Creating an email campaign

To create a new Ortto email campaign:

  1. On this page, click New campaign.
  2. On the New campaign page, click Email to begin creating your email campaign, followed by Next.

Email campaign wizard pages

This section describes each successive page of the email campaign creation process.


On the Template page, select a template based on a particular use case or data source integration as the basis to build your email. Alternatively, choose Start from scratch if none of the existing templates are suitable. You can also select My saved templates or choose from templates shared with you from another Ortto account under Shared with me.

If you have an Autopilot account integrated with your Ortto account, you can find your templates under Autopilot emails.

Alternatively, select HTML upload to upload a custom HTML file containing your email message content, including any Liquid syntax you wish to use. If your HTML file is valid, you will continue to Review.


  • If you selected to A/B content test the campaign during Setup, you will need to upload 2 separate HTML files. Only one HTML file can be uploaded at a time.
  • Once your HTML file is uploaded and you have been taken to the Review tab to view a preview of your email, you are currently unable to edit the email message content. Should you wish to edit the content, you will need to edit your HTML file and return to the Template tab to re-upload it.

Learn more about custom HTML upload, including prerequisites and troubleshooting, in About custom HTML upload under Managing campaigns.

When you choose a template, you can apply you brand book settings by selecting the Use brand book settings checkbox, then click Use template to get started. Once selected, you can also rename the campaign if needed. If the template you selected uses data from a connected data source, you’ll need to choose the relevant accounts.


On the Recipients page, select either an audience, subscribers with a certain tag, or a segment of people from a filter. You can only select a single audience, tag or filter segment.


On the Setup page:

Write a subject line for the email. After you finish writing your subject line the Ortto AI will estimate the open rate and can automatically suggest improved subject lines. If you like a suggestion just click on it to change your existing subject line. You can also click the AI button to switch off subject line suggestions.

You can also insert fields or activity’s attributes (merge tags) into the subject line:

  1. Click the merge tag icon — anywhere you see this icon you can add merge tags.
  2. Select either a recent merge tag, a field or activity attribute to add.

When you select a field or attribute you will be shown example of possible values and given the option to add a default value in case the value is empty.

Set the preview text. This step is optional but recommended. This is the preview text a recipient will see in their email client and can entice them to open the email along with the subject line.

A/B test campaign. You can test different subject lines, preview text, from names and content.

NOTE: A/B test campaign can be combined with Translate campaign (you can select both). If both features are selected, you will need to create translated subject lines or content designs, depending on your A/B test configuration.

Translate campaign. This appears only if you have a language chosen under Settings > General > Language > Translations. If selected, you’ll translate the email message subject and content into the selected languages for recipients who have chosen them as their preferred languages. Email message translation is performed using display conditions (Liquid syntax) in the Content step. Learn more about translating email message content.

NOTE: Translate campaign can be combined with Open rate optimization (you can select both). If both features are selected, you will need to create a second subject line in the selected languages.

Enter a From name. The is the name of the person sending the campaign. We recommend using a real persons name from your business to make the email more personal. You can use Merge tags like "Owner name" to personalize the From name for each individual recipient.

Enter a From email address. This is the email address the email is sent from and by default the email address that will receive replies. You can also set a specific reply-to address. Merge tags can also be used in this field e.g. "Owner email address" to personalize the email for each individual recipient.

Transactional email. Select this option and provide a purpose if the email is transactional in nature. Learn more about transactional email at Making campaign messages transactional.

Optional CC/BCC. We support the addition of CC and BCC. You can add multiple people to CC or BCC with comma separation.

Add reply to email. The reply to email gives you the opportunity to specify a reply address that is different from the from email address. This is helpful if you want replies to go to another inbox.

Show advanced options:

  • Delivery load distribution. You can rate limit the email delivery and extend your send time by up to 30 days. Rate limiting the email send to a large recipient base can help you manage expected recipient responses, such as a high website or call center demand following an event announcement. Learn more about rate limiting under Delivery load distribution.
  • Open rate optimization. Select the checkbox if you wish to send the email again later (after 24 hours, 2 days, 3 days or 7 days) with a different subject line if unopened. If you choose not to select this feature, you can resend the email manually after 24 hours (within 30 days of the original send date). Learn more about resending an email under Viewing an email.

