One of the primary benefits of using Eloqua is the ability to track some online activities and behaviors, and use the associated information in Segmentation, decisioning, reporting, and Lead Scoring. However, there can be many other activities, both online and offline that Eloqua does not track, which can be important metrics to make use of for marketing automation as well as Campaign measurement. You can extend Eloqua’s native capabilities by bringing this data into Eloqua by taking advantage of External Activities.
“What are these magical ‘External Activities’,” you may ask, “and how can I use them with my organization?” External Activities are just that – activities that occur externally, or outside of Eloqua native functionality.
As an Example, it may be helpful to use an example of webinars. A marketer can create an External Activity with the following parameters:
- External Asset Name: the top-level category, such as “webinar”
- External Activity Type: the second-level category, often the specific activity with the external asset, such as “registered” or “attended.”
- External Asset Name: a description of the activity, such as the name of the webinar “Learning about External Activities”
- Campaign ID: the ID of the Eloqua Campaign that is associated to the activity
- Email Address: used to link to the Contact that performed the activity
- Date: the date the activity was done
Eloqua can be used to promote webinars through emails and landing pages, and even manage registrations through forms, but when it comes to tracking which Contacts attended and which did not, Eloqua has no visibility to this since the activity is occuring within the webinar platform. With External Activities, you can create a new External Asset “Webinar” with sub-categories for the Activity Type “Attended” and “Registered.” After the webinar, you could load the lists of attendees and registrants into Eloqua to create External Activity records for “Webinar – Attended” or “Webinar – Registered”, and include the associated Name and date of the webinar, while also associating the External Activity to the Campaign that generated the activities. Now that External Activities are implemented and created, you can take advantage of them in multiple areas of Eloqua.
External Activities that are associated to a Campaign will be included in Campaign reporting which helps show the effectiveness of the campaign.
Segmentation & Decisioning:
External Activities can be used just like any other activity, to create Segments and use in Shared Filters for decisions in Campaigns and Programs.
In combination with using Campaign Response Rules, External Activities can be included as Campaign Responses that can be scored on.
External Activities are visible in Profiler.
Campaign Membership for Leads and Contacts can be created and updated automatically in CRM through a combination of Campaign Response Rules and Eloqua Internal Events.
In addition to webinars, there are many other use cases where External Activities can be used, including, but not limited to:
- Direct mail
- Physical events (seminars, tradeshows)
- Online activities (downloads, video views, form abandonment)
- Survey responses
- Inbound activities (phone call, email, text, chat)
What about Custom Data Objects (CDOs) or Shared Lists? Both are good tools for a variety of purposes and can be a great compliment to External Activities, but should not be considered as an alternative or replacement. CDOs and Shared Lists have limited utility compared to External Activities when used in Lead Scoring and are not included in Campaign reporting.
Before you stop reading and start implementing External Activities there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.
External Activities are most useful when associated to an Eloqua Campaign since External Activities can only be used when included as a Campaign Response. Similarly, due to the prioritization of Campaign Response Rules, the highest priority activity by a Contact for a single Campaign will be considered a Campaign Response, and when a duplicate activity occurs with a Campaign, the earliest activity is retained. Due to this, many Eloqua clients make use of generic campaigns to associate External Activities when no Campaign is directly attributed to an activity and often create Campaigns for different time periods.
Lastly, Eloqua has limited capabilities for managing and exporting External Activities. Once created, an External Activity for a Contact cannot be changed or deleted, even in the case of duplication or typos, so take care when creating External Activities to ensure strategic consideration is given to the names used for the External Asset and Activity Type.
Excited to put External Activities to use? Want to learn more? Have questions on how to get started or what to do next? Contact us at Relationship One to help!