How to Pause a Marketing Cloud Journey

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The ability to pause a Journey in Marketing Cloud is now available as standard functionality! Announced in the May 2020 release, Marketing Cloud users can now temporarily stop Journey Builder processing contacts within a Journey; until then, you had to first stop the Journey entirely, and then create a new version, which was time-consuming and messy !

‘Allow a journey to be paused’ received 260+ votes on the IdeaExchange!

Why would you need to pause a Journey? Sometimes it’s necessary to temporarily stop sending messages (for example, in this period of COVID-19 disruption) to avoid conflicting marketing messages, to give your team time to re-strategise, or simply to save parts of your marketing budget.

Let’s see how to pause Journey Builder in three steps.

Step 1: Choose Pause Options

To halt processing contacts, you can choose the “Pause this version” or “Pause All versions” options.

Here it is on the Journey Builder interface:

When selected, contacts processed during the journey no longer receive communications. However, contacts queued for sending, continue to be processed normally.

A journey version, or all of its versions, can be interrupted for a maximum of 14 days. When configuring pause options, it’s possible to choose whether the journey is resumed at the end of the pause period or whether it stops completely. You can also manually resume an interrupted journey at any time.

If there are wait activities on your journey, you can extend the time for ‘Wait By Duration’ activities only (maybe other journey activities will be part of an upcoming release?)

Step 2: Take Actions on Your Paths

Whether for strategic reasons (limiting your marketing campaigns to focus on promoting your event) or for operational reasons (to avoid overlapping several campaigns), pausing a journey gives you the opportunity to identify ways to optimize it.
It is an opportunity to work on your Journey by adding or removing activities to make it more relevant for your contacts. For example, add/remove paths, use Path Optimizer, or add any of the other activities (new email, sms, decision split, etc.)


Step 3: Resume the Journey

As soon as the journey is resumed, all contacts are evaluated according to the goal defined within the journey. If the contact matches the exit criteria you have defined, they will be removed from the Journey.


Through this feature, Marketing Cloud allows marketers to manage pausing Journey Builder in a better way. Up to now it was recommended to create another Journey version (or sometime to create another journey) which comes with the difficulties to retrieve contacts to the previous activity they were engaged with.

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