Change The Email Delivery Preparation Time

About this task

The delivery preparation time is the amount of time prior to an email delivery's scheduled send time that we start preparing the email delivery for sending. Delivery preparation involves determining who should receive the message and when, and what version of the content they should receive. To explain how this works, let's run through an example email delivery:

  1. You create an email message. To personalize the message and really make it relevant, you add in field tags and dynamic content.
  2. You schedule a delivery of the email message and choose to send to three of your segments. For this example, let's say you want to send Wednesday at 3 PM.
  3. You decide to leave the delivery preparation time set to 2 hours, which is the default.

What this means is, 2 hours prior to the scheduled send time (Wednesday at 3 PM), we will begin getting everything ready for the send. This involves refreshing the segments and determining which contacts are on them. Once we know who to send to, we will determine what to send them. This is where we replace the field tags and dynamic content with personalized content. Provided all of this is taken care of within the 2 hours prior to the scheduled send time, your email will be sent right at 3 PM. on Wednesday. If it is not, then the email send will be delayed.

Additional Considerations

  • In some cases, 2 hours of delivery preparation time may not be enough. This is most likely the case if you are sending to a lot of different segments, or several complex/large segments. In this scenario, the segment calculation that occurs may take longer than the default delivery preparation time, hence causing the send to be delayed.
  • Increasing the delivery preparation time does affect the recency of the data used in the delivery. For example, taken the example delivery above, if we had changed the delivery preparation time to 30 minutes rather than 2 hours, then the segments used in the delivery would potentially contain more recent data (be more up to date) because we would calculate who is on the segments 30 minutes prior to sending rather than 2 hours prior. However, you need to weigh this against the possibility that segments may take longer than 30 minutes to calculate. In this scenario, the segment data would be more up to date, but the delivery might be delayed because delivery preparation has not finished.
  • Choosing a delivery preparation time involves striking a balance between data recency needs and delivery send time. If you are noticing email deliveries with delayed send times, you may consider increasing the delivery preparation time, provided you don't have stringent data recency needs.

To change the delivery preparation time:


  1. Select an email message to send.
  2. In the Delivery Scheduling section, click the Send at this time radio button.
    The option to change the delivery preparation time is not available if you click the Send email message now radio button. In this case, delivery preparation beings immediately after you click Send Delivery.
  3. Select a date and time to send the delivery.
  4. Use the delivery preparation pull-down menu to select when to begin delivery preparation. You can select:
    • 30 minutes
    • 1 hour
    • 2 hours (Default)
    • 3 hours
    • 4 hours
    Delivery Preparation Pull-Down Menu
  5. Continue along with the email delivery scheduling process.