pilot-icon – This feature is currently on Pilot release for a limited number of clients only. If you are interested in participating in the pilot phase, please contact Emarsys Support.


Creating your incentives

After Incentive Recommendation has been enabled for your account, the first step is to create the incentives. These are simply the visual means to convey the incentive, and can be uploaded either as an image file or as HTML.

To upload your incentives, proceed as follows:

  • In the Add-ons menu, select Incentive Recommendation and open the Incentives tab. Click Add New Incentive.


  • In the Incentive Properties section, make the following settings:


  • Incentive name – this will identify the incentive on the Incentives, Strategy and Reporting tabs.
  • Use image/Use HTML – Here you upload your image file or paste in the HTML code for the incentive.
  • Subject line string – You can add the incentive placeholder to your email campaign subject line. When a contact receives a particular incentive, they will also see whatever text you define here for that incentive. This should be used as an extension to your regular subject line, as customers who receive no incentive at all will see only a blank space.
  • Text version – This text will replace the incentive in the text version of the email.
  • Value – This is the level of the discount, according to the type. This figure is used to calculate the cost of the incentive.
  • Type – Currently this is only %, but will be extended as we add more features (e.g. free shipping).
  • Landing page URL – The incentive is automatically linked to this landing page, so that contacts who click on it will be directed here.

Once you click Save, the incentive will be visible on the Incentives tab and also in the email content editor (see below).

Default incentives

You do not have to send all your contacts smart incentives. On the Settings tab you set the proportion who will receive these, with the remainder receiving your default incentive (see below). In this way you can measure the effect of smart incentives against a control group.

Your first incentive will automatically be designated your default incentive. You can change this at any time by hovering your mouse cursor over the lower half of the incentive and selecting Make Default.


Setting the scope of your smart incentives

On the Settings tab, you decide how many of your contacts will receive the smart recommendations, so you can measure the difference that smart incentives make compared to your usual strategies.


When you use the slider defining the number of participating contacts, we define two cohorts:

  • The percentage of contacts you select to receive smart incentives – These will get one of the smart incentives, or none at all, according to our algorithm.
  • The percentage of contacts you select not to get smart incentives – These receive the default incentive (which you have to select when the incentives are created).

This setting will apply to all campaigns sent using this feature. When you are confident that Incentive Recommendation is working for you, you can raise the proportion of included contacts to 100%.

Setting your global strategy

On the Strategy tab you can make settings which affect the way the algorithm selects which incentives to display to which contacts.

Profit vs. Revenue

In this section you can decide how conservative or aggressive your strategy will be, in terms of the value of the incentives you offer.


  • Conservative means that fewer incentives will be offered, and the most valuable ones will only be sent to contacts who really would not be expected to purchase otherwise. This will keep your costs down, in terms of less missed revenue, but will also reduce the overall revenue generated by the campaign.
  • Aggressive means sending more, and more valuable incentives, resulting in higher revenue but a smaller profit margin due to the missed revenue.

The Expected outcome chart shows how the costs, revenue and profit will increase or decrease as your strategy changes.

The Distribution of incentives chart shows which percentage of the launch list can be expected to receive which incentive.

Adding incentives to campaigns

When creating your email campaign, open the section where you want to display the incentive, place your cursor in the Body content and click incentive-icon.

In the Insert Incentive Recommendation pop-up, you can see all the incentives you have created. (In a future release, we will group incentives into collections, so you can select the right collection here.) Click Insert to insert the placeholder into the email section.


Note: You will always see the default incentive in the preview.

Empty incentives

Our smart algorithms may also decide that some contacts (e.g. regular buyers) do not need any incentive at all. In this case, the incentive placeholder is simply removed from the section. You should therefore build your email so that the missing incentive does not adversely affect the design.

Subject lines

You can also use incentives in the subject lines of your emails.


The placeholder will be replaced by whatever text you entered in the Subject line string field for each incentive. For contacts who receive no incentive this placeholder will be replaced by an empty space, so bear that in mind when constructing your subject line.


On the Reporting tab you can find the metrics for all the incentives, grouped by collection.

The top section shows the top-level metrics:


  • Revenue / 1,000 emails – This is the average revenue for emails containing smart incentives which were opened, alongside the total revenue for all emails with incentives from this collection.
  • Conversion rate – This is the conversion rate for emails containing smart incentives which were opened, alongside the total conversions for all emails with incentives from this collection.
  • Number of campaigns – This is the number of email campaigns sent with incentives from this collection.

The middle section shows the metrics distributed by incentive:


You can select the individual metric via the tabs on the right.

The bottom section shows the detailed breakdown of the metrics for each incentive: