Automation Composer Tutorial

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

See also: Automation feature guide and the Composer Overview.

 Tip

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. Click Create and select Automation.

  2. Complete the automation Setup.

    1. Enter a descriptive Automation Name.

    2. Select and configure the trigger that will initiate your automation.

      Custom Event

      The Custom Event trigger initiates an automation or journey when a custom event associated with members of your audience occurs. See: Custom Events.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Custom Event trigger.
      2. Use the Events box to find an event, then click to select from the listed results. The search shows events that occurred in the last 30 days. If the event name you search for does not appear, click Use [search term] to use the event name as typed.
      3. (Optional) Click Add Another to add more events. Airship handles multiple events as a boolean OR.
       Tip

      If you are a Radar customer and have configured the Airship and Radar integration, Radar location events and properties will be available for use with the Custom Event trigger. See Location Triggers for more information and the Location Triggers Tutorial for detailed usage steps.

      First Seen

      The First Seen trigger initiates an automation or journey when members of your audience opt in to notifications or open your app for the first time. The behavior of the First Seen trigger varies by channel:

      • Apps: Triggers the automation or journey when users first open your app.
      • Web, SMS, and open channels: Triggers the automation or journey when users opt in to notifications.
      • Email: Triggers the automation or journey when users opt in to commercial notifications.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey, select the First Seen trigger.

       Important

      Inactivity

      The Inactivity trigger initiates an automation or journey when a member of your audience does not use your app or website for a period of time. The inactivity period begins the later of a) the creation time of the automation or journey, or b) the last app or website activity by the user.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Inactivity trigger.
      2. Enter the period of inactivity in days.
      Location

      The Location trigger initiates an automation or journey based on an audience member’s device location. You can select a maximum of 20 locations per automation or journey.

       Note

      • The Location trigger requires Gimbal integration.
      • The Location trigger is not supported for web push notifications.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Location trigger.

      2. Click Select a Location.

      3. Enter a search term. Results, if any, display on the map and are listed on the Results tab.

        There are two types of locations available for selection: geofences and beacons. Click a result for a detailed view of a location.

        If selecting a geofence, the map will zoom to the selected location. Click and drag, and use the **+/-** zoom controls to change the displayed area.
      4. On the Results tab, check the box next to the locations you want to use as the trigger.

      5. Review the Selections tab, then click Save and continue.

      6. (Optional) Click Select a Location to add more locations.

      7. Choose whether to trigger your automation or journey when the user enters or exits a location.

      Location Attributes

      The Location Attributes trigger initiates an automation or journey based on key/value pair metadata associated with a particular location.

      You can add a maximum of 50 location attributes per automation or journey.

       Note

      • The Location Attributes trigger requires Gimbal integration. It is not supported for web push notifications.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Location Attributes trigger.

      2. Enter a key/value pair for the location you want to use as the message trigger.
      3. (Optional) Click   to add an alternative location attribute.

      4. (Optional) Click Add Another to add more location attributes.

      5. Select ALL/ANY to determine how to evaluate multiple location attributes and alternatives within each location attribute.

        • ALL = all criteria must be met (boolean AND)
        • ANY = any criteria must be met (boolean OR)
         Note

        By default, the automation or journey is triggered if the audience meets ALL the location attributes. For example, if you selected ALL, with attributes half_off and has_cafe, you’d only reach users who enter or exit locations that meet both conditions. If you select ANY, you’d reach all users who enter a location running a half-off campaign as well as all users who enter a location that has a cafe.

      6. Choose whether to trigger your automation or journey when the user enters or exits a location.

      Predicted to Churn

      The Predicted to Churn trigger initiates an automation or journey when Airship predicts an audience member’s likelihood of becoming inactive, or churning. Predictive Churn analyzes your audience for users that exhibit behaviors indicating they are likely to become inactive, and tags the users as High, Medium, or Low Risk.

       Note

      • Predictive Churn tags are available to customers who purchase predictive analytics as an add-on to either a Performance Analytics or Real-Time Data Streaming pricing plan. Contact Airship Sales for details.
      • Go to Settings » Configuration » Predictive AI to enable Predictive Churn features.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Predicted to Churn trigger.

