Engagement Programs with Nested Programs: When do you really get that email?

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Most of the documentation out there about using engagement programs shows you just dropping emails directly into the stream. However, you can also drop programs into them, and there are many situations where you might want to put your email inside of a program instead of directly into the stream.

Why use nested programs?

  • To add additional qualification criteria, e.g. only send this email to people in Canada, even though US people are also in the stream
  • To have conditional choices, e.g. to send a different variation of the email to one sub-group within the stream
  • To include landing pages, forms, or other assets, e.g. webinar invitation that links to a landing page and form for registration
  • Because you want to get multi-touch attribution on nurture email programs
  • To add extra flow steps, such as alert emails, CRM actions, etc.

There's a lot of confusion out there about how things work when you put programs inside a nurture. To clear up the confusion and confirm my own experience, I did a lot of testing of all kinds of scenarios, such as:

  • What if a lead got the email directly in the stream and later in the stream, that same email is sent out from within a program?
  • What if the lead got the email from the program first and then the email is standalone in the nurture stream later on?
  • What if the lead already got the email in a previous program and is a member of the next program that sends out the same email?
  • What if I then take that lead out of the program and make them no longer a member?
  • What if they went through that program with one smart campaign and now I create a new smart campaign in that program and add that into the nurture stream instead?
  • What if they aren't a member of the program but they don't qualify for a filter in the smart list?
  • What if I then remove the filter they didn't qualify for?
  • What if the email is in Design Studio? In the program that's inside the nurture? In a different program?

The three main conclusions:

1. When using nested programs, deciding whether or not to send the email to a person is based on:

    • Program Membership
    • Program ID

What this means is that it does not matter if the person already got the email or not. If the person is a member of the program, they will not get that email. If they are not a member of the program, but have gone through that program ID before in the nurture program, they will not get that email. Only if you are brand new to the program will you get that email.

2. You can reuse an email someone has already gotten if you put it in a new program, regardless of where the email is stored (Design Studio, local to the program, local to another program).

The main difference with these options is the reporting and ease of use. When you use a Design Studio email in multiple programs in an engagement stream, the different sends are treated as separate sends in the Engagement Stream Performance report. In the regular Email Performance report, they are treated as the same email and all the metrics are rolled up into one line.


3. If you want to resend something, it is always safest to create a new program and smart campaign.