Creating a journey campaign

Ortto’s journey campaigns feature allows you to configure a complex flow of actions that can send email messages, SMS messages, and more to your customers (i.e. an audience or people) either immediately or scheduled for a later point in time.

To create a new Ortto journey campaign:

  1. On the Campaigns page, click New campaign.
  2. On the New campaign page, click Journey to begin creating your journey campaign, followed by Next to commence the journey campaign wizard.

Each successive page of the journey campaign creation wizard is described below.


On the New journey page, select a template based on a particular use case or data source integration as the basis to build your journey. You can select My saved templates or choose from templates shared with you from another Ortto account under Shared with me.

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

Alternatively, choose Blank template > Start from scratch, if none of the existing templates are suitable, or you want to create your own journey campaign.

Journey title and entry criteria

If you selected a blank template, on the Journey and People enter when page:

  1. Give your new journey a name:
    1. Click in the Untitled journey field and type your journey’s name. If you do not specify a name at this point, Ortto will automatically generate your journey’s name based on the People enter when criteria you select in the next step.
    2. Press Enter / return or click out of this field to save your name.
  2. In the People enter when section, click to select from the criteria that determines when your customers enter your journey’s flow. Depending on the option you select, you may be required to click more conditions to fine tune your people selection criteria.

Journey overview page

Once you have given your journey a name and selected the entry criteria in the blank template, or once you have selected an Ortto template, you’ll be taken to the journey’s overview page.

The journey’s overview page contains the journey panel on the left, and on the right is:

  • preview of the journey,
  • a list of messages that will be sent,
  • a list of the journey audience members,
  • the journey performance report, and
  • an overview of activity associated with the journey.

Journey panel

The journey panel is where you specify the journey entry and exit conditions, the frequency at which people can enter, audiences, and attribution.

Journey options

Next to the journey ON/OFF toggle are a number of journey options.

  • The Edit button takes you to the journey flow editor.
  • The More link reveals additional features:
    • Schedule — Choose a time and date to automatically switch the journey ON.
    • Email notifications When you enable email notifications, the specified recipients (account users) will receive emails at a frequency of your choosing with a snapshot report and link to the Report tab within the journey.
    • Duplicate Make a duplicate of the journey, including all messages.
    • Archive Archive the journey with the option to also archive assets (email and SMS messages, and push notifications) linked to the journey.

People enter when and people exit when

In the People enter when and People exit when sections, you can set the filter conditions that determine how and when people enter and exit the journey.

The two default exit conditions determine that people exit the journey when they reach the end of the path (the final shape), or they don’t move for the amount of days you specify (e.g. they were waiting at a Filter shape for a Clicked email activity and they didn’t click the associated email message). There are additional reasons a person will exit a journey, which you can learn about at Journey exit reasons.

The maximum amount of days you can set for They don’t move for x days is 365 days. The default exit conditions can’t be deleted, and you can use them on their own as exit criteria, or add conditions as needed.

The entry and exit conditions can be singular, nested or grouped, and you can use AND/OR operators to modify your filter. Learn more about using filter conditions, including how to resolve condition errors you may encounter, in Working with filters.

Entry and exit conditions can be linked using occurs conditions with matching activity attributes. This feature is only available for occurs conditions (not has occurred, etc.) and the matching activities must have a matching attribute of the same type (e.g. matching the name attribute of the Opportunity created activity with the name attribute of the Opportunity won activity).

To match occurs activity attributes:

  1. Under People enter when, choose an occurs condition (such as Salesforce’s Lead created).
  2. Under People exit when, choose a related occurs condition (such as Salesforce’s Lead updated), then Match with entry condition.
  3. Select the activity attribute you wish to match (such as Lead ID), then click Done and save your changes.

Learn more about matching activity attributes in Matching activity attributes in journeys.

NOTE: The occurs activity is stored for the length of time that the contact is in the journey (available for more than the default 90-day limit, even if data retention is not enabled for the activity).