      2. Select a risk profile.

        • High risk: Users most likely to become inactive.
        • Medium risk: Users who exhibit signs of potentially becoming inactive.
        • Low risk: Users least likely to become inactive.
      3. Choose whether to apply the trigger when the risk is added or removed.

      Tag Change

      The Tag Change trigger initiates an automation or journey when a tag is added or removed from a device.

      In the Setup step in an automation or Trigger step in a journey:

      1. Select the Tag Change trigger.
      2. Use the Tags box to search for a tag. If the tag you search for does not appear, click Create [search term] to create a new tag.
      3. Choose whether to apply the trigger when the tag is added or removed.

       Tip

      If you set your automation to use the Custom Event trigger, you can personalize your message (or use a message template) with custom event properties . See Use an Automation Template below.

       Note

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

    3. Set trigger options.
      Rule Limits

      Rule limits cap the number of messages a named user can receive from an automation within a time frame, preventing you from over-messaging your audience. Rule limits are set per automation and apply at the named user level. Rule Limits appears in the Options section after you select your trigger.

      After configuring your trigger in the Setup step in an automation:

      1. Enable Rule Limits.
      2. Click Add a Daily Limit and/or Add an All-Time Limit and enter the maximum number of times a named user can trigger your automation.

      Your project-level Automation LimitsLimits that cap the number of automated messages a named user can receive within a time frame, preventing you from over-messaging your audience. Each automation and message in a journey counts toward the automation limit. Automation limits are set at the project level. and a link to edit those limits appear at the bottom of the pane.

      Conditions

      Conditions are tags that must or must not be present on a device (or channel_id) 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. You can search for tags, tag groups, Predicted to Churn risk profiles, and device property tags.

      In an automation, Conditions appears in the Options section after you select your trigger, and you must enable the option before you can configure it. In a journey, Conditions are on the first screen when composing a message.

      After configuring your trigger in the Setup step in an automation or when composing a message in a journey:

      1. Choose whether Any or All of the tag conditions must be satisfied before the message is sent.
      2. Choose whether audience members must have or not have the tag to receive the message.
        • Has: The device must have the tag to receive the message.
        • Doesn’t Have: The device must not have the tag to receive the message.
      3. Use the Tags box to search for a tag. To filter results, click   and select Tags or a specific tag group. From the search results box, you can:
        • Select a tag. A tag’s tag group, if any, is listed below the tag name.
        • Select a tag group from the dropdown menu.
        • Click   to create a new tag.
      4. (Optional) Click Add another condition to add more conditions.
      Cancellation Events

      Cancellation events are events that prevent an automation from sending a message if a custom event occurs while the automation is in a delay period. Cancellation Events is in the Options section after you select your trigger. Not supported for the Inactivity trigger.

      After configuring your trigger in the Setup step in an automation:

      1. Enable Cancellation Events.
      2. Complete the same workflow used for the Custom Event trigger. This includes the option to filter the cancellation events.
       Important

      Cancellation events require a delay of at least one hour to ensure that there is time for the cancellation event to occur after the original triggering event occurs. In the Delivery step in an automation, you must specify a delay of at least one hour.

    4. Set the ChannelsA communication medium supported by the Airship service. Supported channels include app, web, email, SMS, and Open Channels. Within some channels there may be specific platforms with individual characteristics. Example platforms include Chrome for the web channel and Android for the mobile app channel. that you want to send messages to. Available channels are based on your trigger. Features and options available in the composer are reduced to those common to the channels you select.

    5. Click Content in the header to move on.

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

    1. Choose a message type or message format, then click Add Content.

      The message type selection screen only appears if:

      • You selected app channels.
      • You selected the SMS channel and your project is also configured for MMS.
      • Your project contains templates. If using a template, follow the steps in Use an Automation Template.
    2. Enter your message text.

      For app channels, when you combine a push notification and in-app message, the in-app message’s alert text is the same as the push notification text by default. To use different messages, select Write Alternative for In-App Message Text and enter your text.

    3. (App and web channels only) Select a message action. Available actions depend on the message type(s) you selected.

