Now Outbound brings Ideas to you

Posted by Josh Weissburg on Feb 21, 2017

Idea suggestions to help more users subscribe
Outbound can now answer the question, based on the events you send us over the API, "What are the most promising campaigns you could run?"

First we built targeting capability

We have a meme at our office: messaging is so simple - all you have to do is send the right message, to the right people, at the right time, on the right channel... How much easier could it be?
From day one, we've focused on sending messages based on events. Our first iteration was simple: event comes in, message goes out - just pick the channel and write the message. Then we added delays. We added user attribute and event property filters. We added filters based on historical events, then on Outbound message history and interactions.
These are all great tools - if you already know who you want to target. But just because targeting capability exists doesn't mean it will be clear how to use it to achieve your goals for user activation, engagement and retention. There are bound to be a lot of missed opportunities!

What's different about Ideas?

Our team is very excited to tackle a different kind of problem: not just "How can I target this user", but also "Who should I target?"
Savvy marketing and product people spend time in analytics tools like Amplitude, Google Analytics and Mixpanel to generate hypotheses on how they can create lift: e.g. “Users who view a listing within 48 hours of signup are 3x more likely to purchase.” Then, if they are well-supported by an engineering team with resources to build a test, they can actually execute on their insight with messaging.

Normal path to launch a new message:

Marketer/Product -> Correct instrumentation -> Uses instrumentation -> Generates hypothesis -> Well-supported by engineering -> Validates hypothesis and creates lift.

Until now, Outbound has helped tackle the last two steps by reducing engineering workload to execute on the hypotheses you bring, and by making it easier to run AB tests.
“Ideas” - beta launching today - addresses all the other steps by generating hypotheses based on the events you want users to do more of. It's like an extra team member working for you, constantly looking at your event data and figuring out where the best opportunities are to send a message, based on what you want users to do more of.

How to launch a new message with Ideas

Marketer/Product -> Ideas generates hypothesis -> Approve idea -> Validate hypothesis and create lift.

When we look around at other tools in our space, we see a lot of features that help well-resourced marketers, who have access to insights from data teams, to plan their customer communication. Ideas levels the playing field by helping everyone answer that crucial first question: "Who should get a message?"

How does Ideas work?

If you're already sending us all your events, you don't have to do change anything to use Ideas: just keep sending event data - more is better! (If you're not sending us events yet, read how to hook them up here and we'll start generating Ideas as they accumulate.)
To view the Ideas we've generated for your account, create a new triggered campaign:
Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 7.51.02 AM.png
We'll ask you to pick a goal event:
Then we'll show you suggested Ideas to help more users complete that goal based on the paths that your most successful users have taken to get there:
When you hit "Create" on an Idea, we'll automatically set the campaign targeting up for you:
Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 7.45.49 AM.png
Now all you have to do is write the message content.
Ideas is currently in beta. To try it out, drop a note to Over the next few months, we'll be tuning the machine learning techniques we use to generate Ideas. You can help us tune by sending feedback on your Ideas to that same address.

Topics: New features, Growth hacks