Changes in Live Journeys, Channels and Segments

One question I am often asked is: How can changes be made in live journeys? Marketing is agile and anyone who has ever set a journey live has certainly had to adapt it again afterwards at some point. With live journeys in real time, this can happen quickly. While segment-based journeys usually run once and are then completed, trigger-based journeys run over a longer period of time. And over time, you may want to make changes to the email content, branches or waiting times of the journey.

When changing live real-time journeys, there are a few points that should be considered. Segments or emails that are live or part of a live journey also have some special features.

Changes in Live Journeys

Good news first: unlike outbound journeys, quite a lot can be changed in the journeys. That’s why I will often write “Everything can be changed”. By this I mean the following functions in a real-time journey:

  • Change options of the individual elements
  • Add new elements
  • Delete existing elements
  • Change attributes and branches
  • Change if/then branches and add new ones
  • Define entry and exit criteria,
  • Change or add targets
  • Change upper frequency limit
  • Start and end date of the journeys
  • Content of activities such as sales opportunities, leads, calls and tasks

I differentiate between segment-based journeys and trigger-based journeys.

Segment based Journeys

Segment-based journeys start, as the name suggests, with a segment. This can be a static or a dynamic segment. You can also choose between three options for the journey: Should it run through once? Can new contacts that are added to the segment also run through the journey? Is it a recurring journey? Depending on which option is selected, there are also other change possibilities.

Create a new journey

The journey begins with a static segment:

  1. A one-time journey with a static audience: there is no edit button in the journey. Nothing can be adjusted. In the event of an error, the journey must be stopped and a copy adapted.
  2. A one-time journey where newly added audience members can start any time: Everything can be changed except the journey frequency.
  3. A recurring journey where all audience members can start any … : Everything can be changedexcept the frequency of the journey.

The journey begins with a dynamic segment:

  1. A one-time journey with a static audience: there is no edit button in the journey. Nothing can be adjusted. In the event of an error, the journey must be stopped and a copy adapted.
  2. A one-time journey where newly added audience members can start any time: Everything can be changed except the frequency of the journey.
  3. A recurring journey where all audience members can start any …: Everything can be changed except the frequency of the journey.

But important: As long as the journey is already live but has not yet started, everything can always be adjusted.

And also to emphasize again: Contacts cannot run through a segment-based journey twice.

Trigger-based Journeys

Trigger-based journeys are one of my favorite functions in real-time marketing. If only because contacts can run through a journey multiple times. And the best thing about it: even if the journey is already live and running, anything can be changed. A new version is then created. I will explain exactly what this means in the next chapter.

Versions in Journeys: What happens to contacts in adjusted live journeys

Whenever a live journey is changed, a new version is created. If you only change the name of the journey, this does not change the version. However, every time the individual elements and actions are changed, the system creates a new version and sets the old one to Completed status. When saving, it is also possible to enter a comment. This makes it possible to understand later why these changes were made.

Comment after changes to live journeys

In version management, you can then check the status of the versions and how many contacts or leads have already been added.

version history

The next point is important and I have actually tested it several times now: Contacts who were already in the Journey continue to run in the old version until they have completed it. Only new contacts run through the new version. As long as the contacts from the older version have not finished going through, the version has the status Completing, then Completed.

Changes to channels and segments from Live Journeys

Of course, it’s not always just the journey that needs to be adjusted: the channels or segments also need an update or perhaps an error correction from time to time.

  1. Emails: If an email is edited that is already sent in a live journey, a message appears immediately: You are editing content that is used in live journeys. It is therefore not possible to change the personalization or surveys. This means that the dynamic personalization tokens cannot be changed or new ones added. Conditions or lists cannot be added at a later date either. Images, texts and buttons can of course be customized. If the personalization needs to be changed, it is therefore best to create a copy of the email. This can be exchanged in the journeys.
  2. Push & SMS: Unfortunately, I have not yet tested a Journey with a push notification or SMS. But I assume that it is the same here as with emails. Personalizations cannot be changed or added. If you have any experience with this, please let me know.
  3. Segments: What I find a pity, because it exists in outbound marketing, is the editing of segments from live journeys. These cannot be customized. Even if the segment is connected in another live segment, it cannot be changed. In these cases, a copy of the segment must be created.

Summary

As you can see, it is quite easy to make changes to live journeys. Unlike in outbound marketing, 90% of journeys, channels and segments can be adjusted in real time, even after going live. I think that’s great, especially for large journeys or always-on trigger-based journeys.

Nevertheless, the versions still give me a headache. I think it’s interesting, to use the right word, that existing in flows contacts complete the old version while new contacts run through the new version. I’m wondering how to deal with sending in-flow contacts along the new path. Or do I then have to stop the journey and set up a completely new one? And if so, how can I create a segment with all contacts who are at a certain point in the journey? As far as I know, this function does not yet exist. Let’s wait and see what new functions will be added in the next updates.

***Please be aware: The content is accurate at the time of creation. It may be that Microsoft has made changes in the meantime.***

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