A Guide to testing your Eloqua Campaign Canvas

The process of testing any type of technology means you need to have a good understanding of how that technology works. Should you choose to test your Eloqua campaigns, there are a few things you should consider and also understand.

Understanding the Logic

The best advice I was ever given about the Eloqua Campaign Canvas was that it’s extremely logical. It will do exactly as you tell it to do.

That means you need to understand what you’re telling the Canvas to do and also understand how each element on the canvas functions.

The basics

A few things you need to know about how the Campaign Canvas works.

  1. Eloqua will never send the same email asset to the same Contact/unique email address twice.
  2. A Contact can only enter a Campaign Canvas once.

Managing your testing

When you think through the basics, you will see how these default settings could cause a barrier to your testing if you don’t take them into consideration.

I’ve listed some tips below to help you get the best possible outcome from your testing.

Have fun.

Tip # 1


The key objective of this tip is to ensure you have a unique email address for your testing requirements.

I find users get confused with their testing. The general comment is “The test worked the first time, but then nothing happened the second time.”

That’s because of the way Eloqua manages a unique Contact, it will never send the same email to the same person twice.

The use of a unique email address is helpful should you want to test the outcome of a Campaign Canvas based on various scenarios. It also means you don’t need to “save-as” the canvas or create multiple testing canvases.

Create some alter egos, a Gmail account makes this simple

Eloqua uses the email address as the unique identifier which means you need to consider this in your testing. For example, a Contact can only enter a Campaign once and Eloqua will never send the same email to the same person twice. 

The work-around is to use unique email addresses to ensure your testing is reflecting the reality of the Campaign Canvas flow in Eloqua.

How does it work?

Given this testing Gmail account will be for work, you may want to use a seperate account to your personal account. e.g. you might create something like yourcompanyname@gmail.com or even better keep it short, perhaps 734@gmail.com. Just play around and see what you can create. Let’s assume you’re able to create 734@gmail.com.

With the simple addition of +lorumipsum following your email ID e.g. 734+lorumipsum@gmail.com you have a unique email address – just what Eloqua wants. All emails sent to 734+whateveryouadd@gmail.com will be sent to your 734@gmail.com account. Perfect for testing.

Once you’ve created your Gmail address, create a Contact in Eloqua with this email address OR simply enter the new email address into a form you may want to test:

    • 734+CampaignName@gmail.com

As far as Eloqua is concerned the inclusion of “+CampaignName” added to 734@gmail.com means it’s now a unique email account.

I use these testing accounts for various things, generally where I have dynamic content at play and when campaign or form processing steps will do different things based on the Contact Profile of the contact. For example, I have the following email addresses set up as Contacts in Eloqua:

  • derek+customer@
  • derek+prospect@
  • derek+partner@
  • derek+oracle@
  • derek+NSWcustomer@
  • derek+USAcustomer

To help with any testing, I also have the contact details stored against these accounts reflect the values that would typically be associated with, for example, a Customer in the state of New South Wales (NSW). That helps with Dynamic Content testing and routing of a contact following a form submission based on the Form Processing Steps. 

You can use your new Gmail account with the addition of “+LorumIpsum” for as many unique email accounts you will ever need. Apparently the crew at Gmail created this function for their own testing and it meant they didn’t have to create a new Gmail account for every test they were running.

Tip # 2

Please use the Eloqua Template function.

The number of times I’ve rescued a client because they’ve configured something incorrectly in a form, an email or on the Campaign Canvas and then “saved-as” and wondered why the error keeps happening.

If you copy a Campaign Canvas and add the same Segment to the second Canvas, you can activate it, but no one will be sent anything because that same group of people has already been sent the emails.

Remember, Eloqua will never send the same email to the same person twice.

Simply copying an asset will perpetuate any errors you may have in place, but aren’t aware of.

Copying and pasting an asset is generally a bad decision just as copying a Campaign Canvas is generally a bad decision.

Eloqua provides you with the ability create Templates for Emails, Landing Pages, Forms, Segments and the Campaign Canvas. I really do not understand why people don’t use them, I honestly don’t get it.

When testing the flow of the Campaign Canvas, most users will reduce Wait steps to 15 minutes or .25 of an hour to speed the process of their testing. 

“You can create custom email templates for your marketing users. Using templates can help speed up your email creation process and ensure your branding guidelines are followed.

Templates can also help your organisation maintain consistency across your marketing organisation. You can add protections to your email templates to prevent users from deleting or changing elements of an email.”

Tip # 3

If you choose to go down a testing path, especially of the Campaign Canvas, you want to make sure you’re assets are all set for the final, go live campaign.

In the course of testing your campaign you should start with your emails or main campaign entry point e.g. that will usually be either an email being sent or a form submission being completed.

Always, always, always send yourself a test of each email in the campaign and if you need to test Dynamic Content in your emails or on your Landing Pages, use your various Gmail personas Contacts to complete the test.

You can also use the Preview function in the Email & Landing Pages Editors to view the email in the context of different Contacts to ensure Dynamic Content is displaying as expected.

Reporting considerations to help with your testing

Form Submission Data

In the process of your testing you will likely submit a form a few times. To make your final Campaign reporting more accurate, you want to remove the testing data from your Form Submission Data. 

You do that by opening your form, accessing the A CTIONS menu > VIEW FORM SUBMISSION DATA…  Then from the pop up window right click on the submission data you want to delete. See the screen shot below.

Operational reports – Campaign Canvas

Once your Campaign has been ACTIVATED, the Operational Reports kick in and will show data relating to Campaign Member Entry and Exit. These are helpful for all Campaigns, however from a testing point of view it enables you to see exactly when and who entered the campaign and at what time. 

Just as importantly, you can also see when people exited the Campaign.

I'm a modern marketer.

In summary

Once you build some confidence and a better understanding of how the Campaign Canvas works, you will find less of a need to actually test the canvas. You can then focus your testing on your emails, dynamic content, landing pages and form behaviour.

In the mean time, these quick tips will help you with your Campaign Canvas/Multi-step Campaign testing:

  1. Once your testing has concluded, make sure you reset the times on the Wait element. A common mistake by new users.
  2. When you add your final “go live” Segment, be sure any of the people in that segment have NOT been through your testing campaigns, becuase they won’t be sent any of the live emails if they’re already been sent them in your testing process.
  3. Don’t forget to adjust any scheduling you may want/need on the email elements i.e. the window of time you want your emails to be delivered, especially if the campaign has a dynamic segment.