Personalize content using pre-defined dynamic text

Personalized messages help marketers drive engagement. A common way to personalize content is to use dynamic text (also known as placeholder text) that is automatically replaced with recipients' personal details when the message is sent. For example, rather than using a generic greeting like “Dear customer,” you can use dynamic text (“Dear {{FirstName}}”) that is replaced with the customer name (“Dear John”) upon sending the message.

An instance of placeholder text such as {{Firstname}} is called pre-defined dynamic text. Before you can use dynamic text, you need to define three pieces of information:

  1. Data binding: Where the replacement data for the dynamic text will come from (for example, the “firstname” attribute of a “Contact” table).
  2. Label: How the dynamic text is referred to within the message text (for example, {{Firstname}}).
  3. Default value: What text to use if the source data is empty.

Defining data binding requires some understanding of the Dataverse data model to correctly connect the dynamic text to the right data source.

Pre-defined dynamic text is text that has already been defined by someone else and is ready to be used. Marketing ships with a set of commonly used pieces of pre-defined dynamic text. More can be added by you or your teammates (see Creating and sharing pre-defined dynamic text).

Using pre-defined dynamic text

Select Personalize in the email or text message editor to see a list of pre-defined dynamic text fragments. Next, select some pre-defined dynamic text from the list to insert it into the message:

Email editor:

Screenshot of adding pre-defined dynamic text to an email message.

Text message editor:

Screenshot of adding pre-defined dynamic text to a text message.

The pre-defined dynamic text list may be different than shown here because it's dynamic. As your admin and other users create and share more pre-defined dynamic text, the fragments will be added to the list. The top 10 items on the list are sorted by org-wide usage. If there are more than 10 items in the list, you'll see the remaining items sorted by alphabetical order after the top 10 items.

Screenshot of the pre-defined dynamic text list.

You can hover on dynamic text in the pre-defined list to see its details. Alternatively, you can select the vertical ellipses next to the dynamic text's name and then select More info.

Changing the default value for the current message

Most of the time you should be able to use pre-defined dynamic text as-is, but sometimes you may need to change a default value. For example, the default value “Customer” may not work if your email is to non-customers. In this case, you can change the default value by selecting the pre-defined dynamic text in the editor canvas and then selecting the Personalization menu. After changing the default value, make sure to save it. An updated version of the pre-defined dynamic text will be saved, but only for the current message.

Changing the default value globally

If the default value provided isn't appropriate for your situation (for example, you may refer to your customers as “clients” or “guests” rather than “customer”), you can change the default value for everyone. To change the global default value, select the vertical ellipses next to the pre-defined dynamic text's name and then select Update pre-defined dynamic text. The pre-defined dynamic text will be updated for the current message and globally for future usage of the dynamic text in new messages (existing messages aren't affected).

Screenshot of updating a default value globally.

Important

The Update pre-defined dynamic text command only applies to the current message and future messages. It does not retroactively change previous uses of the dynamic text.

Creating and sharing pre-defined dynamic text

You aren't limited to the pre-defined dynamic text that is included with the Marketing app. Any user can create new pre-defined dynamic text fragments and share them with their team by adding them to the pre-defined dynamic text list.

To define and share new pre-defined dynamic text, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor in an empty space in the text box and then select Personalization from the menu bar that pops up. This opens the pre-defined personalization list.

  2. Select New dynamic text at the bottom of the pre-defined dynamic text menu and complete steps to define the new dynamic text.

    Screenshot of creating new pre-defined dynamic text.

  3. Select the down-facing carat next to the Save button and choose the Save & add to pre-defined list option.

    Screenshot of saving and adding new pre-defined dynamic text.

Removing pre-defined dynamic text

To remove pre-defined dynamic text:

  1. Place your cursor in an empty space in the text box and then select Personalization from the menu bar that pops up.

  2. Select the vertical ellipses next to the dynamic text name.

  3. Select Remove pre-defined dynamic text from the menu.

    Screenshot of removing pre-defined dynamic text.

