Test and Launch a Journey Campaign

Learning Objectives

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

  • Validate a campaign in Journey Builder.
  • Test a Journey Builder campaign.
  • Launch a Journey Builder campaign.
  • Use versions to edit a journey campaign.

You’re almost there! You’ve designed the customer journey and configured the journey settings. Once you validate and test, you can launch the campaign.

Validate the Journey Components

Save your journey, then click Validate to confirm that the entry sources, settings, activities, goals, and exit criteria are set up to work as planned. 


When you save or activate a journey, the system automatically launches the validation tool, so don’t worry if you miss this step.

When the validation tool detects errors, the results show as error messages. 

  • Errors and configuration issues appear in the results drawer.
  • Multiple errors for the same activity appear in the same error tile.
  • Activities that require attention are highlighted on the canvas.

Journey Builder validation tool results screen showing: two errors in the results drawer, and one error highlighted on the journey canvas


Make sure you’ve entered a name for your journey. This is a common error caught during validation.

Since the Validate tool progressively validates journey components, it is a good way to identify most errors.  However, some—such as those related to messaging, cross-cloud, and custom activities—are found only after you test or activate the journey.


If your entry source is configured, and the send email activity personalization strings do not match entry source attributes, the activity includes inline validation of those personalization strings. Journey Builder still checks for errors or configuration issues in these activities when you activate. 

Once the journey is validated and you’ve resolved any issues, you can test it using a sample data extension or Test Mode.

Simulate Activities in Test Mode

Test your entry event in Journey Builder to make sure it admits contacts as you intended. You can put an event in test mode to test the setup and firing of an event—without actually sending anything to your contacts. Test mode simulates random and decision split activities, but ignores wait times and contact entry settings. It provides an accurate view of how a journey works without forcing you to wait through its actual duration. Journeys that begin with a data extension or event entry source support journey testing.

Once you’ve completed the steps to Journey Testing, use the metrics shown on the canvas to determine whether your journey needs further edits or is ready for activation.

Finally, Launch the Campaign

After validating and testing her journey campaign, Isabelle is happy with the results. She clicks Activate to launch the campaign.

Test, Compare, Revise

Use versions to iterate on your campaign. Compare results, then modify based on your insights. You can revise a running journey without impacting contacts. Key points to remember when using versions:

  • Only one version can be active at a time. A journey version is a draft until it is activated. Only one journey version can be active at a time, and only an active journey can receive new contacts through the entry source. Once a version is active, you cannot modify or edit entry sources or activities on the canvas. To make changes, create another version.
  • Contacts that exited a previous version of the new journey can move to a new version. Contacts moving through the previous version of the journey don't automatically move to the new version. The previous version remains active until all contacts exit that version.
  • Don’t stop a running journey. You can create drafts from an inactive or stopped journey, but inactive or stopped journeys cannot be restarted or relaunched. A stopped journey immediately halts the activities and ejects all the contacts in the journey.

Case Study: Isabelle Creates a Version

Isabelle confirms that the journey status is Running and the contacts are progressing through the journey as planned. She decides to use this version for a week or two. Then she reviews analytics for the campaign and decides whether or not to make changes.  

Learn more about managing journey versions and journey analytics in Journey Campaign Analytics and Optimization.


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