Series explained

Orchestrate your customer messaging with Series and drive action at the optimal moment, in a cohesive way.

Beth-Ann Sher avatar
Written by Beth-Ann Sher
Updated over a week ago

Series lets you build cohesive campaigns with all of Intercom’s Proactive Support channels. This flexibility, combined with nuanced targeting based on your customer data makes for the ultimate contextual messaging experience.

The visual builder makes it a breeze to orchestrate even the most dynamic messaging journeys.

What is a Series?

A Series is made up of ‘blocks’.

There are four kinds of block:

A rule block is where you define the filters that a customer must meet to enter a series, or proceed down a specific path.

You can filter based on customer/company data attributes, or interactions with previous parts of a series.

A content block is where you create the content that your customers should receive. You can send: Chats & Posts, Product Tours, Mobile Carousels, Emails, Mobile Push messages, Custom Bots, or Banners.

Each content block can have a goal, and specific scheduling.

A wait block lets you define a specific time period, or date that must pass before customers will proceed any further through a series.

A tag block lets you automatically apply tags to customers as they complete their journey through a series. You can tag customers when they match the filters for a rule block, or based on interactions with series content.

Tags can then be used to enter or exit customers from other series, filter your reports, define segments or build custom Help Desk views.

Blocks are connected in paths.

You can have a simple linear path like: Entry rule for Non-premium users - Intro Post message - Has clicked a link in the 'Intro Post' rule - Feature Tour

Multiple separate paths like: Entry rule for Non-premium users - Intro Post message - Wait for 3 days - Feature Tour or Entry rule for Premium users - Intro Chat message - Has replied to the 'Intro Chat' message - Tag Replied to intro

Or, paths that diverge and converge as needed:

This means it’s easy for customers to enter the series for different reasons, get relevant and contextual messages, and exit at the right time. 👌

How to build a Series

First, go to Proactive Support > Series and from the main menu and click + New Series in the top right corner.

You can choose to start from scratch, or get started quickly with a pre-made template.

For this example, we’ll start from scratch. The first step to take is adding the entry rules. This is the set of filters a customer must match to enter the series and start receiving messages. Just drag and drop a rule block from the sidebar on the right:

If you’d like certain types of customers to enter the same Series at different paths, just create multiple rule blocks. 👌

Then click on the rule block to open its settings. Here you can choose the filters a customer must match to enter the Series:

Customers can re-enter the same Series multiple times if you enable "Re-enter Series" on the starting rules block. This is useful when you’ve got a set of messages you want to send to customers when a recurring event happens such as a subscription expiring, or a purchase being made.

In this example, we’re targeting all users who don’t yet have the ‘Premium’ plan, so we can encourage them to upgrade.

As you add blocks, it’s a good idea to give them a clear title, which will be visible in the Series overview, so you can see at a glance what’s going on like Non-premium users for Entry Rules:

Next, let’s add our first piece of content; a post message sent in your app. You can drag and drop a message block from the right hand menu, or just hover over the previous block and add it like this:

Then, open the message to create its content:

You can also set an individual goal for this message, and schedule it to send at exactly the right time:

For each message block, you can define how long a message should try to send for, as your customers might not be online to receive it right away. By allowing them a little more time to log in and receive it, your messages can be sent in exactly the right order.

Click this section to set the time period you’d like to attempt to send the message for. After this period, anyone who hasn’t come online to receive the message will be disengaged with this path in the Series:

Or, you can create a path for anyone who doesn’t receive it in the specified time period:

Try a different channel if sending additional messages to customers who haven’t logged in. For this example, we’ll add an email message as a fallback:

For all the users who do receive the message, you can add specific rules based on how they interacted with it. E.g. you could target everyone who clicks the upgrade link in the message. Just hover over “When delivered” for all the options:

Select the behaviour you want to target (in this example ‘Clicked link’) and it’ll automatically add a rule block:

This allows you to direct users down separate paths based on whether or not they match the rule. You can also define exactly how long they have to interact with the previous message by editing the Try to match rule.

When it comes to matching times on Rule blocks within a Series:

"Try to match for x time" means it will wait up to that amount of time for the person to match the rule. If they match sooner, they'll move on sooner. If they don't match in that time, they will either progress down an "if not matched" path (if you have one set up) or disengage from the path (if none are set up).

"Try to match once" means that if the person does not match the rules as soon as they reach that node they will leave the path or progress down an "if not matched" path.

  • This rule doesn't allow any buffer time for users to take action and is typically better for scenarios where you won't need to wait for the user to do something (open or click on a message, take an action in your product, wait for an attribute to update, etc.). This rule is designed to immediately move them onto another message or part of the path.

