Automation triggers explained

"Triggers" are conditions that start automations. With them, you are able to specify exactly how contacts will be added to automations so that they can proceed through your workflow. You can add multiple triggering conditions so that the same automation starts in multiple ways. 

This article explains each automation trigger including how they work and when you might want to use them. Understanding each trigger will give you an idea of the kinds of things that are possible to automate.

For a more in-depth review on automation triggers, check out this guide

“Subscribes to a list”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact is added to a list. You are able to specify the list or have it run when they are added to any list. If you want it to run when they are added to two or more specific lists, you would add multiple “Subscribes” triggers (one for each list) to your automations.

If opt-in confirmation is turned on, the automation won't begin until the contact confirms their subscription.

You may want to use this trigger to

  • Send Welcome emails
  • Create an onboarding sequence

“Unsubscribes from a list”

This trigger starts your automation when someone unsubscribes from a list. Unsubscribes can be initiated by the contact (for instance, by clicking the unsubscribe link in an automated email) or by you (there is an “Unsubscribe” automation action and you can manually remove them from lists).

You may want to use this trigger to:

  • Reduce a contact or deal score
  • Notify someone on your team that an unsubscribe occurred
  • End other automation workflows

“Submits a form”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact submits an ActiveCampaign form. You are able to define whether the automation begins when any form is submitted or when specific forms are submitted. If you want an automation to run when two or more specific forms are submitted, you would add multiple triggers (one for each form).

You may want to use this trigger to:

  • Deliver opt-in incentives
  • Apply interest tags to send targeted follow-up communications
  • Increase a contact score

“Opens/reads an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact opens an email campaign, automation email, or one-to-one email. You can select the email campagin or automation email in the trigger.

You might want to use this trigger to:

  • Adjust contact or deal scores
  • Apply a tag to engaged contacts

“Web page is visited”

This trigger begins an automation when a web page is visited. You are able to select a specific web page, "any" web page, or a group of web pages.  

This trigger requires that you have set up site tracking on your website.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send follow-up emails
  • Adjust contact or deal score
  • Apply interest tags

Note: To trigger an automation to run when a contact visits a group of pages, you can use a wildcard URL. A wildcard URL uses the * symbol to indicate “any page in this path” should begin the automation. For instance, “http://www.yourdomain.com/products/category-1/” would begin the automation when a contact visited any product page in “category-1.” And “http://yourdomain.com/*” would begin an automation when any page of your site is visited.

Wildcards can be used at the end of your URL (http://yourdomain.com/*) or in the middle of your URL (http://yourdomain.com/*/test.php).

“Event is recorded”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact performs a custom event you define. You can use Event Tracking to monitor and respond to behavior on your website on in your app.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send a message in response to a behavior
  • Adjust contact or deal score

“Shares an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact clicks on a social share link in a campaign or automation email that has link tracking enabled. You can specify which campaign, list, and social network should begin the automation.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send a notification to someone on your team that the email was shared
  • Adjust a contact or deal score
  • Thank a contact for sharing your campagin

“Forwards an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact submits the forward-to-a-friend form from a campaign or automation email.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Thank a contact for forwarding the campaign
  • Adjust a contact or deal score

“Replies to an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact replies to a campaign, automation email, or personal email. Personal emails are the one-to-one emails you send through the email account you’ve connected to ActiveCampaign.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Create a task to respond to a contact 
  • Move a deal to a different stage of your pipeline
  • Adjust a contact or deal score

“Tag is added”

This trigger begins an automation when a tag you specify is applied to a contact. Tags can be applied to a contact(s) from their profile page, upon import, an automation action, a bulk edit, form action, or third party integration. 

Note if electing to have trigger run "Multiple Times": If you wish for contacts to re-enter an automation each time the same tag is applied to them, then the tag must be removed, then re-applied to them. Otherwise, the automation will only trigger the first time the tag is added to your contact(s).

You could use this trigger to:

  • Begin a sequence of messages
  • End a different automation

“Tag is removed”

This trigger begins an automation when a tag you specify is removed from a contact. 

You could use this trigger to:

  • End another automation
  • Begin a series of follow-up messages
  • Adjust a contact or deal score

“Field Changes”

This trigger begins an automation when a field you specify is updated. This applies to both custom fields and system fields (except email address). 

With this trigger, you can start your automation if a specific field changes “ever” or if it changes “to” a specific value. You can also trigger your automation to run the first time a contact is added or updated with this field, or every time a contact is updated with this field.

