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ActiveCampaign Transactional Email Triggers

Do you love ActiveCampaign's automation builder and triggers, and also enjoy the deliverability and open tracking of Postmark? Well, put your hands together because you can trigger an ActiveCampaign automation based on an open (reads) event from a message sent through Postmark using the Opens/Reads a Transactional Email trigger.

This trigger allows you to easily unify messaging coming from marketing, sales, and transactional emails. For example, you can use the Opens/Reads a Transactional Email trigger to:

  • Adjust contact or deal scores
  • Apply a tag to engaged contacts
  • Send a follow up message (email or sms) based on open engagement

🥳 Good news, everyone! 🥳
We're currently working on other types of triggers as well, like the click trigger that will action anytime a contact clicks a link in a message sent through Postmark. Sign up below and we'll email you when new trigger types are released!

🗂 Jump ahead#

Setting up the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger#

Accessing the trigger#

The "Opens/Reads an email" trigger can be accessed and implemented by following the below steps:

  1. Within your ActiveCampaign account, click the "Automations" tab on the left menu.
  2. Create or edit an automation.
  3. Click on ‘Add a start trigger’.
  4. Select the 'Opens/reads an email' trigger.
  5. Choose the 'Transactional Email' option.

Connecting the trigger to your Postmark account#

When you first select the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger, you will need to click the blue "Connect Postmark" button to connect your ActiveCampaign and Postmark accounts using Oauth.

⚠️ To use the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger, a Postmark account is required. If you have not opened a Postmark account yet, click the "Create an Account" button to create one.

Configuring the trigger#

With the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger you can configure and specify the following:

  • Postmark Server
    Select which Server within your Postmark account you wish to connect the watch for transactional email opens in.
  • Postmark Message Stream
    Within the selected Server, then select which Transactional Message Stream the email will be sent through and where then the open events will occur.

    ⚠️ The Postmark CX App and its email triggers can only be connected to Transactional Message Streams. It is not currently possible to select a Broadcast Message Stream to use with the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger.
  • Email
    Select whether you want the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger to work for:
    • All emails
      Trigger for any open event that occurs for any email sent through the selected Postmark Message Stream
    • Segmented emails
      Trigger only for open events that occur for messages that meet the conditions of the Segment Group(s). Transactional specific segmentation conditions include:
      • Email Subject Line
      • Postmark Tag
        Postmark Tags allow you to use a descriptive tag (like “payment-reminder” or “confirmation”) to categorize emails and get detailed stats within Postmark.
  • Runs
    Select whether you want the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger:
    • Once
      The trigger will only happen once per message, on the first, unique open event.
    • Multiple Times
      The trigger will happen each time the message has an open event.
  • Advanced (optional)
    Automatically segment contacts who enter the automation.

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Automation trigger filters#

You can use the "Filters by actions" tool to filter results based on the "Opens/reads a transactional email" action. This filter can be applied on the Automations Overview page and the Automations Map.

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⚠️ An Important Note About Open Event Tracking#

There are some caveats to open tracking and its accuracy listed below that are important to understand as you set up and use the "Opens/Reads an email" trigger with your ActiveCampaign automations.

🖼️ How open events are tracked#

To track an open event, Postmark includes a 1x1 pixel image in the body of the sent HTML email (open tracking is not available with plain text messages sent through Postmark). When the recipient opens the HTML email, their mail client loads that 1x1 pixel image. When that occurs, Postmark then knows that the email was opened and thus we create an open event. More on how Postmark tracks open events here.

With that in mind...

📊 Email open events are never 100% accurate#

It's important to understand that open rates are never 100% accurate. This is the case for all sending services, not just Postmark. This means that there may be scenarios where an open event is not recorded even when the recipient opened the message in their email client, or vice versa where you see an open event in Postmark but the recipient reports that they never opened the message.

🚫 Cause of open event inaccuracies#

Because open events are triggered when the 1x1 pixel is downloaded, an inaccurate open event can occur if:

  • The recipient reads the email without loading the email's images, causing no open event to be recorded.
  • The recipient mail client / firewall "checks over" the message's content to ensure it's safe, and in the process loads all of the email's images. This would cause an open event to be recorded.
  • The recipient accidentally uses their email client's preview tool that loads a preview of the image without opening it. If the tracking image is loaded in that preview, an open event can be recorded.
  • The recipient's mail client has its own process that pre-loads and cache images before the recipient is even delivered the message. For example, Apple's newer iOS feature called Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) does this, and can cause some false-positive open events. More on that here.

📈 How to increase open event accuracy#

While there's no way for any sending service to guarantee 100% accurate open events, the best way to improve your open event accuracy is to ensure that your messages being sent through Postmark are following as many best practices as possible. For example, sending with a DKIM verified domain, implementing these measures to stay out of the spam folder, etc.

Following these best practices greatly decreases the chances that the recipient's mail client or firewall has to check over the message and its content, reducing the risk of a false-positive open.

🗓️ Postmark opens aren’t tracked forever#

By default, Postmark stores messages and collects related event activity for 45 days—and that includes tracking opens. So 45 days after an email is sent, we delete the message and related activity logs from Postmark and at the same time, Postmark’s webhooks will no longer fire when an open event occurs. 

What does that mean for your automation that relies on a Postmark open as a trigger? If a recipient opens your transactional email 45 days after it’s been sent (or later), that open event will no longer trigger your automation. 

If you’d like to make the trigger work for an extended time period, you can adjust your Postmark account's data retention period with our Retention Add-on.

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💌 Get in touch#

And voilà! It's never been easier to trigger an ActiveCampaign automation based on an open event in a Postmark message. Too easy! But of course, if you have any questions or feedback about the trigger or the Postmark CX App in general, don't hesitate to contact Postmark's support team. We'd love to hear from you!

Be sure to check out our help doc on Setting up and using the Postmark CX App, as well as our FAQ for the Postmark CX App!

💡 We're currently working on an even more in-depth integration between ActiveCampaign and Postmark, so stay tuned! If you have any thoughts or ideas on ways you'd love to see the two integrate, or additional trigger types, don't hesitate to let us know!

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Last updated July 25th, 2023

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