NOTE: Your chances of unsubscribes and complaints will increase if you resend a campaign, so use this function wisely. Lean more about complaints, sender reputation and email deliverability, under Improving email deliverability.

Tracking. Select to track email opens, link clicks, and/or automatically add Urchin tracking module (UTM) parameters and hashed email address to links in the email.

UTM parameters help you track traffic to your website by appending information about the campaign to each URL. If this option is on we will automatically add UTM to all links in the email campaign. Learn more about how our default UTM tracking works.

Adding a hashed email address to links in the email appends a hash (SHA-256) of the recipient’s email address to any links in the email message they click. So when a recipient clicks on a link, the URL will include the user_email parameter with a code representing the recipient’s email address (hash): user_email=8b1a9315f94318b994b7b9262295ae43fe089424c0c86a0ebe5e5bb76c00f127. This allows you to use your own analytics tools to associate clicks with users, based on the URL.

NOTE: You must have Track link clicks selected to enable adding UTM and email hash parameters.

Reactions. Reactions are ON by default. They show 5 emoji in the footer of your email campaign allow people to react and comment on your campaign. This can provide not only valuable feedback and overall sentiment of a message but can dramatically reduce unsubscribe rates. Learn more about email reactions in About email campaign reactions under Managing campaigns.

Dynamic content. This feature allows you to dynamically pull content from a JSON endpoint which you control. You can either pull static content to use for all emails, or specific content per contact in batches of 200. Learn more about the dynamic content options and request types, as well as errors and notes on timing in How to use a JSON endpoint for dynamic email content under Managing campaigns.

Attribution. Each email campaign is set based on your default attribution settings. However sometimes it won’t make sense to track attribution towards orders if you’re emailing about registering for an event. In this case you can set a custom activity and its attributes as the attribution activity to track in reporting. Learn more about attribution.


On the Content page, the email editor helps you add content and allows you to drag and drop content and images directly into the template. If you have an e-commerce data source connected you will see additional content blocks you can add to your emails including products, recently browsed items and information about the last order.

NOTE: If you are using the HTML content block to add HTML with CSS, only inline CSS is supported. You will not be able to create internal (global) CSS rules in this code block.

There are several other functions in the email editor you should become familiar with:

  • Preview — this displays a preview of the email on both desktop and mobile
  • Send test — this sends a test email to your email or other emails you specify to check the email displays correctly in your email client.
  • Merge tags — this brings up a dialog that allows you to add variables and activity attributes to your email. Merge tags can be used to output person, organization and activity data, or be used with conditional formatting to show or hide content depending on the recipient. Learn more about using merge tags with Liquid syntax in Personalizing campaign content with Liquid.

NOTE: If you are selecting an activity attribute as your merge tag, we will use the latest activity for that person (contact). However, if you are editing a journey or playbook email message, and the entry criteria is of type X activity occurs, then we will use the activity that caused the person to enter the journey/playbook instead (for playbooks this needs to be configured in the playbook details panel under More > Activity personalization), even if more activities have occurred since then.

The activity must have occurred within the last 30 days to be available. If you require the value to be available beyond this, we recommend saving the value into a custom field and use this as your merge tag instead.

If you like the email design you’ve come up with and want to use the layout again when you create your next email you can save the email as a template when you exit the email creation wizard. Learn about saving templates in Templates.

Add attachments to the email message

There are two ways you can add file attachments to an email message:

  • Within a text block — when inserting a link, click the Link type file options to select File manager.
  • As a button — when you add a button, you can insert a file as a link. To do so, in the button’s Content properties, at Action, click Link file to access the file manager.

Learn more about adding attachments to email messages.

Saved rows

To save time when creating email content, you can save rows with content as reusable components to use in your new and existing email drafts. This can be helpful in reducing the amount of time spent creating the same content from scratch.

Learn more about saving rows in email in Saved rows.


The Review page steps helps you double check you have the correct audience, campaign settings and all of your links are working as expected. If there are links that aren’t working they will be shown as errors and clearly marked for review. You can go back to any step or switch between steps by using the menu in the footer.

Send now

If you wish to send the campaign immediately you can click Send now. After a confirmation the email will send immediately. Send times will vary based on the audience size.

