Message frequency rules

Last update: 2023-10-16
  • Topics:
  • Rules
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  • Created for:
  • Intermediate

Journey Optimizer allows you to control how often users will receive a message or enter into a journey by setting cross-channel rules that will automatically exclude over-solicited profiles from messages and actions.

For example, for a brand, a rule could be not to send more than 3 marketing messages per month to their customers. To do this, you can use a frequency rule which will cap the number of messages sent based on one or more channels during a monthly calendar period.


Message frequency rules are different from opt-out management, which allows users to unsubscribe from receiving communications from a brand. Learn more

➡️ Discover this feature in video

Access rules

Rules are available from the Administration > Rules menu. All rules are listed, sorted by modification date.

Use the filter icon to filter on the category, status, and/or channel. You can also search on the message label.


To access, create, edit or delete message frequency rules, you must have the Manage frequency rules permission.

Users with the View frequency rules permission are able to view rules, but not to modify or delete them.

Learn more about permissions in this section.

Create a rule

To create a new rule, follow the steps below.

  1. Access the Message frequency rules list, then click Create rule.

  2. Define the rule name.

  3. Select the message rule category.


    Currently only the Marketing category is available.

  4. Set the capping for your rule, meaning the maximum number of messages that can be sent to an individual user profile each month.


    Frequency cap is based on a monthly calendar period. It is reset at the beginning of each month.

  5. Select the channel you want to use for this rule: Email or Push notification.


    You must select at least one channel to be able to create the rule.

  6. Select several channels if you want to apply capping across all selected channels as a total count.

    For example, set capping to 15, and select both the email and push channels. If a profile has already received 10 marketing emails and 5 marketing push notifications, this profile will be excluded from the very next delivery of any marketing email or push notification.

  7. Click Save as draft to confirm the rule creation. Your message is added to the rule list, with the Draft status.

Activate a rule

When created, a message frequency rule has the Draft status and is not yet impacting any message. To enable it, click the ellipsis next to the rule and select Activate.

Activating a rule will impact any messages it applies to on their next execution. Learn how to apply a frequency rule to a message.


It can take up to 10 minutes for a rule to be fully activated. You do not need to modify messages or republish journeys for a rule to take effect.

To deactivate a message frequency rule, click the ellipsis next to the rule and select Deactivate.

The rule’s status will change to Inactive and the rule will not apply to future message executions. Any messages currently in execution will not be affected.


Deactivating a rule does not affect or reset any counts on individual profiles.

Apply a frequency rule to a message

To apply a frequency rule to a message, follow the steps below.

  1. When creating a journey, add a message by selecting one of the channels you defined for your rule.

  2. Select the category you defined for the rule you created.


    Currently only the Marketing category is available for message frequency rules.

  3. You can click the Frequency rule link to view the frequency rules screen in a new tab. Learn more

    All the frequency rules matching the selected category and channel(s) will be automatically applied to this message.


    Messages where the category selected is Transactional will not be evaluated against frequency rules.

  4. You can view the number of profiles excluded from delivery in the Global report, and in the Live report, where frequency rules will be listed as a possible reason for users excluded from delivery.


Several rules can apply to the same channel, but once the lower cap is reached, the profile will be excluded from the next deliveries.

Example: combine several rules

You can combine several message frequency rules, such as described in the example below.

  1. Create a rule called Overall Marketing Capping:

    • Select Email and Push channels.
    • Set capping to 12.

  2. To further restrict the number of marketing-based push notifications that a user is sent, create a second rule called Push Marketing Cap:

    • Select Push channel.
    • Set capping to 4.

  3. Save and activate the rule.

  4. Create an email and select the Marketing category for that message. Learn more

  5. Create a push notification and select the Marketing category for that message. Learn more

In this scenario, an individual profile:

  • can receive up to 12 marketing messages per month;
  • but will be excluded from marketing push notifications after they have received 4 push notifications.

When testing frequency rules, it is recommended to use a newly created test profile, because once a profile’s frequency cap is reached, there is no way to reset the counter until the next month. Deactivating a rule will allow capped profiles to receive messages, but it will not remove or delete any counter increments.

How-to video

Learn how to create, activate, test, and report on frequency rules.

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