Set last entry date

The Set last entry date option allows you to specify the date and time when people can no longer enter the journey, even if they meet the entry criteria. Using this option means you don’t need to switch OFF the journey to stop people entering, and therefore people already in the journey can continue moving through. This helps you manage messages and actions that are time-sensitive and ensure people don't receive outdated or irrelevant content.

When creating or editing your entry criteria, click Set last entry date. Then, select the date, time and timezone in which you want the condition to take effect. 

If you remove the last entry date filter after the set date has passed (while the journey is ON), the journey entry criteria will be re-evaluated as if you have switched the journey OFF and back ON again. This will have different effects depending on whether your entry criteria contains an “occurs” condition. Learn more about what happens when you turn a journey off and back on.

Merge tag strategy

When your journey entry criteria contains an "occurs"-type condition, you can select a merge tag strategy. This means that when you use activity merge tags in the journey (such as in an email message or an action), the merge tags will use values from activities associated with the specific journey entry activity.

Learn more about setting a merge tag strategy.

People can be in journey

In this section, you can select the frequency at which a person can be in a journey:

  • Only once, and enter one time only — A person can only enter the journey once and will not enter again even if:
    • they exit due to inactivity then fulfil the entry criteria again, or
    • the journey is turned off then back on again.
  • Only once, and enter multiple times — A person will only be in the journey once at a time. They must exit the journey they are in before they can re-enter the same j
    ourney. For example, a person enters the journey based on an activity condition (such as Order placed occurs), and will be in the journey (where they receive a "Thanks for purchasing" email message) but they will not enter again even if they meet the condition again (place another order) until they have exited they journey they are already in. Once the person has exited the journey, they can then enter the journey again if they fulfil the entry conditions.
  • More than once, and enter multiple times — A person will enter the journey each time they meet the entry conditions. This means a person could concurrently be in different stages of a journey (in a journey more than once) because they enter each time they fulfil the entry condition (such as Opened email occurs).

When people unsubscribe

The When people unsubscribe section allows you to control the audience/s that a contact can unsubscribe from via an email in the journey.

  • Unsubscribe them from all communications This will allow a contact to unsubscribe from all audiences when they click Unsubscribe in a journey email.
  • Unsubscribe from the <selected> audience — This will allow a contact to unsubscribe only from the specified audience when they click Unsubscribe from this list in a journey email.


  • If you limit the unsubscribe option a specific audience and the contact is not a member of that audience, they will have the option to unsubscribe from all emails.
  • Limiting the unsubscribe option to a specific audience does not prevent the contact from unsubscribing from all email. They can do this by clicking the unsubscribe link or by managing their subscription preferences.
  • To have an audience appear in the list when you click select audience, you need to first add that audience to your email preference center. Learn how to do this under Audiences in Email preference center.

This option is handy for when you want to associate a journey with a specific audience. For example, your organization sells 2 products, Product A and Product B, and you have an audience for each product.

For a journey related to Product A, you can ensure that all emails within the journey remain associated with Product A so that if someone chooses to unsubscribe, they are only unsubscribed from emails about Product A (and remain subscribed to emails about Product B).


Enabling attribution enables you to select an activity (and its attributes) to count as a conversion for this campaign. You can select an activity from a data source you have integrated (such as BigCommerce) or a custom activity. When that activity is recorded, it counts as a conversion for the journey.

Learn more about attribution under Attribution and activities under Working with activities.


The journey preview shows you the path and shapes you have selected.

Click and drag the journey to view different parts of it, or scroll with your mouse scroll wheel or use the zoom in (+) and zoom out (-) icons to zoom in and out of the preview. Use the location icon to navigate back to the start of the journey.

To view more detail or edit a shape, click the  more icon on the shape and you will be taken to the journey flow editor.

If a shape is switched off, it will not be included in the journey until it is switched on.

  1. To switch a shape on:
    • On the shape, click the  more icon then Edit in journey. Or,
    • In the journey details panel, click Edit.
  2. At the shape that is off, click the  more icon, then Switch ON.
  3. You may be asked to publish the message first, if so, click Publish.
  4. Make changes as required, then click Publish to return to the journey flow editor.
  5. Your message is now switched on, so click Publish to publish the journey.
  6. Click X to exit the journey flow editor.