You can use this trigger to:

  • Send follow-up sequences
  • Notify people in your organization that the field has been updated
  • Create a deal based on that field change

“Goal is achieved”

This trigger begins an automation when a goal you specify is either achieved or skipped.

You can use this trigger to:

  • Notify people in your organization if a contact skips a goal
  • Adjust a contact score if the goal is achieved or skipped
  • Begin follow-up sequences after someone becomes a customer

“Date Based”

This trigger will begin an automation relative to a date-based field you specify. You can trigger your automation to start before, on, or after that date. Because this trigger is dependent on the date, any contacts who meet that date requirement will automatically get added to this automation.

You can use this trigger to:

  • Send reminder and follow up emails regarding an event
  • Remind contacts of recurring transactions
  • Deliver appointment reminders

“RSS Feed”

This trigger will begin an automation when an RSS feed is updated. You can set up the frequency for when this trigger will check for updates and how many new items must be in your feed before this automation will run. You can also choose to have all contacts enter into this automation or create a segment of your choice.

You can use this trigger to:

  • Send blog/news updates to your subscribers
  • Notify people in your organization a new post was published

“Dismisses a Site Message”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact closes the initial view of a Site Message you specify.  

Note: This trigger requires use of the Site Messages feature and is only available on Professional and Enterprise plans.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Apply a tag to contacts when they dismiss your Site Message
  • Start an automation that displays a short progression of Site Messages on your site, with each new message being triggered by a contact’s dismissal of the previous message

“Conversion occurs”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact triggers a conversion you specify.

Note: This trigger requires use of the Attribution feature and is only available on Professional and Enterprise plans. In addition, you will need to have previously defined a conversion event.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send highly targeted follow-up emails to your contacts
  • Send a notification to a member on your team

"Makes a purchase"

This trigger begins an automation when a contact places an order in your ecommerce store. You can choose whether the automation begins on any purchase or when a specific product is purchased. 

In addition, orders can have any status and includes those that you have successfully received payment for, as well as orders that have a status of pending or failed.

Note: This trigger requires that you set up a Deep Data integration and is only available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. 

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send a "Thank you for your purchase" message
  • Collect feedback after purchase
  • Begin a new customer onboarding sequence

"Abandons Cart"

This trigger begins an automation when a contact abandons their cart in your connected ecommerce store. You can specify any connected ecommerce store, or a specific ecommerce store, any product or a specific product, items from any product category or a specific product category, any cart value or a specific cart value.

Note: This trigger requires that you set up a Deep Data integration and is only available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. 

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send a message to contacts who abandon their cart
  • Add a tag to contacts

“Score changes”

This trigger begins an automation when a score is above or below a level you specify. 

Note: This trigger works with the Contact and Deal scoring feature and is available on the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. 

You could use this trigger to:

  • Automatically create deals as contacts become sales-ready
  • Add tags to contacts

“Enters a pipeline”

This trigger begins an automation when a deal enters a pipeline you specify. 

Note: This trigger uses the Deals CRM feature and is available on the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send out an email inviting the contact to a phone consultation
  • End automated marketing sequences to transition the lead into sales follow-up
  • Create a series of tasks and notifications to distribute a new lead to salesperson

“Deal stage changes”

This trigger begins the automation when the stage of a deal changes. You are able to specify which pipeline it applies to and the exact movement between stages you want to target. For instance, you could say, “If the deal moves from Stage X to Stage Z,” run the automation.” Or you could simply say, “If it moves from Stage X to any other stage in the pipeline, run this automation.”

Note: This trigger uses the Deals CRM feature and is available on the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Automatically create tasks associated with each stage
  • Send specific messages to move the deal to the next pipeline stage

"Deal status changes"

This trigger starts the automation when the status of a deal changes. A deal’s status can be “Open,” “Won,” or “Lost.”

Note: This trigger uses the Deals CRM feature and is available on the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Go through a series of steps to close out a deal (for instance, add a note or tag to a contact)
  • If the deal is won, you could create tasks to set up their account or notify a manager
  • You could use a webhook to create a new support account for the contact

Combining triggers and actions to create automations

You may want to continue to the automation actions explained article next to learn about each of the actions you can run with these triggers.

By using triggers to begin automations for tightly focused groups of contacts, you can treat your contacts differently depending on how they behave.

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