Filtering by Tags in Reports

As we’ve mentioned before, Tags in ActiveCampaign are a bit of a pet project that we see big potential for. Whereas we normally update our app in large changes section by section, implementing Tags in the ways we’d like basically needs to be peppered throughout gradually. Whereas we’ve previously added them to the series, the contact pages, and the import functionality, Tags have now started to creep their way into reports.

With our most recent change you can now filter your campaign and series reports by how your contacts are tagged.

Want to see which of your customers with a certain tag opened your messages or clicked on a link? Now you can.

Additionally this can be used when viewing top contacts, read and open trends and client trends. If you want to see what percentage of a your contacts in a certain tag are using Gmail, now you can as well.

Got ideas of what else we can do with tags? Let us know on our feedback forums.

‘Wait until…’ Time and Date Options in Automated Series

Yesterday we launched a great new feature, one that had been highly requested since the introduction of our Automated Series — time and date awareness.

With this new feature you can now effectively schedule steps in your automate series to happen only at the appropriate times for your contacts.

This can now be accomplished with a simple “Wait until…” step under the “Date and Time” section.

Best of all, the time we’re referring to here is not your time zone, it is the customer’s. We will now track and utilize each contact’s time zone offset via their IP address to allow you to send to them at the right time for their region.

If you set an automated series to wait until Monday at 9 AM, the next step will not progress until 9AM on the following Monday in their time zone.

No longer will you have to worry about sending messages at strange hours or days when you won’t be available to respond. As you can imagine this opens up a host of other possibilities which we can promise we’re already thinking about for the future.

Much like our enhancements earlier in the week we believe a more personal experience will lead to better results and this is just one of many steps we’re taking to help you provide that.

Got ideas for what we can do with this data next? Let us know on our Feedback Forums.

New Feature: Modify Case When Using Personalization Tags

Personalized marketing is typically successful marketing. The more you know about a person, the better you can target and communicate with them. One small facet of this in ActiveCampaign is the usage of personalization tags.

Personalization tags let you include custom greetings or use any information you have about a contact in your message. We recently decided to take a new look at this handy feature and we’ve now rolled out some new enhancements to it.

You can now add modifiers to personalization tags to control the case of how they appear in your messages. With this new update, gone are the days of:

Hello JOHN,

This type of “greeting” would occur when someone was signed up and in your mailing list with their first name in ALL CAPS. This sort of thing either occurred because they didn’t know how to turn the caps lock off, or some sort of export system, likely from a database exported them as such. Now we’ve made personalization tags that much more personal.

Where you would have previously written:

Hello %FIRSTNAME%,

You can now write:

Hello %FIRSTNAME|TITLECASE%,

And ActiveCampaign will do the work for you to normalize things for human consumption yielding the following instead.

Hello John,

Much better right? You are no longer held down by the oppressive reign of the mighty CAPS LOCK key.

We didn’t stop there though. Maybe you like things all capitalized? all lowercased? We’ve got you covered. Check out our newly revised Personalization Tags help document for more. Happy personalizing!

Small Updates and Refinements

At ActiveCampaign we don’t believe on resting on our laurels.

We’re always working to add new features and incrementally improve our software to make your experience faster, simpler and more productive.

In general we update our software in waves. We go from section to section updating areas as we have the last year with our email designer, automated series, site trackingintegrationsreports etc. However this does not preclude us from sneaking in small things from time to time.

We’ve got some really big stuff around the corner but we thought it was time to highlight some of the smaller changes that make big impacts, the unsung heroes of updates if you will.

New Localizations

First off, and we can’t take credit for this one alone, but our partnership with OneSky for community driven translations have been a huge success. In February we were able to introduce a near complete Indonesian localization thanks to the hard work from Victor and Irna from Doxadigital.com. Also this week we also rolled out a near complete Vietnamese localization with the help of a few very hard working contributors! A big thanks to all of our language contributors, we’re really excited to see where things go next. If you’re interested in contributing to a translation you can learn how here.

Importing with Tags

Tags have been a bit of a pet project within the platform. We have a lot of ideas of what we can do with tags long term that have yet to be realized but we’ve recently introduced the ability to import tags as part of a contact record from a .CSV file and just this week added the ability to tag a whole list on import.

Sorting Contacts in Reports

By and large the reception to our new reporting system was positive. However there were a few small things we missed in rebuilding things from the ground up and you guys definitely let us know.

