Using Optimail, you can easily create product recommendation campaigns that fully automate the delivery of personalized emails to customers that recommend products based on individual customer behavior and market basket analysis. Each individual customer receives specific recommendations, containing the particular products deemed most relevant for that customer.

This document explains how to set up product recommendation campaigns in Optimove.

For preliminary information about creating Optimail templates and sending Optimail campaigns, refer to the Optimove Academy articles, Getting Started with Optimail and Working with Optimail Personalization Tags.

Step 1: Prepare Your Recommendation Templates

  1. Prepare a separate HTML template for each number of products to be included in a single recommendation email. So, if your recommendation campaigns are configured to send recommendations of up to 10 products per email (as shown below, this setting in the UI is named “Max items per campaign”), you will need to create 10 separate templates: one that includes a single product, one that includes placeholders for two products, and so forth. Other than having different numbers of product placeholders, the templates can be otherwise identical, as they will all belong to the same campaign.
  2. Insert Optimove product tags to embed personalized product information for each customer. The following are examples of product tags (the specific list of product tags available in your Optimove site depends on the attributes available in your site’s products table):
    • [%PRODUCT_NAME_{X}%]
    • [%PRODUCT_DESC_{X}%]
    • [%BRAND_{X}%]
    • [%CATEGORY_{X}%]
    • [%DEPARTMENT_{X}%]
    • [%PRODUCT_IMAGE_{X}%]
    • [%PRICE_{X}%]

    Place each tag in the relevant location for each product placeholder within the template’s HTML. Replace X with the sequential number indicating which product placeholder it is within the template.

    For example, let’s assume you want to include the following HTML snippet, representing the first instance of a product placeholder in a template:

    <p class="brand"></p>

    <p class="image"><img src="assets/img/products/Lashes_Lavender.png"></p>

    <p class="primary">

    <span class="productname">Lashes Lavender</span>

    A highly pigmented powder<br>

    that applies evenly.<br>

    <span class="price">$15.99</span>


    To make this happen, each of the red texts will be represented with a product tag with X set to 1, because this is the first product placeholder in the template. The first product’s HTML snippet will thus look like this:

    <p class="brand">[%BRAND_{1}%]</p>

    <p class="image"><img src="[%PRODUCT_IMAGE_{1}%]"></p>

    <p class="primary">

    <span class="productname">[%PRODUCT_NAME_{1}%]</span>


    <span class="price">[%PRICE_{1}%]</span>


    Repeat this for each product placeholder in each template, using the appropriate subsequent values for X (2, 3, 4, etc.).

    Note: Optimove will not verify the validity of the sequential numbering, so it is important that you ensure that each section contains the correct sequential numbers for each tag.

  3. Remember to include the Unsubscribe tag [%UNSUB%] within the template’s HTML.

Step 2: Import the Recommendation Templates into Optimove

  1. In the Manage Templates page, create a new folder to contain the set of recommendation templates you created. The folder you create will automatically receive a suffix of {X}, indicating that this folder contains a set of recommendation templates.
  2. For each HTML template in the set you created, create a new template under this folder, and use the Import option to import the HTML you prepared:

    During the import, the tags marking product images will be replaced with a placeholder image, denoting the sequential number of each image:

  3. If you have additional personalization tags that you want to use, such as the customer name, customer email or any other personal customer information stored in Optimove, add it now using the Customer Tags chooser. Simply mark the place in the template where you want the field added, and select the relevant tag. For example:

  4. Similarly, you can use the Product Tags chooser to add additional product tags to your template; Optimove will automatically add each one’s sequential number according to its location in the template.

    Note: Tags that reference a URL (for example, a product image URL tag) cannot be added to the template using the Product Tags chooser – they must be included in the HTML before importing the template.

  5. If not already included in the HTML, add the unsubscribe tag from the Unsubscribe chooser.
  6. When all tags are in place, click Validate to make sure that all tags are recognized by the system.
  7. Add the Subject Line, From Email Address and From Name to each template.
  8. Test your templates using the Send Test Email option first, and then by sending a test campaign. Ensure that each email appears as expected before sending it to actual customers.

Step 3: Create the Recommendation Campaign

  1. Create a marketing action with type Recommendation. The Recommendation type is connected to the Optimove recommendation algorithm (or to an external algorithm provided by the customer), and is responsible for identifying, on a daily basis, the list of products to be recommended to each customer.
  2. Note that you may create additional actions of the Recommendation type, but they will all run the same recommendation algorithm.

  3. Create a new target group containing all customers to whom you wish to send a recommendation campaign. For example, you might want to include only customers who did not receive a recommendation campaign during the previous week. This group could also potentially include your entire customer base, if relevant. Only customers in this target group will be sent the campaign on the day of execution (this will be reflected in the group size and in the campaign analysis page).
  4. Create a new campaign, selecting your recommendation action as the marketing action:
    • Select Optimail as the execution channel.
    • From the list of available templates, select a folder containing recommendation templates (these are folders with the {X} suffix). The selected folder represents all templates located within it; they will be the templates used when executing the campaign. (You will only see recommendation templates on this list – to see other, non-recommendation templates, create or select a different marketing action with the Type set to General.)

    Note that you can run a recommendation campaign as an A/B campaign, but both marketing actions must be of type Recommendation.

When the campaign is executed, Optimove will select the appropriate template for each included customer (based on the number of products selected for that customer by the recommendation algorithm) and replace each product placeholder with the information relevant for each customer.