Automations Overview

An overview of automations and where to start.

Updated over a week ago

Overview of Automations

What Is An Automation?

An automation is an automated sequence of actions that start with a trigger. An automation can trigger a contact to enter a sequence to send emails, SMS messages, postcards, and more.

In the image below, there is a start trigger followed actions such as wait steps, wait conditions, an email, more wait steps, and finally a goal/conversion step before ending the sequence.

Automation Start Triggers

  1. Unsubscribes from a list - This trigger initiates your automation whenever an unsubscribe occurs, which can be initiated either by the contact themselves (such as clicking an unsubscribe link in an automated email) or by you through the "Unsubscribe" automation action or manual removal from lists.

  2. Submits a form - This trigger starts automation upon a contact's submission of a form, allowing you to specify whether it activates with any form submission or only certain designated forms; for multiple specific forms, you'd create individual triggers.

  3. Opens/reads an email - This trigger enables the start of automation upon a contact's interaction with a campaign or 1:1 email, without requiring an email account connection to Deals.

  4. Clicks a link in an email - This trigger initiates an automation when a contact clicks a link in a campaign or 1:1 sales email.

  5. Web page is visited - This trigger starts an automation when a web page is visited, allowing you to choose a specific page, any page, or a group of pages.

  6. Event is recorded - This trigger initiates an automation when a contact engages in a customized event you define, utilizing Event Tracking to monitor and respond to activities on your website or within your app.

  7. Shares an email - This trigger initiates an automation when a contact clicks a social share link in a campaign or automation email with enabled link tracking, allowing you to specify the triggering campaign, list, and social network.

  8. Forwards an email - This trigger starts an automation when a contact submits the "forward-to-a-friend" form from a campaign or automation email.

  9. Replies to an email - This trigger allows you to initiate an automation when a contact responds to a campaign or a 1:1 sales email.

  10. Tag is added - This trigger starts an automation when a designated tag is applied to a contact, which can be done through various methods including the contact's profile page, import, automation action, bulk edit, form action, or third-party integration.

  11. Tag is removed - This trigger initiates an automation when a specified tag is removed from a contact.

  12. Field Changes - This trigger starts an automation when a designated field is updated, covering both contact and deal fields (excluding the email address field).

  13. Goal is achieved - This trigger initiates an automation when a specified goal is either achieved or skipped.

  14. Date Based - This trigger commences an automation based on a specified date-based field, allowing you to set it to activate before, on, or after the specified date, and contacts meeting this date requirement are automatically included in the automation.

  15. RSS based - This trigger initiates an automation upon the update of an RSS feed, with configurable settings for update frequency, item count triggering, and the option to include all contacts or a specific segment.

  16. Dismisses a Site Message - This trigger starts an automation when a contact closes the initial view of a specified Site Message.

  17. Conversion occurs - This trigger initiates an automation when a contact activates a specified conversion.

  18. Makes a purchase - This trigger starts an automation when a contact makes a purchase in your e-commerce store, allowing you to decide whether it activates on any purchase or specifically when a certain product is bought, and covering orders with various statuses including successfully paid, pending, or failed.

  19. Abandons Cart - This trigger initiates an automation when a contact abandons their cart in your connected e-commerce store, allowing you to define the triggering conditions such as the store, product, category, or cart value.

  20. Score changes - This trigger starts an automation when a Contact or Deal score reaches a specified level, either above or below.

  21. Enters a pipeline - This trigger initiates an automation when a deal enters a designated pipeline.

  22. Deal stage changes - This trigger starts the automation when the stage of a deal changes, allowing you to define specific movements between stages within a designated pipeline.

  23. Deal status changes - This trigger initiates the automation when the status of a deal changes, with possible statuses including "Open," "Won," or "Lost."

  24. Sentiment changes - The automation is initiated when the sentiment for a deal email shifts.

  25. Deal Value changes - This trigger initiates the automation when the value of a pre-existing deal is modified, allowing you to specify a currency and initial and final values for the field.

  26. Deal Owner changes - This trigger initiates the automation when the ownership of a deal transitions between individuals, allowing you to define both the initial and final Deal Owners as "Any" or specific values.

  27. Task is completed - This trigger commences the automation upon the completion of a Deal or Contact task, giving you the option to trigger it for either all completed tasks or segment specific completed tasks.

  28. Order is updated - This trigger initiates the automation when an order in your linked ecommerce store transitions between statuses, allowing you to designate both the initial and updated statuses.

Automation Action Steps

  1. Sending options - Actions within this category enable you to dispatch messages.

    • Send an email - This action automates campaigns for contacts in this step, allowing email design and timed delivery with a preceding wait condition, requiring a contact's email address and list subscription.

    • Send a 1:1 email - This automation action sends personalized emails from connected addresses, particularly useful for sales-oriented users reaching non-subscribers. Upon connecting an email in Deals > Connected Emails, you can set a Preferred Email Address, affecting %deal_owner_email% as the sender in automated 1:1 emails, though other connected accounts can be selected too.

    • Send a site message - This action shows messages to opted-in contacts on specific or all site pages, useful for promotions or offers, requiring active site tracking for use.

    • Send an SMS - Upon contact reaching this automation step, a text message will be sent.

    • Send a notification email - This action sends notification emails for specified actions within your company.

  2. Conditions and Workflow - These actions add logic and manage automations. Note, Apple Mail users on iOS 15 with Mail Privacy Protection may not meet conditions for Conditional Wait, If/Else, Split, or Goal actions involving "Has opened" or "Has not opened."

    • Wait - It pauses contact progress, allowing a specified waiting time before the next action.

      • Two wait actions are available:

        • Timed wait: Contacts pause for a specified time, then continue automation.

