Journey Builder or Automation Studio: Which Do We Choose?

Both Journey Builder and Automation Studio are powerful tools that Marketing Cloud customers have access to. However, it’s oftentimes confusing to determine when it’s appropriate to use one versus the other. Luckily, both Automation Studio and Journey Builder do serve unique purposes – it’s just a matter of figuring out which route is more in line with your particular marketing strategy.

Key Differences between Journey Builder and Automation Studio

While both Journey Builder and Automation Studio offer multi-channel ways to send marketing messages, Journey Builder offers more opportunities to test different strategies and optimize your messages. Since individuals enter the journey on an individual level (rather than in batches), the tool is much better suited to watch behavior as it happens in real time, instead of waiting until the automation is finished running.

In Automation Studio, filters and queries are built using SQL, but in Journey Builder, users can leverage the drag-and-drop functionality to pull in decision splits, wait times and firing events. Journey Builder generally has earned a reputation as a much more user-friendly tool.

One of the biggest differences between the two tools is that Journey Builder offers built-in goal reporting, while Automation Studio does not. In Journey Builder, you can see in real time how your campaign is going off and the ways in which your customers are engaging.

So, how do I decide which to use?
There are a few questions you can ask yourself when planning out a campaign and determining if Journey Builder or Automation Studio is the way to go.

  1. Can subscribers individually join the flow at any time or will they enter with a group on a time-specific basis?
    1. If they’re joining the flow at any time, Journey Builder is the route to take. If they’re entering in batches, you’ll want to use Automation Studio.
  2. Do you need to use event/action triggers to determine how you will respond (email, SMS, Ad, etc.) or will every subscriber follow a pre-determined fixed path regardless of an action, event or lack thereof that the subscriber has taken?
    1. If you will need event/action triggers, Journey Builder is the right tool, whereas if a subscriber will follow a pre-determined path, Automation Studio, is the right tool.

It’s easy to get confused by the two tools, but there are a lot of opportunities to customize each one to make it serve your purpose. In general, Journey Builder is much more user-friendly and allows for greater visibility into the success of your campaigns, but if you’re comfortable with SQL and your use case allows, Automation Studio is still a very powerful tool.

Have more questions? Reach out today to speak to one of our industry leading Marketing Cloud team members.