When it comes to creating joyful customer experiences, timing is everything. You can add pauses throughout a journey with delay tiles. Normally, when users leave one tile, they immediately arrive in the next one. But with delay tiles, you can tell Iterable to wait before sending another message or updating a user's information.
There are two types of delay tiles:
- Time Delay
- Hold Until
Time Delay tiles pause users in the journey for a specific period of time. Hold Until tiles pause users in the journey until they take an action or one of their user properties changes.
In this article
Time Delay tiles
Time Delay tiles let you pause users at a certain point in the journey to ensure the timing of each message or user update is right.
- Time Delay tiles can't reference values that are stored in arrays.
- When you edit a Time Delay tile, the updated delay time only applies to users who enter the tile after you've edited it. Users already in the Time Delay tile are delayed for the original amount of time.
- When a user's time zone is unknown, Time Delay tiles use your project's time zone to determine the user's delay period.
Setting up a Time Delay tile
To add a time delay to a journey, drag a Time Delay tile onto the canvas. Then, double-click it to set it up.
Step 1: Choose a delay type
There are two options for setting up a delay in the Time Delay tile:
Period of time — Select this option if you want to delay each user for the same amount of time (for example, 3 days). This duration is not tied to any user profile fields or events. As soon as a user enters the tile, the delay period begins. When the delay period is over, users exit the Time Delay tile and proceed to the next step of the journey.
Date-based user profile field — Select this option to pause users for a certain amount of time before or after an important date (like their birthday). Since this date is different for each user, the delay period starts at a different time for each user. When the delay period is over, users exit the Time Delay tile and proceed to the next step of the journey.
After selecting the date-based user profile field, select Plus or Minus to determine whether the delay period should end before or after the occurrence of the date.
Whether you set up the delay to end before the occurence of the event (the Minus option) or after it (the Plus option), if you check the Add Extra Time and/or Don't Release Users On options, the end of the delay will shift forward in time.
Step 2: Enter a duration
Enter the amount of time you want to pause users at this step of the journey. The maximum amount of time you can enter is 365 Days, 23 Hours, and 59 Minutes.
Step 3: (Optional) Add extra time to the delay
You can configure a Time Delay tile to wait until a specific day of the week, time of day, and/or date before allowing users to proceed to the next step.
For example, let's say you want to send a product review message three days after users make a purchase. Your users are in different time zones and complete their purchases at different times of day, so how do you make sure the product review message doesn't arrive in the middle of the night for some customers?
You can use the Add Extra Time option to make sure customers receive this message at 11:00 AM at least three days after they made their purchase — regardless of what time they made their purchase and what time zone they're in.
When you add extra time to a Time Delay tile, Iterable extends the delay period by as many hours are necessary to reach your desired time of day.
In the above example, if a user entered the 3-day Time Delay tile at 12:00 PM on Day 1, they would be delayed until 11:00 AM on Day 4 (Total delay = 3 days + 23 hours). If the user entered the 3-day Time Delay tile at 10:00 AM on Day 1, the user would be delayed until 11:00 AM on Day 3 (Total delay = 3 days + 1 hour).
You can also prevent users from moving on to the next step of the journey on certain days of the week. Check Don't Release Users On, then check the days of the week that you don't want users to move on to the next step in the journey.
Hold Until tiles
Hold Until tiles pause users in the journey until they take an action or one of their user properties changes.
For example, let's say you want to encourage users with an empty
profile field to tell you when their birthday is. You could set up a Hold Until
tile that monitors for the
birthday field to be populated. When users add
their birthday, they're released from the Hold Until tile and sent down the
Rules Met branch. You could connect this branch to the next logical journey
step for your use case (for example, a message tile that sends a "Thanks for
adding your birthday!" message).
With Hold Until tiles, you have greater flexibility for choosing what happens after a user takes an action or an event occurs — so you can use fewer tiles and Yes/No splits!
Hold Until tiles check for an event or user property change that happens after the user enters the Hold Until tile. To check for an event or user property change at any time during the journey, use an exit rule.
Setting up a Hold Until tile
To add a hold step to a journey, drag a Hold Until tile onto the canvas. Then double-click it to configure its settings.
Step 1: Select a hold duration
First, select how long you want users to remain in the tile while Iterable checks whether or not they meet your criteria.
You can hold users in a Hold Until tile for:
- 5 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 1 hour
- 24 hours
- 3 days
- 7 days
- 14 days
- 30 days
Step 2: Add your hold criteria
Next, set up the criteria that users must meet in order to proceed to the next stage of the journey.
Select what you want to base your rule on: the occurrence of an event or a change to a user property.
Add your criteria. (You can add as many conditions as you want.)
Click Update to save your criteria.
Save and publish the journey.
As soon as a user meets your hold criteria, they're released from the tile and sent down the Rules Met branch. Any users who don't meet your criteria by the end of the hold duration are sent down the Rules Not Met branch.
As of September 2023, the Hold Until tile doesn't support Handlebars in hold criteria.
Example use cases
Send users a promotional message 24 hours after they sign up
Let's say you want to wait 24 hours after users sign up before sending them a promotional message. To do this, you could add a Time Delay tile between your sign-up confirmation message and your first promotional message, like this:
Hold users until they sign up to receive texts from your brand
Let's say you're setting up a journey that sends users an offer when they sign up to receive texts from your brand. You could use a Hold Until tile to prevent users from receiving the SMS campaign until they complete your SMS opt-in process. (Users who don't sign up for text alerts won't receive the SMS campaign.)
Want to learn more?
For more information about some of the topics in this article, check out this Iterable Academy course. Iterable Academy is open to everyone — you don't need to be an Iterable customer!