How to Build a Welcome Series in Canvas - Thread the Needle with Braze

Having a welcome series in place is an essential part of any customer engagement strategy. It's a great opportunity to introduce your brand to new customers, establish credibility as a sender, and let customers know what to expect. While this video focuses on Braze's email capabilities, Braze can be used to execute welcome series across channels — including SMS, in-app, push, and more. In this episode, Bobby Tichy walks through how to build a welcome series using Braze's journey orchestration tool — Canvas. This video walks through:

  • Setting up the campaign — including permissioning and determining a conversion event
  • Determining campaign entry and exit criteria
  • Setting your target audience
  • Building your campaign in Canvas — including creating variants, pulling in messaging, and setting up the steps in the journey


Hi, everyone. My name is Bobby Tichy and I'm a solution lead here at Stitch, and today we're going to walk through how to build a welcome series within Canvas and Braze. And to start, there are multiple ways to build welcome series within Braze, but certainly, the most effective and efficient way of doing that would be within Canvas. So here, starting on the home page of Braze, I'm going to click over on the left menu bar and click Canvas. And from here is where all of our different Canvas journeys and orchestration will live. Right now, we don't have any in here. We've cleaned it up for this demo. So I'm going to go ahead and click Create Canvas on the upper right-hand side. And this is going to open up the Canvas builder. 

So from here, I'm going to put in Stitch welcome series. And for those of you who are familiar with Braze, you'll see a couple of familiar features here. But for those who aren't, there are a couple of options that are really neat for building out Canvases and for governing who has access to them. So number one is to add teams. So from here, you can see there are a number of different teams that we've built out within our instance of Braze. A couple of them are testing, and some are marketing-related. And what this allows us to do is tie specific users to their teams. So, for example, if we have a QA and testing team, we can attach all the users who are part of that team to that team and Braze, and that way they have access to all the things that they would need to test or go through QA. Same thing with the marketing team who may be responsible for content or campaigns and so on. So it really allows us to determine who has access to which Canvas journeys and who doesn't. 

The next pieces are all on tags, and this helps us with reporting and analytics. So in this situation, we just have one dev here. We're not going to select any in this situation, but we could do things like promotional, transactional, operational, and any type of tag you want to give this canvas, you can add in here. 

The other piece that is really important when we're setting up any canvas is the conversion event. So this has a couple of things. One helps us in reporting so we can track ROI for this particular journey but also allows us to leverage the same conversion event for exit criteria. So if someone does achieve this particular conversion, we can determine when they leave that journey so that way they don't continue to be messaged based on what they've actually filled out and what they want them to accomplish. So in this situation, since it's a welcome series, ideally in this situation, we're trying to either get people back to an application or back to the website to continue on the path that they're going down. So, for example, if we were a product company and we wanted someone to visit a particular page, like a documentation page to learn more, or if we're an e-commerce brand that wants someone to make a follow-up purchase or make their first purchase, we can decide what that looks like here. 

The first thing is there are four different types of conversion events. One is the start session, which could be either on the web or through your iOS or Android app. Next is to make a purchase and that would be tracked through the Braze SDK either on the web or mobile. We can also perform a custom event, so this populates every custom event that we have within our Braze instance. If we want to have a specific event tracked based on that, we could pick that one, and then the other portion would be an upgrade for that particular app, again using the Braze SDK to track it. In this situation, we're going to view this as a Start session. So that way anytime someone goes from the email and then jumps onto the website or the mobile app and starts a session there, we're taking that as a conversion. They've done what we wanted them to do as part of that onboarding, at the very bottom, we can set a conversion deadline. 

So from the time that someone enters into this journey, how long do we want it to be until we take the conversion and apply it back to this particular journey? In this situation, our welcome series is going to be seven days. So I'm going to update that to be seven days. But we can add any hours, minutes, or day iteration that we would want to. The next thing on the next screen is the entry schedule. So how and when are people actually just when people are falling into this particular journey? So there are three types here scheduled. So this would be at a particular time. So every day at 04:00 p.m., another one would be action based. So this is when something particular happens. And this is the one that we're going to use for this instance where we have a new email address for this person. So we're going to put them down a welcome series once they've added an email address and we've been able to capture it. So that could be through a pop-up on the website. That could be because they've downloaded the mobile app and created an account. Whatever it might be, that's what we're going to leverage here. The last type of entry event for a canvas is the API triggered so a user can enter via an API request that's made from the mobile app or from your website. 

The next portion down here is the entry window so we can determine when people enter this Canvas. So the option here is we can set basically some quiet times if we wanted to, but we can also add an endpoint to this journey. So if it's an onboarding series or a welcome series that is for a particular time frame or a canvas that's for a particular time frame, we can end it. This would be very relevant for things like events or maybe special promotions or sales that you might be pushing in this area. We're not going to have any end date for our welcome series, so we'll go ahead and click Next. Next is going to be the target audience. So first what we're able to do is add in any segment that we've built within Braze previously. So I'll scroll down here and you can see every segment that we've got within our Stitch-Braze workspace. From here, I'm going to go ahead and click the onboarding segment that we previously created, and then from there, I can add additional filters. 

So again, just for a recap where anybody who performs the action of adding an email address, anytime someone is added to Braze and there's an email address tied to it, they're going to be pushed in here in addition to what criteria they meet on the onboarding piece of it. So really what we're identifying here is anyone who has not purchased from us before, as well as having added their email address for the first time. What's nice here is I can do a lookup user, so I can just do a couple of quick tests to make sure that people who I expect to fall into this canvas are actually doing that. I can also add additional filters up here based on any custom attributes or custom events that I have in Braze, as well as all of the Braze out-of-the-box functionality. So first use the app intelligent channel, so using ChannelOptimizer, when they last made a purchase, when they last used the app, how much money they spent with us, all these different things that come out of the box with Braze, as well as any retargeting elements here. And then we've got entry control, so I can allow people to reenter this canvas. Not going to do that since this is a welcome series. And then I can also limit the number of people who will potentially enter this canvas. So I'm not going to do that in this scenario. But this is very helpful for things like sweepstakes where we only want to have 1,000 people enter into a particular sweepstakes to try to drive urgency for a particular canvas.

 Next is the exit criteria. So for this one, we're going to have a couple of things here. One, we're going to have to start a session or they make a purchase. So those are going to be the two main elements that we have here of what we determine the success or exit criteria. If you'll remember on that first step, that's what we wanted to do or that's what we determined the start session would be the conversion to make a purchase. Again, we're deciding what will automatically exit these people from that canvas at any time. Next. You'll see that here, the target population. We've got one reachable user currently. But then obviously with this being an action-based Canvas, every single time someone falls into this bucket and Braze is doing all of those calculations and segmentation in real-time. So as soon as someone adds an email address and that's communicated to Braze, they'll flow through into this canvas. 

The fourth step of the canvas setup is around sent settings. So we want to send it to every user who has subscribed or opted in in this scenario. The other options here are opted-in users only or all users, including unsubscribed users. Obviously including unsubscribed would only relate to anything that would be transactional or operational in nature. So maybe it's an update to a privacy policy or terms of service, but we wouldn't want to use that unless it was in that kind of vein of making sure it's transactional or operational. We can then limit the rate at which all these messages go out. So this is really helpful if we have a canvas that is particular or specific to a customer service event. So if we want to make sure that the throttling is happening for customer service, we can bring this down to a certain amount. In this scenario, since it's an onboarding series, we don't need to worry about that here. 

The other great thing about this is it also honors frequency capping. If you didn't know, one of the best features of Braze is that it has out-of-the-box frequency capping, which is one of the few platforms in the Martech ecosystem that has this. We don't have any set up currently, but if we wanted to make sure to only cap one or two messages per day for these particular folks, we could do that and then last for those enable quiet hours. In this scenario, we don't want anything going out from midnight to 08:00 a.m. We'll have that go out once it kicks back up at 08:00 a.m. And we'll just have it sent in the next available time. Based on that, the next piece is the actual canvas orchestration. So from here we can go ahead and build out what we want the welcome series to look like. So the first thing that we're going to do after we because we've already added all these different entry rules based on the workflow that we just walked through. 

