Automation Composer Tutorial

Use the Automation composer to automatically send messages to users when predefined conditions are met.

See the Message Reference for allowed message types and combinations. See also: Message and Composer Types and Composer Overview.


You can configure the default appearance of your In-App Messages in Settings » Configuration » In-App Message Design. This includes button text and message color, screen position, and more.


  1. Open your messaging project, then click Create and select Automation.

  2. (Optional) Add a message name and/or flag the message as a test.

    1. Click in the header.
    2. Enter the name.
    3. Enable the Test toggle.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.

  3. Enter a descriptive Automation Name if you did not enter a name in the previous step.

  4. Select a trigger and configure options. The Options section appears after you select a trigger.


    If you set your automation to use the Event trigger, you can either use a template, or access event properties in your message in the $[0].properties namespace.


    The only triggers allowed for SMS, Email, and Open Channels are First Seen, Tag Change, and Custom Event.

  5. (Optional) Modify which Channels are included in your audience. Available channels are based on trigger selection. You must select at least one.


    Features and options are reduced to those common to all selected channels.

  6. Click Content in the header to move on.


Message content options may change based on the channels and message types you select. When you combine app, SMS, email, web, or open channels, you will configure content for each channel type in separate tabs.

  1. Choose a message type or message format. The selection screen varies depending on your selected channels and if you have configured templates. If using a template, follow the steps in Use an Automation Template instead.

    When Web Browser, an Open Channel, and/or Windows is the only enabled channel, the only available message type is Push Notification.

  2. Enter the text that will display in your message. A preview will display as you type.

    If you combine a Push Notification and In-App Message, an In-App Message Text section appears below the message truncation indicator. By default, the In-App Message's alert text is the same as the Push Notification text. If want to use a different message, select Write Alternative and enter your text.

  3. Select a Message Action A behavior that occurs when a user interacts with your message. from the dropdown menu. For Landing Page and Message Center, follow the steps in Create Rich Pages.

    The Message Actions listed in the dropdown menu differ depending on which message type you chose and if you chose to combine message types. See: Message Reference: Actions.

  4. Optionally Set a tag.


    Named user event automation does not support tag operations. Do not set tags in an automation pipeline with custom event triggers attributed to named users. A named user event automation pipeline that attempts to use the Set a Tag feature will not run.

  5. Set Optional Features.

  6. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

Use an Automation Template

You can use a template for your automation if you use the Event trigger. For Android, iOS, and Amazon channels, you must send a push notification by itself to use a template.

Make sure that your template is set up to support automation and accesses event properties in the $[0].properties namespace. If you use a template that is not configured specifically for automation, your message will not be personalized for your audience and may not make sense to recipients.


Label your automation templates to differentiate them from non-automation templates. Because you personalize automated messages with variables in a different namespace than non-automated messages, you wouldn't want to reuse a template designed for automation in a standard message.

In the Content step:

  1. Select a Template message type. For your App channel, select Push Notification and then click Select an Existing Template.

  2. Select the template you want to use for your message and click Continue with Selected Template.

  3. (Optional) Select a Message Action A behavior that occurs when a user interacts with your message. if available for your channel.

  4. (Optional) Set Optional Features for your message. The list of available features differ by channel type.

  5. Click Delivery in the header to move on.


  1. Configure the delivery Timing. Optionally set a delay, and select from the dropdown menu. Delivery will be after the trigger occurs and delay has elapsed. If you enable a delay, "after delay" is appended to each choice listed in the dropdown menu.
    • Delay specifies a waiting period after the trigger occurs and before the message is sent. Toggle to enable, then enter a value for your dropdown choice of Minutes, Hours, or Days. The maximum delay period is 90 days.

      Delay is required for First Seen triggers, with a minimum delay of one hour to ensure delivery.

    • Send immediately: Your message will send as soon as the rule is evaluated, though after a delay, if specified.

    • Schedule: Choose an exact time of day to send the message. The system chooses the first appropriate scheduled time after the triggering event and after a configured delay period has elapsed. All messages are delivered in the device’s local time zone.

      Check the box per day of the week, or All days. Click and drag the circle on the timeline to select delivery time. Hours are in 15-minute divisions. If you would like to deliver the message at multiple hours of a day on multiple days of the week, click Add Another and continue with your specifications.

    • Send during available window: Configure message delivery windows by specifying valid hours of the day and days of the week. If no delay is configured and the triggering event falls within an available window, the message will be delivered immediately. If a delay is configured, the system evaluates for an available window the moment the delay period has elapsed.

      Check the box per day of the week, or All days. Click and drag the circle on the timeline to constrain the delivery window. Hours are in 15 minute divisions. If you would like to define multiple windows for delivery, e.g., to support separate hours during weekdays vs. weekends, click Add Another and continue with your specifications.

      If the triggering event (plus delay, if specified) falls outside of an available window, by default it will deliver the message during the next available window. You may choose to discard the message by selecting the radio button for Do not send.


      It may take a few minutes for Airship to process which time zone a device is in upon first registration, and we default to not sending to devices whose time zone is unknown. Including a delay with a Schedule/"Send during available window" automation may help with this and is highly recommended for messages that are intended to be sent shortly after first app open.

  2. Set Optional Features.

  3. Click Review in the header to move on.


  1. Review the device preview and message summary. Click the arrows to page through the various previews. The channel and display type dynamically update in the dropdown menu above. You can also select a preview directly from the dropdown menu.
    If you would like to make changes, click the associated step in the header, make your changes, then return to Review.

  2. Choose whether to create this Automated message as Active or Paused. Select Paused if you’d like to create the message but aren’t quite ready to activate it.

    Toggle to choose the desired Active/Paused state. After starting the rule, you can edit automation status at any time.

  3. Click Start Automation.