What are the differences between the different triggered campaigns?

What are the differences between the different triggered campaigns?

1. Message sending frequency

People move through segment triggered campaigns once, the first time they match your conditions.

Event triggered campaigns are received by default every time the person performs that specific event. You can change this behaviour in the campaign's Frequency settings to:

  • Once ever
  • Only once within a certain time period

You can also override this behaviour with a filter segment.

The messages for API triggered broadcasts are received every time the API trigger is sent (or manually triggered), to people meet your target conditions.


It is possible to change a segment triggered campaign so that it sends more than once if the users re-match (exit and re-enter the trigger segment). Here's some additional documentation about re-enterable campaigns for more details.

2. Including or excluding unsubscribed users

By default, messages are not sent to unsubscribed users— this includes email, push, and SMS. Slack and webhooks will still send to unsubscribed users.

For transactional use cases (password resets or invoices, for example), you can send to unsubscribed users by checking this box in the workflow:


You can also adjust this setting on an individual message. On emails, Push, and SMS messages, you'll see this option:

Clicking 'Edit' will allow you to set the specific behavior for that message:

  • Sending to unsubscribed people
  • Not sending to unsubscribed
  • Use the campaign setting

3. Filter evaluation

Inside a segment triggered campaign, filters are only evaluated after delays pass. For example, if you have a 5 day delay before the first message in your campaign, the filter will only be checked after 5 days— when it's time to receive that message.

Event triggered campaigns' filters need to match a maximum of 30 minutes after the event takes place regardless of any delay. This means that even if you have a 5 day delay at the beginning of your campaign, your filters need to match 30 minutes after the event takes place AND after the delay passes.

4. Forward-looking behavior

Segment triggered campaigns can be made retroactive (allow users to be included even if they matched the trigger segments more than 24 hours before the campaign was created). Event triggered campaigns are completely forward-looking.

In other words, if you started a segment triggered campaign today, but want to include all the users who matched your trigger and filter conditions before the campaign was created, you can choose to do so on the Review page when you start the campaign:

Include existing and future matches

We can't force an event triggered campaign to send to users who performed the event in the past. You can create a segment triggered campaign based on your specific event, but you won't be able to include any event attributes in your content.

5. Event attributes

Customer attributes can be used in event triggered campaigns, segment triggered campaigns and newsletters.

Event attributes, however, can only be used in event triggered campaigns and your choice is limited to the attributes from the event that triggers your campaign. Attributes from any other events are not accessible via liquid. There are some important things to know about event attributes in event triggered campaigns:

  1. They can be used in action content
  2. They can be used to refine campaign recipients
  3. They can override certain email headers
  4. They can include attachments

Want to know more about event attributes? Read more here.

6. Trigger vs. recipient

For segment and event triggered campaigns, it is a user's membership in a segment or performance of an event which starts their journey in the campaign. Meanwhile, for API triggered broadcasts, you define your recipients, but the campaign is triggered by the API call that you send to Customer.io.

7. Delays and time windows

Unlike segment and event triggered campaigns, API Triggered Broadcasts do not include delays and time windows in the workflow item options. This is because an API Triggered Broadcast is designed to be triggered and sent immediately to lots of people via an API call, not when a user enters a segment or performs an event.

8. Journeys

Segment triggered campaigns start a journey as soon as the person matches the campaign's trigger conditions.

For event triggered campaigns, a journey is not started until we receive an event that matches the campaign's trigger conditions. If the person does not meet the filter conditions when we receive the event, we will retry the event for up to 30 minutes. If the person still does not match the filter conditions after those 30 minutes, a journey will not be started for them and they will not enter the campaign. If the person does match the filter conditions within those 30 minutes they will enter the campaign and start a journey. We do this specifically to prevent race conditions that often happen when profile attribute values are updated very close to the time the event is sent. Retrying the event helps us ensure that the right people will enter your event triggered campaigns, even when various network conditions or integration issues cause us to receive API calls in an untimely manner.

API Triggered Broadcasts start a new journey for each recipient each time the broadcast is triggered.

For segment and event triggered campaigns, the person's journey through a campaign can be altered based on the exit conditions you select in the campaign settings. They will continue through the campaign's workflow as long as they don't meet the non-conversion-related exit condition(s) you set. For segment triggered campaigns, if we notice such an exit condition is met when we try to send them a message, we hit pause on their journey and allow time for them to stop meeting the exit condition. After that time period is up, if they no longer meet the exit condition then they will continue on in their journey through the workflow. This period of time is called a grace period which can vary in length. You can read more about grace periods here. Note that grace periods do not happen at all for event triggered campaigns.

Unless a person exits a campaign early, their journey will automatically end after they have moved through the last item in the campaign's workflow. Adding new items to the workflow will not cause people who have already been through the campaign to rejoin the campaign and they will not be affected by the newly added workflow items.

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