Once your journey is switched on, you’ll be able to see in the preview key activity analytics against shapes, such as how many people have opened and clicked an email message in the journey. Click the calendar icon to choose the date range for which you want to view journey activity analytics.


View all the email, SMS and push messages that will be sent as part of your journey. Click on the picture icon for a visual view of your messages or the list icon for a list view.

Click on an individual message to view its design, audience, report and activity.

To switch a message on, click the  more icon then Edit in journey. Then, follow the instructions from step 2 under Preview.


View the people who are in the journey’s audience. You can change which audience members you see by clicking Entered and selecting another option.


View the key details of the journey performance, email summary, SMS summary, push summary and reactions.

Click Download > Download PDF to receive an email containing a link to a PDF report at the email address connected to your Ortto account.


View a list of the activity associated with the journey, including links to click and view the people and messages linked to the activity. Click Filter activity to change what activities you see.

Journey flow editor

The journey flow editor is where you select and edit the shapes in your journey. Shapes represent various actions that determine the flow of your journey.

Click and drag the journey to view different parts of it, or scroll with your mouse scroll wheel or use the zoom in (+) and zoom out (-) icons to zoom in and out of the preview. Use the location icon to navigate back to the start of the journey.

You must add at least one shape to be able to publish your journey.

When you have finished creating your journey, click Publish to save your changes.

Use the revert icon (time with arrow) to access a history of your changes and revert to a previous version as needed. Click Revert to last publish to roll back your changes to the most recently published version. Alternatively, click on Version history to access versions ordered by time and date, then click Revert to version to revert to the selected version.

Journey shapes

The shapes available to build your journey described below.

The maximum amount of shapes you can add to a journey is 100, including a maximum of 20 Filter shapes.

Email, SMS and push notification

Create a new email, SMS or push notification asset from scratch or choose an existing asset.

Selecting to Create new will take you to the templates page where you can select a relevant template or start from scratch.

Choosing Select existing will show you your assets, from which you can:

  • start from scratch to create a new asset,
  • duplicate an existing asset that is attached to another campaign (see the campaign name below the asset name). To do so, click on the asset you want to use then click Duplicate & add email/SMS/push notification. Assets can only be used once per campaign, which is why you need to duplicate the asset.
  • select an asset that is not yet attached to another journey/playbook (see No campaign below the asset name). Learn more about assets in Asset manager.
Example indicators for existing assets attached and not attached to campaigns

NOTE: For push notifications, the People will wait on shape time is the Attempt to deliver notification for time configured for a push notification message (also known as time to live (TTL)).


Choose from system actions or actions associated with a data source, such as Salesforce. Learn more about data source actions in Working with actions.

The system actions available are:

  • Tag person — Add a tag to a contact.
  • Remove tag — Remove a tag from a contact.
  • Update field — Select a field to set a new or specific value, or clear a field’s value.
  • Notification email — Send a notification email to your Ortto account users. If you have configured a custom domain, you can send a notification email to anyone with an email address at that domain (only for customers on Business and Enterprise plans).
  • Send to webhook — Send a payload of data for each journey shape preceding the action. You can also use this action to update contact data using the webhook response payload.
  • Archive contact — Archive the contact when they arrive at the shape.


The delay shape enables you to have contacts wait for a pre-defined amount of time, or until a specific or dynamic date.

You have the following options for delays:

