New Date Based Automation Trigger

You can now begin automations based on dates. An automation can start before, after, or on a specific date.

This trigger is particularly useful for events, and recurring transactions, such as a subscription, or contract renewals.

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer. Two weeks before a couple’s wedding date, you could begin a sequence preparing the happy couple for the photo shoot on their big day:

Three weeks after the wedding, you can follow-up with an offer for additional prints. You could have a separate automation with a date-based trigger or you could just add a Wait action to the original automation.

A year later you can give them an offer for anniversary photos. If they don’t make a purchase within a couple of weeks, you can offer them a discount.

This feature is also useful if you book consultations. You could have your scheduling app populate a custom field when the appointment is scheduled and use this trigger to send messages preparing the client for their appointment, remind them the day before and an hour before, and then follow up afterward.

How it works

To create a date-based automation, select the “Date based” trigger.

A modal window with configuration options will display.

First, you’ll decide whether the automation should begin on a certain date, before a certain date, or after a certain date and pick the date. The date can be a date field or a text field. If it’s a text field, you’ll be prompted to choose the date’s format.

By default, you’ll see Subscription Date and Creation Date options. Subscription Date is the date a contact joined a specific list and Creation Date is when their contact record was created. Any date or text custom field you create will appear here so the real power of this feature is when it is used with custom fields you’ve created.

You also have the option to choose when the automation should check if the date is reached. This is useful for situations where you don’t want an automation to begin on a weekend (or only on the weekends) and if you want it to run at a certain time of day. You also are able to decide whether the time is relative to your account’s time zone or the contact’s time zone.

Finally, you can decide whether the automation should run Once or Yearly.

This short gif demonstrates where to find this feature and shows its configuration options:

This trigger was a highly requested feature in our feedback forum. We’re excited to see the automated processes our users create with it. If this is one you’ve been waiting on, please let us know how you plan to use it in the comments section.

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  • Edward Haskins

    Love it! Only concern is that the automation can only “Run Once” or “Yearly”. Why no “Multiple times”? What about a scenario where you use that automation for appointments, and maybe you have a Contact who will book a new monthly appointment. It would be beneficial to add them into that same automation each month as their new appointment is booked. Yes?

    • Brian Gladu

      That’s a good point, Ed. I’ve noted this feedback. Happy to hear the trigger is useful to you!

    • jvandeboom

      The trigger has been updated to be a bit more clear about what options are included:

    • Lisa Rothstein

      Agree, if I want to do a recurring webinar I need to be able to run more often

  • Wow what is the dev team eating, smoking or drinking….jk :) Awesome stuff AC team.

  • Mary Holloway

    It would be useful to show a GIF of how this would work for a webinar. For example this morning I had a paid lesson but we did not know about this feature so we had to use a whole if/then work around. I’d love to see a GIF of an automaton for a webinar sign up that has a few emails that are being sent out post subscription but prior to webinar – This is important because if they sign up 2 days before the webinar they should not receive all the emails – only the initial email and then the other ones that are triggered based on the date they signed up. Sorry but I am pretty new to this and after the workaround we did this morning my head is spinning because I now have so many if triggers. This would be helpful!

    • Dylan Newcomb

      I agree with Mary – I “suffer” with the same complication in my webinar automations – how to most efficiently deal with people signing up closer to the webinar date than others and what emails they then get. Can the this new date-based trigger help with this? Would love to see more on this topic. Even awesomer—can someone build a webinar signup-sequence automation for the list of templates? That would be super helpful indeed!

      • Mary Holloway

        Oh I LOVE the idea of the webinar sign-up sequence automation template!! Yes Yes Yes!!

      • Lisa Rothstein

        YES YES YES I’ll have what they’re having ;-)

    • Lisa Rothstein

      ME ME ME TOO I need this SO MUCH! ActiveCampaign angels: What I/we all need is a sequence that dynamically times from the automated webinar date with if/then logic depending on the date of opt in relative to the webinar. If the opt in is 3 days out from the date, send these 3 emails; if it’s 1 day out skip email 2 (for example).

      • Michael Haskett

        A webinar automation sequence would be FANTASTIC! Nothing in the marketplace yet. This would be VERY helpful!

  • AC kicking ass and taking names, love it.

  • Awesome guys :)

  • Nicola

    Ummm…sorry if I’m being dumb here but how do you set this to trigger on an ACTUAL date, rather just a date field? So say I have a yearly 4th of July promotion – how do I get the automation to trigger every year on July 1st?

    Right now the only way I can see to do that would be to add a promotion date field and fill it in with Jul 1st for every subscriber on the list. That just doesn’t seem like a sensible way of doing it.

