What are webhooks?
Webhooks are notifications that applications like Mailchimp, can post to an URL. These notifications carry data, which you can then import into other applications.

You probably noticed the term webhooks in apps like Mailchimp, Drip or Active Campaigns and wondered how and if you should use them?

Maybe you even checked a little deeper into Drip webhook settings and got scared by the “HTTP POST” and “serialized JSON”?

Webhooks settings in Drip

As a marketer, this is where you probably stop and move on to a more familiar playgrounds. At least, this is what I did a few years ago when I first came across them.

Now, what if these webhooks could be very useful for your daily marketing routine? What if they were actually quite user friendly despite their scary lingo?

What are webhooks?

Webhooks allow apps to pass information to other apps. For example, it’s how Shopify can notify you about new orders in Slack.

Hold on! Did I hear “new order? Isn’t a new order in my shop a conversion?

Yes! That’s right. A new order is like a conversion. So can webhooks be used to track conversions? Or perhaps Webhooks are like Postback URLs?

Are webhooks the same as Postback URLs?

No. Webhooks are not postback URLs, but they have very common traits.

One of the most common trait between webhooks and Postback URLs is that they are both URLs and they are both used to communicate information between apps.

The main difference between Postback URL’s and Webhooks is in the URL structure. A postback URL is provided with a set of query strings and macros, while the webhook is a base URL, without any predefined query string and macros.

Postback URL by AnyTrack

This is a predefined postback URL for the Grammarly affiliate program, which runs on Hasoffers. During a conversion event, the macros like {aff_click_id} will be substituted with the click_id value generated when a visitor clicks on an offer link.

https://t1.anytrack.io/IqbY3nLd/collect?hasoffers=grammarly&aff_click_id={aff_click_id}&offer_id={offer_id}&offer_name={offer_name}&offer_ref={offer_ref}&goal_id={goal_id}&affiliate_id={affiliate_id}&affiliate_name={affiliate_name}&affiliate_ref={affiliate_ref}&source={source}&aff_sub={aff_sub}&aff_sub2={aff_sub2}&aff_sub3={aff_sub3}&aff_sub4={aff_sub4}&aff_sub5={aff_sub5}&aff_unique1={aff_unique1}&aff_unique2={aff_unique2}&aff_unique3={aff_unique3}&aff_unique4={aff_unique4}&aff_unique5={aff_unique5}&offer_url_id={offer_url_id}&offer_file_id={offer_file_id}&file_name={file_name}&advertiser_id={advertiser_id}&advertiser_ref={advertiser_ref}&adv_sub={adv_sub}&transaction_id={transaction_id}&sale_amount={sale_amount}&currency={currency}&payout={payout}&device_id={device_id}&session_ip={session_ip}&ip={ip}&datetime={datetime}

Webhook URL by Integromat

https://hook.integromat.com/gncrk4uho1njp0h0vbkf1tcdvop3xo8e/

As you can see, the Integromat webhook does not include any parameters. However, when Drip calls this URL, it will attach a “payload” to the webhook URL.

The fact that Drip, Active Campaign or Mailchimp have their own payload, means that the webhooks should be able to process the data, regardless of the format or naming policy used by each app. This is where things can get tricky, but thanks to Integromat and Zapier, this process has become very user friendly.

[
    {
        "event": "subscriber.performed_custom_event",
        "data": {
            "subscriber": {
                "id": "rkx5bnh1gdk02f4cnmfz",
                "status": "active",
                "email": "xxxxxxxxx@gmail.com",
                "custom_fields": {
                    "click_id": "xIUlWdm4gDWGeMlmBfu0dU",
                    "first_name": "xxx",
                    "last_name": "xxxx",
                    "page_title": "finance tips",
                    "utm_content": "2020: tips of the year",
                    "utm_source": "drip"
                },
                "tags": [
                    "form-submit",
                    "finance"
                ],
                },
            "properties": {
                "cause": "drip_ui",
                "value": "200",
                "source": "",
                "action": "subscribed"
            },
            "account_id": "100336xx"
        },
        "occurred_at": "2020-01-02T15:59:49Z"
    }
]

Why webhooks are important?

Webhooks are important because we constantly use new tools to run our business. Whether, we want to send notifications to business partners or we want to be informed in real-time when a new order is placed on our shop. Put it this way, if you want to automate your marketing, you need a way to make your apps talk to each others.

what are webhooks
Use webhooks to integrate with any business applications

Webhooks in AnyTrack

At AnyTrack, we believe that you should be able to access your conversion data with ease and use it wherever you need it the most. Since each of us have different goals and needs, we introduced Webhooks so you can take your data and sync it whith the apps you use the most.

In a nutshell, webhooks in AnyTrack work as follow:

  1. Conversion is recorded in AnyTrack
  2. AnyTrack Calls the Webhook URL and attaches the conversion payload
  3. The webhook provider gets the conversion payload and starts the automation you have configured.

Automation in Zapier, Integromat and Automate.io:

Automations are workflows you configure in your webhook providers. An automation always starts with a trigger and it ends with an action.

For example:

  • Trigger: When the webhook is called
  • Action: Send conversion data to Drip

Note: Zapier calls an automation a “Zap” while Integromat calls it a “scenario”.

Source Zapier

Getting started with webhooks:

To get started with webhooks, you will first need to select a webhook provider. There are a number of webhook providers, and you should select the one you feel more comfortable with and more importantly, that has a direct integration with the web apps you use every day.

Webhook URL settings:

You will find the Webhooks settings under each web property you’ve configured in AnyTrack. You can add up to 10 webhooks for each web property. For example, you can have a webhook to fire conversion data to a marketing partner, and a webhook to fire conversion data to a database for additional reporting.

For example, you might want to configure your webhook only for “sale” conversion, because you want to update your email marketing platform.

Webhook by AnyTrack

How to test webhooks?

When you work with webhooks, you first need to map the data you will be sending so the webhook provider. Essentially, you map the data so the provider can create a template that it will apply when AnyTrack will send data.

To make this process easy, you can use the “test” button to send formatted data.

Here is the example for Integromat

Step 1: Send test data to the webhook

Step 2: Select the application where you want to send the data collected through the webhook

Integromat is integrated with about 500 applications and services, such as Drip, Active Campaign or Convertkit.

webhooks actions

Step 3: Select the actual action you would like to perform

Each application has specific actions you can use within Integromat. For instance, if you want to tie a conversion event with a subscriber in your Drip account, you will first select Drip, and then select the actual action.

Step 4: Define the action by using the data collected through the webhook

Once you have selected the app and the action you want to use, you need to select the data that was collected by the webhook and associate it with the fields in the application.

In the below example, we selected the “Record an Event” action. Now we need to actually tie the event to the subscriber and add properties to the event.

It’s important to use the properties, as they will allow you to segment your data within Drip, and trigger campaigns and other workflows.

Finalize and turn on!

Once you have completed the action step, you save and turn on your automation. From this point on, the automation will run every time a conversion associated with your web property fires.

Wrap up and key takeaways

While webhooks have existed for a very long time, they were almost exclusively used by developers. But since the rise of companies like Zapier, Integromat and Automate.io, the barrier to entry for marketers has simply vanished. Yet, the psychological barrier will remain until you get your hands dirty and start using them.

When you’ll get through this phase, you will enter the very trendy and closed circle of “growth hackers”.

At AnyTrack, we are committed to give you access to your data, wherever you need it the most. And by giving you access to your data through webhooks, you can push it across to any destination.

If you find this article interesting or you think it can be useful to a colleague please share it, they will thank you for it!

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