About automation

Automation is a set of conditions that your audience must meet before they receive a message.

Automation is initiated by a trigger, such as a tag change, entering or exiting a location, or inactivity. You can further refine your audience with Cancellation EventsCustom events that prevent an automation, sequence, in-app automation, scene, or survey from sending/displaying if they occur while the automation (or other) is in a delay period. and ConditionsChannel-, subscription-, or segment-based requirements for members of your audience to receive a message from an automation or sequence. The message is not sent if your conditions are not met..

It may be helpful to think of automation as an order form for messages, or even a fulfillment of messages — once the conditions are set, Airship looks for the triggers that you define and delivers the messages according to the rules you put in place.

There are many uses for automation:

  • Schedule a specific message to be sent to users who are predicted to delete your app, and a different message to your most loyal users.
  • Send a “How was your visit?” message 24 hours after a mobile device enters a defined location.
  • Send a Thank You message when a user opts in to web notifications in their browser.
  • Send a web push notification to users who haven’t visited your website for five days.

You can set up automation in the dashboard or the API. Automation supports all channels and message types.

See also: Configure Triggers.

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. They are set at the project level.

Rule limits cap the number of messages a user can receive from an automation within a time frame, preventing you from over-messaging your audience, e.g., a maximum of 1 per day. Rule limits are set per automation.


Frequency limits determine the number of messages you can send. They do not determine the total number of automations your project supports. You can view the number of Active and Total automations in your project in Messages OverviewA view of all your project’s messages, with options for editing their settings, content, status, and more..

Custom Event Automation and Templates

You can trigger automation based on Custom EventsEvents 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, including Sequences, Scenes, and Surveys. 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.. When you set up automation using the Custom Event trigger, you can reference event properties in your message using Airship’s 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. syntax.

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 purchase}}
{{qty}}x  {{per}}  {{item}} = {{this.total}}
total: ${{total}}

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