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This topic presents conceptual, scenario, and procedural information about dynamic content and how to use dynamic content boxes.

Dynamic content is not automatically enabled in every account. To receive the dynamic content functionality, contact your ExactTarget representative.

Prerequisites

If you include dynamic content in your email that is based on the data in a data extension, you must send the email to the same data extension that you based the rules on or to a data extension that contains fields with the exact same names as the data extension fields use in the dynamic content rules. Otherwise, all emails contain the default content.

You must have each content block that you want to use in the content box defined as stored content before you can create the dynamic content box.

Note: In Enterprise Accounts, an email that contains dynamic content cannot be published to your Lock & Publish channel members. If you are going to publish the email that you're creating, you cannot add dynamic content to it.

What Is Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is content that displays in a content box according to the rules that you define based on the subscriber's attributes or data extension column values. By using dynamic content, you can ensure that a more-tailored message is reaching your targeted audience.

For example, as a clothing advertiser, you can display women's clothing information in the content box for all the females on your subscriber list and men's clothing for all the males on your subscriber list; however, dynamic content can be much more specific than this.  

Dynamic content can be used in any type of email other than text-based email messages. Dynamic content requires content boxes.

Also, note that the dynamic content box takes on the formatting (e.g., background color and border design) defined for whichever retrieved content box is being used.

In addition, default content is the content you specify in the Dynamic Content dialog box in the field Default Content. This content displays when one of your subscribers does not apply to a rule you created.

You can modify and delete dynamic content after you create it. While in the Edit HTML Version mode of the email editor workspace, open the Dynamic Content Rules Wizard dialog box by clicking in the upper-right corner of the dynamic content box. Then do one of the following:

  • Edit the definition of a rule
  • Delete a rule or expression within a rule: If you want to remove a rule, click the  button that appears beside that rule or expression.
  • Clear out a dynamic content box: To delete a dynamic content box, first delete the rules in the Dynamic Content Rules Wizard dialog box and then uncheck the Use Dynamic Content checkbox.
  • Eliminate the dynamic content rules and use the generic content for all subscribers: See How to Disable and Re-enable Dynamic Content.

In all cases, click the OK button in the Dynamic Content Rules Wizard dialog box when finished with your modifications.

If you do not want a content box to be dynamic but want to retain the rules created for that dynamic content for a future delivery of the email, you can disable the dynamic content. 

Locking a Content Box (Enterprise Accounts)

Administrators

As with static content boxes, you can lock down dynamic content boxes that will be published to your Lock & Publish channel members so that channel members cannot edit them.

After you've completed the content for a content box, click the  button in the content box's upper-left corner to lock the content box against further modifications. The button changes to a locked padlock to indicate the status of the content box.

As an administrator, you can click the /Global/Documentation/6402/locked.png button to unlock the content box for edits. However, your Lock & Publish channel members will not be able to unlock the content box.

Lock and Publish

If you're using a Lock and Publish account and the /Global/Documentation/6402/locked.png icon appears in the upper-left corner of the content box, your Enterprise administrator has locked the content box, and you cannot make edits.

If you want to remove the dynamic content box but retain the rules for future use, you can store the dynamic content box for later retrieval.

Defining the Four Elements of a Rule

If you create dynamic content based on subscriber attributes, you need to create rules. Define the four elements of the rule in the order shown in this table:

 

Element What It Is How to Define It
Attribute The profile on which you want to base which subscribers see this content. Click the drop down which displays an attribute from your account.   This expanded drop down contains  all profile attributes defined in your account.
Choose an attribute from the drop-down list.
Operator The relationship between the attribute and the value that you select.

The list of available operators vary based on the properties of the attribute you selected. Be sure to choose an operator that makes sense with the type of attribute you chose. For example, don't use the 'less than' operator with a text attribute.

From the next drop-down,  choose the operator that best describes the relationship between the attribute and the value in this rule:

is equal to: Subscribers with an attribute definition that matches the value you define see this content. You can choose one value only. For example, if you have content you only want people who live in the city of Chicago to see, you'd set the attribute City equal to Chicago. 

is not equal to: Subscribers with an attribute definition that does not match the value you define see this content. You can choose one value only. For example, if you want to send content to everyone on your list except those that shop at X store, you would set the rule to Store Location is not equal to X store.