      Adaptive Link

      Adaptive Link opens a mobile wallet pass. Select an Adaptive LinkA mobile wallet pass link that supports templates for both Google Pay and Apple Wallet. When a user taps the link, Airship determines the user’s platform and generates the right pass for the user. from the list.

      • Adaptive links must be configured before they will appear in the actions list. See: Adaptive Links Tutorial.
      • Only adaptive links created in the dashboard will appear in the actions list.
      Deep Link

      Deep Link opens a screen in your app or website. Select a deep link from the list.

      Home Home opens your app’s home screen. For web push notifications it opens your Default Action URL. You can override the default URL by selecting the Web Page action and entering a different URL.
      Landing Page

      Landing Page opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that appears until it is closed. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.

       Note

      The default behavior in the iOS SDK is to not display the landing page when the corresponding push notification is received while the app is in the foreground state. The logic behind this behavior is that you may not wish to interrupt or distract a user who is currently occupied with the app, only to ask them to visit a different part of the app.

      If you need to display a landing page while the app is in the foreground state, replace the registry predicate associated with that action with one that allows foreground execution.

      In the Airship SDK, this relative state between what the app is doing now and how the action was invoked is known as a situation, or more properly, UASituation . Other examples of situations besides foreground state include background push and app launched from push notification.

      See UAActionArguments for more detail on the methods involved with this display behavior.

      Message Center Message Center opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that is saved in the user’s Message CenterA place in your app where you can display persistent rich messages, including HTML, video, etc. Similar to email, Message Center represents both the medium (the in-app inbox) and the message type (the messages you send to the inbox). inbox. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.
      Share Share prompts the user to share your message with apps, social media accounts, and other services. Enter the text you want to accompany the share, including any promotional information, shortened links, hashtags, etc.
      Web Page Web Page opens a web page or any valid-device level URL such as App Store or app protocol links. The web page opens in the device’s default browser. Enter a URL.

      Use HandlebarsAirship’s message personalization syntax using double curly braces, more commonly known as {{handlebars}}. Use handlebars to insert variables and conditional logic in messages and templates. to personalize your message and message actions with AttributesMetadata that you can use to group and target your audience. 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. See handlebars and dynamic content for help with personalization syntax.

    4. (Optional, app and web channels only) Set and/or remove tags when the user interacts with your message.
      1. Click Set a tag.
      2. Select Add or Remove, then search for tags that exist in the system, or create a new tag.
      3. (Optional) Click Set another tag and repeat the previous step.
       Tip

      Setting one or more tags when a user interacts with a message can help you track user interactions for follow-on retargeting campaigns. For example, if you set a tag “responded-campaign1”, you can target users bearing the “responded-campaign1” tag with another message at a later date, knowing that they are active users. Alternatively, you can re-engage users with this tag using an automated message if they are inactive for a period of time.

    5. Set Optional Features.

    6. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

  4. Set Delivery options for your message.

    1. Configure the delivery Timing. Timing settings do not appear if you chose the Inactivity trigger.
      Delay (Optional)

      Set the delay period — the time Airship should wait after receiving the triggering event before sending your message. Enable this option, then enter a value in minutes, hours, or days. The maximum delay period is 90 days.

       Note

      A delay of one hour is required for the First Seen TriggerA trigger that initiates an automation or journey when members of your audience opt in to notifications or open your app for the first time. and for Cancellation EventsEvents that prevent an automation from sending a message if a custom event occurs while the automation is in a delay period. .

      Send immediately Airship sends your message after receiving the triggering event and after the delay period elapses.
      Schedule

      Choose an exact time of day to send the message. Airship sends your message at the first appropriate scheduled time after receiving the triggering event and after the delay period elapses. All messages are delivered in the device’s local time zone.

      1. Select days of the week.

      2. Click and drag the circle on the timeline to select delivery time. Hours are in 15-minute divisions.

      3. (Optional) Click Add Another to create multiple schedules.

      Send during available window

      Configure message delivery windows by specifying valid hours of the day and days of the week. Airship sends your message at the first appropriate time during the window after receiving the triggering event and after the delay period elapses. If no delay is configured and the triggering event falls within an available window, the message will send immediately.

      1. Select days of the week.

      2. Click and drag the circle on the timeline to constrain the delivery window. Hours are in 15 minute divisions.

      3. (Optional) Click Add Another to create multiple windows.

