything that makes MailChimp work behind the scenes (sending servers, datacenters, etc) runs based off of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). However, because you can set your account to display all times in your time zone to make things easier to read while working, it's important to understand that our engines will still refer to any and all timestamps for campaigns or subscriber signups relative to UTC. Depending on where your time zone lies in relation to the International Date Line, subscribers that signed up on the same day in your time zone may be on different dates relative to UTC because of the time of day they signed up.

Autoresponders are unique in the sense that they send based on specific date and time information. When a "signup" date is used as a trigger for an autoresponder, we look into our database to see when a user signed up and we use that date and time to send the autoresponder. This is when all that UTC vs. default time zone information comes into play. Timezones that are after UTC will see that users subscribing after a certain time get their autoresponders a day later than expected.

For example, say we have two subscribers who signed up to a list. Subscriber 1 has a date added of 05/19/2013 6:00am EST and Subscriber 2 has a date added of 05/19/2013 9:30pm EST. For the first subscriber this sign up date would translate to 5/19/2013 10:00am UTC and for the second signup would translate to 5/20/2013 1:30am UTC.

So if an autoresponder was set to send one day after sign up those two subscribers respectively receive this campaign:

  • On 05/20/2013 only Subscriber 1 receives the autoresponder because their UTC "Date Added" timestamp is 05/19 UTC.
  • On 05/21/2013 only Subscriber 2 receives the autoresponder because their UTC "Date Added" timestamp is 05/20 UTC.

Both subscribers still receive the autoresponder as they should.

None of your subscribers will ever be completely skipped from an autoresponder. Autoresponders will send to all subscribers who meet the criteria specified by your send settings. This example is only here to explain what is going on if you see someone receive an autoresponder a day later than you, or they, may have been expecting.

This feature is accessible by users with Author level or higher permissions. Take a look at this article to learn more about the different access levels for a MailChimp account.


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