  • Relative. Wait a set number of minutes, hours or days before continuing. Contacts will wait the defined duration, plus however much longer is needed to be in a valid time and day range. For example, you can use this type of delay before an email or SMS shape to ensure messages are only sent on weekdays during work hours.
  • Precise. Set a precise time and date delay to hold people in the journey. This is useful for things like events, where you want to send a follow-up message or survey after the event has occurred. This delay can be adjusted to suit the recipient’s local time.
  • Field. Hold contacts in the journey until a specified period before or after the current date (today’s date) matches the date of your chosen field value. This option is handy for a field such as a subscription renewal date or event booking date, where you want to send the contact a reminder or follow-up message about the field (e.g. an upcoming payment reminder).
  • Activity. Hold contacts in the journey until a specified period before or after the current date (today’s date) matches the date of your chosen activity attribute. You can use this option for activities such as a flight booking, where the contact enters the journey when they book a flight (e.g. "Booked flight occurs") and you want to send them check-in and airport information 2 days before their flight date.
    Depending on your journey configuration, you can apply the activity delay a number of ways:
    • If the journey uses an "X activity occurs" entry criteria, and you select the same activity in this delay, it will always use the same specific activity that caused the contact to enter the journey.
    • If the journey uses an "X activity occurs" entry criteria, but you select a different activity in this delay, you can link the delay activity to the entry activity by choosing an activity with a matching attribute using the Match with entry activity criteria option. For example, if the journey entry criteria is "Booked flight occurs" and then there is another related activity, e.g. "Booked car hire", with the same flight reference, you could build part of the journey for when the person is due to return the car but make sure it refers to the relevant flight (the exact flight booking that cause the person to enter the journey), rather than another car hire booking the person may have made. Learn more about matching attributes in Matching activity attributes in journeys.
    • If you choose a delay activity that isn’t the journey entry activity and you don’t use the Match with entry activity criteria option, the delay will use the latest event (occurrence) for that activity.
Example delay based on the same activity as the entry criteria

Example delay with activity attribute matching


Split the journey with a true/false, multi-path, or time condition.

NOTE: Within this run of the journey/Since starting their journey

True/false and multi-path condition shapes have an option to check if an activity occurred during person's run through a journey. The language will differ depending on whether the activity you select has a journey run ID attribute:

  • If yes, you'll see the option Within this run of the journey. This means that we can link the activity to this journey run (e.g. this person opened an email sent from this journey, so we can match the opened email activity run ID and the journey run ID).
  • If no, you'll see the option Since starting their journey. This means that we compare the timestamp of when the person started this journey run with the timestamp of when the activity occurred.

True/false condition

A true/false condition allows you to set people on different paths of the journey depending on a field or activity attribute value, for example, whether they clicked the last email message they received in the journey.

Condition criteria for activities that have (or have not) occurred can be set to match attributes with the entry criteria. Learn more about matching activity attributes in shapes in Matching activity attributes in journeys.

When you select x activity has/has not occurred for the condition, you can specify if you want the contact to have performed (or not) the activity since entering the journey.

For example, your organization provides educational courses, and you have a journey for new students that spans several weeks and contains messages designed to help the student complete their course. You could check the student’s progress using a custom activity (such as "Completed course" or "Submitted assignment") to send relevant messages (e.g. "Tips for completing your first assignment", "You’re off to a great start!" and so on).

Example activity condition for an activity performed since entering the journey

Multi-path condition

The Multi-path condition enables you to send people through one of many shape exits, depending on the activity or field attribute value you want them to match. It allows you to select more than 2 exit paths, so you are not limited to “Yes” or “No”, as with a true/false condition.

You might use this, for example, to evaluate the country a person resides in, so you can send them location-specific information. You can also combine conditions, such as to assess the country a person resides in and when they last ordered a product with you.

The condition paths work in order from left to right, and once the person meets the condition they will go down that path, even if they also match the condition for a later path. 

So, say you want to assess whether the contact resides in the US, Canada, or another country. You can set up your condition as follows:

  1. In the journey path editor, click add (+) > Condition > Multi-path condition.
  2. Click Add path. And in this example, we’ll choose Person > Country is United States.
  3. For path 2, click Add path again. We’ll choose Person > Country is Canada.
  4. Path 3 is already populated as Didn’t match. This path will catch contacts who don’t meet the criteria of paths 1 or 2 (contacts who live in another country).
  5. Click Save changes to finish.


  • You can add up to 20 paths.
  • If you want to delete a path, you must first remove any shapes on it (e.g. any messages or actions following the shape exit).
  • The child shapes (paths) of the multi-path condition shape do not count towards your journey shape limit. For example, if you have a multi-path condition shape with 10 paths, we will only count the multi-path condition as 1 shape. Subsequent shape types that continue along those paths will be counted toward your shape total, as normal.

