Series FAQs

Important things to note about Series — Company data, Limits & more.

Mariah avatar
Written by Mariah
Updated over a week ago

Entering and leaving Series

When do customers enter a series?

Customers will enter a series when they match the filters in any of the entry rule blocks. Any rule block at the start of a path is automatically set as entry rules:

You can have multiple rule blocks, which will allow customers to enter more than one path at a time.

We check for entry rule matching once per hour, or upon user ping via the Messenger.

Customers will not enter a series if they match its exit rules.

When do customers leave a series?

There are multiple ways for a customer to leave a series, they can exit according to your exit rules, become disengaged, or finish a path.

In your series settings, you can define a set of rules that if matched, will cause a customer to exit the series. Exit rules can be based on any attributes or events you track about your customers or their companies:

For more nuanced targeting in your exit rules, you can combine And with Or rules.

If a customer’s data is updated to match the rule they will exit the series.

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

If a customer matches the series' exit rules this will also prevent them from entering the series.

Once users hit the exit rule, they will exit the series and will no longer receive any messages from that Series. Users that exit the Series from the exit rules will also not enter the Series again. You can add multiple exit criteria now and those users can follow the and/or flow, too.

Content event behavior

Content events like If the user clicks the message will be matched if the customer has clicked any of the versions of that message they received previously, not just in this individual entry and journey through the series.

For example in the series below, if the user enters on Monday and straight away clicks a link in Email 1, they will then match the second rule block and receive Email 2.

However, if they then re-enter series on Tuesday, they will receive Email 1 again, and the If clicked rule will automatically be true as they had previously clicked a link within Email 1 when they received it on Monday.

How do I get disengaged users back into a path?

After you make an edit to prevent users from prematurely disengaging, new users will go through the original path the way you intend, however, a new path would need to be created to get disengaged users that message.

It is important to note that in any disengagement situation, if the user is in other paths in the Series, they will continue down the path. You can use this to your advantage to make sure users are sent the right messaging moving forward.

If you head to your list of disengaged users, you can apply a tag to all of these users ⤵️

From here you can duplicate the rule block where the users disengaged in the series. When duplicated, you can add the new tag you created for your disengaged users to this rule block.

Then, we'll connect this duplicated rule block to the block after the user disengaged. This will re-enter the user to the pathway that they were already on ⤵️

The only caveat here is that messages would still not deliver to folks who disengaged due to an email or push notification failure, however, this would ensure that those who may have disengaged before you wanted them to are able to receive the messaging located further along in the Series.

Disengaging with series

If a customer reaches a rule block they do not match, or a message they can't receive, they’ll wait for the period specified in the block:

After this period, if they still haven’t received the message or matched the rules, they’ll be marked as disengaged and leave this path.

This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • On an email message, if they:

    • don't have an email address.

    • have an invalid email address.

    • unsubscribe from emails.

    • mark a message as spam.

    • hard bounce.

  • On an "In app" message (Chat, Post, Banner etc), if they don't come online within the specified time to receive the message.

  • On a Mobile Push message if they don't have push enabled for your app. You'll see the attribute "Enabled push messaging" set as "Unknown" or "False".

  • On a Rule block if they don't match the filters within the specified time:

In any of these situations, if the user is in other paths in the series, they will continue down them.

If they match the rules to enter a different path in the future, they will enter at this point.

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 won’t be marked as disengaged:

Finishing a path

If a customer reaches the end of a path in the series and have no other content to receive (in another path for example), they’ll be marked as ‘Finished’ and leave the series:

When do customers re-enter a series?

Customers re-enter a series when you are using scheduled or event-triggered entry rules. You can allow customers to re-enter the same series multiple times. It’s 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.

A series which allows re-entry can only have one starting block.

You’ll find options to allow users to Enter more than once:

  • Enter every time the person matches the rules - This is available for all rules and triggers. A spacing period prevents customers from re-entering the series all the time, instead you can specify that they re-enter once per day/week/month etc.

  • Enter based on a fixed schedule if the person matches the rules - This is available for all normal targeting rules but not available for event triggers. This sets the customer up to re-enter the series on a fixed schedule such as “every week on Monday” or “The first day of every month”.

