Automation triggers explained

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

“Triggers” are conditions that begin automations. With them, you are able to specify exactly how an automation will start running. You can add multiple triggering conditions so that the same automation begins running multiple ways. 

“Subscribes”

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).

You may want to use this trigger for:

  • Welcome emails - “Thanks for subscribing, here’s what you can expect…”
  • Onboarding sequences - Give tips and advice to help new users get started

“Unsubscribes”

This trigger starts your automation when someone is removed 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:

  • Apply a tag
  • To end automations that send messages

“Submits a form”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact submits an ActiveCampaign form. You are able to define whether it 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 tags so you can use this request to segment and attribute

“Opens/reads an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact opens an automated email you have sent.

This trigger can be used with any campaign type, including emails sent within automations.

You might want to use this trigger to:

  • Track the engagement of your contacts
  • Apply a tag

This trigger begins when a contact clicks a link within one of your automated emails. You are able to specify the exact email, list, as well as the exact link within the email you want to start the automation so you can precisely define the conditions. You could set the automation to run when any link is clicked in any email. Or, you could set it to run the automation when any click in any email is clicked but only for a specific list of contacts so this is a very flexible trigger.

This trigger can be used with any campaign type, including emails sent within automations.

You might want to use this trigger to:

  • Apply tags that indicate contact interests
  • Trigger follow-up messages (“You didn’t sign up for the webinar…”)

“Web page is visited”

This trigger uses Site Tracking data to begin an automation when a contact visits a page of your website. In order to use this trigger, you will first need to set up Site Tracking.

You can specify the exact URL you want to begin the automation. For instance, you could have it begin when a contact visits your pricing page:

http://yourdomain.com/pricing

You could add a new “Web page is visited” trigger for each page you want to begin the automation.

You are also able to use wildcard URLs so that the automation begins when contacts visit groups of pages. 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. 

Note: 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).

You could use this trigger to:

  • Send triggered emails
  • Create an abandoned cart follow-up campaign
  • Tag contacts with their content and product interests

“Event is recorded”

This trigger uses Event Tracking data to begin an automation when an event you define is recorded. Event Tracking allows you to track many different types of in-app and website behavior.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Begin post purchase follow-up and tag contacts as “customer”
  • Send a message to contacts who haven’t logged in recently
  • Begin follow-up after a key action

“Shares an email”

This trigger begins an automation when your email campaign is posted to a social network. You are able to specify which social network activates the trigger (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon).

Note that they must share the campaign using the web version link for this automation to work. For instance, if they shared a PDF version of the email, we wouldn’t be able to track that.

This trigger can be used with any campaign type, including emails sent within automations.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Notify people in your organization that the campaign was shared
  • Send that person a “thank you” message

“Forwards an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact forwards an email campaign. You can specify which campaign forward, and which list, should trigger the automation.

This trigger can be used with any campaign type, including emails sent within automations.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Thank someone for passing on your automation
  • Introduce the contact to your referral program so they can earn rewards for sharing your product or company in the future
  • Tag someone as a “promoter”

“Replies to an email”

This trigger begins an automation when a contact replies to a campaign or personal email. A campaign is any email you’ve sent, including emails sent in automations. 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 reply to their email (to help you stay on top of follow-up related to a deal)
  • Move a deal to a different stage of your pipeline
  • Begin an automation that sends a new message to the contact

“Tag is added”

This trigger begins an automation when a specific tag is attached to a contact. It will begin an automation no matter how the tag is added (bulk add to a group of contacts, to a single contact through the contact page, or by an automation).

Tagging is a flexible way to indicate a variety of things about a contact so this trigger is, by extension, a flexible way to begin an automation depending on a variety of conditions. For example, a tag can be applied to indicate: what a contact has viewed, clicked, purchased, replied to, etc.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Trigger follow-up sequences
  • End a different automation

“Tag is removed”

When a specific tag is removed from a contact, this trigger will begin an automation. It will begin the automation no matter how the tag is removed (bulk add to a group of contacts, to a single contact through the contact page, or by an automation).

You could use this trigger to:

  • Stop other automations as a contact’s status changes
  • Initiate follow-up

“Field Changes”

When a specific field changes for a contact, this trigger will begin an automation. It will begin an automation no matter how the field was updated. This applies to both custom and system fields, except the email address field. 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 will trigger your automation to start when a contact achieves or skips goal from another automation. You can specify which goal should start your automation and if it should run once or multiple times.

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 will trigger your automation to run based on a specific date. 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”

When your RSS feed is updated with new content, this trigger will begin an automation. With this trigger, 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 out time-sensitive information
  • 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 are able to specify which Site Message the trigger applies to and determine whether the automation should run once or multiple times.

Note that this trigger is only available if you are on a Professional or Enterprise plan because it requires use of the Site Messages feature.

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 are able to select which conversion the trigger applies to and determine whether the automation should run once or multiple times.

Note that this trigger is only available if you are on a Professional or Enterprise plan because it requires use of the attribution feature. 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

“Score changes”

This trigger begins an automation on the basis of a contact or lead score (a score associated with a deal). You are able to specify which of the scores you’ve created should begin the automation as well as whether it should be triggered when the score goes above or below a threshold score you set. For instance, if you set “Changes to be” “above” “50,” the automation will run when that score changes to 51 or higher.

Note that this trigger will only work if you are on a Plus or Enterprise plan because it uses the Contact & Lead Scoring feature.

You could use this trigger to:

  • Automatically create deals as contacts become sales-ready
  • Apply tags to indicate “engaged, “sales ready,” or “disengaged”

“Enters a pipeline”

This trigger begins an automation when a new deal is created (adding them to a pipeline). You are able to specify which pipeline should be used to begin the automation so you could have different automations run for different pipelines.

Note that this trigger will only work if you are on a Plus or Enterprise plan because it uses the Deals feature.

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. You are also able to specify 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 that this trigger will only work if you are on a Plus or Enterprise plan because it uses the Deals feature.

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 that this trigger will only work if you are on a Plus or Enterprise plan because it uses the Deals feature.

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

“Makes a purchase”

Applies to Plus, Professional, Enterprise, and Trial accounts only. This trigger is made available after you set up a Deep Data integration.

Contacts will get added to your automation through this trigger when an order is created. With this trigger, you can choose any Deep Data ecommerce integration and specify a specific store.

You can use this trigger to:

  • Send post-purchase follow-up sequences
  • Tag contacts with purchase information
  • Adjust a contact score

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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