Time condition

The Time condition splits people based on arrival time, and you can set a precise or relative time:

  • The Precise time is ideal for holding people until an event (such as a conference, feature release, or calendar date like Christmas), has occurred. You might have content (like pre-Christmas sales messages) that is only relevant to people arriving at the shape prior to the event, which is not relevant to those who arrive after. If people arrive before the selected time, they will immediately proceed down the NO path. If people arrive after the selected time, they will immediately proceed down the YES path.
  • A Relative time can be set to specific days and timeframes. For example, you might want to make people take a particular path based on whether they arrived at the shape within your organization’s office hours (the YES path takes them to a regular set of messages while the NO path takes them to an out-of-office message). If people arrive outside the selected timeframes, they will immediately proceed down the NO path. If people arrive inside the specified timeframes, they will immediately proceed along the YES path.

For each of the precise and relative time conditions, you can select to adjust the settings to the persons’s local timezone (if known).

Campaign member status

The Campaign member status condition enables you to split people in the journey based on a person’s Salesforce campaign status of Planned, Received, Responded, and/or Sent. Or, instead of a Salesforce campaign status value, you can use a merge tag value to determine the split, such as if you have a different activity that sets an attribute value matching one of the Salesforce statuses.

NOTE: If using a merge tag, the value must match one of the Salesforce campaign member status values (Planned, Received, Responded, or Sent) otherwise the condition will not work correctly.

When using this condition to follow-up with campaign invitees who haven’t responded, you could follow the member status condition with a true/false (activity) condition to determine whether the person is subscribed to SMS, and send them an SMS or email message accordingly.


Wait until they match a filter. Choose from suggested conditions or from the full list of available conditions under Start from scratch.

Choose how you want people to continue their journey through the filter shape:

  • When they match the filter.
  • When they’ve waited for a specified amount of time or they match the filter.

Setting a timeframe in which you want the contact to proceed through the filter shape allows you to prevent the contact from being ejected from the journey due to inactivity at that shape (i.e. they meet the They don’t move for days criteria for the journey’s People exit when condition).

You might like to set a filter wait time limit when you want a contact to receive the next message in the journey or have a subsequent action occur in a timely manner. For example, you have a contact going through an onboarding journey, and you want to ensure they receive the next message about your product features without too much delay, to keep them engaged.

Filters with x activity occurs criteria can be set to match attributes with the entry criteria. Learn more about matching activity attributes in shapes in Matching activity attributes in journeys.


Split the journey with percentages, determine how many people follow the subsequent left or right paths of the journey.

The split shape is based on probability, rather than being turn-based. Similar to tossing a coin, if you set the split to 50/50 each contact has a 50% chance of ending up on either path, independently of the prior or subsequent shape entries.

This means that there will be times in the initial stages where the splits don’t completely align with the set percentage, but the results will trend closer towards the expected probability value as more people pass through the shape.

Managing journey shapes and paths

When in the journey editor, use the  more icon to access options for each shape:

  • View — view the shape to see analytics (when the journey is switched on) and edit the shape. This is where you can edit the People can receive this message settings for how many times a person can receive the message, making a message transactional and rate limiting the message.
  • Edit — edit the shape setup, including condition selection, and SMS and email message configuration.
  • Switch OFF/ON — only for email and SMS messages, push notifications, condition shapes, and action shapes. If a shape is switched off, contacts will wait at that shape until it is turned on, or they reach the journey People exit when time limit (e.g. they don’t move for 30 days).
  • Duplicate — click Duplicate then click a small add icon (+) within the path or the large add icon (+) at the end of the path to place the duplicate shape.
  • Replace asset — enables you to change the message for a new or existing message.
  • Move — not available for Condition or Split. Click Move then click a small add icon (+) within the path or the large add icon (+) at the end of the path to place the duplicate shape.
  • Copy link — creates a link that will take a user (such as a coworker) directly to the relevant shape in the journey.
  • Send test — only for email messages. Send a test message to a recipient you specify.
  • Remove — remove the shape from the journey. If you remove a shape that has nested shapes (such as a Condition or Split.) you will need to select whether to remove one or both subsequent paths.
  • Move waiting to next shape — available for all shape types except Condition and Split. This feature allows you to override the shape settings and move people waiting at a shape (e.g. a Delay shape) to the next shape. If this option is greyed-out (not available) it means that it is not available at this time or there are no contacts waiting.