Customers can enter the series again even if they've not yet finished a previous “journey” through the series.

What if I don't allow customers to enter a series more than once?

They can still re-enter if:

  • They disengaged from a path in the series, they can enter another entry point to the series, just not the same entry point they already disengaged from.

  • They finished the series by completing all the paths, and you add a new entry point and path to the series later, they can enter that new path and receive those messages. They will not re-enter the paths they already finished.

If a customer exited the series by matching an exit criteria, they will not re-enter any other entry points in the series now or in the future.

How often do customers enter a series?

Whenever a customer logs in to your app, or visits your website, and is tracked by Intercom, they’ll enter any series where they match the entry rules for a path.

If they haven’t logged in or visited your website, entry rules are checked once an hour for anyone who should enter. Rule blocks in the middle of a path (when the customer has already entered the series) are checked approximately every 30 minutes.

If a customer has already entered a series and you modify the rules in the entry rule block, they will remain in the series.

You can see a list of the most recent series a customer has entered on their profile.


Editing Series

Connecting series

To target customers based on their interaction with another series, you can add series engagement rules in a rule block.

Example: “If a customer has started series A, don’t send them series B”.

Just select the event to base your rule on:

  • Started a series

  • Completed a series

  • Disengaged from a series

  • Exited a series

  • Hit a series goal

Then, select the condition (has or has not) and the specific series:

Wait rules in rule blocks and in-app messages

If you have wait blocks inside a series such as Wait to come online, the same user can get stuck at that wait block multiple times for multiple entries/journeys. Then when they finally do come online, they will get delivered that message that they were waiting for multiple times.

In the example above, a user is entering daily. As the user has not come online yet, each entry will get stuck waiting to show the post message. Then if on the 8th day, the user finally comes online, they will get shown the same post 8 times all at once.

To solve this and avoid a build up of new users at each block, update Wait up to rules to be the same period as the multiple entry period.

What is a series goal?

Hitting a series goal will not automatically exit a customer from your series, if you’d like them to exit upon hitting the goal, you must add this as an exit rule too.

For company goals, the list does not include a user name, or buttons to tag or message users.

What happens if I edit a live series?

If you have a live series, where customers have already entered there are some things to consider before editing it.

  • If you add more content to a series in a path the customer has already passed through, they will not receive this content.

  • If you add more content to a point in the series they have not yet reached, they’ll receive that content as normal once they reach it.

  • If you add a new path to a series, or a new entry rules block, customers already in the Series are eligible to enter these new paths.

  • If you delete a block that customers are waiting at (e.g. a message or a rule block), they’ll be removed from that point. They will not proceed to any subsequent block in the flow.

  • If you make content changes to a message that customers are waiting to receive, they will receive the latest version of the content when they come online.

  • If you change the duration of a wait block, the new duration will only apply to new users who enter the series after you've edited it. Any users already in the series will wait for the original length of time.

If you delete a live series, all customers will exit, and they’ll receive no further content.


Series limits

Does series have limits?

Yes, this is to ensure that every series is simple to manage, and works smoothly. Current limits in place:

  • Each series can have a total of 250 blocks. — This includes rule, content, tag and wait blocks.

  • Each series can have up to 10 entry rule blocks.

  • You can have up to 500 live series in your Intercom workspace.

  • Each block in a series can have up to 7 separate paths branching after it.

What is a hard limit?

Hard limits are important product limits to protect infrastructure and the ability to process Series efficiently.

Hard limits are outlined below:

What is an edge?

An edge connects two nodes in a Series.

What is a node?

A node represents a block within a Series. The are associated to a Ruleset, which determines what happens at that Node. They can also control behavior, such as waiting before progressing down the appropriate Edge(s).

Can I create looping paths?

It’s not possible to create a series with infinite loops, where a customer returns to a previous point in the series and receives the same content again. You’ll see the following warning if you attempt to do so:


Targeting users

How do I only target users who match filters going forward?

There are a couple of options available if you only want to send your Series to people who match the criteria going forward.

