Conditions are used throughout Pathfinder to select which contacts will trigger an action.
Pathfinder actions include:
- Setting a tag
- Adding a contact to a campaign
- Triggering actions within the Campaign Builder
- Sending an email broadcast
The simplest type of condition uses a single condition item.
In the example above, a contact will pass this condition if they are a registered customer.
Contacts who are not a registered customer will NOT pass the condition.
Only contacts who pass the condition will trigger the linked.
Further reading: All condition options explained
Single negative condition
Condition items can also include the negative option. This is often found in the third column of the condition item.
Here we've switched the logic so contacts will only pass the condition if they are NOT considered a registered customer.
Remember to pay close attention to negative conditions and double check you're using the right selection.
Note: You'll want to pay particular attention to avoiding double negatives if you've made custom tags which are phrased in the negative (e.g. a condition that says "contact does NOT have the tag 'not completed checkout'")
Conditions can also include AND rules, where more than one condition item must be true for the condition to pass.
Here, contacts will only pass the condition if they are both a registered customer and they have also recently started a cart recovery sequence.
Contacts who only meet one of these condition items will fail the condition.
Alternatively, you can create conditions using OR rules, where the condition will pass if any of the condition items are true.
In this example, contacts will pass the condition if they are either a registered customer OR if they have recently started a cart recovery sequence.
Note that a contact cannot pass a condition more than once - they either pass or they fail. E.g. if a contact is both a registered customer and they have recently started a cart recovery sequence, they will be treated the same as if only one of the condition items were true.
Combining ANDs and ORs
Things get more advanced when we start to combine AND conditions with OR conditions.
The single most important rule is you understand how AND/OR grouping works before creating complex conditions.
The way to remember it is to think of conditions as groups, with each OR creating a new group of conditions.
In the condition UI for tags, you can see these condition groups visually represented as boxes:
Once you visualize conditions this way, you can use the following logic to work out where your ORs fall:
- Only one group has to pass for the condition to run.
- For a group to pass, all items in it have to be true.
Applying this logic, we can see that in the example above the OR grouping will process as below:
Contact is: [a registered customer AND in the "Can I Help You?" campaign ] OR [has recently started a cart recovery sequence].
Therefore, the condition will pass if either of the following is true:
- The contact is a registered customer AND they are in the "Can I Help You?" campaign.
- OR.... the contact has recently started a cart recovery sequence.
Note that the in the condition will NOT pass if:
- The contact is a registered customer but is not in the "Can I Help You?" campaign, and has not recently started a cart recovery sequence.
That's because, in this example, all of the condition items will not have passed in either condition group.
The final concept to be aware of is condition reversibility, AKA what will happen if a contact who meets the condition requirements stops meeting them at a later time.
If the condition is marked as reversible, the action will fluidly switch between "on" and "off" states as the contact flips between passing and failing the condition.
A reversible tag condition will remove the tag, and a reversible campaign start condition will remove the contact from the campaign the moment the conditions are no longer met.
On the other hand, if the condition is not marked as reversible, the action will "stick" and Pathfinder will NOT re-check the condition to ensure the criteria is still being met.
You can set condition reversibility at the bottom of the conditions tab, below your main condition selection:
Guidelines & best practices
When designing your conditions, it's also important to forecast every scenario. This includes both positive scenarios (things you want to happen) but also negative scenarios (things you don't want to happen).
You create the following condition:
You intend it to pass for anyone who:
- Is a registered customer AND is in the "Can I Help You?" campaign
- Is a registered customer AND has recently started a cart recovery sequence
These are your positive scenarios - scenarios where you want the condition to pass.
You check both, and you correctly decide that the first scenario will pass via the first condition group, and the second scenario will also pass through the second condition group.
So far so good.
However, you also need to consider negative scenarios - scenarios where you do NOT want the condition to pass.
Three examples might be:
- Contact is ONLY a registered customer
- Contact is ONLY in the "Can I Help You?" campaign
- Contact has ONLY recently started a cart recovery sequence
As intended, the first two scenarios above won't pass through either condition group. However, the third scenario WILL pass through the second condition group.
If this is not intended, your condition logic is therefore incorrect. A condition is only correct if all of your positive scenarios pass, and all of your negative scenarios fail.
As we can see, a condition might still be incorrect even if all positive scenarios pass.
Incidentally, we could fix this condition by changing it like so:
By adding an additional AND rule to the bottom condition group, all positive scenarios will still pass, but all negative scenarios will now fail.
Quick tip - wide vs narrow audiences
Note that as a general rule, adding more condition groups (OR rules) will widen the audience, whereas adding more condition items to a group (AND rules) will narrow the audience.
The wider the condition audience, the more likely it is to pass for a higher number of contacts.
Make sure you pay special attention to any conditions where the number of items per group is imbalanced, e.g. where one condition group has four items, and the other condition group only has one.
This would typically be an unusual combination, since the first condition group is likely to target a very narrow segment, while the second group will is likely to target a very wide segment.