Join paths

Use the link icon to link paths. The link options are:

  • Connect to path. This allows you to connect a path within the same group of paths immediately following a shape such as a Condition or Split.
    This is handy for a scenario where you have split people in the journey in order to send people on the YES path a different message to those on the NO path.
    For example, you might be splitting the paths in order to send an SMS message to people who have subscribed to SMS (YES path) and an email to those who are not subscribed to SMS (NO path). Then you want to join the paths after to have all people in the journey continue through one set of actions, messages, and so on.
  • Jump to shape. This allows you to connect the path to any other shape in the journey (except the shape immediately preceding the jump).
    As an example, you could use this for an onboarding journey where a contact can follow paths containing messages related to Feature A or Feature B. The contact starts down the path related to Feature A, but you notice they’ve expressed more interest in Feature B, so you jump them from path A to path B.
    You can connect jumps from multiple different shapes to the same shape. For example, you can add jumps from both shape A and shape B to shape C.

NOTE: A contact within a journey can make up to 10 shape jumps per hour, per journey run (each time they are allowed to enter a journey). If the contact exceeds this limit they will be ejected from the journey for the reason: "Loop detected". See the article on Journey exit reasons for more information.

Use the delete icon (x) to delete a path link. If you want to delete a path link under a time Condition or Split shape that contains shapes (not nested) after the link, you will need to select whether to move the shapes to the YES path or NO path. Connect YES will move to the YES path; Connect NO will move shapes to the NO path.

Switching a journey on and off

To switch a journey on:

  1. In the journey panel, click OFF.
  2. Confirm that you are ready for people to start entering your journey by clicking OK.
  3. You’ll see a confirmation message at the top of the screen saying that the journey is switched on.

To switch a journey off:

  1. In the journey panel, click ON.
  2. You’ll see a countdown timer at the top of your screen which gives you 3 seconds to cancel and keep your journey on.
  3. If you don’t cancel, you’ll see a confirmation message at the top of the screen saying that the journey is switched off.

Switching a journey off means it will pause people at the stage in the journey they are at.

Switching a journey from OFF to ON will affect the journey’s audience differently, depending on the entry criteria. Learn more about journey entry and how it is affected by switching ON or OFF, or modifying the criteria in Understanding journey and playbook entry criteria.

Making a journey transactional

You may wish to make a journey transactional, where the purpose of the journey is to send a transactional email or SMS message, or push notification.

Some data sources have transactional journey templates that you can use, such as Shopify’s order confirmation use case template. Or you can make individual messages within a journey transactional. When a message is transactional, you will see a dollar sign icon next to its ON/OFF status.


  • Transactional messages are sent irrespective of the emailSMS or push limits you have set in your Ortto account Settings.
  • Transactional email messages are sent irrespective of a person’s subscription status.
  • Transactional SMS messages and push notifications are not sent to people who are unsubscribed/opted-out of SMS or push notifications.

You can enable A/B testing on an existing transactional message, or turn an A/B tested message into a transactional message.

Learn more about setting messages/notifications as transactional under Making journey and playbook campaign messages transactional.

Using journeys

The Ortto and data source templates will provide you with some ideas for using a journey campaign.

Visit the Using journey campaigns page under Managing campaigns to explore some examples of the types of journeys you can create, including:

  • Cart recovery with SMS
  • Send a gated piece of content
  • Welcome new subscribers
  • Order confirmation.

Troubleshooting journeys

Find answers to issues you may encounter when building your journey campaign, and tips for resolving the issues, on the Troubleshooting journey campaigns page, under Managing campaigns.