Communicate dates and times in various formats

When you work with multiple geographies and languages, communicating dates and times clearly requires using the right format to match the recipient's expectations. To ensure your communications are clear for all recipients, real-time marketing supports many date and time formats.

Whenever dynamic text is defined using a datetime type attribute, another set of options becomes available to select a date/time format that is readable and consistent with the locale (language and region) of the audience. If desired, you can also change the locale and time zone to match the audience. The Marketing app also automatically converts the stored date/time into the selected time zone.

Available formatting options offer three ways to present information: date and time, date only, and time only. Within each format, there are multiple options to cover various use cases.

Note

If the attribute is of type Date only, you won't see date-and-time-only options.

Date and time format

When you select a specific display option, it's applied to that specific dynamic text only. Marketing remembers the last format used (and selects it automatically for the next dynamic text to help drive consistency). You can also change the format, allowing you the flexibility to present the date and time in different formats within the same email.

If needed, you can change the language and region setting along with time zone by selecting the Edit option. When the language and region are changed, Marketing automatically converts the stored date and time into the selected time zone.

Note

The automatic time zone conversion may result in a date change.

locale and time zone

Access even more data for personalization

You can access any Dataverse table to include information in your communications, not just tables that are directly related to an Audience or Triggers.

Note

This feature is available only in real-time marketing.

Using data from additional tables in dynamic text

Most of the time, Dynamic text is used to personalize messages using data from an Audience (for example, Contact or Lead) or Triggers. Dynamic text can also use data from Dataverse tables that can be reached through relationships with an Audience or Triggers. However, there are times when you need to use data from tables that don't have an established or usable relationship with the Audience or Triggers. For example, you may want to include information about a company building available in the Dataverse table “Building" that has no direct or usable relationship with a Contact or Lead. In such case, your starting point for defining dynamic text will be in the “Other tables” dropdown in the Create dynamic text menu.

Create dynamic text

The “Other tables” area includes some of the most commonly used Dataverse tables (for example, event-planning-related tables). When you search for attributes, the search includes these tables. You can define dynamic text using the other tables just like you do with Audience or Triggers. Use an attribute directly or follow relationships from these tables to other related tables until you find the needed attribute.

There's one notable difference when you define dynamic text starting with “Other tables”: before the message can be made “ready to send”, you must select a specific record from the selected table. If there's an Audience or Trigger, the specific record is provided by the journey context (that is, the Contact that is actually going through the journey). With the "other tables", you need to provide the specific record information when you're designing the personalized text because the text doesn't have a direct relationship with an Audience or Triggers. For example, if you select an attribute from the Events table, you'll be asked to select a specific event.

Select a record

Using data from additional tables in advanced personalization

Similar to dynamic text, data from additional tables can also be used to define conditions and lists in advanced personalization.

select a condition

enter details

Validating and finalizing

Though you can decide not to select a specific record right away, the specific record selection must be done before the message can be made “ready to send”. Leaving the record selection for later can be a useful approach to separate the content design phase from the content use (and reuse) phase. This is also how templates can be created. For example, a generic event invitation message like below can be created where all of the event-related dynamic text doesn't have an event selected.

enter personalization details

The event selection step can then be completed when the message created from this template is ready to be used in a journey. If you try to make the message “Ready to send” without completing this step, the validation will give an error message. Even without running the validation step, you can see what needs to be done in the personalization tab.

select a record to personalize

Managing additional tables for personalization

The pick list contains up to 50 tables at any given time. To change the pick list tables, select a piece of dynamic text, expand the "Other tables (Needs record selection)" category, then select Manage list.

Use the pre-defined filters next to the search bar in the Manage list window to quickly filter the tables list to all tables, tables selected by default, tables that you've selected, or tables that are actually in use in the current message.

Select the tables you want to add or remove, then select Save.

Change the pick list

Tip

Removing dynamic text only removes it from the pre-defined list, it does not remove it from the messages that are already using it.

Note

The pre-defined dynamic text feature has a few known issues. Learn more: Known issues in real-time marketing.