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.

Journeys are only available if you are on a Professional, Business or Enterprise plan. Customers on the Free and Campaign plans can create a journey and explore its features, but cannot switch it on.

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:

  • a 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 overview page

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.

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 don’t interact with the last journey message they received). The maximum amount of days you can set for They don’t move for x days is 365 days. These 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.

The occurs activity is only stored for 90 days. After that you will be unable to match it to the exit criteria.

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 journey. 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).


The audience section enables you to choose whether all of the subscribers in your customer data platform (CDP) enter the journey, or just those from the audience you specify.


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 upload zoom in and less zoom out icons to zoom in and out of the preview. Use the location location icon to navigate back to the start of the journey.

To view more detail or edit a shape, click the more 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 more icon then Edit in journey.


    • In the journey details panel, click Edit.

  2. At the shape that is off, click the more 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 and SMS messages that will be sent as part of your journey. Click on the picture picture icon for a visual view of your messages or the list 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 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 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.

journey flow editor

Click and drag the journey to view different parts of it, or scroll with your mouse scroll wheel or use the upload zoom in and less zoom out icons to zoom in and out of the preview. Use the location 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 time revert icon 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.

    select asset journey
    Example indicators for existing assets attached and not attached to campaigns
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 actions in Working with actions.


Set a number of days, minutes or hours for people to wait until they move to the next shape.

You can enable time and day conditions, such as ensuring messages are only send on weekdays during work hours (and this can be adjusted to suit the recipient’s local time). Alternatively, set a precise time and date delay to hold people in the journey until an event you are hosting has occurred, for example.


Split the journey with an activity or time condition.

An activity condition allows you to set people on different paths of the journey depending on whether they clicked the last email message they received in the journey, for example.

The time condition splits people based on arrival time. If people arrive before the selected time, you can choose whether people will immediately proceed, or wait. If users arrive after the selected time, people will immediately proceed along a second path.


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


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

Managing journey shapes and paths

When in the journey editor, use the more 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, 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 add journey small or the large add icon at the end of the path add journey large 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 add journey small or the large add icon at the end of the path add journey large 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.

Use the link journey link icon to link paths.

Click the Use the delete journey delete icon 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 let people continue through the journey from where they were when the journey was switched off (if they didn’t exit the journey).

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 email or SMS limits you have set in your Ortto account Setup.

  • 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.


This table lists some common issues you may encounter when building your journey campaign, and tips for resolving the issues.

Issue Resolution

Delays and limits on sending email and SMS messages

The delivery of email and SMS messages may be affected by the email and SMS limits you have set in your Ortto account Setup. Review your email and SMS setup to make changes as required, such as limits on sending messages on specific days.

You may also wish to use a Delay shape to manage the timing of when people move to email and SMS shapes. Or, consider configuring email and SMS messages as transactional if you want to send the message immediately, irrespective of limits. Learn more about transactional emails under Making journey and playbook campaign emails transactional.

Failed action

failed action

If you see a Failed notification on an action in the Preview, navigate to Activity then click Show details to see why the action failed.

People enter when and People exit when filter errors

red condition

When creating a filter, if you see a red condition, it means that the condition requires a value or the operator/s you have chosen are not valid. If a condition is red, it will not filter your results. Learn more about resolving filter errors in Working with filters.

People enter an SMS message shape but not many SMS messages delivered

If you are seeing a large number of people go into an SMS message shape but few SMS messages delivered it could be because a lot of people in your CDP do not have a phone number listed or SMS permission is false.

You could add a Condition shape above the SMS message shape with the condition such as SMS permission is true and Phone number has any value.

sms permission

Putting a Condition shape related to messages such as Opened email or Clicked SMS directly after an email or SMS message shape

message condition

Putting a Condition shape with Clicked email directly after an email message shape, for example, means that people will never meet the condition because the condition evaluates which people have clicked the email as soon as people reach the shape (which is as soon as the email was sent). So people have no opportunity to click it.

