Countdown Timers


The timer control in the Visual Toolbox generates animated countdown timers on-demand when an email or message is opened, or when a webpage is visited.

It's actually two tools in one: a basic, easy, straightforward configuration of color and expiration, plus an additional set of parameters that allow the use of a countdown timer in email triggers, webpages, scripts and so on. I'll cover the basic config first and then talk about those parameters.

Basic configuration is as straightforward as we could make it: pick your expiration date and time and set the time zone where this is all going to be calculated; probably your primary market.

The two color controls relate to foreground - countdown numbers and expiration text - and then the background color. We currently have four styles, which are essentially different fonts.

We can add new fonts, so by all means, email if you'd like to see a particular font added. In this current release, the timer size is fixed. All timers are 650 by 135 pixels. You can resize of course with CSS. We are contemplating a little more flexible, pick your own background, pick your own layout, but this is the keep it simple release.

Last note in terms of configuring this timer Campaign-Genius and the Visual Toolbox allow for either GIF or PNG, animated PNG timers. GIF is the most commonly used timer. Um, it's an old format and but it's, it's widely accepted. Um, and it's reasonably compact. The virtue of PNG is that you can actually set transparent backgrounds and there's, there's a wider range of colors in that animated PNG format. We automatically send GIF files to Gmail recipients because Google and Gmail do not handle that animated PNG format very gracefully right now.

The common solution is to put GIF countdown timer in email, if the range of colors suits what you want to do design wise.

So that's basic configuration, set the time and time zone, set the colors, pick the style and off you go. And that generates, that generates a URL. When that URL is requested by someone opening an email, we actually generate the frames to count down the time until that timer has expired.

Now I'll talk about the option of parameterizing timers a bit. If you click on that small info icon, there's a little bit of built in documentation about the ways that a timer can be can be manipulated with parameters in the timer URL.

For example, if I want to change the foreground color because I've changed my mind, I'm using it in the trigger and afterwards I decide it would be better if it were really dark black, I might use a parameter to change the color to #000000. You can string together as many of those parameters as you want; change the alpha blending, change the foreground color, change the background color, change the time zone, expiration and so on.

The purpose of that is to allow smart and scripted use of countdown timers. We've had customers who set countdown timers that go out in follow up or trigger emails like abandoned cart. "You have three hours left to buy " for example. We can add additional parameters. Again, send us with your ideas and suggestions. I hope you found that helpful. Thanks.