MailChimp collects geolocation data when subscribers sign up for your list and engage with your email campaigns. Use this data to send targeted campaigns based on location and time zone, and gain more control over when subscribers receive your campaigns.
In this article, you'll learn how geolocation information is gathered and used in your account.
How Geolocation Works
When a subscriber signs up for your list, we collect the IP address where they signed up. We send that to a geolocation service provider to estimate the subscriber’s location.
Location is updated dynamically based on the subscriber’s campaign activity, and we use this information for our Timewarp feature, Top Locations statistic, and in subscriber profiles.
How accurate is geolocation data?
Accuracy can vary in different locations. The data we get back can be accurate within a few meters or miles, depending on how IP addresses are set up. This Linux Journal article gives a detailed explanation of this process.
If a subscriber's IP address isn't available, geolocation service providers can estimate the subscriber's location by finding the email server at the subscriber's email domain. However, since a lot of email servers are located in California, you may see it listed on a subscriber profile even if you know that person lives somewhere else.
Sometimes you may notice that a subscriber’s location seems to be particularly inaccurate. This can happen when someone connects to the internet with an IP address that changes frequently. Geolocation service providers will estimate a single point, or canonical location, based on those various addresses.
How often is geolocation data updated?
To ensure location data is as accurate as possible, MailChimp will gather several campaign opens and clicks before we update a subscriber’s location.
For instance, if a subscriber lives in Connecticut but does business in New York City, we’ll determine their location based on where they engage with campaigns most often. Likewise, if that person opens a campaign on vacation in Hawaii, we don’t update their location because of that one data point.
If you import or manually add subscribers to your list, they’ll be assigned to the location and time zone for your account until we have enough campaign activity data to update their geolocation.
What You Can Do With Geolocation Data
Whether you want to reach out to subscribers at times when they are most likely to interact with your campaigns, or target specific segments of your list with localized content, geolocation data can help you increase audience engagement.
We use geolocation data to determine subscriber time zones, and to program the Timewarp paid feature, which schedules campaigns to send at each subscriber’s local time.
If you use Timewarp, don’t forget that time zones can vary within lines of longitude and aren't straight. To help you better understand how time zones are laid out, take a look at the following resources.
- Timeanddate.com provides a chart of multiple countries, cities, and their time zones.
- TimeZoneCheck.com displays an interactive map of world time zones.
Segment by Location
Combine location data with other segmentation options to identify specific audiences in your list.
Say you have an online business and your goal is to increase sales in a particular region or country. You could create a segment that combines location and e-commerce data to identify subscribers who’ve recently made a purchase in that area. After you build the segment, send a campaign with a special discount to encourage them to make their next purchase.
You can also build segments with data you’ve manually added to list fields, like Address or Zip code.
View Geolocation Data
Geolocation data is available in three areas of your account: the subscriber profile, the list overview page, and in campaign reports.
Shows time zone and location information and updates with campaign activity.
|List Overview Page||
Shows Top Locations where subscribers open your campaigns, which update with campaign actvity. Click any country name to build a segment based on location.
|Campaign Reports||Includes a map of Opens by Location, and the Top Locations list.|