Feature Update: Trigger Automations
on Page Visits Using Wildcards

What changed…

You can now trigger automations using wildcard URLs. This opens up the range of web pages the “On webpage visit” trigger is capable of handling and makes it much easier to use with groups of pages.

This is a more subtle change than some of our releases but, for the people who need it, it makes all the difference.

I don’t have a programming background, so it wasn’t immediately obvious to me what this change meant for our end users. I’ll explain it carefully for anyone else who is at my level…

 

Why it matters…

With our previous version, you could trigger automations based on a contact’s visit to a URL, but you had to specify the exact URL.

This meant the feature could not work with dynamic URLs because they change each time they are visited. This was unfortunate because oftentimes dynamic URLs are used when something important is happening, such as a purchase or form submission, so are likely the very page visits you’d want to be able to begin automations with.

It also meant it was difficult to target large swathes of your website because you had to create a separate trigger for each web page’s URL. If you have a large site, it wasn’t really feasible to do this often. So this change makes it quick and easy to begin automations on visits to large groups of pages.

I’ll break each of these implications down further while also mentioning some use cases…

 

What can you do with wildcard URL triggers?

You can trigger automations when any page within a directory (a.k.a. “folder” or “category”) is visited.

A wildcard URL is indicated with an “*” (asterisk). The asterisk basically tells ActiveCampaign, “I mean anything… if the URL matches what is in front of me and behind me, we’ll count it.”

For example:

http://www.activecampaign.com/blog/*

Here an automation would be triggered when a contact visited any URL within the “/blog” directory or, put differently, any post on our blog. So whether a contact visited:

http://www.activecampaign.com/blog/zapier-email-parser/

… or…

http://www.activecampaign.com/blog/wistias-integration-with-activecampaign/

… or any blog post in /blog/, the same automation would be started with that one wildcard URL. You could use this automation to get more email subscribers for your blog by sending an email inviting your contacts to subscribe (but make sure you set this automation to only run once… you’d annoy your contacts pretty quickly if you set it to run multiple times.)

The “send an email on a visit to our support docs” automation I mentioned earlier in this post would be triggered with a URL setting like:

http://www.activecampaign.com/support/*

As another example of how this works, if you specified the URL as:

http://www.activecampaign.com/*

… the automation would be triggered no matter what URL they visited on our domain… index page, blog pages, support docs, category pages, everything. Any visit to any page on our site would trigger an automation with a wildcard setting like this.

One last example:

http://www.activecampaign.com/*/index.php

… would trigger an automation whenever the index page of a directory was visited.

 

Automations can now be triggered by visits to dynamic URLs and web pages with query strings and parameters.

Dynamic URLs are used when web pages are created on the fly or data needs to be passed around between pages. They often contain characters like “? = &” and might appear to be a long string of gibberish.

With dynamic URLs, even though visitors may be viewing the same page of content, the URL will be unique. This makes it impossible to predict the exact URL that will bring a visitor to a page of your site which means it had been impossible, to use triggers with dynamic URLs.

With a wildcard URL, we can tell ActiveCampaign to ignore the gibberish, and focus on the static, unchanging portion of the URL.

To use it with dynamic URLs you’ll just need to establish what part of the URL remains consistent and use the asterisk where the unique URL begins.

If we use this wildcard setting:

http://www.activecampaign.com/complete?action=go&type=*

The same automation could be triggered whether someone visits:

http://www.activecampaign.com/complete?action=go&type=Hi89&action=374

… or…

http://www.activecampaign.com/complete?action=go&type=4ebI28

If you have any questions about how wildcard URLs work or how this feature can be used, feel free to ask in the comments section. If you’d like to learn more about Site Tracking and the types of things you can do with it, see this post on behavioral targeting with Site Tracking.

 

Expect more of this…

We are fully aware of how useful behavioral data is to you as a marketer so we will continue to create updates like this that allow you to more fully leverage behavioral targeting in your marketing.

If you have any ideas about how we can help you leverage behavioral data with new features, or improvements to our existing features, please take the time to submit feedback describing what you’d like to be able to do.

I am new here at ActiveCampaign. I quickly realized, and have been extremely impressed by the fact, that we pay very, very close attention to the feedback that is submitted by our users.

I’ve never seen a company so focused on customer feedback. From my point of view I’d say it’s a big part of what makes ActiveCampaign so awesome… as a platform and a company.

Trust me, everyone here is listening to what our users want — from the CEO to our team of programmers to our Customer Success Manager — so don’t ever feel like it would be a waste of time to let us know what you’d like ActiveCampaign to become.

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