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I'm wondering if there is some functionality I can use to create dynamic content based on the time of day when an email is opened. I looked at the ampscript now() function, but it pulls the time that the email is sent, not the time the email is being opened/viewed.

The only other option I can think of is live images, but I believe that is an extra cost, and I was hoping the dynamic content would be text, not an image.

Thanks!

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If you are looking for something simple and quick, you can accomplish this inside of SFMC, but you would need to host it on a Cloudpage/Landing Page.

  1. First you would need to set the content type (via META) to image. <META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="image/png">
  2. Next you would create a Conditional Statement via IF ELSE to display the correct image. e.g. %%[IF DATEPART(NOW(), 'hour') == 5 THEN]%% image html %%[ENDIF]%%
  3. Inside each condition, you would then have the image HTML you wish displayed. e.g. <img src="yourimagepath.png">
  4. Inside the email, you would set the dynamic image url to the url of the page you created in the above steps. e.g. <img src="http://www.yourcloudpage.com" />

Please note that it will cost you a 'ping' against your Cloudpage views every time that someone loads this image, meaning every single open in your send will cost you money.

As an alternative you can host this on a 3rd party server and utilize PHP or a similar server side language to push the image up. This would be a more cost effective solution for you if possible.

Finally, if this is going to be a long term need with large volumes and complexity, it definitely is better to go with a service such as LiveClicker as mentioned by @iManage.

TL/DR

  1. Host on 3rd party server and use ServerSide code to push approrpriate image - requires development.
  2. Host on SFMC Cloudpages using AMPScript - but costs money each view and requires development
  3. Use a service such as LiveClicker as mentioned by @iManage. But high upfront cost as well as recurring fee.
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Ampscript only executes at time of send - it's ServerSide scripting.

For your requirements where you want to change the image in the inbox of a customer then you would need to use Live Images or another tool like LiveClicker

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