      4. Choose what happens if the triggering event occurs outside the available window. By default, if the triggering event (plus delay, if specified) falls outside of an available window, Airship sends the message during the next available window. Select Do not send if you want to discard the message instead of sending during the next available window.

       Tip

      Create multiple windows to support separate hours during weekdays vs. weekends.

    2. Set Optional Features.

    3. Click Review in the header to move on.

  5. Review your message.

    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 automation as Active or Paused. Select Paused if you’d like to create the message but aren’t quite ready to activate it. After starting your automation, you can change its Active/Paused status at any time.

    3. Click Start Automation.

Use an Automation Template

You can use a template or HandlebarsAirship’s message personalization syntax using double curly braces, more commonly known as {{handlebars}}. Use handlebars to insert variables and conditional logic in messages and templates. to personalize your message using attributes or properties from a 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. .

In the Content step in an automation or journey:

  1. Select a message type.

    • For non-App channels, select the Template type for the message you want to send.
    • For App channels, if your message includes a Push Notification, you can click Select a Template. If you select Message Center, you can select your template in later steps.
  2. Select the template you want to use for your message and click Continue with Selected Template.

  3. (Optional) If sending a Message Center message, you can select your template during the content step.
     Tip

    Airship’s Professional Services team can help create templates for you. Contact your account manager to learn more.

  4. Select a message action. Available actions depend on the message type(s) you selected.

    Adaptive Link

    Adaptive Link opens a mobile wallet pass. Select an Adaptive LinkA mobile wallet pass link that supports templates for both Google Pay and Apple Wallet. When a user taps the link, Airship determines the user’s platform and generates the right pass for the user. from the list.

    • Adaptive links must be configured before they will appear in the actions list. See: Adaptive Links Tutorial.
    • Only adaptive links created in the dashboard will appear in the actions list.
    Deep Link

    Deep Link opens a screen in your app or website. Select a deep link from the list.

    Home Home opens your app’s home screen. For web push notifications it opens your Default Action URL. You can override the default URL by selecting the Web Page action and entering a different URL.
    Landing Page

    Landing Page opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that appears until it is closed. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.

     Note

    The default behavior in the iOS SDK is to not display the landing page when the corresponding push notification is received while the app is in the foreground state. The logic behind this behavior is that you may not wish to interrupt or distract a user who is currently occupied with the app, only to ask them to visit a different part of the app.

    If you need to display a landing page while the app is in the foreground state, replace the registry predicate associated with that action with one that allows foreground execution.

    In the Airship SDK, this relative state between what the app is doing now and how the action was invoked is known as a situation, or more properly, UASituation . Other examples of situations besides foreground state include background push and app launched from push notification.

    See UAActionArguments for more detail on the methods involved with this display behavior.

    Message Center Message Center opens a rich pageA landing page or Message Center message in your app that can include HTML, video, etc. that is saved in the user’s Message CenterA place in your app where you can display persistent rich messages, including HTML, video, etc. Similar to email, Message Center represents both the medium (the in-app inbox) and the message type (the messages you send to the inbox). inbox. Follow the steps in Create Rich Pages. See also: Rich Page Reference.
    Share Share prompts the user to share your message with apps, social media accounts, and other services. Enter the text you want to accompany the share, including any promotional information, shortened links, hashtags, etc.
    Web Page Web Page opens a web page or any valid-device level URL such as App Store or app protocol links. The web page opens in the device’s default browser. Enter a URL.

  5. (Optional) Set and/or remove tags when the user interacts with your message.
    1. Click Set a tag.
    2. Select Add or Remove, then search for tags that exist in the system, or create a new tag.
    3. (Optional) Click Set another tag and repeat the previous step.
     Tip

    Setting one or more tags when a user interacts with a message can help you track user interactions for follow-on retargeting campaigns. For example, if you set a tag “responded-campaign1”, you can target users bearing the “responded-campaign1” tag with another message at a later date, knowing that they are active users. Alternatively, you can re-engage users with this tag using an automated message if they are inactive for a period of time.

  6. Set optional content features.

  7. Click Delivery in the header to move on.