About Journeys

A journey is a series of messages that are initiated by a single automation trigger.


Email Airship Sales about enabling Journeys for your account.

Think of a journey as a timeline, with each message in the journey separated by some amount of time. Airship sends the messages in a journey to your audience in order, as long as your audience continues to meet the conditions to receive messages in the journey.

You can set the events and conditions that will cause a user to exit a journey and prevent Airship from delivering the remaining messages:

  • Conversion or Cancellation events: You can specify events that will cause a user to exit the journey without receiving the remaining messages. These events have the same effect on a journey, but the classifications Conversion and Cancellation are used for reporting and mapping. Examples:

    • Abandoned cart: Create a series of reminder messages, and cancel the journey if the user completes a purchase.

    • Introduce new feature: Create a series educating users about a new feature, and cancel the journey if the user engages with the feature.

  • Message conditions: For each message in a journey, you can set ConditionsTag-, channel-, or subscription-based requirements for members of your audience to receive a message from an automation or journey. The message is not sent if your conditions are not met. that determine the continuation of the series.

You can link journeys together by routing users to a new (downstream) journey. Users will automatically start the downstream journey when they complete the current journey, or when they encounter a conversion or cancellation event.

You can create journeys in the dashboard. Journeys support all channels and message types.

Message frequency limits

Message limits cap the number of messages you can send within a specified time frame, preventing you from over-messaging your users. Message limits are set at the project level.

Rule limits cap the number of times a named user can trigger a journey, preventing you from over-messaging your audience, e.g., a maximum of 1 per day. Rule limits are set per journey and apply at the named user level.


Automation and journey limits determine the total number of messages you can send. They do not determine the total number of active journeys and automations your project supports. The total number of active automations you have appear under Messages » Messages Overview » Ongoing.

Personalizing the messages in a journey

You can personalize messages in journeys using AttributesMetadata that you can use for audience segmentation. Attributes differ from tags in that when evaluating users with attributes, Airship uses operators, e.g., equals, less than/greater than, contains, before/after, to determine whether or not to target a user. Supported attribute types are TEXT, NUMBER, and DATE. or Custom EventEvents that indicate that a user performed a predefined action, such as adding an item to a shopping cart, viewing a screen, or clicking an Unsubscribe button. Custom events can trigger automation and journeys. You can code them into your app or website, or send them to Airship from an external source using the custom event API. Custom events contain properties that you can use to personalize messages. properties if you set up a journey using the Custom Event trigger. In both cases, you can reference variables using HandlebarsHandlebars is Airship’s templating language for personalization. Handlebars expressions use double curly braces wrapped around a content template, ranging from a simple variable, e.g., {{first_name}} to complex evaluations of personalization data. to personalize the message for each member of your audience. If you set up templates, you can reference your templates when setting up messages in the journey.

For example, if your events have a property called name, you would add it to your message or template using {{name}}.


Custom event properties used to be referenced in the $data.events.[0].properties namespace. If you have templates referencing properties in this namespace, they’ll still work, but you’ll have to continue using this namespace until you contact Airship and move over to the simplified namespace for custom event properties.

You can personalize a message using both attributes and custom event properties. If both an attribute and a custom event property have the same name, Airship will attempt to use the custom event property — the most recent property — to personalize the message.

For example, if you have a custom event representing a purchase, you can send an automated message confirming the purchase and providing information about what the user bought.

Custom Event

   "occurred": "{{event_time}}",
   "user": {
      "named_user_id": "user"
   "body": {
        "name": "purchase",
        "subscribe": true,
        "properties": {
            "customer_name": "user",
            "total": 48,
            "cost_units": "USD",
            "purchase": [
                    "qty": 4,
                    "item": "MLB regulation baseball",
                    "per": "$12",
                    "total": "$48"

Message Content

Hi {{$def customer_name "valued customer"}}!

Thanks for your purchase of:
{{#each purchased}}
{{qty}}x  {{per}}  {{item}} = {{this.total}}
total: ${{total}}

Is being processed. We'll message you again when it ships!

Cross-channel retargeting

Cross-channel retargeting is a method for sending messages in a journey to selected channels based on behavior in a different channel. For example, you can send an email based on an app tag change or when a user taps a push notification.


If you are retargeting based on interaction with a message, the first message for retargeting must be a push notification, in-app message, or web push notification.

You can also apply Channel CoordinationA group of strategies you can use to target users where they are most likely to receive your message. and Predictive ChurnAnalyzes your audience for users that exhibit behaviors indicating they are likely to become inactive, and tags the users as High, Medium, or Low Risk. for more complex retargeting.


  • Retail: When a user becomes high risk for churn, send messages with increasing discounts to email, SMS, web, and app channels, to entice them back to your app or website. Channel coordination strategy: Fan OutA channel coordination strategy that targets a named user on all the channels they are opted in to, maximizing the chances they receive your message. .

  • Travel: When a user purchases a flight, send promotions for preferred seating and lounge passes to the channel where the user purchased the ticket (i.e., where the event originated from). Channel coordination strategy: Originating ChannelA channel coordination strategy that targets a named user on the channel that triggered the journey. .


Channel coordination requires Orchestration or Predictive Churn. Please contact Airship Sales to enable them for your account.