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Build a Journey Campaign

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Create a campaign using a template.
  • Create a campaign from scratch.
  • Select the campaign settings.

Once you’ve planned your campaign and chosen the data source, it’s time to create the campaign in Journey Builder. You can use a template or create a journey from scratch. 

Use a Journey Template

Journey Templates are predefined journeys based on common use cases and marketing best practices. They include setup guidance, content recommendations, and links to relevant help documents to ease you through the process. Use a template as-is, or modify it for your use case. 

The Welcome Series template uses a data extension entry source. Make sure Marketing Cloud Engagement is your system of record for the data your journey uses. The target audience is selected through the entry source configuration wizard in Journey Builder.

Use the Canvas

If you prefer to create a campaign from scratch from beginning to end, use the journey canvas.

  1. Create a new journey. Go to the Journeys Dashboard and click Create New Journey, then select Multi-Step JourneySingle Send Journey (for email, SMS, or Push), or Transactional Send Journey. Enter the name and a description for your journey. Then select and configure your entry source, and set the schedule to admit contacts into the journey. The schedule also controls whether the data extension is used once or reevaluated to admit more contacts. Your options are Run Once, Recurring, and Automation. These settings populate the entry source summary and schedule tiles on the canvas so they are easy to reference.
  2. Configure the Send Email activity. Drag the first Send Email activity onto the canvas and follow the instructions to Configure the Send Email Activity. Refer to the plan you outlined in the first unit of this module to guide you. Repeat this process to add each email message you have planned.
  3. Add Wait activities. Include these to set the timing between activities. As we discussed in Journey Builder Basics, during a wait your contact is evaluated to see if they have met a goal or Split activity criteria. A few tips:
    • Plan the timing of waits based on your content, and on the expectations you want to set for your contacts.
    • Consider the best time of day to reach your contacts.
    • Avoid waits of less than an hour.
  4. Add Split activities. Use these to customize the path each contact takes.
    • An Engagement Split sends a contact down one of two paths depending on their interaction with a message. It relies on engagement data, so it can only occur at some point after a message activity. Be sure to enable email tracking if you want to use this type of split.
    • An Einstein Split segments customers into journeys based on Einstein Engagement Scoring data. This data-science–driven feature generates predictive models to assign scores for each subscriber—to maximize engagement and conversions.
    • An Einstein Engagement Frequency Split segments customers into different paths of the journey based on Einstein Engagement Frequency data. This data-science–driven feature optimizes send frequency for each individual contact, maximizing engagement rates and reducing unsubscribes.
    • An Einstein Send Time Optimization Split sends messages to each contact at the time when that contact is most likely to engage with the message based on Einstein Send Time Optimization data. This data-science–driven feature finds optimal send times so that a user is likely to engage with your message.

To enable this feature, visit Activate Einstein Engagement Scoring.
  • A Decision Split uses data attributes to choose a path for your contact. For example, to customize paths based on loyalty program level, use a decision split to create distinct experiences for silver, gold, and platinum members. Paths in a decision split are evaluated in succession from top to bottom, so the sequence is important. Place the split that you expect most contacts to qualify for at the top. A contact who meets more than one set of criteria for a path follows the one they qualify for first. You can create up to 20 different paths using contact attributes as evaluation criteria. Create a decision split by filtering attributes.

5. Add a Join activity. If you want to direct contacts from different paths onto a single path later in the journey, include a Join activity.

6. Don’t add an exit. The exit is simply the end of the journey path. You do not need to add or configure the exit on the canvas.

Set the Goal and Exit Criteria

Once the journey is activated, Journey Builder evaluates contact data against the filter set as the goal target to determine when a goal is met. For example, you can choose to eject contacts when a certain number or percentage of people reach a marketing objective such as a coupon redemption. 


Evaluation happens every night at midnight central time, and whenever a wait time expires or a contact is injected into the journey.

Suppose you configure a welcome series with three messages—including a call to action to encourage customers to download your mobile app. You can remove contacts from a journey in at least three ways.

  1. Set a goal that removes a contact after they download the mobile app no matter how many messages they receive or where they are in the journey. They have achieved the goal.
  2. The contact receives all messages and completes the journey but never downloads the mobile app. After the time allotted they exit the journey without meeting the goal.
  3. Exit criteria can use subscription data to remove a contact who unsubscribes.

Select the Journey Settings

Use Contact Entry mode to determine when a contact is eligible to enter a journey. Re-entry mode is a journey-level setting that controls whether a contact can enter a journey more than once. When you select a re-entry mode, it’s applied to all versions of the journey.

A welcome journey is typically set to No re-entry since you only want your customers to be introduced to your brand once. If you are designing a campaign for a seasonal promotion or annual renewal, and you want a contact to be able to go through a journey multiple times consecutively, use Re-entry only after exiting. Re-entry anytime allows a contact to enter the journey multiple times concurrently. This is useful for post-purchase engagement journey campaigns where a contact enters the journey after a purchase.

Set a default email address for each contact. In some cases, the email address can change during a journey, in which case be sure to identify and use an email attribute from contacts.

Case Study: Isabelle's Welcome Journey Draft

Since this is Isabelle's first campaign using Journey Builder, she decides to use the Simple Welcome Series Template. Instead of using an automation to admit contacts, she decides to use the data extension entry source with a filter of OptInDate equal to Today Minus 1. She sets the goal attribute to CompleteProfile = Yes, and specifies the email address with entry source = email address data type. Since this is a welcome campaign, she sets the entry mode to No re-entry. 

Isabelle also decides to send a follow-up message to customers who do not engage with the first email. To do this, she modifies the template to include a decision split. Contacts who respond to the first email continue on the original path. Those who don’t receive a Psst! We haven’t heard from you message.  

NTO welcome journey built using the canvas

In the next unit, Isabelle learns how to validate and test a journey, then activate it.


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