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Success Insights: Marketing Cloud Automation Studio Getting Started

Knowledge Article Number 000231155
Description Automation Studio: Start Guide

Marketing Automation is a hot topic right now and understanding the power behind Automation Studio (AS) can keep you up to speed and increase your interactions with your subscribers. The beauty about the Marketing Cloud’s Automation Studio program, is that it can handle simple or complex automations. This article will serve to provide you with baseline knowledge of the tool and offer a few best practices when starting.

Automation Options: 
There are two types of automations you can create within Automation Studio:
User-Initiated Automation - these are automations scheduled or started based on a user defined time or parameters. Users can select to run automations immediately/one time, scheduled/one time, or scheduled/recurring
Triggered Automations - automations that are prompted to run when a file is dropped into a designated Enhanced FTP folder.  Triggered automations do not run on a schedule; rather, they run automatically whenever the Enhanced FTP folder detects the addition of a new file.
TIP: There are a lot of ways to use the triggered sends. One of the most common use case is Abandoned Cart. Triggered Automations in Automation Studio allows you to send Abandoned Cart messages in real time instead of wait 24 hours for other programs to activate the communication.

Workspace Tabs:
  • Summary: A snapshot of the automation in its entirety. This will show the difference activities you have selected, show the schedule of the automation and any recent activity that applies to this Automation
TIP:  Only action that can be taken on this tab is to name your automation and provide a description. These are important fields to fill in for transparency across users but also prevent misactions from being taken.
  • Workflow: This is where the magic happens. The workflow is where you define your automation on our drag-and-drop interface. The workflow canvas provides the flexibility to move activities around, re-order your automation or add steps if necessary.
TIP:  A recommendation is to only put 4 activities into each step. Any activities put on a step together will run at the same time, so it is important to not create a bottleneck of actions waiting to be executed. 
TIP 2: You can create notes and define the actions being taken on each step. This will provide the detail they may not be visible by looking at the activity tiles.
  • Schedule: Where you schedule your automation and see you summary on the left of the screen. 
TIP:  Always test your automation to ensure any filtering or data imports are correctly firing before activating your automation. If one item fails, the entire automation will stop running. 
  • Activity: This is where the details of the automation’s activities live, including last run data and the progress/status of the activities in each run of the automation. 
TIP:  If an automation does fail, this tab will have information regarding what step failed and the reason behind it.

Activities: There are 8 activities that can be combined in an infinite amount of ways to set automations. They can be used to create sends or create operational activities you wish to perform.
  • Data Extract 
  • Filter 
  • Import File 
  • Refresh Group
  • Report Definition
  • SQL Query
  • Transfer File
  • Wait Activity
  • Send Email

The Automation Studio tool can be leveraged in many ways but ultimately will create efficiencies in your digital marketing space and allow you to maximize the potential of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

For more resources check out the Achieve More with Salesforce Hub: Gain Operational Efficiencies with Email Studio


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