The Message Editor's designer includes a Dynamic Content zone that you can use to target content to selected Contacts. This ability is what makes it dynamic.
When you use Dynamic Content, you customize which content displays/doesn't display in an email message for each Contact based on their interests, preferences, geographical location, group affiliation, and other criteria that you choose.
NOTE: This differs from personalization in that when you add personalization to a message, the personalization placeholders get replaced with each Contacts' personal information so that each Contact who opens the message sees it personalized with their information.
The Dynamic Content feature is available to use with messages and templates via the Dynamic Content zone in the Advanced Editor only. This is our "Drag-&-Drop Zones" editor and is described in detailed in Understand the Message Editor.
Dynamic Content and its functionality are not available in or applicable to:
- classic templates,
- other Communications Enterprise modules (campaigns, events, surveys),
- social posts, standard previews, forwarded messages, or unintended recipients.
After you've added a Dynamic Content zone, you add blocks to it. Refer to Blocks, below.
After you've added blocks, you configure them with views. Refer to Views, below.
Understand blocks & views
Before adding Dynamic Content to a message, you should understand how blocks and views work.
Blocks are what you use to choose what types of dynamic information will be included in the message and display to Contacts.
- A Dynamic Content zone can contain multiple blocks.
TIP: While there is no restriction on the number of blocks in each Dynamic Content zone, you should consider and plan how you'll manage your content. A message can become difficult to manage if it has too many blocks.
- A block can contain multiple groups, but a group cannot be used in multiple blocks.
- Each block is unique and has a unique ID.
- Blocks cannot be deleted.
- Copying blocks is not recommended; always consider creating a block as an alternative to copying.
- If you copy a block, all additional instances of that block will have that same ID.
- If you try to copy a block or a message or template that contains blocks, you might get an error.
- If you have copied a block (or a message or template that contains blocks) and then change any instance of that block, the system will automatically update (i.e., apply your changes to) all instances of that block, because all of those copied instances inherited the original block's ID. This might lead to unintended/unforeseen results in other instances of the block.
- Blocks can be used in multiple messages.
There are three types of account-specific blocks:
- Fields (Standard Fields, Custom Fields, Shared Enhanced Fields, Private Enhanced Fields)
- Groups (groups of Contacts)
- Tags (content tags)
Views are the "value" options that dictate which content is presented to a Contact in the message.
EXAMPLE: A group block that targets your organization's departments might have Sales, Membership, Fundraising, and Workforce views. The views would ensure that "custom" chunks of content display only to members of each department.
It's possible that multiple values apply to a Contact. In the example above, a Contact could be in the Fundraising and Workforce views. Refer to Hierarchy, below, to learn how Communications Enterprise handles this.
NOTE: Due to the nature of Communications Enterprise groups and tags, Contacts can belong to multiple groups AND multiple tags can apply to a Contact.
Dynamic Content views have a functional hierarchy as described below.
- If a Contact belongs to multiple groups, the group view that was created first will display for that Contact.
- If multiple tags apply to a Contact, the tag view that was created first will display for that Contact.
- Blocks function as individual entities so you can add multiple blocks and then use them to control the hierarchy of the views.
Dynamic Content in action
The example below is one way you could benefit from Dynamic Content in your messages.
EXAMPLE: In your monthly newsletter, you want to include a "Welcome" message for your new members.
You can create a group of Contacts (e.g., New-Contacts) who have recently subscribed to your messages and then add to your message, a Dynamic Content block that targets that group. When the newsletter is opened, the "Welcome" message displays only to the Contacts in the New-Contacts group.
Create Dynamic Content
Step 1 - Add a Dynamic Content zone
To add a Dynamic Content zone:
- Click the Zones tab on the left side of the editor. Then drag-and-drop a Dynamic Content zone to the desired section of your message.
- In the resulting pop-up, select whether to insert an existing Dynamic Content block (if available) or create a new one. If creating a new block, you'll have to configure its parameters:
- Give the block a name. This is the title under which the block will be listed in the future.
- Select how you'll be targeting the Contacts of this Dynamic Content (these correspond to the Views you'll create in Step 2). You have three options:
- Field - By database field in your Communications Enterprise database.
- Group - By any of your Contact groups.
- Tag - By a Communications Enterprise tag.
NOTE: You can select only one option per Dynamic Content block. However, different Dynamic Content blocks within a message can use different options.
- Decide whether your block will be available outside this message or unique to this message.
