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What is Canvas?

Braze Canvas is a powerful solution for visualizing how campaigns connect to shape a customer’s journey. Canvas provides a single unified interface where marketers can set up multiple multiple messaging paths, compare and optimize those experiences, and view comprehensive analytics for the full user experience.

Canvas is only available to customers on annual contracts. If you are not on contract, please reach out to learn how to get Canvas.

Marketing is a science — but one that needs an artist’s touch and specialized tools. With Canvas, you can mix rigor and artistry to create meaningful, relevant, and personal experiences for each customer. Canvas is a single unified interface where marketers can set up campaigns with multiple messages and steps to form a cohesive journey and then compare and optimize those experiences using comprehensive analytics for the full user experience.

This guide will walk you through setting up a Canvas and give you important questions and thought starters as you build and consider your customer experiences. If you prefer a visual format for learning Canvas, check out this three part video series!

Canvas: The Basics

Find your strategy with the Five W’s of visualization

Fill in the form here to get started:

  • What am I trying to help the customer do or understand?_________ (Canvas Name)

  • When will a user start this experience? Pick one.
    • Enter users at a designated time:
      • Scheduled
      • Start a session
      • Perform a custom event
      • Enter a location
      • Interact with or leave another campaign or Canvas
    • Enter user when they perform actions: Action-Based
      • Make purchase
      • Start a session
      • Perform a custom event
      • Enter a location
      • Interact with or leave another campaign or Canvas

  • Who are we trying to reach? _________ (Segment Name) with [optional] additional filters:
    • Custom Data
    • User Activity
    • Retargeting
    • Marketing Activity
    • User Attributes
    • Install Attribution
    • Social Activity

  • Why am I creating this canvas?
    • Start Session: I want them coming back and engaging with the app.
    • Make Purchase: I want them to buy.
    • Perform Custom Event: I want them to perform a specific action that I’m tracking as a custom event.

  • Where will we reach them?
    • Push (Android, iOS, Windows, web)
    • Email
    • Webhook

  • How will we reach them? (Great place to test different messaging configurations)
    • Timing: Schedule or trigger messages using tools like Intelligent Delivery and delays after trigger events
    • Cadence & Channel: Use one channel and then another or sent messages on multiple channels simultaneously
    • Content: Build creative with strong appeals, value propositions, and CTAs
    • Targeting: Add additional segments and/or filters
    • Triggers: Use customer actions to trigger messages

Anatomy of Canvas

Journey

Canvas refers to the workspace and overall visualization.

Journey_2

A journey or customer journey is an individual user’s experience within the Canvas.

Journey_3

Variants are the variant flows marketers build that create personalized journeys.

Journey_4

Steps are individual decision points (like messages) within a variant.

Building The Customer Journey In Canvas

Name Your Canvas: the “what”

Never underestimate the power of the name. Braze is built for collaboration so this is a good time to get grounded in how you’ll communicate goals with your team. You can add Tags (including Teams Tags) and name both steps and variants within the Canvas.

Create Starting Conditions: the “when”

When will a customer run into this Canvas? Users can enter your Canvas in two ways: scheduled or action-based triggers.

Scheduled

You can use scheduled delivery when you want to send a Canvas out immediately to your target audience, have it regularly sent, or schedule it for a specific time in the future.

Action-Based

These Canvases respond to specific customer behaviors as they happen. These action-based triggers can include opening your app, making a purchase, interacting with another campaign, or triggering any custom event.

Select an Entry Audience for Entry: the “who”

Who are you trying to reach? Here you can use a pre-defined segment and add further filters. Filters include:

  • Custom Data: Custom data filters allow you to segment users based on events and attributes you define. With them, you can use features specific to your product.
  • User Activity: User activity filters allow you to segment customers based on their actions and purchases.
  • Retargeting: Retargeting filters allow you to segment customers who have been sent, received, or interacted with previous Campaigns or Canvases.
  • Marketing Activity: Marketing filters segment customers based on universal behaviors like last engagement or received campaigns.
  • User Attributes: User attribute filters segment customers by their constant attributes and characteristics.
  • Install Attribution: Install attribution filters segment customers by their first source, adgroup, campaign, or ad.
  • Social Activity: Social activity filters segment customers by their social media activity namely through connection to Facebook and Twitter.

Only the users who match these target audience criteria can enter the journey.

