There are many interactions leads or customers can have with your company. It’s up to you to know exactly where and when business critical events or behaviors are taking place.
Whether customers make a purchase or open an email or click on your SMS link, tracking activities gives you better insight into where your customer is on their journey and enables you to personalize their experience going forward.
The activities mentioned above will be important to every business, and are automatically tracked within your Ortto account. But it’s more than likely you will also have a set of specific activities that are important to your business, and you’ll need to track and act on these “out-of-the-box” activities. This is where custom activities come in.
In this article we will explore what custom activities are and how they can benefit your business.
What are custom activities?
Activities describe a user’s behavior with your company. For example clicking on an email, making a purchase or logging in to your application. Custom activities allow you to build and track your own custom, event-based activities that represent behaviors important to your business across the customer lifecycle. These activities are logged within your customer data platform. To put it simply, custom activities are for any action that is not predefined in your account.
By building and tracking these actions that are unique to your business, you will be able to create truly personalized journeys, with messages sent when a user has actually taken an action, rather than when you assume they have taken an action (for example, based on time as a customer).
We’ve provided a few custom activity examples below:
Activated a free trial
Added a team member
Adding to cart
Requesting a stock notification
Processing a refund
Viewing an item
Let’s look at a real-world example. Say you’re a SaaS company and, based on your data, you know that during a free trial phase, if a user completes two specific actions - create a task and assign task to another user - they are more likely to convert as a customer.
Setting up custom activities to track these actions will help you be aware of what stage your potential subscriber is at on their journey. If they complete their task you can assume they reached their ‘aha moment’, or if they are yet to complete you can prompt them to take the next action (more on this in the next section).
Custom activities represent customer behaviors or actions that matter to your business. Why does this matter? If you know when customers are doing something, you can take timely and relevant steps based on their actions.
Think of custom activities as an immediate trigger to interact with your customer - an opportunity to have a relevant, meaningful conversation. They can also be used to analyze customer behavior and uncover ways to improve your customer experience.
Whether you’re a SaaS company tracking product-qualifying actions or an ecommerce business automating messages based on website activity, custom activities will give your business the chance to take control of the customer journey.
Here are just some of the benefits of setting up custom activities:
1. Powerful segmentation
Talk to the right audience with the right message at the time by using your custom activities to create more powerful audience segments. For example, with the custom activity ‘webinar attendance’ you can create an audience segment of top attendees, and will have a list of people more likely to attend a future webinar. This gives you a great starting point to drive attendance for any new events or webinars coming up.
Another instance would be using customer support interactions as a custom activity. For example, if a user has spoken to customer support and their query is tagged, you can later create audience segments by queries. This will allow you to follow up with all customers in that segment with any further education pieces or an invite to a relevant upcoming webinar. This will help nurture the relationship with the customers while providing them with a personalized solution.
Ortto ensures that your created audience segments are dynamic, so they will always remain up to date and you can feel confident you are always having the right conversation.
2. Personalize customer journeys
Connect with your leads and customers in the moments that matter. Identify and track custom activities that drive business outcomes, and use them to automate messages in a timely and relevant fashion. This can allow you to guide your customers towards the next part of their journey, or to take the desired action they may have missed.
Let’s use ‘abandoned cart’ as the custom activity. Once a known visitor has left the website, and left something in their cart without checking out, your automated journey is triggered. This enables you to connect with them as quickly as possible to address some of the reasons they may not have checked out, and encourage them to go back and make a purchase.
Common barriers to purchase include having to create a new account, unexpected shipping costs, or conducting competitor research. When the abandoned cart custom activity occurs, you can address these common concerns with an email journey that offers a one-click check out option, offers free shipping, or provides an exclusive shipping discount along with customer testimonials that speak to why the customer should choose you over your competitors.
Automated activity-based journeys outperform the standard time-triggered customer journeys. This is based on a few key things - the ability to personalize the journey for your customer and to deliver relevant messaging and journey in a timely manner.
3. Fast track the journey from ‘huh’ to ‘aha’
Custom activities allow you to send customers how-to or next-step messages based on the actions they’ve taken. Fast track them to see the product value sooner by using an automated customer journey including emails, text messages, pop-ups, forms, in-product messages and more. By guiding users towards their ‘aha’ moment you’ll increase customer satisfaction and conversions.
For example, Discord’s welcome email shown below invites the new user to take the first step towards their ‘aha’ moment by adding a friend.
In this scenario the custom activity is 'add a friend'. When someone signs up, receives their welcome email and they complete the action of adding a friend this will trigger the next phase of their onboarding process.
