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Part 2 - Using AI to create Zaps and Zap actions

Solvaa blog header image: AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy. Part 2 - Using AI to create Zaps and Zap actions
Part 2 of our series of blogs on using AI in Zapier will delve into using AI to create Zaps and Zap actions. If you missed Part 1, which gives an overview of all the places that you can find AI in Zapier, check it out here: Part 1 – An overview of AI in Zapier

In this post, we’ll begin by looking at the AI Zap builder, then look at how AI can help you to decide which information to add to your Zap steps. Finally, we’ll explore the AI actions available in the Zapier Chrome extension.
Reminder: These features are currently in beta and may change. Some are only available to users who are part of Zapier’s Early Access program. Some are available to all users, but you will need to agree to an additional set of terms and conditions to use them.

Building a Zap using the AI builder

You can find the Create a Zap feature on your Zapier dashboard (this is the page that you generally see when you log into Zapier). You’ll also see the Zap AI builder in the Zap editor if you create a Zap from scratch.
 
In both cases, you’ll see a box at the top of the page that says What would you like to automate? Type a description of what you’d like the Zap to do and click Generate.
Gif of typing in the Zapier AI builder prompt window

After some thinking, you will be presented with a Zap that the AI thinks will do what you’ve described. If you’re starting from the dashboard, click the Try it button to open the Zap as a draft in the Zap editor.

Screenshot of Zap suggested by AI builder shown on Zapier dashboard
With one final trick up it’s sleeve, when you open the editor you’ll find AI generated suggestions for which information to map to different fields. For example, in the Zap above, it suggested that the body of the email should be in the message text of the Slack message.

Tips for using the AI Zap builder

Here are some tips to get the best Zap suggestions from the builder:
  • Phrase your statement as ‘When x happens in [app], do y in [app], this makes it easier for the AI to understand what you’re trying to do.
  • Include what should trigger the Zap (e.g. “When I get a new lead, send me a message”)
  • Mention the apps you want to use (e.g. “When I get a new lead in Facebook Lead ads, send me a Slack message”)
  • Be specific! If you want something to be included, specify that in the Zap (e.g. “When I get a new lead in Facebook Lead ads, send me a Slack message. Include the name and company of the lead in the Slack message”)
  • If the Zap doesn’t look right, tweak the wording in the box and click Try again
In the example above, I used the phrase ‘when I get an email’ but I didn’t specify that I wanted the Zap to trigger from new emails in my Gmail inbox, so it suggested using Email by Zapier as the trigger. If I change the prompt to “When I get a new email in Gmail from Solvaa, send myself a slack message.” and click Try again, the suggested Zap uses Gmail for the Zap trigger step.
Screenshot of Zap suggested by AI builder shown on Zapier dashboard

Things to watch out for

While this is undoubtedly a useful feature, remember that it’s still in beta. It may not generate a Zap that works for you, or it may not generate the most efficient Zap. In my example, it suggests using the New Email (Gmail) trigger and a Filter by Zapier step. You can achieve the same thing and save an action by using the New Email matching search (Gmail) trigger.

 

Using AI to help complete steps in the Zap editor

I mentioned above that when you use the AI builder, it will make suggestions about which information to add to which fields in the Zap actions, are there’s also a feature that allows you to try this in any Zap action. This can be a great time saver for people who are new to Zapier, or anyone that spends a lot of time setting up Zaps!
You’ll find this option when you open a step in the new visual editor. At the top of the action set up you’ll see a Generate Values button.
Screenshot of action in Zapier editor with an arrow pointing to the AI powered 'Generate' button

When you click on that, after some time to think, the AI provides some suggestions for what to add to the fields of the Zap. These suggestions are shown in boxes underneath the fields (see image below). When you click on a suggestion, it will be added to the field.

Screenshot of a Slack 'Send message' action in Zapier showing AI suggestions for what to add in the message body field
This feature saves you from having to search for and add every field you might need from previous steps. And, as in the example above, it can even provide written text for you. That said, this feature is still in Beta and will definitely not give you a perfect solution every time. I find that it’s best used as a starting point, get AI to start the field mapping for you, then go in and tweak it to fit your needs.
 

 

AI actions in the Zapier Chrome extension

To take advantage of this feature, you will need to have installed the Zapier Chrome extension. The Chrome extension allows you to trigger Zaps from within the Chrome browser. It can take information from the webpage you’re on and you can add fields if you want to type in additional information. If you’ve not used it before, this Zapier help guide and Community post are a good introduction.

 

Using an AI action, you build a Zap action that’s triggered by the Chrome extension, rather than triggering a whole Zap using the extension as a trigger. That action can contain fields that are powered by AI, where you use a prompt to generate text. For example, you could create an action to send an email and use a prompt like “write a thank you email to my friend, Kelly. Say that I am grateful for her help in making my business more efficient”. The AI will generate the text of the email for you, let you preview it and then send the email.
 

Using the AI action builder

 
  1. Select the Zapier Chrome extension icon in your browser, click on the Actions (beta) tab, and then click on the Set up action button.
  2. In the new browser window that appears, click the Add a new action button.
  3. Set up your Zapier Chrome extension action by mapping the fields.
 
For example, we could send a direct message to ourselves in Slack with a random motivational quote. To do that, you would set up the action as shown in the screenshot below:
A screenshot of an AI-powered action in the Zapier chrome extension. It shows the app for the action and the fields needed for the action to work.
To finish the set up of the action and turn it on, click the Enable action button. To use the new action, open the Zapier Chrome Extension and click on Actions (beta).
 

Select your action from the dropdown list and fill in the field with the prompt you’d like to use. Click the Preview button to see what’s generated by your prompt before sending it, or click Run to run the action without previewing it.
Screenshot of a Slack 'Send message' action in Zapier showing AI suggestions for what to add in the message body field

Summary

These AI features make it easier to build Zaps and Zap action, something that will be helpful for automation beginners and experts alike. All of them are currently in Beta and don’t always produce optimal (or occasionally even correct) results. If you use these features, always check them for accuracy and efficiency and make adjustments if you need to. I’m excited to see how this type of AI building improves and evolves as it matures!

 

If you’d like to learn more about these features and how to use them in more detail, check out Solvaa founder Kelly Goss’ book Automate it with Zapier and Generative AI Second edition.

Use the buttons below to get your copy now!

Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelmand  transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

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