- For existing blocks and new ones, you can specify what to display to Contacts who don't match your chosen targeting option (field, group, or tag) and associated View(s). For example, if you selected the Country field, and plan to have Views for USA, Canada, and Mexico, a Contact might have Honduras in their country field, or the field might be blank. To handle Contacts like this, you have two options:
- Don't display any content - Select this to hide the block from Contacts who don't match the field, group, or tag you've chosen.
- I will setup default content - Select this to add a Default view to the block that will show to Contacts who don't match the field, group, or tag you've chosen.
Step 2 - Create your Views
After the block has been added to your message, you must create one or several Views that control what content is shown to Contacts.
For example, you want to part of your message to display differently depending on whether Contacts live in Virginia, Arizona, or New York. Choose the State field for the Dynamic Content block and then create a View for each state and add the content you want to display for each.
NOTE: You can only create a View that contains Contacts within the Dynamic Block’s parameters (field values, groups, or tags). In other words, if your Dynamic Content block uses the Groups parameter, you'll only be able to create Views based on your available Contact groups.
To create a View:
- Click the block to display the View menu. Click Add New View.
- In the pop-up, give your View a name. Then, click the link below to select the field value(s), group(s), or tag(s) that will control the content shown to Contacts.
- If your Dynamic Content block uses fields, enter a field value. The new View will only show to Contacts with this value. Keep in mind, though, that some Contacts may have synonymous values spelled differently, limiting your View's potential. For example, you might want the same View to show to all United States Contacts , but Contacts might have different variations of "United States" in their Country field. To safeguard for this, you could add the values “US,” “USA,” “U.S.,” “U.S.A.,” “United States of America,” and “America.” The View will then show to any Contact who has one of those values. To do so, simply click + add another value and add any synonymous variations you think you need.
- If your Dynamic Content block uses groups or tags, select one or more groups and tags using the selector grid. Remember, a Contact might belong to more than one group or have more than one tag. If so, then the Contact will see the view created first.
- Repeat this step to create any additional Views needed.
Step 3 - Add & associate content to your Views
Now that your View(s) are created, it's time to add and associate content to them.
NOTE: Multiple links will not be segmented per view. Therefore, to ensure more accurate tracking, it is recommended that each view contains only one link.
To add and associate content:
- Click the Zones tab on the left side of the editor to access the available zones.
- Drag-and-drop the desired zone type into your Dynamic Content block (an image, text via the WYSIWYG zone, etc.).
- Lastly, associate your content to the desired View via the View menu at the bottom-right of the content.
- Now, click back into your Dynamic Content block so you can switch to your other view(s). Then, simply repeat these steps to add content to them.
In this example, we've created two Views: VA and AZ. We then associated a WYSIWYG zone, complete with their respective text, to each one. Now, Contacts in Virginia will see the text associated to the VA View, while Contacts in Arizona will see the text associated to the AZ View.
Create default Views
When you create a Dynamic Content block, whether existing or new, you have the freedom to specify what to display to Contacts who don't match your chosen targeting parameter (field, group, or tag) and associated View(s). While you can opt to simply not display any content, you also have the option to set up a Default View to act as catchall that ensures all Contacts see something.
To do so, select I will setup default content when creating a block:
After adding the block, click into it and you'll notice a Default View is automatically selected. Associate your desired default content to this View.
Preview Dynamic Content
You can preview each View associated to your Dynamic Content blocks, ensuring you know exactly how your message looks for each dynamic audience. There are two ways to preview your content:
1 - Directly In the Email Designer
The easiest and fastest way to preview your content is directly from the Email Designer.
To do so:
- Click Menu, followed by Preview.
- In the resulting preview window, use the menu at the top-left to select a View, and then click Submit. The message preview below will update your Dynamic Content blocks accordingly, showing content for the chosen View.
2 - Via a test email
In cases where you want to ensure content displays properly in one or more email clients, you can also generate a test email to one or more email addresses (this can be any of your addresses or those of a peer).
NOTE: When using this method, make sure that either your email address or corresponding targeting parameter (field, group, tag) are part of the dynamic targeting.
To do so:
- Click Menu, followed by Send Message to Individual.
- On the resulting page, look for Contacts via the Find Recipients link or manually enter one or more addresses in the Send To: field (separate multiple addresses with commas).
- Fill out any remaining fields as desired, and then click Send to generate the test emails.
NOTE: Keep in mind that to preview multiple views, you’ll need to send tests to an email address that corresponds to each target audience.
Your Contacts' interactions (opens, clicks, bounces) with Dynamic Content messages is tracked so that you can review and assess the performance of those messages and the content.
- View the Dynamic Content Tracking article to learn more about the tracking metrics.