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I've largely been ignoring the Audience Entry Source within Journey Builder since it's release not too long ago, but after testing it out recently I am pretty impressed.

Some of the pros:

  • Removes the need for fire event activity in Automation Studio
  • Email Studio Audiences can be configured to either automatically process all records, or only the new records
  • If record doesn't exist, a new one is created, effectively removing the need for many steps in Contact Builder

Possible cons:

  • Lack of API compatibility
  • Can't reuse across other Journeys

Question: Based on current functionality, why would an Event Entry Source be used in place of an Audience Entry Source for a typical Journey? I prefer Event Sources personally because I am accustomed to the routine of making attribute groups / root sources / automation / fire event, but it does seem as though Audiences may be the simplified approach.

[Note: If this question is too broad I can relate it back to a single example use case and ask for best practices].

Thanks as always!

  • just a question, i tried using email audience as an entry event and was not able to see the setting for making only the new contacts enter the journey, where does that setting come, can you please help – Shivam Shukla Feb 10 '17 at 5:35
  • It's on the schedule tab when setting up the Audience Entry. Just make sure you switch the radio button to a schedule, as by default will not display all of the options. If you are using automation studio audiences, I've found that it doesn't provide that same ability. – AnonWonderer Feb 11 '17 at 0:37
  • Another thing I've found: While Audience Entry allows you to bypass Contact Builder / Populations in terms of injecting subscribers, it doesn't actually build anything in the Contact model for you. So if you wanted to relate this data in other Journeys, or relate another Data Extension with the source Data Extension, you would still have to build out the relationships from scratch within Contact Builder -> Data Designer. – AnonWonderer Feb 11 '17 at 0:38
  • @AnonWonderer As of the Aug '17 release, Automation Studio audiences allow customization of new records vs all records evaluation. It continues to omit Contact Filters, as the intention is for other activities (e.g., queries) in the automation to perform this function. – Chris Sep 6 '17 at 22:23
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To me it helps to think about an Event Entry Source as sort of an equivalent to a Triggered Send Definition, whereas an Audience Entry Source is more similar to an Automation containing a User Initiated Send (obviously the difference being that they occur in Journey Builder, enabling you to string together a longer series of communications/actions).

With an Event Entry Source, you can trigger the first message in a journey in real-time via API. With an Audience Entry Source, you can certainly get close to real-time if your data extension is populated in real-time and your supporting Automation is run every 15 minutes or so. However, typically if your data extension is populated in real-time, that would indicate it is happening via API call and therefore why not just use an Event Entry Source via API?

There certainly are some overlapping cases where either would suffice, but in short I would think about an Event Entry Source as an optimal choice for real-time triggering via API. Though an API call is not required to fire an Entry Event Source, if you don't use the API (at least on a Contact Event Type), you would still have to schedule the refresh via Automation, so at that point it's kind of "six of one, half dozen of the other". Worth noting that Event Entry Sources do come with some handy pre-built Event Types, such as Date Based Events (for easy Anniversary or Birthday campaigns), Salesforce Data for cross-cloud integrations, etc.

The reality is, the answer is probably mostly dependent upon your data availability/latency and/or ability to trigger a journey via API.

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    Yes I can see how the API usage would be a big determining factor for certain Journeys. I've also realized that Automation Studio Audiences don't respect the high water mark that exists for Event Entry Sources. Meaning it will always process ALL records, instead of only the newest ones. This can be concerning, because involved with many Journeys is SQL queries - which need an automation - and you likely will not want ALL records to be inserted. So that is another plus for using Event Entry I've found. – AnonWonderer Feb 11 '17 at 0:36

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