Schedule the campaign

The email campaign can be sent immediately or scheduled for a later time by selecting a date and time for the campaign to start sending. Learn more about how to schedule your email campaign.

NOTE: If this is your first email campaign, in particular if you are new to Ortto and have recently created an/signed up with an account, your details and Ortto account itself may need to be verified (and therefore "trusted") by Ortto. Learn more about this process in Untrusted accounts.

Translate email message content

If you selected in the email Setup to translate your email content to other languages, you will need to use merge tags and Liquid syntax to ensure the message content is conditionally shown to recipients in those languages.

NOTE: Ortto does not translate message content for you; you need to write any text content in the relevant language.

For example, an email campaign that supports both English and Spanish languages will need to have subject lines and message text written in both English and Spanish. The relevant message text must be surrounded by conditions which determine that English readers see the English text, and Spanish readers see the Spanish text.

Learn how to add language conditions in How to display translated email message content under Managing campaigns.

Delivery load distribution

When setting up delivery load distribution, Max recipients per batch is the maximum amount of people that will be in a batch. For example, if you have an audience of 750 people, a maximum of 500 will be in the first batch and the remainder in the second.

Due to the way Ortto handles message delivery, the minimum rate limit you can set is 500 recipients every 5 minutes. Should you wish to rate limit the send further than Ortto’s minimum limit, you could consider splitting your campaign audience into two, and rate limit the send to each audience, one after the other.

NOTE: Delivery load distribution is not possible when also running an A/B test.

Automatic UTM parameters

By default we append sensible UTM attributes to each email URL to help you track the performance of your emails in solutions like Google Analytics. When this option is enabled (recommended) the URL will look like this:

Each parameter is set by default as follows:

  • campaign = campaign name
  • content = campaign name (same as utm_campaign), or the shape/message name if sent from a journey or playbook
  • medium = email or sms
  • source = ortto

NOTE: The character limit for the utm_campaign parameter value is 26 unicode characters.

Non-letter or digit characters like spaces, #, & and $ will be replaced by a single dash (-) (except if they appear at the start or end of the name, in which case they will be ignored).

For example, a campaign name "Summer sale promotion for Australian customers" will become a utm_campaign value of summer-sale-promotion-for (the 26th character is a space, so it is ignored).

This option should be turned off when using custom UTM parameters.

Email campaign reactions

Email reactions enable your email campaign recipients to express their sentiment regarding your email content. Reactions are on by default when you create a new email campaign.

Learn more about email reactions in About email campaign reactions under Managing campaigns.

Schedule the email campaign

When creating an email campaign, you need to configure an audience, tag, or filter, consisting of subscribers/members to deliver your campaign to.

If you choose to schedule your email campaign instead of delivering it immediately, then the subscribers/members of your email campaign’s recipients, tag, or filter may change, grow, or contract between the time your campaign is created and the time your campaign is scheduled to be sent.

Therefore, Ortto automatically updates the people who will receive your email campaign, based on the subscribers/members of your campaign’s recipients, tag or filter, at the time your campaign is due to be sent.

Every email provides the ability for a subscriber to opt-out, and the standard Ortto email footer offers different unsubscribe links.

There are two unsubscribe links the subscriber will see depending on who the email is sent to:

  • Unsubscribe from all emails.
  • Unsubscribe from this list.

When you send an email to a group of subscribers using a filter or a tag we include an option to Unsubscribe from all emails. When clicked the subscriber will be globally unsubscribed and you will not be able to send them email unless they opt back in.

When you send an email to an audience that is included in the email preference center the unsubscribe link changes to Unsubscribe from this list. If they unsubscribe they will only be unsubscribed from that particular audience but can select to unsubscribe from all emails in the preference center.

Custom HTML email upload

The custom HTML upload feature is designed to make it easy for you to upload email message content if you have a lot of emails prepared in HTML format or you are transferring your email content from another platform to Ortto.

Learn more about custom HTML upload, including prerequisites and troubleshooting, in About custom HTML upload under Managing campaigns.

Dynamic content

The dynamic content feature allows you to pull content to put into your email from a JSON endpoint you control.

The dynamic content option available in the email Setup under Advanced options

Learn more about the dynamic content options and request types, as well as errors and notes on timing in How to use a JSON endpoint for dynamic email content under Managing campaigns.