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Nicola, You aren’t being dumb :-) If you wanted it to trigger on the 4th of July of every year you would create the date field then use the bulk editor to update that field to 07/04/16 for all the contacts at once. Then you’d set the trigger to run yearly. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Jon Morrow

    You guys are killing it. Really impressed.

    • Brian Gladu

      Thanks for the support, Jon. We’ve got some fantastic releases coming soon…

  • Valentin Dosev

    This is a trigger I have been waiting for in a long time. Thank you guys. Are you planning to integrate this within the conditions and workflow.

    For example:

    Wait until 3 Days after Wedding Date –> send them next email.

    or Wait until 1 days SeminarAttendDate –> Send them next email

    Thank you again.

    • jvandeboom

      Yup, exactly that in time.

      • Julia Kelleher

        Oh YES please…… This is the clencher for me switching to you guys!

  • Lisa Rothstein

    HALLELUJAH. I’m about to ditch a certain confusing competitor for Active Campaign and this news just reinforces that decision!!

    • Brian Gladu

      Great to hear, Lisa! Let us know if you need any help making the transition.

      • Lisa Rothstein

        Thank you Brian, I may take you up on that. I also have found a local VA who will help me. Already better customer service than your comepetition and I have not even started paying yet. Good sign!

    • Daezie

      That wouldn’t happen to be ConfusionSoft would it?! Same here!

  • This is long awaited – thank you! But is there a way to have that same trigger logic as a condition within the automation? Having a date based trigger is awesome, but also having a date based condition (relative to the Contact’s info) is needed too – e.g. Birthday campaign where you send messages before the birthday and then wanting to send a message ON their birthday – would like to do this in one automation…!

    • Brian Gladu

      Date-based conditions would be useful and we’ll probably release those at some point. I might be misunderstanding what you are trying to do but in the use case you mentioned (send 14 days before bday, then on bday) you can do that in a single automation now. You’d have the automation start with the date-based trigger 14 days before their bday, send a message, wait for 14 days, and then send the bday message.

      • Hi Brian – thanks for replying – right now i have one automation triggered 1 month before then 3 weeks later and i want to be able to have the last condition ensure that today is the contact’s birthday and send to them then. Don’t trust the math to use a Wait 1 more week. Right now i have 2 automations – with the second one triggered on the date of birth…!

        • Brian Gladu

          Oh, I see. Well, I can understand being cautious but the wait condition route will work fine as well.

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  • Jason

    Hi, how would this work if you run a dance studio and sign up clients to free classes and would like to send them some automated emails prior to the class commencing? Lets say you wanted to send registered students 3 emails prior to a trial class but not all of those students registered on the same day, some registered 7 days out some 4 days some 2 days. Does this feature compress the automation according to when someone became part of that specific list?

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Jason! Good question. This particular feature doesn’t help with compressing a follow-up sequence. The Goals action does. You can set up a Goal condition for 7 days out and have contacts skip ahead at that point. You can set another one for four days out, etc. This way, when contacts sign up, they jump ahead to the appropriate point in the sequence, skipping the other messages.

  • If I understand this correctly, the only way to use this for something like a product launch would be to create a date field and bulk edit it for all my clients, thus enabling me to set that date field as the trigger for the product launch? Surely there’s an easier way to do this. Why can’t I just set the campaign trigger to be particular date? Or for everything to count from the day I send the first email?

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Derek, this is mostly for automations that would begin at different times for different contacts. If you are just trying to get an automation to begin for a large group of contacts on a certain date, it might be easier to bulk add them to an automation.

  • Daniel_McCaughey

    So how do i set certain dates for each email?
    Basically i have a membership site through click funnels and what i am looking for now is to send an initial ‘welcome’ & ‘Week 1″ email on day of subscription and then send a following email every week after notifying them they can now access that week in there membership site.

    I am very basic and uneducated in this thing so o i do apologise if explained

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Daniel! You can probably accomplish this with a series of “Wait” actions. The trigger might be when a tag is added or they are added to a list. Then you’d have a “Send message” action, then a “Wait 7 days,” then another send, and another wait and so on. Let me know if this is unclear. Here to help.

      • Daniel_McCaughey

        It does thank you. I found it all shortly before your reply.
        I thing I would like to ask about the “wait” is if I want to release everything every 7 days would 7 day wait, 7 day wait or would it be 7 days wait, 14 day wait, 21day wait

        • Brian Gladu

          Another good question… To send once per week, you would do a 7 day wait, then another 7 day wait, then another 7 day wait. Each “Wait” action is referencing itself, not the time since sign up.

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