'greater than' or 'greater than or equal to': Use this operator when the attribute is a numeric value. Subscribers with an attribute definition greater than, less than, or equal to the value see this content. For example, if you wanted to send content based on age you would use this operator to send to all subscribers who are X years of age and older.

'less than' or 'less than or equal to': Use this operator when the attribute is a numeric value. Subscribers with an attribute definition less than or equal to the value see this content. For example, if you wanted to send content based on the year they were born you would use this operator to send to all subscribers born on X year and below.

exists in: Subscribers with an attribute definition that matches one of the values you select see this content. For this operator, you'll need to select multiple values. If you select just one value, then "exists in" functions the same as "equal to." For example, if you wanted to send content to people who were born in January, February, and March, you would enter "month" as the attribute and "January, February, March" as the value. 

does not exist in: Subscribers with an attribute definition that does not match any of the values you select see this content. For this operator, you'll need to select multiple values. If you select just one value, then "does not exist in" functions the same as "not equal to." For example, if you wanted to send content to everyone except people who were born in December, you would use this operator and enter "December" as the value. Everyone that doesn't match December would receive your content.

contains: Subscribers with an attribute definition that contains the value you enter see this content. 

does not contain: Subscribers with an attribute definition that does not contain this value see the content.

Value  The attribute values to be used in determining which subscribers see this content. Your options in this field depend on the attribute and operator you selected.

If the attribute has defined values, the dialog box features a drop-down list consisting of those defined values.

If the attribute is a free-form field with no defined values, you see a text box in which you type the value. You'll need to type it exactly as it's been entered in subscriber records. For the most consistent results, use attributes with defined values for dynamic subject lines.

If you chose exists in or not exists in as the operator, enter all the possible values in the text box separated by commas with no spaces between values.
Content The content to be displayed for a subscriber who meets the attribute requirement you defined. Click the Browse button to open the Select Content dialog box, which shows all stored static content. You cannot choose stored dynamic content or surveys.

In the Select a Content Area section, navigate to the folder that contains the content you wish to display for this expression.

Click the name of the desired content area.  A preview of the selected content is shown at the bottom of the dialog box.

When you've selected the desired content, click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box.

If you want the content associated with this rule to be controlled by multiple attributes, define the four elements of the first expression of the rule and then add a second expression to make the rule complex.

Why Use Dynamic Content

Use dynamic content when you wish to deliver a targeted message to a specific audience. Dynamic content allows you to define attributes to content, making the information your subscribers receive that much more relevant.  

Scenario

Northern Trail Outfitters has an email newsletter to send out, but they want to include dynamic content. To create the content box, the marketer clicks the Content tab, then my contents, then the Create Content button. The marketer adds text and an image and then clicks the store button to save the content.

/Global/Documentation/6402/contentStored.bmp

The Store Content window appears. They name the content box and click Save.

After repeating this process for several content boxes, Northern Trail Outfitters stores all the content that they need to create a dynamic content box.

They're now ready to create the email. They open the email that will contain the dynamic content, click on empty content box, and click Create Dynamic Content.

The Dynamic Content dialog box appears.

/Global/Documentation/6402/dynamicContentBox.png

Northern Trail Outfitters fills out the Rule fields and adds rules as necessary. All subscribers that have their gender designated as female receive that the content box above.

After Northern Trail Outfitters has created all the rules, they click OK. They have created a dynamic content box. Once they've finished creating the email and send it, a female subscriber receives an email with the content designated for females.

How to Create a Dynamic Content Box

Before you begin this procedure, you must create the different content options that you want to appear based on the dynamic content rules and saved them as stored content.

To create a dynamic content box, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Content tab.
  2. Click my emails.
  3. Click my contents.
  4. Click Create.
  5. Click Dynamic Content.
    The Dynamic Content Rules Wizard appears.
  6. Enter an internal name for the content box. Choose the folder in which to store this content box in the Location section.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click the drop down menu for Choose Data From. Select the data extension to use column values to define the rules in the Data Source field. Or select Profile Attributes to use attributes to define the rules for the Data Source field. 
  9. Select the content that appears if the subscriber information does not satisfy any of the dynamic content rules in the Default Content field.
  10. Select And or Or operator from the drop down to set how to join the conditional statements. When using the And operator the subscriber must meet both conditions. When using the Or operator the subscriber must meet only one of the conditions.
  11. Complete the rule fields. For information on what each field entails, see Defining the Elements of a Rule. An example of how a rule works is if you create a rule that says "Gender is Male", only the subscribers with the attribute of male on your subscriber list receive the content you choose in the Display field. 
  12. Add multiple rules by clicking the Add Rule button.
  13. Click OK when you have finished creating rules, and the dynamic content is added to your email.