We’re pleased to announce we’ve re-added the ability to sort your contacts in reports by date, email address or number of opens/clicks etc.

Additionally we’ve modified the overview page to show additional decimal places on the percentages and added a numerical hover for the exact number of clicks etc.

API Access to Automate Series

Previously the automated series was completely invisible to the API. However we’ve added new calls to change things a little. Using some new API calls you can now: view all automations in the system, add or remove a contact from an existing automation, view all contacts from an existing automation, and view automation details for a specific contact.

For more information about this check out our API documentation.

Apps Page

Lastly and certainly not least we’ve added a new section for all the different Apps you can integrate with ActiveCampaign. This new page can be found from the Integrations tab under Apps and Integrations. or by going to /apps/ inside your account.

As i mentioned before, these are just some of the small changes we’ve made recently. We’re always tweaking and adding little things and most of the time these go unmentioned. Many of these changes came from valuable feedback from our customers and we encourage you to contribute more whenever you come across things.  It’s our goal to be the best email marketing and marketing automation platform available and we’ll stop at nothing to get there.

Earth Hour 2014 is this Saturday, March 29th

At 8:30 pm local time on Saturday, March 29th, millions of people around the globe will shut off their lights for one hour. This is part of a movement called Earth Hour. The movement, which was started by the World Wide Fund for Nature, started as a “lights-off” event in Sydney Australia in 2007. Since that time it has expanded to 154 countries and over 7000 cities and towns worldwide.

You may remember that last year we featured how Earth Hour utilized ActiveCampaign’s ERJA data to interact with its contacts. This year is especially exciting for us, as our home city of Chicago has been named the 2014 Earth Hour capital of the United States.

One of the goals of Earth Hour is to build a global community and in 2014 they are  moving away from a common email signup form and using ActiveCampaign’s specialized lists and specialized auto responders to give out specific messages and call-to-actions to individuals, corporates, government organizations, event organizers. Look at EarthHour.org to see different pages on the website with a specific auto response. Earth Hour is also using ActiveCampaign’s Marketing Automation to further engage with its audience.

This year Earth Hour is striving to go even further and inviting people to host their own events.

The great people at Earth Hour are also taking the opportunity to bring attention to some great crowd funding initiatives to help communities all over the world and bring attention to some amazing crowd funding initiatives. The goal of which is to keep the momentum going beyond Saturday night and make an even bigger difference through the year.

ActiveCampaign is a proud supporter of Earth Hour and even prouder to be the email marketing platform of choice for this noble cause.

Gmail’s Experimental New Promotions Grid

In August of last year Google rolled out Gmail’s new tabbed inbox interface. This included the introduction of the new Social, and Promotions tabs. While this first gave some email marketers pause, we can say, almost six months later, that this has not significantly hurt open rates.

The way we look at it, anything that makes managing your inbox simpler is a net win for everyone. Email marketers especially. The Promotions tab means that the people who are interested in receiving your messages will have an easier time doing so, while the spammers will be buried further. It’s because of developments like this that Google has been able to start caching images and loading them by default.

Now that people have had some time to get used to Promotions, Google is looking to improve it further in new an exciting ways. Today the company announced a new experimental grid view for promotions.

This new grid view takes advantage of the image heavy nature of email marketing to create beautiful feature tiles for each message. This will make sorting through promotions easier than ever for your contacts, while also giving you a leg up at grabbing their attention beyond just the subject line.

We’re excited about this feature and think you should be too. The feature is currently experimental and those who want to try it out need to opt-into it at this point.

As this feature catches on we will look into how we can make optimizing your messages for the Promotions grid as easy as possible to take advantage of it. Though Google has already released some developer documentation so individual coders can get a head start today!

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

Gmail Promotions Grid

Zapier’s Email Parser Integration

Zapier Email Parser Demo Graphic

Last week, our integration partner Zapier rolled out many new integrations including a powerful new free email parser.

This powerful new tool allows you to send automated messages directly to Zapier which then can be parsed for email addresses and other contact information of your choosing which then can be passed off to any other integrated tool Zapier supports. Which of course includes ActiveCampaign. And due to the direct integration with Zapier built inside every ActiveCampaign account this is available to every ActiveCampaign customer free of charge.

To give you an idea, one way this could be used is to integrate ActiveCampaign directly with WordPress’s new Jetpack Contact Form. Their new form builder lets you directly add a form to any WordPress post or page simply within the WordPress admin panel. When someone files out these forms it sends an email to you with the form data.

