The Audience section of Accelerator primarily focuses on the databases and other sources of data to be used to generate recipient and context data to be used with future mailings.
Table of Contents
Basics of Audience Data
There are two different data types, Recipient Data and Context Data, that are primarily referenced in the Audience section, and they have different usages so understanding how and when to use each type is important to building your Campaign.
Recipient data consists of the email addresses and personalization fields generated for use as a mailing list. This data type is related to testing personalization and sending Marketing Campaigns.
Context Data is an XML source that contains data and content to be used as an additional content source for a template. A Context Data source can be attached to a template, resulting in its content being shared across all recipients for a job using that template.
Another set of features included within the Audience section are triggers. Triggers allow you to have a custom SQL action set to be performed in relation to a campaign launch, recipient event (i.e. an unsubscribe), or a job event (i.e. an error).
- Drag and Drop Audience creation empowers non-technical marketers to specify the target audience they want to communicate with by selecting recipient attributes and easily incorporating additional logic like AND, OR and so on
- Manual SQL Creation is for the IT professional or Data specialist who works with the Marketing team to create detailed audiences using knowledge of their data environment
- Uploading recipients from an API Endpoint is available for users with Audiences in online file systems (such as Amazon S3 files) accessible via URL
Click-to-expand each section below to cover each of these steps in detail. For additional details on using audiences to send campaigns, see our article on Campaigns.
Data Management > Audiences
Creating an Audience via Drag and Drop SQL creation is an easy yet powerful way to create and segment your audience, all without manually building any SQL. There are 3 steps in creating a drag and drop audience:
Selecting a Data Source
Specifying the Audience Target
- Adding Personalization Attributes
1. Selecting a Data Source
The first step in creating a drag and drop audience is to select the data source where the information for the audience resides. The data sources will have some or all of the following fields:
(Note: Each data source will need to be previously configured from the Admin section)
This is the data connection that has been created in the admin section of your account
Additional information regarding your connection. Check with an administrator if you are unsure where your data is located
This field is what Accelerator will use to try and send the email with. Make sure that your field contains valid email addresses
The mobile application that the message will be sent to
This field is what designates the device with which Accelerator will use to send the push notification. The device addresses should be for the application you're sending to.
This field defines what service the device uses, either Apple (APNS) or Android (Firebase).
This optional field is what's used to determine which channel the recipient prefers their messages: email, push, or SMS.
This is a field of unique entries (such as Customer ID or account ID) that signifies each unique recipient. This is what is passed to MessageGears as the Recipient ID.
2. Specifying the Audience Target
Now that the data source has been defined, the next step is to segment the audience using Accelerator’s Drag and Drop SQL builder. Add rules to add on individual statements and use the groups to build nested logic. For instance, this screenshot segments the audience down to recipients whose gender is male and whose primary residence is NOT Florida OR Georgia.
Date (e.g. DATE FORMAT HERE)
Boolean (e.g. 1 or 0)
3. Adding Personalization Attributes
Personalization Attributes are the fields in your data source that will be used within the email content and sent to the user. Personalization attributes exist outside of segmentation criteria so users can use sensitive data behind their firewall to segment the Audience, while pushing non-sensitive customer information to the cloud for email. In this example, we have used the offers the customer has redeemed to help segment our audience, but are passing forward their company and state to be used in the content of the email they receive:
The personalization attributes included for an audience are the only fields that leave your secure data environment and are passed up to Messagegears’ cloud. If you choose not to include any additional information in personalization attributes, no additional information will leave your firewall. Because all of the personalization variables selected will be available for reference in any campaigns using this audience, it is best practice to only select the variables that will be directly referenced in the email. Selecting a large amount of Personalization Attributes may slow email rendering times.
Creating an audience through manual SQL creation gives the user with an enhanced knowledge of his or her data environment complete control over audience segmentation. A major advantage to this method is the flexibility the user has in joining data across different tables or views into the same audience. Additionally, the user has the ability to customize the audience based on content within an email template. See below for an example, or check out our primer on using FreeMarker to customize your email content.
There are two primary steps to creating an Audience using SQL:
- Create the SQL Query
- Set Launch Variables (optional)
1. Creating the SQL Query
To create a SQL Audience, simply type your SQL statement into the query editor and save. Be sure that your select statement either directly references or aliases the field names of ‘EmailAddress’ (and ‘RecipientID’, if used), as our Cloud application will use these values when rendering and sending email downstream.
2. Setting Launch Variables (Optional)
Launch variables aide the marketer in targeting a campaign to a specific audience at the time of launching. Launch variables are Freemarker variables inserted into the SQL statement that are given names, labels, and default values that the marketer can change on the campaign screen. In this example, the ‘HotelCity’ has been configured within the query to be the variable within the WHERE clause, with the Default value being ‘Atlanta’, and some additional help text for the marketer:
Now, let’s look at a campaign that uses this audience to see how this launch variable might show up to the marketer:
Notice that the marketer can now alter the Launch Variable to dynamically change the WHERE clause in their audience SQL query, and the help text we typed earlier helps them understand what the variable is and how it should be used. This cuts down the need to constantly change audience queries and makes for a more robust audience to be used in Marketing Campaigns.
If your Audience data sits at the end of an API endpoint, it is an easy two-step process to ingest and configure that data for use in marketing campaigns:
- Configure the API Endpoint
- Set Launch Variables (optional)
1. Configuring the API Endpoint
Setting the endpoint for your API audience is oftentimes as simple as just pasting in the URL and hitting ‘save’. In this example, a username and password (for basic authentication) have been added, to allow for secure data storage of audience information:
2. Setting Launch Variables
Launch variables aide the marketer in targeting a campaign to a specific audience at the time of launching. Launch variables are freemarker variables inserted into the API endpoint that are given names, labels, and default values that the marketer can change on the campaign screen. In this example, several pieces of the URL have been dynamically configured to be any value a marketer has entered:
Notice that the marketer can now alter the Launch Variable to dynamically change the URL endpoint for their API audience, and the help text we typed earlier helps them understand what the variable is and how it should be used. This cuts down the need to constantly change audience queries and makes for a more robust audience to be used in Marketing Campaigns.