How Do Communication Limits Work?

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Recently, I had to remind one of my clients about the ability to set communication limits in Marketo. We were brainstorming new email and nurture campaigns, and she was concerned about over-communication with leads who qualify for multiple campaigns.

So she asked: “How do communication limits work?"

There’s some information about this on the community, but it took me some digging around so I’m collecting all that info here for others who might also be curious.

The simple answer is: Marketo allows you to set the maximum number of emails a lead will receive per day or per week.

A more detailed answer follows in the form of FAQS:

  1. How is “per day” and “per week” defined? The per day limit is based on a calendar day from 12 am to 12 am. The per week limit is on a rolling basis from 12 am to 12 am between. (Time zones are defined in your Admin - Location panel).

  1. How do you turn on communication limits? You can enable and define communication limits globally in the Admin tab.

  2. Can you override communication limits? You can override global communication limits at an email program level or smart campaign level.

  1. What happens if a lead has reached their communication limits? These are the scenarios:

  • For plain ole’ scheduled or triggered marketing emails: The lead will NOT receive the email.
  • For operational emails: The lead will still receive the email.
  • For engagement programs: The lead will receive the email in the NEXT cast.
  • For sales insight emails (sent through our Salesforce or MS Dynamics app, not through the Sales Insight email plug-ins for Outlook or Gmail): The lead will receive the email if the email includes an unsubscribe footer. If not, the lead will NOT receive the email.
  • For alerts: The lead - more likely, an internal user - will receive the alert.

  1. What emails count towards communication limits?

Almost all emails, even operational emails are counted against communication limits. Here’s an idea in the community to exclude operational emails from communication limits. A couple notable exceptions:

  • Any sales insight emails without the unsubscribe footer and alerts, or those sent through the Sales Insight email plug-ins for Outlook or Gmail.
  • Marketo Mobile Engagement push notifications are not counted in communications limits, and you are not able to apply these limits to push notifications.

  1. What’s the best way to make sure leads who’ve reached their communication limits get the email later? As mentioned above, you can override the communication limits for this one email program or campaign. But if you want to respect your communication limits, I found some great tips on the community for this, such as:

  • The absolute best way to ensure leads who've reached their communication limits get an email later is to send emails through an engagement program. If leads reach their communication limits, they’ll simply receive the email in the next cast.
  • If you aren’t using an engagement program, do the manual thing: run a smart list for “not was sent email” and resend after the fact. Some of these leads could have been blocked for other reasons of course.
  • Or similarly, automate this process in your emails by including in your campaign after the “send email” flow: “remove from flow” if “was sent email," “wait X hours/days,” then “send email” again.

Thanks to Kristen Carmean, Cecily Gardner, andKenneth Elkington for their contributions to this post.

Did I miss any other scenarios? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll update this post.