You could base the entry rule on an attribute that people will only match after today - for example, if this is an onboarding Series, you could use "Signed up after [today's date]":

Or, if it's not a criteria you can easily pin down with an attribute, you could instead *tag* all of your current users from the Contacts list, and then exclude that tag from your Series entry rule.

Can I use company data in rule blocks?

If you group your users by company in Intercom, there are some things to keep in mind when creating rules in a series.

The following only applies if you have users who are a member of more than one company, and choose not to prioritize a company. If each user is only in a single company there’s no difference in how rule blocks work. — Read this article to learn more about company prioritization in Series.

If you use company data in a rule block like ‘Company size is greater than 50’ your users will be checked against the rules once per company.

For example, if you have a user who is a member of two companies of different sizes:

  • Company 1 has 100 people.

  • Company 2 has 20 people.

This user will be treated as two distinct combinations of user and company:

  • User at Company 1

  • User at Company 2

Each of these ‘versions’ of the user can match the rules individually and proceed down different paths accordingly. So ‘User at company 1’ would match this rule, and proceed down ‘Path 1’:

And ‘User at Company 2’ would not match, so would proceed down ‘Path 2’:

This means, a single user can be in more than one path, and receive messages from each of them.

If a user matches a rule with more than one company, multiple ‘versions’ of that user will proceed down the same path, and receive each message once per company.

So if you changed the rule in this example to ‘Companies with 20 people or more’ both ‘User at Company 1’ and ‘User at Company 2’ would proceed to the message in ‘Path 1’, and the user would receive it for each company that matched the rules:

Why are users receiving duplicate messages?

If there is no company variable added to the body (content) of your message, it is expected behaviour for the Series to send that message multiple times to a user if they are associated with more than one company. This occurs because of the fallback we use when there are no company variables added.

I would recommend adding a company variable to the body of your message to avoid duplicates to resolve this issue. With a variable added, a copy of the message will send only for each of the user’s companies that matches the rule block.


Testing and setting live

How can I test a series?

If you'd like to test a series before you set it live for your customers, add a specific entry rule for your email address and only you can enter:

You will also have to match other rules to enter the series, or proceed down paths.

For example, if you're testing an onboarding series, you should sign up as a new user and complete the same actions they would take in your product to receive the messages in your series.

Then when you're happy with how it performs, you can remove the specific email address rule, and it will start matching other users.

Can I set a start or stop date for my Series?

To set a start date for your Series, you can add a wait block after the entry rules for "Wait until [X date]", before your first messages send.

You may want to add another rule block after the wait, to check the rules again, and make sure users still match before sending the message.

We don't have a feature to set a stop date for a Series currently, but one option would be to set up a separate path in the Series with the same entry rules and a wait block that waits until the date you want it to stop, and a tag block to tag the users at that date, then set that tag as your Series exit criteria, so that all users in the Series after that date are tagged and immediately exited.

This might not be a perfect solution from a reporting standpoint, since you'll still see the Series metrics incrementing for the number of users who have started & exited the Series after that date. This could then impact your Goal percentage, if you track a Goal for the Series as well. A better option might be to set a reminder for yourself to stop the Series manually on that date, and go in and pause it at that time. 👍

Can I receive my Series data outside of Intercom?

Yes, you can consume your Series metrics using the content_stat.series Webhook. Subscribe to the Series content stat topic along with any of the content types which can be included in a Series, and you'll receive notifications on your endpoint URL when an event occurs.


Troubleshooting

What does the error: "A multi entry series must have a single starting point" mean?

If you see an error message that say "A multi entry series must have a single starting point", this indicates that your Series has multiple entry rules, and allows customers to re-enter the Series, which isn't supported.

Customers can re-enter a Series multiple times but when using this feature, you can only have one Entry Rule Block for the Series.

To resolve the error, remove the extra entry rule blocks from the Series, or update the entry rules so a customer can only enter it once.

Why did an unsubscribed user still receive my email Series?

To find out why users who shouldn't have entered the Series did so, check the timestamps of when the users entered the Series and when they unsubscribed from emails.

If they entered the Series before unsubscribing from your emails, they would have still matched the Series entry rules block at that time.


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