Ban the “Clicked Email?” Decision Rule: A Better Way to Evaluate Engagement

By February 23, 2016Nurture Campaigns

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re a little familiar with the “Clicked Email?” decision rule. And that means you probably also know that it’s one of the most commonly used Eloqua campaign decision rules. Well, speaking as modern marketers and leaders in our field, we’re taking a bold stance; we propose banning this decision rule and, in so doing, taking your nurture campaigns to the next level.

Example of a Typical Campaign Flow

“Clicked Email?” works like this: when a user is contacted in a campaign, they are given the option to click or not. Those users that don’t click then move on to the evaluation period step. In this step, users are targeted with content designed for those Eloqua contacts that are initially engaged. At the expiration of the evaluation period, those that still haven’t clicked are treated as non-responders. In most campaigns, if there is still no click after a few attempts, those users are moved to the non-responder Eloqua Shared List and are ignored until their next appearance in an Eloqua Segment.

The Problem with the “Clicked Email?” Decision Rule

Simply, there are much better ways to assess engagement. When you’re using “Clicked Email?”, what you’re really asking is “Did they engage?” or “Are they paying attention?”. So, wouldn’t it be better to take that campaign and transform it into a “Shared Filter Member?” rule?

Let’s dive into how to do just that.

Creating an Eloqua Shared Filter

You can create an Eloqua Shared Filter either for each email or for an entire campaign. In this example, I created one for the entire campaign. In my filter I included users that did the following:

  • Clicked any of the emails within the campaign in the last seven days
  • Visited a campaign landing page in the last seven days
  • Visited a website in the last seven days
  • Submitted a campaign form within the last seven days
  • Have “Lead Status” set as Active


By including more Digital Body Language in the filter and checking to see if users have an active lead status, you can treat engaged Eloqua Contacts accordingly and know that non-responders are truly non-responders. For example, you launch a campaign to drive registrations to your event. A potential register, Bob ignores your first two emails and reads the third email on his SmartPhone while standing in line for lunch, he is interested in your event but it is his turn to order so he does not click your email. While Bob is eating his lunch he goes to your website to register for the event and gets distracted by the new white paper posted on your home page. He downloads the white paper and never goes back to register. A week has gone by and Bob has reached the decision rule in your campaign. If you are using the “Clicked Email?” decision rule Bob is sent down the non-responder path and removed from further communications, he doesn’t remember to register and misses out on your event. If your decision rule was set to evaluate engagement Bob would have received the final “Last Chance” email to remind him to register.

This is one example where your campaign goals and other marketing activity will determine what criteria should be included in your filter and whether or not those contacts that already exist as a lead should be communicated to. This example gives you a starting point for enhancing the effectiveness of your nurture campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

  • When choosing your decision rule ask yourself what am I really trying to evaluate? How will the next step in the campaign be different based on this decision?
  • Capturing Digital Body Language is a key component of Modern Marketing, but the data is ineffective if it isn’t put to use.
  • Your prospects and customers will interact with you in different ways, because they did not click does not mean they are not interested.

How often do you use “Clicked Email?” in your campaigns? What creative Decision Rules are you using in your campaigns? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what’s working for you and your team!

And if you are struggling to improve the effectiveness of your nurture campaigns Tegrita is here to help.

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Brandi Starr

Modern Marketing Consultant at Tegrita
Brandi Starr, Certified Oracle Eloqua Implementation Specialist and Marketing Consultant with Tegrita Consulting Group, is a true Modern Marketing Maven. She believes the marketing magic happens at the intersection of strategy, creativity, and technology. Brandi's 15-year career has spanned a variety of industries and marketing disciplines. As a Power User turned Consultant, Brandi has been a part of the Eloqua community for 7-years. She is a 5-time Markie Finalist, former MME and Camp Eloqua speaker, MVP Advocate, and former User Group Leader. Brandi has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Phoenix and a M. Ed in Adult Education from Pennsylvania State University.