How do I use the date-based trigger and actions in an automation?

With ActiveCampaign, you can start an automation based on any date field in your account. You can also use date and time conditions with "Wait until" actions, "If/Else" statements, and "Goal" actions.

Date-based automation trigger

The "Date-based" automation trigger lets you start an automation based on a contact's date field. You can choose to start the automation before, on, or after the date displayed in their field. Use this trigger to create automations based on event dates, such as weddings, birthdays, or subscriptions.

To learn more about date-based triggers, visit How to start an automation on a date or time.

Using "Date & Time" conditions

Contacts who reach a "Wait until" action containing a date or time condition will queue in that step until they meet the requirements to move forward.

When used in a "Goal" action, a contact will jump to that goal as soon as they meet the conditions (i.e., achieve your goal), skipping all other actions in between.

Use this option if you want contacts to wait or jump to a goal on a particular weekday, month, or time.

Using a "Wait until" action with the "Current time" condition

When using a "Wait until" action with the "Current time" condition, that condition is valid for an entire hour. For example, if you create a "Wait until" action with the current time of 11 am, it means that contacts will pass through this wait action from 11:00 am to 11:59 am.

The following date and time options are available. Choose either the contact’s time zone or the time zone set in your account. These options are under "Option Categories > Date & Time" in the segment builder:

Date/Time option Operator Values
Current day of week Is, Is not Weekday, Weekend, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Current day of month Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 1 - 31
Current month Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to January - December
Current year Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 2017 (current year) - 2024
Current time Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 12 AM - 11 PM

Date fields and specific dates

This condition means that contacts will queue in your wait step or achieve your goal step once the date in their date field matches the date set in this condition.

For example, if I created a "Wait until" action with the following conditions:

Then contacts who reach that wait action will queue in that step until the date in their webinar field matches the date in the condition.

Date fields and current date

This condition means that contacts will queue in your wait action or achieve your goal once the date in their field matches the current date. You can think of "current date" as "today's date" because the system checks to see if the date in the contact's date field matches today's date.

Using the example above, if a contact reaches that wait step on September 30th but the date in their field says “October 1st,” the contact will wait in that step for 1 day, because then the date in their date field will match that current date.

Date fields with plus and minus conditions

With this condition, you can determine if a contact should move to the next step in an automation, or achieve a goal a certain number of days before or after a date stored in a contact’s custom date-based field.

When creating a date-based wait condition, “plus” translates to “X amount of days BEFORE the date stored in your custom date field” while “minus” means “X amount of days AFTER the date stored in your custom date field.”

For example, let’s say my contact has a webinar date of October 3rd and I want to send them an email reminder three days before that date.

The wait condition I would set up would look like this:

When a contact reaches that wait action, they will queue there until October 1st, because October 1st (current date) plus 3 equals October 3rd.

Using time limits with "Wait until" actions

Wait until with time limit

With each "Wait until" action, you can set a time limit. This means that any contact who reaches this step in your automation will wait until they meet your requirements or until the time limit expires, which ever comes first.

Using the example above, if a contact reaches that wait step on September 20th, they will wait 1 day and then proceed to the next step. If they reach that wait step on November 2nd, they will wait 1 day and then proceed to the next step.

If you were to remove that time limit (example below), then any contacts who reach that step after September 29th, will wait in that step until it is September 29th again.

Wait until no time limit
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