By using Zapier’s email parser you could have these messages parsed and added directly to ActiveCampaign with very little setup required.

The possibilities for this new tool are nearly endless. We’re excited to see what you’ll do with it. Got some cool ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the parser here: http://parser.zapier.com/

Using Guest’d for iPad / iPhone signup forms

Whether you’re strolling expo halls or attending a local music show an increasingly common trend you’ll see is tablet devices set out on tables be used to sign up customers to a mailing list.

This is something we’ve heard from many of our customers that you’d like to see added to ActiveCampaign. Well, I’m happy to say thanks to our new auto-sync integrations there is already a great solution available today that works very well with our platform.

That solution is a iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running an app called Guest’d.

 

Guest’d allows you to build a simple custom form for your iOS device. These forms look great and can include as many fields as you’d like while also using custom imagery / branding.

Glancing through Guest’d you’ll notice however that ActiveCampaign support is not listed directly. A simple workaround is to choose Guest’d’s Google Drive support to have it add your new contacts right to a Google Spreadsheet.

From there you can enable the Google Spreadsheet Automatic Import, tell it to use the same spreadsheet Guest’d is using and voila! You now have a beautiful custom form for use on your iPad that will automatically add to your ActiveCampaign lists.

 

Guest’d is available for just $9.99 on Apple’s App store. While we think this is great and it does work flawlessly, we’ve reached out to Guest’d to have them add direct support for ActiveCampaign in the future. If you like Guest’d and want to encourage them to add official support, let them know directly.

Introducing the ActiveCampaign Experts Corner

Experts Corner

At ActiveCampaign we take service and support very seriously. All of our hosted accounts come with free phone, email, and chat support, in addition to webinars and one on ones.

Additionally, we love developers. We actively maintain and improve our API and Zapier integrations to make working with our platform a breeze.

That said, sometimes you or your business might need someone who can go beyond even what we can do for you. Maybe you’re not a programmer but you want ActiveCampaign to tie into your company’s systems, maybe you need custom templates in mind, or maybe you want someone to help you choose a server system for our On-Site edition. With these things in mind we’re going to make it easier than ever to connect you to folks who can help do all these things and more.

Today we’ve rolled out our Experts Corner. Here you can find listings of companies that we recommend to help you with the things we cannot. We’ve hand picked a few to start off with but we’ll be adding more as time goes on. If you’re an ActiveCampaign expert and would like to be included let us know.

Cheers!

Plain Language for Date Based Campaigns

When building software, very often adding features can also add complexity and in some cases even confusion.

Take for example Subscriber Date Based Campaigns, with this feature of ActiveCampaign our goal was to allow you to send a campaign to your subscribers on birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or any other date information you may have on file.

To program this is relatively simple, essentially need to look to see when a one date matches another plus or minus a number of days, weeks or months.

However when presented this way in a human interface here is how it looks:

The old way of entering a date based campaign.

While this might make sense to a programmer, it served to confuse many of you and even some of us. In order to address this, example text was added but we still weren’t happy with it.
In order to find a new approach we needed to take a look at all the variables involved:
  • How often does this message send: Every year or just once?
  • Is it sent before, after, or on a specific date?
  • If before or after is it a matter of days, weeks, or months?
  • How many of those days, weeks, or months?

The first thing we did was to try to write out the most complex scenario in plain language:

“Will send (every year / once) ((x) (days/weeks/months) (on, before, after)) the subscriber’s (date variable)”

As well as the simplest:

“Will send (on) the subscriber’s (date variable)”

By replacing exactly/plus/minus with on/before/after we not only addressed the biggest source of confusion but we are now able to present it much more elegantly:

New Date Based layout

Instead of expanding the phrase out from the end as before we decided to style the drop-down boxes to appear more subtly and expand from the middle. When the word “on”  is clicked the phrasing will expand and allow you to customize the setting as you see fit while retaining an easy to read and understand the sentence.

Date Based Expanded

To further simplify we broke out the setting for how often this sends on the right to match our other settings. You can now also click  the option on the right to toggle between sending yearly or only sending once.

We’re proud of this approach as we think it is clearer and much easier to use and we think you’ll think so too.

Clarity and ease of use is important to us, if you discover other areas that you think could be simpler we’d love to hear. Drop us a line in our feedback forum. Thanks.