How to Build a Dynamic Subject Line When Creating an Email

If you create an email with a dynamic subject line, the subject line that a subscriber sees is based on the subscriber's attributes according to the rules that you define. For example, you can define one subject line to appear for all the males in your list and another for all the females. These attributes can be taken from a subscriber list or a sendable data extension, depending on your needs

If you use AMPscript in your subject line, you can click the Expand button under the Email Subject Line field to view a larger text field. Click the Collapse button to return the field to a single line.

To build your dynamic subject line, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Content tab.
  2. Click my emails.
  3. Click Create.
  4. Select the type of email you'd like to create.
  5. Click the /Global/Documentation/6402/dynamicsubjectline.png button to open the Dynamic Subject Line Dialog box.
  6. In the Dynamic Subject Line Email dialog box, define the attribute, operator, value, and subject line rule, overriding the generic syntax of your first rule.

If you want to add another attribute to the rule so that two of the subscriber's attributes must meet your requirements in order to view a particular piece of content, add a second expression to the rule, joined to the first expression by either AND or OR.

  1. Specify the default subject line to be displayed for subscribers who do not meet the requirements defined in your rule(s).
  2. Click the OK button in the Dynamic Subject Line Email dialog box to add this dynamic subject line to your email.
  3. Complete the email create wizard.

How to Create a Dynamic Subject Line in an Existing Email

To create a dynamic subject line from the Email Send Wizard that will only affect the email send and not the original email, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Content tab.
  2. Click my emails.
  3. Check the box next to the email name you wish to update.
  4. Click Properties
  5. Click the /Global/Documentation/6402/dynamicsubjectline.png button to open the Dynamic Subject Line Dialog box. 
  6. In the Dynamic Subject Line Email dialog box, define the attribute, operator, value, and subject line rule, overriding the generic syntax of your first rule.

If you want to add another attribute to the rule so that two of the subscriber's attributes must meet your requirements in order to view a particular piece of content, add a second expression to the rule, joined to the first expression by either AND or OR.

  1. Specify the default subject line to be displayed for subscribers who do not meet the requirements defined in your rule(s).  
  2. Click the OK button in the Dynamic Subject Line Email dialog box to add this dynamic subject line to your email.
  3. Click Save Changes.

Defining the Four Elements of a Rule

Define the four elements of the rule in the order shown in this table.

If you want the subject line associated with this rule to be controlled by multiple attributes, define the four elements of the first expression of the rule and then add a second expression to make the rule complex.

 

Element What It Is How to Define It
Attribute The profile attribute on which you want to base which subscribers see this subject line.

Click the drop down which displays an attribute from your account.   This expanded drop down contains all profile attributes defined in your account.

Choose an attribute from the drop-down list.

Operator The relationship between the attribute and the value that you select.

From the next drop-down,  choose the operator that best describes the relationship between the attribute and the value in this rule:

  • is equal to: Subscribers with an attribute definition that matches the value see this content. (You can choose one value only.)
  • is not equal to: Subscribers with an attribute definition that does not match the value see this content. (You can choose one value only.)
  • greater than or greater than or equal to: Use this operator when the attribute is a numeric value. Subscribers with an attribute definition greater than (or less than or equal to) the value see this content.
  • less than or less than or equal to: Use this operator when the attribute is a numeric value. Subscribers with an attribute definition less than (or less than or equal to) the value see this content.
  • exists in: Subscribers with an attribute definition that matches one of the values you define in a comma delimited string of values see this content. For this operator, you'll need to select multiple values. (If you select just one value, then "exists in" functions the same as "equal to.")
  • does not exist in: Subscribers with an attribute definition that do not match any of the values you define in a comma delimited string of values see this content. For this operator, you'll need to select multiple values. (If you select just one value, then "does not exist in" functions the same as "not equal to.")
  • contains or does not contain: The application looks for attribute values that include or exclude the exact sequence of characters that you enter as the comparison value.  Commas are treated as characters and not as delimiters.
Note: The list of available operators varies based on the properties of the attribute you selected.
Note: Be sure to choose an operator that makes sense with the type of attribute you chose. For example, don't use the less than operator with a text attribute.
Value The attribute values to be used in determining which subscribers see this content.

