Product Features
By -


Supercharging digital marketing efforts is a matter of harnessing a platform’s features effectively.


With all services that the Salesforce ecosystem has to offer, you may not always be sure about what features will help accomplish certain marketing goals. Whether you’re recommending a tool to a client, or looking to build out your own marketing efforts, it’s important to know what’s what. Marketing Cloud’s Automation Studio and Journey Builder features allow users to create complex, tailored automations – but when is it best to use one or the other?


We’ve dug into the details and features of both – in addition to gathering insight from our technical service engineers –  to help you better understand the differences between Automation Studio and Journey Builder. While both are powerful and capable features, each has unique components that, when harnessed correctly, can supercharge digital marketing efforts.Let’s first get acquainted with Automation Studio.


What is Automation Studio?

Automation Studio lets users design automations within a workflow using a drag-and-drop interface, allows for the building of complex automations, and provides users with a dashboard to gain insight about the workflow’s status and effectiveness. Furthermore, Automation Studio works to execute marketing automations on an “immediate or scheduled basis”, meaning that the tool provides a fixed path – so if you wanted to send a 4 email series of 6 days, new people could not join the automation until the 6-day long series was completed.

Automation Studio is also used as a one-to-many  marketing tool, partly due to its scheduled automations that execute rules or actions on a pre-determined basis, and largely due the fact that it was designed to handle complex, large volume data.  Perhaps Automation Studio’s best asset is its ability to manipulate and harness data to maximize automation customization and specificity.

Despite the fact that Journey Builder may be preferred for one-to-one and multi-channel journeys, Automation Studio is more than capable of doing so – it just may take a bit longer to set up, and the series of automations may be more complex. This may require a more intimate, technical knowledge of the account configuration and platform. Automation Studio handles complexities effortlessly, making it a go-to tool for marketers within the Salesforce community.


What is Journey Builder?

Salesforce Journey Builder

Journey Builder Drag and Drop Interface


Automation Studio’s counterpart Journey Builder – a more recent addition to the Salesforce ecosystem – boasts similar features. Journey Builder is best known for the creation and customization of  one-to-one customer journeys. Journey Builder is home to a user interface and workflow that “literally looks like a whiteboard”, making it straight-forward in nature and easy to use.

The feature is best known for its powerful campaign planning capabilities as well as its ability to easily craft multichannel journeys that include SMS (text), push notifications for mobile apps, emails and social integrations. Designed not only to “guide customers through every step of their journey”, Journey Builder allows marketers to operate with a set-it-and-forget-it attitude when it comes to planning and executing marketing automations. Perhaps one of the most vocalized qualms from users is the sparse reports and insights compared to those provided by Automation Studio.


Should you use Journey Builder or automation Studio?

Both tools appear to have what – upon first glance – looks like the same functionality. While it may look like this on the surface, marketers and client success agents have their own two cents – especially about what features they enjoy working with, and about what the most time or cost effective method may be to deliver a solution.

We’ve asked the Bubblebox Client Success team what their thoughts are on how to determine if a customer should consider using Automation Studio or Journey Builder. When asked about creating a Welcome Journey for a client, Technical Services Engineer Bryden responds with:


“It really depends on the client, but you would first have to consider a couple of things. Does this Welcome Program need to be initiated, for example, every hour or every 10 minutes, or does it need to be initiated all the time based on a specific action? Will the series consist of just emails, or will it be multi-channel? Automation Studio triggers automations on a time-specific basis, whereas Journey Builder runs automations all the time. Even though both tools work for multichannel journeys, which include email, SMS/texts, push notifications, and social, my go-to for custom-tailored one-to-one journeys that include SMS would be Journey Builder. ”


Furthermore, Bryden explains that when it comes to choosing Automation Studio or Journey Builder:


One isn’t better than the other –they’re just good for different things… the best solution may even include a combination of the two.


While both Automation Studio and Journey Builder operate under the same Marketing Cloud  ecosystem, it’s worth thinking about the needs of a particular journey or engagement prior to beginning the building process – or even earlier, while you’re in the process of shopping around for cloud technologies that best suit your business.

Despite our best efforts to help you discern which of the two tools will work best for your next digital marketing campaign, we realize that every company, every campaign, and every team is different.

Having difficulties deciding which tool is right for your company? Contact us