Learn how to schedule a start date or date range for your variants.*
This article covers the setup of variant scheduling for content to appear at specific points in time. The following topics are included here:
- What is variant scheduling?
- How does variant scheduling work?
- How do I set up a variant schedule?
- How do scheduled variants appear?
What is variant scheduling?
Variant scheduling involves defining a specific time period for content to appear within pages, rows, and/or menus. A common use case is scheduling kids' content to be shown Monday-Friday in the afternoons for post-school viewing, or scheduling an alternate mid-week and weekend layout to reflect the weekly event calendar for a sporting competition.
Note: Scheduling does not control the underlying assets and when they're available to end-users. The availability of assets is linked to Offers, which we discuss with you during your project discovery phase.
How does variant scheduling work?
When you have multiple page variants set up, apps read the variants from right to left and then display the first available match for the user's profile, device, and settings. In other words, they'll check the device type, user group, language, segmentation tags, and dates configured for each variant until they land on the appropriate page to show the user.
With scheduling set, the page variants still read right to left, but it's only when the specified date and time range arrive that the scheduled content will be presented in the app and accessible to your end-users.
Page variant parameters will always override the variant parameters set at a row level (so if a page schedule has been set, it will be considered before the schedule of any individual rows that it contains). To ensure the availability of scheduled rows, therefore, we recommend adding them to existing pages that are already live.
How do I set up a variant schedule?
Follow the steps below to add a schedule to your page, row, or menu variant.
Note: End dates - by default, for performance reasons, page, menu, and row variant schedules automatically expire 3 years after the start date. This limit applies when you manually set an end date as well as when you use the default end date of Never, and includes both one-off and recurring schedules. It's important to be aware of this as once the end date has passed, the associated content is no longer visible to users in their apps. To make the expired page/variant available again, edit the existing schedules with a new date and re-publish the page.
To set a schedule for a page or menu variant, in the relevant variant tab, select Add Timeframe.*
This opens the Edit Timeframe window, where you can configure the dates, times, and the applicable timezone for your variant schedule.
To set a schedule for a row variant, start by clicking on the row tile to display the row details panel.
In the row details panel, select Add Timeframe* on the bottom left-hand side.
This opens the Edit Timeframe window, where you can configure the dates, times, and the required timezone for your row variant schedule.
*From AXIS 9.5, the Any Date → Edit link is renamed Add Timeframe.
Note: To avoid confusion over which variants are available, we advise having a precise naming system in place for variants with specific date schedules.
Determine a Start and an (optional) End date for your variant. By default, the start date is the current date, and the end date is set to Never (but note the 3-year cap mentioned above).
2. To specify your own start date or date period, click into the date field to open the calendar picker, or type a date directly into the field.
3. Click into the time field to scroll to the time you want to apply. Times can be set at 15-minute increments.
4. If relevant, enter the end date and time for the variant.
5. Use the Timezone selector to select a different timezone for the variant, if applicable.
6. To add a recurring date period, select the link to display additional options.
Choose the recurrence schedule options you want for the variant. Will it be shown: every day or only on specific days of the week; all day or only within certain hours, every week of the month, or at specific weekly intervals only.
To remove the recurrence, select the link.
6. To save your changes, select the button.
Once you've set a schedule for your variant, the details will appear underneath the parameter fields.
Note: When saving schedule changes on a pre-existing variant, you may receive the error: "Start date must not be in the past." This can happen either because the previously-set schedule starts in the past, or because a default Timeframe start date, corresponding to the date the variant was created, has been set.
To clear this error, simply click on the x in the Timeframe start field to reset it to today's date, or choose a start date in the future. We're looking into alternative ways of handling schedules on existing variants.
How do scheduled variants appear?
This image shows a schedule set on a page variant, with a defined start and end date. A menu variant schedule will look very similar.
This image shows a schedule set on a row variant. Here, an end date has been set, and the default start date is today.