Your options in this field depend on the attribute and operator you selected.

  • If the attribute has defined values, the dialog box features a drop-down list consisting of those defined values.
  • If the attribute is a free-form field (with no defined values), you see a text box in which you type the value. You'll need to type it as it's been entered in subscriber records.
  • If you chose exists in or not exists in as the operator, enter all the possible values in the text box separated by commas (no spaces between values).
Note: For the most consistent results, avoid using free-form fields as triggers for dynamic subject line.
Subject Line The subject line to be displayed for a subscriber who meets the attribute requirement you defined.

In the text field labeled Display, enter the subject line you want displayed for subscribers meeting this attribute value.

Click  to insert a personalization string in your subject line.

Making a Complex Rule with Multiple Attributes

A single rule, controlling which subscribers see a particular subject line, can involve multiple attributes.

Before you define, define the four elements. To create a complex rule, follow these steps:

  1. Click the /Global/Documentation/6402/plus.png button that appears next to the rule syntax.

The generic syntax of a second expression is added to the rule.

By default, the newly-added portion of the rule is joined to the first portion by the AND operator. If you want the two portions to be joined by the OR operator instead, select the OR operator from the drop down box above the first rule.

  1. Define the attribute, operator, and value of the second expression in the rule.
  2. Repeat these steps to add even more expressions to this rule.

To remove an expression from a rule, click the /Global/Documentation/6402/minusButton.png button.

Specifying a Default Subject Line

A default subject line is required to ensure that a subscriber who does not meet any of the requirements defined in your rules still sees a subject line. Click  to insert a personalization string in your subject line.

How to Make a Complex Rule with Multiple Expressions

A single rule, controlling which subscribers see a particular piece of content, can involve multiple expressions. Dynamic Content supports the use of up to 20 rules.

To create a complex rule, follow these steps:

You must first define the four elements  of the first expression in the rule.

  1. Click the Add Rule button.

The generic syntax of a second expression is added to the rule. By default, the added portion of the rule is joined to the first portion by the AND operator. If you want the two portions to be joined by the OR operator instead, select the OR operator from the drop down box above the first rule.

  1. Define the attribute, operator, and value of the second expression in the rule.
  2. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to add even more expressions to this rule. To remove an expression from a rule, click the trash button.
  3. Click OK.

How to Preview Dynamic Content

You can test your dynamic content rules by previewing the dynamic content box. When you preview one dynamic content box, all the other content boxes return to their default content. If you want to see what the entire email looks like for a subscriber, use the send preview feature.

When you are in the HTML view, follow these steps: 

  1. Click the content area you wish to preview.
  2. Click Click here to preview your Dynamic Content which opens a drop-down list that shows the rules defined for that content box.
  3. Click the rule that you want to test.

The email editor workspace is updated, and the content box now shows the content that is displayed to subscribers meeting the requirements of the selected rule.

How to Disable and Re-Enable Dynamic Content

To disable dynamic content, follow this step:

  1. Click in the content area you wish to disable Dynamic Content.
  2. Click Modify Content.
  3. Click Dynamic Content.
    The Dynamic Content Rules Wizard appears.
  4. Click the radio button for None.
  5. Click OK.

To re-enable dynamic content, follow this step:

  1. Click in the content area you wish to re-enable Dynamic Content.
  2. Click Create Content.
  3. Click Dynamic Content.
  4. Click the radio button for Dynamic Content.
  5. The rules that had been disabled for this content box are still intact and are now enabled.
  6. Click OK.

How to Store Dynamic Content

The process for storing a dynamic content box for reuse in other emails is as follows:

  1. Click on the Dynamic Content area.
  2. Click Store Dynamic Content in Library.
  3. Enter the internal name that is associated with this content box. You can choose the folder in which to store this content by clicking the Browse button next to the Location field.
  4. Click the Save button in the dialog box. This content is stored for future use.
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Last updated by bhobbs at 13:04, 9 Jan 2013