Using decisions to branch automated programs


   » Simple behavioural decisions
   » Simple contact data decisions
   » Advanced (segment builder) view
Maximum wait time


The Decision node is used to create a branch in your marketing automation program.

Within the decision controls you create a rule, or set of rules; all contacts satisfying the rule(s) will proceed down the 'Yes' route, all others down the 'No' route.

It means you can send contacts different content according to their behaviour and data, send them emails over different timescales, and include or exclude them from your program according to who you want to receive your marketing communications.


Decisions have two major components:

A condition
The rule that will be used to determine which branch of the program a contact will go down.
A maximum wait time
How long a contact should wait at the decision before proceeding down the 'No' route.


Five types of decision conditions are available:

  • Contact has opened a campaign
  • Contact has clicked a link in a campaign
  • Contact has been sent a campaign
  • Contact data field rule
  • Present in the selected segment (you can copy an existing segment or create a new one)

When creating a new decision, there is a button for each of these to choose from within the node's configuration panel.

Once a decision type is selected, you can use the 'Decision type' dropdown, or Simple view button when in 'Advanced view', to switch between decision types.

Simple behavioural decisions

Three types of simple behavioural rules can be created. You can branch the program based on whether the contact has:

  • Opened a specific campaign
  • Clicked a link in a specific campaign
  • Been sent a specific campaign

Note that this can include campaigns that weren't sent as part of the program, and opens/clicks that occurred before the contact joined the program.

We will initially try to select for you, where possible, the most appropriate campaign (e.g. the campaign sent in the immediately preceding campaign node).

If we haven't done this, you can select the campaign you'd like to use by clicking on Select a campaign.

Use the controls to choose between looking at campaigns used in this program or all campaigns, and to search for campaigns.

There is a preview option available to help you work out if it is the campaign you meant to select.


Simple contact data decisions

You can branch a program based on a contact's data (or lack of data) in your various contact data fields.

The rules available are the same as in our segment builder.

Read more about available segmentation rule types »

Contacts exactly satisfying the rule will proceed down the 'Yes' route, and all others down the 'No' route. For example, if the decision was for:

GENDER is equal to 'Male'

Then all contacts with a GENDER contact data field set to 'Male' would go down the 'Yes' program route. The contacts with a GENDER contact data field that's empty, or is set to 'Female', or anything else, would go down the 'No' program route.


Advanced (segment builder) view

By opening the 'Advanced view', you'll have the option to branch your program using all of the options available in our segment builder.

This includes behavioural rules, contact data field rules, Insight data rules and address book membership, as well as 'and/or' and 'exclusion' logic.

Read more about our segment builder for a full set of options » 

For these complex branching rules, you can set your own description in the box at the top of the builder. It will be shown as the summary text in the node on the program canvas. For example, you might label a decision as 'Contact is a high value customer?' or 'Contact has engaged with at least 1 campaign in our welcome series?'.


Maximum wait time

If a contact satisfies the decision condition when they reach the node, or rather, if they opened or clicked the campaign, match the contact data field rule, or fall within the segment, then they'll move down the 'Yes' branch of the program straight away.

If they don't meet the condition, then they'll remain at the decision node until either:

  • They do meet the condition; or
  • The maximum wait time is reached

We check the decision condition at least four times a day, so if the contact does meet the condition after reaching the decision node, then they'll progress down the 'Yes' branch of the program within six hours.

The maximum wait time can take the form of any of the delays allowed in the program builder.

  • For example: if the decision is set to 'Opened 'Happy Birthday' campaign within 5 days' then contacts who have opened the 'Happy Birthday' campaign will move down the 'Yes' branch as soon as the program becomes aware that the campaign has been opened. That could be a few hours after sending the campaign, or it could be a few days later. If, after five days, a contact still hasn't opened the campaign, then they'll proceed down the 'No' route.
  • Another example: if you have a survey that contains a mapped contact data field, and you set the condition as 'MAPPEDFIELD is not blank' and the maximum wait time as 'until 1 January 2019 at 00:00' (until a set date), then anyone completing the survey before the beginning of 2019 will proceed down the 'Yes' route as soon as the program's aware that the contact data field is no longer blank. Anyone who hasn't completed the survey by the beginning of 2019 will proceed down the 'No' route as the calendar rolls around to the new year.

You can also set it so there's no wait time, meaning both branches of the decision will execute immediately.

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  • Avatar

    Is there any particular reason behind why you can only have 10 decisions in a single program? I'm trying to build a comprehensive targeted Lapse Prevention Program which is making decisions on Custom Contact Data Fields we are pulling in from our data warehouse to maximize effect on reactivation, but I am limited in what I can do because of the decision limit.

    Edited by Aaron Lockyer
  • Avatar

    Hi Aaron. 10 decision nodes are usually enough for most users' requirements, but we appreciate there could be exceptions, in which case we recommend talking to your account manager about your needs and they may be able to look at increasing this limit for you.