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Chapter 1: The Campaign Canvas

Overview: What is the Campaign Canvas?

The campaign canvas includes a wide variety of elements that you can use to create rich, multi-step campaigns that meet your marketing goals.

Each element has its own configuration requirements: some elements, like Wait, are very straightforward, while others require a more complex configuration. When you fully configure an element, it changes from grey to one of the four colours below.

You must fully configure all elements before you can activate a campaign.

You can also extend the functionality of the campaign canvas by using Oracle Eloqua AppCloud apps. These apps enable you to integrate your campaign with other systems like WebEx or social advertising options like LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Matched Audiences or Facebook Lead Ads

The following topics provide more detail on the different types of campaign elements:




Long before you login to Eloqua, you really need to have your strategy worked out.

If you’ve just started using Eloqua, the biggest mistake you can make is to use Eloqua like your previous email marketing or marketing automation platform.

You had a reason for buying Eloqua, let’s make sure you capitalise on that reason and get some magic happening sooner, rather than later.

Where to start?

To answer that question, I’m going to have to make some assumptions. The main assumption is that you’re new to Eloqua – the fact that you’ve read this far would be a good indicator that you’re a new user.

I’m also going to assume that you’ve secured a certified and qualified Oracle Partner to implement Eloqua. That means you should be in a position to build a Segment, build your Emails, Landing Pages, Forms and add them to the Campaign Canvas.

Try thinking about the Eloqua Campaign Canvas/Multi-Step Campaigns like this.

When you build your Campaign Canvas and drop various Elements on the canvas, you need to think about the flow of your campaign members through the campaign.

The canvas is extremely logical in the way that it works, it will do exactly as you tell it to do. Eloqua doesn’t randomly adjust the flow of a person through a campaign for random reasons. There will always be a reason.

Some fundamentals to remember

The following are considered the basics, if you can get your head around these aspects of Eloqua, you’ll be in a great place.

  1. Eloqua will never send the same email to the same person twice, regardless of the number of multi-step campaigns you add an email to. If the person has ever been sent that email, Eloqua will not send it again from the Campaign Canvas. NOTE: The Send Submitter an Email Form Processing step behaves differently, you control whether or not Eloqua will resend an auto-responder email.
  2. A single unique Contact/Email Address can only enter a Campaign once. e.g. if you have the same Contact sitting in two different Segments on the one Canvas, they will only progress through the campaign from ONE of the Segments. Eloqua will choose which one.
  3. A Campaign cannot be activated unless all Elements are configured.
  4. A Campaign can be deactivated once it has been activated. You can then reactivate the campaign. There is no pause function i.e. you won’t find Pause as an option.

EXAMPLE: A basic Campaign Canvas Design.

The Campaign Canvas ‘Elements’ above are explained below…

Segment Element Campaign Canvas

The canvas shown above is probably one of the more basic campaign canvas designs. It begins with two Segments, both directed to the Contact Washing Machine. It’s worth noting at this point that you can have multiple Segments on a single Canvas.

This can be helpful from a reporting point of view. Multiple Segments routed to a single email delivers a more granular reporting breakdown by Segment/Audience and their engagement with your emails.

Segment Members Audience Element

Segments are groups of contacts (people) generated based on filter criteria, Shared Lists, Shared Filters, manually uploaded contacts e.g. from excel or manually adding individual contacts from your Eloqua contacts.

Segments can filter contacts based on criteria like whether or not they receive a newsletter, whether or not they registered for a conference, or whether or not they visited a landing page.

Segments are used to feed email distribution in your campaigns. They allow you to specify which contacts are included, and then to customise the subsequent actions for those contacts.


Contact Washing MachineElement Campaign Canvas

The Contact Washing Machine App is a free app you can add to Eloqua. I use it primarily to ensure key data is in Propercase. e.g. a person’s first name should be presented as “Derek”, not “DEREK” or “derek”.

The app has a wide range of actions it can perform, CLICK HERE to read in more detail.

Contact Washing Machine App Action Element

The Contact Washing Machine enables cleansing of contact fields. You are able to define one or more contact fields as inputs, then run actions such as trim, concatenate, adjust case (propercase or lowercase), and perform lookups to populate fields.

The data can then be mapped back to that same field or a separate field. Keeping data clean improves the accuracy of scoring, segmentation, and personalisation.


Email Element Campaign Canvas

This is the fun part – this is where your strategy mixes with your design and all comes together in the Email Design (drag & drop, not HTML) or Source (for lovers of HTML) Editor.

Email Send Asset Element

Once you add your email asset to the email send element, you will have the ability to adjust a range of actions for that email send. You can create a schedule e.g. only deliver this email during a set window of time, on certain days and in a specific time zone. This is helpful if your Segment is dynamic meaning you have people entering your campaign on a regular basis. Think on-boarding campaigns, event campaigns. Essentially we’re talking about “always-on” campaigns.


Wait Element Campaign Canvas

The Wait Element is probably the once step missed by new Eloqua users. It’s a critical step in your canvas design and provides two options.

You can wait for a period of time, hours, days or weeks or you can wait until a specific date and time. 

You will typically use one type of Wait based on your campaign.

The Wait Action Element

This element allows you to specify how much time will lapse between steps of your campaign. You can also set up a wait step notification for when contacts enter the step.

Example: If you want to send an email alerting contacts and prospects to register for an upcoming seminar, after the initial email step, you can add a wait step. You can specify an amount of time to wait (hours, days or weeks) before continuing on to the next step, perhaps sending a reminder to those who have not yet responded.


The shortest amount of time you can WAIT is ten minutes i.e. 0.17 of an hour.

Opened Email Element Campaign Canvas

The Opened Email? decision element allows you to evaluate a persons engagement or lack of engagement with your email. In the canvas above we’re going to send a second email to campaign members if they did not open the first email.

The Opened Email? Decision Element

Evaluate and route segment members differently depending on whether they opened a specific email at least once or a selected number of times.


With the changes from Apple in 2021/22 email “opens” became a bit fuzzy. With Eloqua Release 22A in February 2022, Insight enabled you to see how many Opens were in fact “Auto Opens”. It’s worth that noting when you use this element on the canvas, it does not recognise an Auto Open as a genuine Open. The same applies from a Segment Filter point of view. So, that means when you ask Eloqua to return all Contacts who have “Opened” an email, those flagged as an Auto Open will be excluded from your results.

Other considerations

Remember, the Canvas default will not send the same email to the same person twice. So in the Canvas example above you need to save-as the first email and create a second email. When you save-as the email, Eloqua creates a new ID number which makes the second email unique. It may look the same, but as far as Eloqua is concerned, it’s a new asset.

Notice the ID number at the end of the Eloqua URL i.e. 3616 & 3617.

In this example, the second email will only be sent to people who did NOT open the first email. So, all you really need to change is the email Subject Line and the Preview copy. Given the first email wasn’t opened, the Subject Line and Preview text/copy are the only tools you have available to change in the hope it grabs the attention of your audience.