Leveraging the Email Header in Dynamics 365 Real-Time Journeys

One of our clients wanted to incorporate additional columns on the Email entity within Dynamics 365 Real-Time Journeys.

Their goal: utilize custom fields to align with internal policies for reviewing and approving draft emails in Journeys. 

Microsoft outlined steps for building an approvals feature, however this option is only relevant to outbound marketing.

Microsoft is no longer providing outbound marketing features to new Dynamics Customer Insights – Journeys customers as of September 2023.

For this reason, we need to focus and build solutions within Dynamics 365 real-time journeys.

Whether you’re looking to solve a custom approval process or want to access specific columns within the email entity for other purposes (like a custom tag for internal tracking or a multi-line text field to add notes to/from a reviewer), these steps make it possible. 

As of this writing, an approval feature is not yet available within Dynamics 365 real-time journeys.  

A user’s first impulse might be to add a tab to the main Email entity within the Maker Portal.

While it is possible to configure and modify fields, tabs, etc. on the back end, those changes don’t translate to the front-end user experience. This space will still only display the design interface, along with the Preview and test button, but not any added tabs.  

The answer to our challenge is in the Header.

For users, the Email header is located on the right side of the design interface, below the buttons for Elements, Content Blocks, Copilot, Personalize, and General styles.  

To edit the content that appears here, navigate to the list of Forms within the Email entity, and select the “Email Header” form. Here you can add columns and tabs as desired.

Keep in mind that a user’s view will flow from top to bottom.

Since this space is smaller, it’s wise to keep the number of total fields to a minimum and utilize single columns. If you’d like, you can also change the name of the Email Header form to change what is displayed and better identify how you’re utilizing the space.  

One other configuration note: if you add custom fields to the Header, Dynamics Customer Insights – Journeys will want that field added to the Main form (or it will show an error within the Header about that missing field). 

Yes, that form that we thought didn’t help us in the beginning is needed after all!  

Just add a tab with any header fields, save, and publish. Though they won’t show to users, there’s also no harm in hiding those fields on the form either.  

Once these are set up, there’s a good chance you’ll also want to curate custom views based on those data points for user ease in navigation and filtering.