In this case, they have three days to click the link after receiving the email:

Let’s do the same for the fallback email, so we can capture everyone who engages with the offer, and direct them to the same next step:

In this case the next step will be a product tour, to demonstrate all the value the customer can get out of the ‘Premium’ plan. To connect one block to another, just drag and drop the connecting arrow:

Series lets you automate more than just messaging, so let’s automatically tag everyone who upgrades their plan after progressing through this Series. To do so, we need one more rule block which targets any customer who received the Product Tour, and is now on the ‘Premium’ plan:

Then, add a tag block:

And, for those that haven’t yet upgraded, we’ll add one more email as a fallback, and link that to the same tag block if it causes an upgrade:

Now, let’s take a step back and look at this Series in its entirety.

To encourage customers to upgrade their plan, there’s a Post message sent in your app, followed up with an email, both of which direct to a Product Tour. After customers take the tour, if they upgrade their plan they’re tagged automatically. If not, they’ll receive one last email to try again.

This example is based on the “Encourage Customer Upgrades” template. If you’d like to explore a ready made version, just open that template and dive in. 👇

Using Events as a Trigger in Rule Blocks

It is important to note that when you create a rule block, the try to match rules only apply to the user matching the audience rules and not the triggers you have set.

If for example, you have a rule block with an event and 'try to match once', the user matches the audience rules but they will have to wait at this block until they trigger the event:

We will expire the user if they don't trigger the event within 30 days of reaching the block. At this time, they will go down the "did not match" pathway or disengage.

If you wish the user to progress in the Series if they have already triggered the event in the past, you should add the event as an audience rule instead:

If you only wish them to progress if they triggered the event very recently, you can use the rule "event last occurred less than X days ago".

Wait blocks

The “Wait’ block enables you to add spacing between 2 messages.

  • Example: Send an email → Wait for 3 days → Send a follow up chat message

You can set two conditions to trigger the next message:

  • “Wait until a period of time”

  • “Wait until specific date”

We check every 30 minutes for each internal rule, message, wait or tag block if a user matches.

Implicit and explicit waiting

For each message block, you can define how long a message should try to send for, as your customers might not be online to receive it right away. Or, you can create a path for anyone who doesn’t receive it in the specified time period.

For users who have interacted with your message you can add specific rules based on how they interacted with your message (eg: completed the bot flow) and then target the users who match that rule with a new message.

For these rule blocks you can define a time period the Series will check to see if a user matches the rule. Or you set it to try and match once (without setting a time period):

If there’s a fallback path in place for customers who don’t match a rule block, or receive a message, they’ll proceed down this path instead, and not be marked as disengaged.

Difference between implicit/explicit waiting: The wait times on a rules block allow you to define how long you want to try match the rules for. This is useful for cases where the user may not immediately take an action (e.g. If the user opens the last email). You want to allow time for the action to occur, and progress immediately when it does occur. This would not be possible with a simple wait block. Similarly, for in-app type messages, a wait block wouldn’t allow you to say “wait for the user to come online”. This is what the wait on the message block is for.

Tag blocks

Teammates will be able to use the tag block to tag or untag (remove tags) any users in Series, based on the actions they take:

  • Multiple tags are allowed in the tag block.

  • You won’t be able to create a new tag here, but can use any existing tag from the workspace.

Tag blocks can be used for example for:

  • Automatically include/excluding users in other Series

  • To update how customers are routed to your teams' inboxes

  • To flag to your team what messages customers have received / actions they’ve taken

  • To remove tags from users based on what path they took in the Series

Any tag can be removed with the untag option from the user, not just tags applied during the Series.

Tags can then also be used to enter or exit customers from other Series, filter your reports, define segments or build custom Help Desk views.

We check every 30 minutes for each internal rule, message, wait or tag block if a user matches.

Define a goal for your Series

To properly gauge how effectively your Series is encouraging customer action, you should add a goal for anyone who enters. Do this under ‘Show settings’:

Then choose the right filters and how long a customer has to meet the goal:

If a customer matches the filters for your goal after the set time period, they won’t be counted towards the goal stats for this Series.

Find more information about Series goals.

Set up your exit rules

On the same tab you can define overall exit rules for your series:

If a customer’s data is updated to match the filters in this rule they will exit the series completely, and cannot re-enter.

For a simple way to manually remove specific customers from a series, just add an exit filter for all customers with a certain tag, then you can apply it as needed to anyone who should exit the series.

Customers can also exit a Series if they reach the end of a path, hit the series goal or don’t engage with messages for a set time.

Set your Series live

With your messages, entry rules, exit rules, and a goal in place it’s time to set your Series live 🚀

If there are any missing connections, or issues with your Series, you’ll be warned before setting it live 👌

As soon as you set the Series live, customers will start to enter if they match your entry rules, and you can easily measure how they’re progressing:

"Scheduling" is available for Series rather than "Frequency and scheduling" because a customer will only enter a Series based on entry or exit rules, so having a frequency is not applicable.

To learn all about measuring the performance of your Series, read this article.


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