Identify Conversion Events: the “why” Why are you building this Canvas? It’s always important to have a defined goal in mind and Canvas helps you understand how you are performing against KPIs like session engagement, purchases, and custom events.

Selecting at least one conversion event will give you the ability to understand your campaign performance and also to help you optimize performance within the Canvas as if your Canvas has multiple variants and/or a control group Braze will use the conversion event to determine the best variation for achieving this goal.

Build the experience: the “how” and “where”

  1. Setting up variants: A variant is the trail each customer follows on their journey. Canvas supports up to four variants with a control group. While not required, you can name each variant, as well as control the distribution of the target audience following each variant.

  2. Building steps: A step is a marketing decision point—what is the experience you’re creating? Within a step you can set triggers or schedule delivery, refine targeting by adding filters or marking exception events, and add channels from email to push to webhooks.

  3. Determining when and how to use steps & variants: Each Canvas must have at least one variant and at least one step. The sky’s the limit from there—so how do you decide on the shape of your Canvas? That’s where your goals, data, and hypothesis come into play. The “how” and “where” brainstorm from above will help you map out the right shape and structure of your Canvas. There are a couple approaches you can use:

    a. Work backward: Some goals have smaller sub-goals. There is a great lecture on growth from Alex Schlutz that explains how finding your North Star and that Magic Moment where customers understand your value proposition are powerful stimulants. This can be applied on the Canvas level by finding the intermediate step to your goal. For instance, if you’re aiming for converting a free user into a subscription, you may need a page with your subscription services outlined. A visitor may need to see the options before they purchase. You may focus your messaging efforts on showing them this page before a checkout page. Working backward to understand the journey a customer must go through to get to your goal is key to guiding them through to conversion.

    b. Start with the status quo and add more: Have you ran a similar campaign in the past? Or is one currently running? Use that one message and add to it. Try a new filter or add a followup message. Look at your performance and keep optimizing by making incremental changes.

    c. Look to others: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Don’t reinvent in the wheel. Don’t worry, we have you covered. At the end of this guide, you’ll find some outlines that can help you get started.

Moving the Needle: Measuring and Testing with Canvas Analytics

You need to know if what you’re building is moving the needle. Canvas makes it easy to understand how the experiences you’re building are impacting your goals. Once you build your Canvas and set it live, you can review performance on the Canvas Details page.

Canvas Overview

Journey_5

At the top of the Canvas Details page, there are topline Canvas stats. These include the number of messages sent within the Canvas, the total number of times customers have entered the Canvas, how many have converted and your total rate, the revenue generated by the Canvas, and the estimated total audience. This is a great way to level set in general how you’re doing against your goal.

Performance Visualization

Journey_6

As you move down the Canvas details page, you’ll see the performance for each step. These metrics include sends, unique recipients, conversion count, and revenue generated. You can click to breakdown further and see channel specific performance.

Performance Breakdown (by Variant)

Journey_7

At the bottom of the Canvas Details page, you can see a breakdown (by variant and Control Group if you have more than one) of performance. This is a clear table showing you by variant the number of steps, total sends, total entries, conversions, and total revenue. You can quickly infer effective variants and identify the right cadences, content, triggers, timing, and more!

Four Canvas Outlines

Journey_8

Onboarding - Restaurant Reservation Example

  • What: Onboarding users to their first reservation
  • When: Triggered at session start
  • Who: All New Customers
  • Why: Perform custom event “completed reservation”
  • Where: Push, Email
  • How: Channel, Content (test)

Journey_9

Upsell - Music Streaming Example

  • What: Upgrading active freeloaders to basic premium subscription
  • When: Triggered after custom event of “milestone - 3 hours music streamed”
  • Who: All Active, but free customers
  • Why: Perform custom event: visit pricing page
  • Where: Push, Email, Webhook
  • How: Content, Discount

Journey_10

Cart Abandonment - Clothing Retail Example

  • What: Reminding customers of incomplete purchases
  • When: Triggered after custom event of “abandoned cart”
  • Who: All registered customers
  • Why: Make purchase
  • Where: Push, Email
  • How: Channel, Trigger (test)

Journey_11

Holiday Travel - Airline

  • What: Educate customers on resources and prime them for good flight and airport experiences.
  • When: Scheduled daily until January 1st
  • Who: Customers booked for travel in two days with the app
  • Why: Session Start
  • Where: Push
  • How: Channel, Cadence (test)