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Author's profile photo Miguel Marques

Automation Center Use Cases #1 – How not to let a few unengaged contacts spoil your whole email launch list

As you surely know, contact engagement is a major factor that ISPs use when delivering your emails. The higher (more recent) the engagement, the more likely the message will hit the inbox. Conversely, the lower the engagement, the more likely an ISP is to suspect that you are not sending the kind of content your contacts (their customers) want to receive, and will block it or send it to junk.

We always tell our customers (and anyone else who will listen) to send their critical, revenue-generating emails to engaged customers only, and to use re-engagement campaigns (perhaps promoting the same products on different channels, or with different messages such as increased incentives) on those less engaged. This creates a virtuous cycle where responsive customers move up, unresponsive ones move down (eventually out) and your list of email recipients gets cleaner and cleaner. 

This works beautifully, in an ideal world. 

But this world is rarely ideal, and there is always the chance that you can’t clean your launch list as well as you’d like, or you’re at a critical time of year where pressure is high, expectations are higher, and time is running out (Black Friday, anyone?). 

In that case, there’s a simple way to use the Automation Center to reduce the risk and make sure that it really is only the very least engaged contacts who might end up not seeing your message.

Creating The Program

In a nutshell, the idea is to break up a launch into segments based on engagement, starting with the most engaged. An example program might look like this:

Entry node 1

The Entry node is the SEGMENT with all the valid opted-in contacts you want to impact with the campaign.

Filter Switch 1

The switch filter is a segment with behavioral criteria for the most recent engagement (e.g. 0 to 30 days, but this will depend on your line of business), covering:

  • Email behavior
  • Web behavior
  • Purchase behavior

  •  Include path

The campaign will be sent to the contacts who fulfill the Filter Switch segment criteria

  •  Exclude path

Any contacts that do not fulfill the Filter Switch segment criteria will continue to the next Filter Switch after queueing at the Wait node

Email node 1

This contains your message – you should have the same email campaign in every email node, so that you have unified campaign reporting.

This first step will ensure that only the most engaged contacts receive your email, which will result in excellent inbox placement and will also show the ISPs what a good marketer you are – win-win!

Filter Switch 2

Now repeat the above step with Filter Switch 2, setting the engagement period to (say) 31-60 days. 

Filter Switch 3&4

And repeat with 3 and 4 according to your business model – for this example I would suggest 61-90 days and 91-180 days.

Filter Switch 5

Your final switch should cover the least engaged contacts that you still want to send to, and filter out the rest. For example 181-270 days. 

Contact List node

Any contacts who have not responded within this time are saved to a contact list which you can then use for re-engagement campaigns on a different channel.

How does it actually work?

This workaround works because when ISPs analyze your first segment, they will realize that you are a good sender, and may reduce their scrutiny for the subsequent launches. I say may because this is not set in stone and differs from ISP to ISP. But in the best-case scenario, the emails you send to your less engaged contacts will sail through to the inbox on the coattails of their more engaged predecessors.

However, even if they do give each segment the same level of scrutiny, they will not begin to act on that until well after your most engaged (= best, = most valuable) contacts have received your message. And since the first segments will be responsible for the majority of conversions, even the harshest ISP scrutiny won’t unexpectedly affect your bottom line.

Program Settings

Wait node

We recommend a 30-minute wait before the next Filter Switch as a benchmark, but feel free to adapt this based on your overall segment size and the size & complexity of your email (which will affect the sending time).


Contacts can enter this program only once ever. This is important to ensure that no contact receives your message twice, for example, if two of your segments accidentally overlap.


The idea is to run the separate launches as close to each other as you can, so the program should start and finish on the same day.

What’s Next?

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You can ask questions and provide suggestions for helpful email deliverability topics in the Q&A area Q&A – SAP Emarsys Email Deliverability.

And if you’d like to find out more about SAP Emarsys, you can visit the community page: SAP Emarsys CX.

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