How to create automation tasks

Captivate helps your business grow by automating the process of communicating with your users – keeping people engaged with your brand and your service and reducing the time you spend managing communications, so the right user gets the right information at the right time.

For all the benefits of automation that save you time and ease your workload, the interactions with your clients and customers still need to feel natural and the goal must always be to contribute positively to how people perceive your brand. Well written, well timed messages through email and SMS, or even traditional mail can have a massive impact on your brand engagement.

There are other reasons to segment users, such as graphing and reporting, billing and invoicing, or simply to send the data to your other systems, Captivate excels at getting useful data from your database and doing handy things with it.

The Automation Task Dashboard

When you define an automation task, you’re scheduling Captivate to make a request to your database to get a list of users who match the specified filters. When the automation task is run, the returned data is fed through to the task’s ‘actions’ you have set up, such as email and SMS. These actions will go through every person in the data set and if you’ve enabled the email or SMS action, compile their data into a template and send a personal message to that user. You can control all of this through the Task Dashboard.


In this example we’ve created an automation task that will run every day, it will email people who registered ‘7 days ago’ from the time the task is run. Let’s break each bit down.

Naming your automation tasks

A Task name usually describes the segmentation rules, such ‘Registration 7 day followup’, or ‘New purchase email’. It’s simply a way for you to identify the task.



In draft mode, no scheduled tasks will run so you’re free to create and test without sending messages. As soon as the Task is made active, any actions that are enabled will begin operating to the schedule you’ve defined for them. Emails will start being sent, reports will start being generated etc.


Segmentation Filters

Filters are the rules or criteria by which you select people from your database. When an automation task runs, Captivate fetches users with these rules applied.

Segmentation is at the heart of Captivate. Getting data from your database is often a challenge but we make it simple, you just select from your pre-built filters. Setting filter rules is like saying “Get all user’s who…”

  • Registered a certain number of days/minutes/months ago
  • Made a purchase a certain number of days/minutes/months ago
  • Purchased a certain item
  • Live in a certain area
  • Have an anniversary or event coming up in a certain number of days/minutes/months
  • Spent a certain amount of money in a certain period
  • Made a certain number of purchases
  • Haven’t taken a certain action in a certain amount of time
  • Any number of custom rules that are specific to your business

You can use filters to track events such as user registration, logins but also custom events. So long as it’s recorded in your database we can create filters for it.


When you add a new filter, a small window pops up listing the available filter rules that you can apply. Clicking a filter will present a form allowing you to configure the filter. New and custom filters can be added to your dashboard, we can do it for you or your tech team can follow these instructions.

Multiple filters can be chained together or in parallel. Filters that are chained together will segment people who match all of the filter’s criteria. Filters that run in-parallel will segment users who fit either of the filter chains. You can build complex segmentation logic by combining multiple chained and parallel filters.


Data Fields

This is where you select which data fields to fetch for each user in the segment. Data fields are then able to be used in your comms, templates and reports as ‘Dynamic Fields’. Using dynamic fields in templates means that they get replaced with each person’s actual data when the templates are compiled and comms delivered.

Developers note; some fields are required in order for segment filters to work. If you connect data from multiple tables, then the Join field must be selected.



An ‘action’ is what Captivate does with the segmented data once it’s been retrieved – compile and send emails, SMSes, build reports etc. Each action that you enable gives you an administration panel under the ‘Actions’ tab. The action admin panel is where you create templates and define automation schedules. Schedules are defined within each action admin panel rather than overall for the task, so that different actions can run to independent schedules and fetch segments using the same filter rules.


Action administration panel

Each action has it’s own administration panel – a section within the ‘Actions’ tab where you set up templates and automation schedules. Read our guides to learn more about each Action Component.