Discord will be able to track those taking the next step and those who may need the extra prompt to ‘add a friend’ or choose another method to kick start that customer's onboarding journey.
4. Score leads
With a deeper understanding of the customer journey, you can identify the exact combination of actions that indicate intent to buy or subscribe.
By setting up custom activities to know when your customer has reached a certain point in their journey, you can then take control of the customer journey and send them down the path to conversion. Custom activities allow you to accurately score leads to focus your efforts and drive conversions.
Say you’re a SaaS company with a product-led growth function, you may have identified a product-qualifying activity. For example, Slack have identified that when a team sends 2,000 messages they are more likely to convert. In this case, the custom activity would be defined as a team sending 2,000 messages. This custom activity could then be used to alert the sales team of a new product-qualified lead or as a trigger for a BOFU (bottom of the funnel) content journey to nudge the lead to conversion.
5. View activities with full context
Custom activities will help you find deep insights into your business via reporting. Track how many customers are taking actions important to your business, then set more meaningful goals around for your marketing and support teams.
For example if your platform is online course creation, you can create activities to track when a user, for example,uses a template, creates a course, adds a learner, adds a team member, shares a course, when a learner completes a course, builds a report, or sends an email.
Once you are tracking these custom activities, you can dive into analytics to see which of these actions are most likely to result in MRR. This could help identify your north star metric, inform your onboarding and show your product team where they should focus efforts.
By using custom activities with Ortto’s cohort analysis or funnel reporting features, you can uncover the activities that drive value for your business plus ensure every department of your business can make data-based decisions.
How do I set custom activities up in Ortto?
Ortto provides you with the flexibility of setting up any activity that you want to track using any combination of data including payment plan, location, demographic, browser, and action-based data. With custom activities, the world is your oyster. Setting up custom activities in Ortto can be done in a number of ways, depending on the data source and type of activity you want to track. We touch on these below.
Option #1 - Start from scratch and create your own.
This is a great option for tracking product actions. While you will have to do it manually and may even need the assistance of a developer to help drop the line of code into your platform, it is a truly custom activity. This is how you do it.
Step 1: Log in to your Ortto account and navigate to the Activities section. Once there, click on the blue button labeled ‘+new activity’
Step 2: Choose an activity name and a matching icon
Step 3: Create your attributes. Attributes are the specifics around your activity for example - plan name, price, date, URL etc. These attributes can be various data types such as currency, email, date and you can choose to map these to the CDP or not.
Step 4: For conversion value - choose whether you would like to associate a conversion value with this activity. For example a purchase is deemed as a conversion
Step 5: Under ‘track as touch’ make selections on the way this activity is handled within Ortto. For example attribution, whether it is enabled in filters and reports and how the activity name will be displayed.
Step 6: Once you have finished the set up you will need to place a code snippet where the activity should fire. If you have a developer you can email them the code and instructions directly from the app or if you are implementing it yourself you can copy the relevant code snippet.
Note: we supply the snippet in Node.js, Golang, PHP, Python or cURL
Step 7: Click 'done' and you are all set - you can start using the activities right away!
Option #2 - Use the custom activities set by your data source
The native integration you connect through Ortto will have their own predefined custom activities that are automatically created.
For example, Calendly have custom activities around ‘booked a meeting’, ‘attended a meeting’ or ‘rescheduled a meeting’.
Once the data source has synced these custom activities can be used immediately when building out customer journeys.
Option 3 - Link with Zapier and create your own
If you need something that can’t be done through a native integration, leveraging Zapier’s access to over 5,000 apps will help. Before we get started on the how-to steps, here’s an example of how this would work.
In this example we are using an online training platform. Company A can connect their CDP using Zapier, so when someone enrolls or completes a course all those actions are then synced within their CDP. The company can then create custom activities to track when someone completed one of the actions mentioned above, and send them on their tailored journey.
This is how you would link with Zapier.
Step 1: Follow the same instructions as ‘Option 1 - Start from scratch and create your own’. When you reach step 6, that’s where the detour happens.
Step 2: Instead of placing the code in your platform, go to Zapier and create a zap fitting the action. This will fire an activity when ‘x’ happens. If we use the example above, when a person completes a course this then triggers the activity to Ortto.
Now that you know the what, why and how of custom activities, you can set off to build your own that represent behaviors important to your company and use them to enter people into customer journeys, create target audiences, or build reports and dashboards.
Custom activities will give your business the chance to take control of the customer journey, helping you to drive conversions and grow your business.