MailChimp collects location data when subscribers sign up for your list or open a campaign. This geolocation and time zone information is used for our Timewarp feature, Top Locations, and in subscriber profiles.
Below, you'll learn how that information is gathered and used in your account.
IP Address and Geolocation
When a subscriber signs up for your list, we collect the IP address from their signup location. We send that to a geolocation service provider to estimate the subscriber's location. The location is updated dynamically via the subscriber's campaign activity.
Accuracy can vary in different locations. The data we get back is accurate to within a few meters, a few miles, or more depending on how IP addresses are set up. This Linux Journal article gives a detailed explanation of this process.
Many people connect to the internet with an IP address that changes frequently, as opposed to a static IP address. IP addresses that change require the geolocation service provider to tie the different addresses to a single point, what's called a canonical location. In many cases, this is how we generate subscriber locations in your account.
When creating a canonical location, multiple areas often get lumped in together. For instance if we look up the IP address of the MailChimp office, the system tells us we're in South Carolina instead of Atlanta. It's pretty close as far as time zones go, but maybe not the exact city or state. Canonical locations usually pinpoint a common location within 150 miles of the changing IP addresses.
Time zones occasionally 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:
Geolocation data is also used to populate the Opens by Location map in your campaign reports, which displays where your subscribers open your campaigns. A list of Top Locations appears along with the map.
If you imported or manually added subscribers to your list and they haven't opened or clicked a campaign, we won't have a location for them. In that instance, they'll be assigned to the time zone and location for your account until data is available.
To find or change your account's time zone, follow the steps below.
- Click on your profile name to expand the Account Panel and select Account.
- Click the Account settings drop-down menu and select Account details.
- Under Account name, you'll find your time zone.
- If you need to change it, click the drop-down menu to choose the correct time zone and click Save.
Geolocation data is always approximate. If a subscriber’s IP address isn’t available, geolocation service providers estimate the subscriber’s location. Sometimes, they’ll locate the email server at the subscriber’s email domain, and use that address as the subscriber’s location.