In this article, you'll learn all about the basics of merge tags and how CloseAlert uses them to identify your results. 

What is a Merge Tag?

Merge tags are codes that are implemented in any CloseAlert link in your emails. With these codes we are able to identify information about your respondents and your mailing, such as an email address or a mailing name. 

Merge tags in CloseAlert work exactly the same as they do in your emails. For example, if you work with MailChimp and you want to personalize the salutation of your email, you can insert the merge tag *|FNAME|*. Similar codes are used in CloseAlert links as well.

Merge tags are also known as:

  • Merge fields
  • Variable tags
  • Personalization fields
  • Substitution strings
  • Personalisation tags
  • Data tags
  • Parameters

Let's have a look at an example: 

&mailing={{broadcast field='contentname'}}

  • mailing = the merge tag name in the CloseAlert URL
  • {{broadcast field='contentname'}} = the merge tag name from ESP

Once a respondent clicks on a CloseAlert link in your email, the 'merge tag name from ESP' will be automatically filled with dynamic information from your ESP. In this case, with the name of the email (as set in your ESP). Thus, including this merge tag in the CloseAlert URL will make sure the results will appear in under your mailing name, in the dashboard.

Merge tags per ESP

Merge tags are unique for every ESP. Once you implement your CloseAlert links into your widget (in your email template), you need to select your ESP in order to retrieve your URLs with the right codes (merge tags). We have a list of ESPs and their respective merge tags available, including:

  • Basedriver
  • Bronto
  • Clang
  • Copernica
  • Eloqua
  • Emark
  • Emarsys
  • Flowmailer
  • Lyris
  • Mailchimp
  • Mailplus
  • Optivo (Episerver)
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Selligent
  • Silverpop/IBM Watson
  • Teradata DMC
  • Ternair
  • Tripolis Dialogue 3.19 and higher
  • Unica/IBM
  • Webpower

Is your ESP not listed? There are two options to choose from;

  1. Contact your Customer Success Manager to discuss if it can be added.
  2. Make use of 'Other/Manual (own email system)' and set the correct merge tags in your ESP settings. Read here how to.

Default merge tags in CloseAlert

CloseAlert uses 3 default merge tags to add more context to received customer feedback. As shown and explained in the picture below, the default merge tags are:

  1. Email name
  2. Email address
  3. Online version of the email

Email name (&mailing=)

The merge tag email name captures the name of your mailing/ campaign. For email satisfaction and in-email content forms, your feedback will be categorized underneath this name.

At times it may happen that results are being stored under [NO EMAIL NAME PRESENT]. This looks like the following:

When this happens, your email name is not being sent along with your feedback correctly. Check the implemented links in your email template against the instructions in CloseAlert. Some common errors to look for:

  • The mailing merge tag (&mailing=) is missing in the URL
  • There is a mistake in the implemented merge tag such as incorrect spelling or an extra space 
  • The mailing name includes 'special characters' such as &. Remove these as they don't work well

Email address (&email=)

This merge tag catches the respondent's email address from your ESP. By saving this information, you will be able to personally follow up or add the response to your customer data.

If you prefer to receive anonymous feedback, you will need to disable the merge tag 'email'. This can be done if you are a project admin. Instructions can be found under 'Disable a merge tag' in this article

Online version of the email (&mail_url=)

This merge tag captures the email's online version and is display in the form's background whilst a respondent fills it out. This information is captured in your CloseAlert portal as well; view the online version of the email/ campaign via "show campaign" visible in the detailed results section:

If this hyperlink isn't visible, the online version of your email is not sent along with your feedback. Check the implemented links in your email template to find out if you see any mistakes.

Capturing additional information

Besides the default merge tags, you can choose to append extra information to your feedback, such as:

  • Order number
  • Client ID
  • Customer care agent
  • etc.

To enable this, add a merge tag to the CloseAlert URLs. Read this article for instructions.

Learn about changing the merge tags and standard URL for your ESP, in this article about managing merge tags.

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