        • Conditional wait: Contacts pause until conditions are met, with a time limit if conditions aren't fulfilled.

    • If/Else - This action divides automation: "Yes" path for matching conditions, "No" path for non-matching, set with segment builder. This action enables varied treatment based on segment builder conditions, including actions, tags, custom fields, Site & Event Tracking, 1:1 engagement, etc.

    • Split - This action forms split test automation with even or conditional splits based on segment builder conditions.

      • Two split action types:

        • Even split: Traditional A/B test for winning path.

        • Conditional split: Routes contacts based on conditions, not traditional, no determined winning path; conditions created using segment builder.

    • Go to - This action shifts contacts to different steps, useful for returning to branches or forming loops.

    • Goal - The "Goal" action lets contacts leap to a goal step if conditions are met, created with segment builder, useful for starting automations, sending targeted messages, adjusting scores, and adding contacts to specific automation steps.

    • Start an automation - The action begins a specified automation when a contact reaches the step.

    • End this automation - It signifies the automation's conclusion, though the automation also naturally ends when reaching its last step; this action serves as a note that no further steps remain for the contact.

    • End other automation - It is an action that halts contact progression through all or specified automation.

    • Webhook - The "Webhook" action sends external app commands via webhook, automating tasks beyond ActiveCampaign; e.g., generating a support account on helpdesk software for new orders.

    • Perform Math - "Perform Math" action calculates on custom contact or deal fields; adjust values with add, subtract, multiply, or divide functions. Available to Sales Plus, Professional, or Enterprise plan users for custom deal fields.

  3. Contacts - These actions pertain to contact management.

    • Subscribe - This is an action that enrolls contact in a list, granting "Active" status; refer to "Contact statuses explained" for further details.

    • Unsubscribe - It removes contact from a list; e.g., transition from "prospect" to "customer" list after an order via the "Subscribe" action.

    • Update a contact - It adds data to the contact record, e.g., update the "Status" field to "Promoter" when the campaign is shared on social media.

    • Add a tag - This action tags contacts upon reaching this step.

    • Remove a tag - This action will remove a tag from a contact when they reach this step.

    • Add a note - The "Add note" action appends notes to contact records, aiding marketing and sales processes, and providing insights for Sales to enhance engagement and close sales.

    • Add to Facebook Custom Audience - Available with Facebook Custom Audience integration, this action adds contacts to specified or new audiences, creating "Customer List" subtype if a new audience is made.

    • Remove from Facebook Custom Audience - Available with Facebook Custom Audience integration, this action removes contacts from specified audiences.

    • Adjust a contact score - This action modifies the contact score based on behavior; increase for sales-ready actions, decrease for lack of engagement or unsubscribes; set specific value, or reset the score to 0.

    • Convert - The "Convert" action lets contacts trigger conversions within automations, selecting existing or new conversions.

  4. CRM - This category gives you a variety of actions related to managing deals.

    • Add a deal - This action generates opportunity records, creating deals for sales-ready contacts, often paired with a "Score changes" trigger to automatically create deals when a contact's score reaches a threshold.

    • Update a title - This action will edit a deal’s title.

    • Update a status - This action alters deal status to "Open," "Won," or "Lost," suitable for marking deals as "Won" after the associated contact makes a purchase.

    • Update a deal owner - This action reassigns deal ownership, useful for transitioning ownership during deal progression, such as handing off to a seasoned sales representative for closing.

    • Update a value - This action changes a deal's estimated value.

    • Update a stage - This action advances a deal to a different pipeline stage, essential for automating sales processes; particularly handy when contacts exhibit specific behaviors, moving them further along the pipeline.

    • Update a custom field- This action modifies a custom deal field's value, allowing automated updates, data copying, or value clearing for the field.

    • Update an account field - This action adds/modifies an account field value, useful for custom field data addition.

    • Add Account Note - This action appends notes to account records, utilizing personalization tags for dynamic values, triggered upon contact reaching this step in automation.

    • Update an account owner - This action alters account ownership when contacts progress through it in automation, facilitating shifts between roles or due to contact changes.

    • Send a 1:1 email - Send personalized 1:1 emails via automation using any connected email; set Preferred Email Address with %deal_owner_email% as sender. Different connected emails can also be chosen from the dropdown. Connect email in Deals > Connected Emails, set Preferred Email Address; %deal_owner_email% as "From Email" in 1:1 Email shows Preferred Address in all such emails, or choose other connected emails from dropdown.

    • Add a deal task - "Add a deal task" action generates tasks for Deals, enhancing organization and preventing oversight; automates task addition as pipeline stage changes, assigning to authorized users for comprehensive task management.

    • Add a note - This action appends notes to deal records, similar to the "Add note" action for contacts.

    • Complete a task - The "Complete task" action marks tasks as done, aiding organization by automating task closure upon specified behaviors.

    • Adjust a deal score - This action adjusts the deal score up/down; you can set a specific value or reset the contact score to 0.

    • Add Contact to Account - "Add Contact to Account" action forms/assign contacts to new/existing accounts; streamline data hygiene, link contacts, and accounts automatically.

  5. Salesforce - This category gives you a variety of actions related to creating contacts and leads in Salesforce.

    • Create a contact in Salesforce - Upon reaching this step, contacts are added to your Salesforce account as new contacts.

    • Create a lead in Salesforce - When a contact reaches this step in your automation, they will be added to your Salesforce account as a lead.

    • Add Contact to Salesforce campaign - When a lead contact reaches this step in your ActiveCampaign automation, they will be added to your Salesforce campaign.

    6. CX Apps - This category offers branded actions through 3rd party apps/integrations in automation, like adding contacts to Google Sheets, sending SMS via Twilio, updating Zendesk Sell contacts, etc. Setup guidance is provided for integrating your account with each action.

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