Add a Delay shape between the email or SMS shape and the condition shape. We recommended to set the delay for several hours after the email or SMS message is sent to ensure that people who receive the message have enough time to perform the activity listed in the condition (e.g. clicked email) before they move to the condition shape.

message delay condition

Shapes that are switched off

shape off

Any shape that is switched off in your journey will block people at that shape until it is turned back on; people will not skip the shape. Ensure you turn shapes on to include them in the journey. Learn more under Managing journey shapes and paths.

Unpublished changes


Ensure you publish any changes to your journey to ensure that it reflects your most recent configuration. Learn more about publishing and versions under Journey flow editor.

You can’t disconnect a nested link

disconnect nested

A nested link is bound by the preceding YES/NO paths. You may need to remove the condition or split shape that created the paths and choose which path (if any) you wish to keep.

Using journeys

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

Here are some examples of the types of journeys you can create:

Cart recovery with SMS

Get in touch with customers who added items to their shopping cart but didn’t complete checkout to encourage them to finalize their order.

Integration: BigCommerce.

Journey panel

  • People enter when — Cart abandoned occurs.

  • People exit when — Placed order occurs.

  • People can be in journey — Only once, and enter multiple times.

  • Audience — To all subscribers.

  • Attribution — Placed order.

sms journey panel

Journey shapes

  1. Email — cart reminder email message.

  2. Delay — 2 hours to allow people to open and read the email.

    sms journey 1
  3. Condition — Did people click the email?

    • YES — add Delay of 1 day and link path under NO.

    • NO — add Condition are they opted in to SMS:

      • YES — add SMS abandoned cart recovery message.

      • NO — link path under YES.

        sms journey 2
  4. Email — second cart reminder message.

  5. Delay — 1 day delay.

  6. Condition are they opted in to SMS:

    sms journey 3
    • YES — add SMS final abandoned cart recovery message.

    • NO — add Email final abandoned cart recovery message.

  7. Journey path ends.

    sms journey 4

Send a gated piece of content

Allow people access to gated content (like an eBook) for lead generation and create actions for your sales team to follow up on the leads.

Integration: Salesforce.

Journey panel

  • People enter when — Submitted widget form occurs.

  • People exit when — default options.

  • People can be in journey — Only once, and enter multiple times.

  • Audience — To all subscribers.

  • Attribution — Lead created.

gated panel

Journey shapes

  1. Email — eBook download link.

  2. Delay — 1 day to allow people to open the email and download the eBook.

    gated 1
  3. Condition — Did people click the email?

    • YES — link path under NO.

    • NO

      • add Email eBook download reminder message

      • add Delay of 2 days

        gated 2
      • add Condition did they click the eBook reminder email?

        • NO — add Action to tag people with a Nurture tag so they can enter a Nurture audience for follow-up.

        • YES — link to main path.

          gated 3
  4. Action — create lead record in Salesforce for sales team to follow up on.

  5. Email — send a sales engagement message.

  6. Journey path ends.

    gated 4

Welcome new subscribers

Send a welcome email to new subscribers and encourage them to make their first purchase.

Integration: Shopify.

Journey panel

  • People enter when — Entered audience occurs where name is Subscribers.

  • People exit when — default options.

  • People can be in journey — Only once, and enter multiple times.

  • Audience — To all subscribers.

  • Attribution — Viewed product.

welcome panel

Journey shapes

  1. Email — Thanks for subscribing!

  2. Delay — 3 days to allow people time to read the email.

    welcome 1
  3. Split — 50/50 audience split as a way to A/B test your journey configuration.

    • YES — send best-selling products email.

    • NO — send everyone’s favorite products email.

  4. Journey path ends.

    welcome 2

Order confirmation

This transactional journey notifies customers that their order has been received.

As people who have opted-out of SMS cannot receive transactional SMS messages, it is recommended to include a condition so that those people can receive a transactional email message instead.

Integration: Shopify.

Journey panel

  • People enter when — Placed order occurs.

  • People exit when — default options.

  • People can be in journey — More than once, and enter multiple times.

  • Audience — To all subscribers.

  • Attribution — Placed order.

trans panel

Journey shapes

  1. Condition — Are they opted in to SMS?:

    • YES — send SMS order confirmation message.

    • NO — send Email order confirmation message.

  2. Journey path ends.

    trans 1