So here the first thing we're going to do is we're going to enter a variant. And really what variants are, you can think of these as swim lanes. We can have multiple variants that do different things. We can also have different audience paths and different experiment paths. You can see on the left-hand side all the different components of a canvas. So in this situation, I'm going to go ahead and create the first variant. And then the first thing that's going to happen is a message is going to be sent as soon as someone's email address is added. So as soon as they fill out a particular form or they create an account, whatever that might be, we're going to send them that message. And then from here when I click on the message, I can actually determine what I want this to be. In this scenario, we're just going to focus on one mail in this example and we'll just use one of these out-of-the-box templates. For the purposes of this video, we'll click on the Fall Journey. We're not going to go into the actual editor today, but you could go in here and make any edits that you would like to, as well as make any edits to the sending info. So from there, I'm going to click done, we've go tour first email all set-up. 

Then from there, I'm going to put in a delay of a day and then we'll have another message come after that. So we'll build a three-email welcome series, put in another delay for another day, and then one last message. So we've got our first variant, our first path, where people will receive three messages after a delay of one day in each one. And then from there what we're going to do is what's really nice about this feature is we can clone this variant so then we can decide how we want people to go on these different variants. So what we're going to do is we're going to do a 50-50 split. 50% of the people falling into this journey are going to receive variant one and the other 50% are going to receive variant two. And we're going to go ahead and rename this to two days between messages and then we'll rename variant one to be one day between messages. So from here, all I've got to do is come in and make the adjustments after one day. So we're just going to update this to two days for each of these delay steps. And the other thing to point out here too is we can add in here a couple of different options for delay. We can do it after the duration. This would be seconds, minutes, hours, calendar days, or weeks until a specific time. We can also do a specific day if we have, for example, an upcoming event that we're driving towards. So let's say we want everyone to come into the journey as they should be based on an action that they perform, but we don't want to send out an email until it's a week before that particular event. This is really relevant for obvious things like concerts, even things like airlines. So when someone has a particular flight as well as a sporting event. So all these different things that we could do until a specific day, we'd also do it until a specific day of the week based on how we want to build that out. 

So from here, we've got our welcome series with two different variants and then what we're going to do is go ahead and launch it. Before we do that, a couple of things I want to call out over on these components that we didn't talk through. So we talked about the message component a little bit. We focused on email, but in this scenario that could be anything from a content card in that message, a push message across iOS or web, as well as a web hook. So if we want something to be communicated out to another platform or another service as part of this journey, we could do that there. The other piece around these delivery settings. We can use intelligent timing, which is what's the most popular time for the users amongst that app across all users, or we could do a specific fallback time as well. We'll go ahead and delete that just to remove that step. In the other steps here we went through the delay and this is again timing for when the next message or next activity should happen. Decision split which allows us to take whether it's an action or a particular data value, like an attribute or an event, to put people down different paths. We can also put in audience paths based on predetermined audiences. We already built action paths based on specific actions people have taken on the mobile app or on the web or that are custom. Next are experiment paths, which are very much like B testing but can be ABCDE basically ABN testing based on that. The last three ones I want to call out here are User Update, Facebook Audience, and Google Audience user Audience updates so I can make an adjustment to a user's profile and their attributes or events based on what happens in the journey. I can also add folks to a Facebook audience or a Google audience from this canvas as well. The last thing is just the cleanup canvas. So if you do have a number of different activities here or you want to just clean it up prior to launching it, you can do that but just by clicking that cleanup canvas on the bottom left. Also, what's nice here is this detailed view. I can also go to simplified view where it breaks it down a little bit easier, especially as you start to build out steps and you get into having dozens and dozens of steps. This is really valuable to have as you're looking through these different journeys. The last thing is always to make sure you save it before you launch it, just to make sure you've got that as a template or as a saved draft of a canvas moving forward and that will then save itself, and then you'll be able to launch it from there. I hope that was helpful on how to build welcome series within a canvas in Braze. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Stitch at any time. Thank you.

You might also like...