Email preference centers

An email preference center is an Airship-hosted web page where your users can manage their opt-in statuses for the email subscription lists in your project.

First you create a preference center for email in the Settings section of your Airship project, then you design a web page using our drag-and-drop WYSISWYG editor and select a preference center to appear on the page. Then you can include a link to the web page when sending email, and your users access it like any other web page. How it works:

  • Design a preference center — Preference centers are made of page sections, each with an optional title and description. This page will be embedded in the web page you create.

    Add the text and sections you want in the page, and select at least one subscription list per section. You may also customize subscription list names and descriptions to override those from your project settings.

  • Design a web page — Include at least one Preference Center element in your web page, and select from your project’s email preference centers. You can customize loading and saving status text and button labels, and provide an Unsubscribe landing page URL.

  • Link — After you save the web page, copy its link and include it in emails you send from Airship. You can also test the appearance of the page in your web browser before adding it to an email.

  • Update — When a user follows the link from your email, the URL automatically inserts their Channel IDAn Airship-specific unique identifier used to address a channel instance, e.g., a smartphone, web browser, email address. and loads the web page, showing their email opt-in status for each email Subscription ListAn audience list of opted-in devices, browsers, email addresses, and/or phone numbers. in your project. When they change the opt-in status and submit the form, the status is updated in Airship for the email address the message was sent to.


If you want to change the name and description of a subscription list, you must edit the list itself; you cannot edit a subscription list when creating or editing a preference center. See: Managing subscription lists.

Creating an email preference center

First design the preference center in your project settings. Select Email for the preference center Type.

  1. Go to Settings » Project configuration » Preference Centers and click Manage.
  2. Click Create preference center.
  3. Provide the preference center details:
    • Name and Description — These appear in the Airship dashboard only. The preference center ID is automatically generated based on the name.
      • An ID will not generate for a name that contains only numbers and/or special characters.
      • If the name starts with a number and/or special characters, the generated ID omits the leading numbers and/or special characters.
      • Uppercase letters in the name are converted to lowercase in the ID.
      • Special characters in the name are converted to underscores in the ID and only appear if followed by numbers or letters.
    • Type — Options: Mobile App, Web, Email.
    • ID — You can enter your own ID instead of using the auto-generated one, using letters, numbers, and underscores. The ID must start with a letter and end with a letter or number. You cannot change the ID later.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. (Optional) Enter a title and description for the preference center.
    • For apps, these appear in the navigation bar at the top of your preference center. If you do not enter a title, the default title Notifications appears.
    • For web, your developer can control how these appear (or do not appear) in the preference center on your website.
    • For email, the title is a level-one HTML heading (<h1>), and the description is an HTML paragraph (<p>). They inherit whatever styles apply more generally from the surrounding page.
  6. (Optional) Enter a header and description for the page section. These appear above the subscription lists you add to the section. You may want to group related lists under a single header for better organization of your preference center.
    • For web, your developer can control how these appear (or do not appear) in the preference center on your website.
    • For email, the header is a level-two HTML heading (<h2>), and the description is an HTML paragraph (<p>).
  7. Search for and select a subscription list. Repeat to add multiple lists.
    • Click   next to a list to edit the list name and description, or to remove the list from the section. Edits to the name and description appear in the preference center only.
  8. Click   Add another section to add multiple page sections. Click   to reorder or remove or remove a page section.
  9. Click Save and publish.

Now design the web page and select from the email preference centers in your project.

  1. Go to Messages » Content » Web Pages and click Create web page.
  2. Enter a name and description for your preference center, and click Continue. These fields are for use within the Airship dashboard only and do not appear in your form. Description is optional.
  3. Click Add   for HTML and select a default or saved layout, or select Blank Layout to design your own; you can edit any layout after selecting. Then design your form. See the WYSIWYG Editor for details.
    • Your layout must include at least one Preference Center element.
    • Personalization is not supported.
    • A placeholder is shown within the WYSIWYG editor, not your actual subscription lists.
    • Click Preview to see how the web page will appear on desktop and mobile devices.
  4. Click Done when you are finished designing the page.
  5. Click Save web page, and you will return to the list of all your web pages.

Testing the appearance of an email preference center

You can see how your preference center will appear to your users, including the actual subscription lists in your project.

To test the full user experience, send an email to yourself that contains your preference center link. First create a Test GroupA preview group is an audience group you create for previewing personalized content in the dashboard. Wherever a personalization preview is available, you can select a preview group, and those users' attributes will appear for any Handlebars references to attributes. You can enable any preview group as a test group so the users can receive test messages sent to the group. These messages appear as tests in Messages Overview. , adding yourself as a member using your email address, then follow these steps.


If you intend to send the message to your users immediately, use the Send Test option in the Review step instead.

  1. Go to Messages » Content » Web Pages.
  2. Click   for a preference center to copy its URL.
  3. Click   and select the Message composer.
    • In the Audience step, enable the Email channel, then select Test Users, enter your test group name, and select from the results.
    • In the Content step, include the preference center link in the body of the email.
    • In the Delivery step, select Send Now.
  4. After sending, check your email for your test message, and click the preference center link.

To test the form without sending a message, add a Channel IDAn Airship-specific unique identifier used to address a channel instance, e.g., a smartphone, web browser, email address. to the preference center’s URL:


Interacting with the form will apply changes to the channel ID you use for testing.

  1. Go to Messages » Content » Web Pages.
  2. Click   for a preference center to copy its URL.
  3. Paste the URL in your browser’s address bar, replace {{$}} with an actual channel ID, and hit Enter on your keyboard.

You should now see your rendered preference center.

Linking to a preference center in an email

Add the URL for your preference center to your email messages or to Content TemplatesReusable message content that saves you the trouble of having to rewrite a message. Templates support merge fields and other logic, letting you personalize the resulting messages. for email. You must send your email using Airship; the preference center will not load for a user if sent from a system other than Airship. To get the URL:

  1. Go to Messages » Content » Web Pages.
  2. Click   for a preference center to copy its URL.

Managing email preference centers

Your email preference centers are listed in Messages » Content » Web Pages.

  • Search — You can search by name.
  • Sort — The default sort order is most recently modified first. Click a column header to sort by name, date created, or date modified.
  • Edit — Click  . You can change the name and description, and edit the form’s HTML.
  • Duplicate — Click   and enter a new name and description. The name field is the original web page name with " - Copy" appended. Then click Continue, complete your design, and save the web page.
  • Delete — Click  . Deleting a web page invalidates its URL. Consider editing the web page if you want to keep the link active in emails you have already sent.