Types of triggers in Zaps

A trigger is an event within an app that starts a Zap. Once you’ve turned your Zap on, Zapier will check for that trigger event. Zaps can be triggered in two ways: through a regular polling event, or instantly through webhooks.


Trigger types

Each app on Zapier has an API that allows other apps, like Zapier, to view and edit its data. Each trigger on Zapier connects to that app’s API to get new information about trigger events.

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A trigger event is the information that the trigger is meant to receive, such as a new lead, or a new subscriber on a list.

Most APIs require apps to ask for new information periodically. This is called polling for new information. In Zapier, triggers ask the API if there’s any new information. If there is, the Zap runs. If not, it waits and asks again after a set period, and so on.

Some APIs automatically send new information as those trigger events occur, using webhooks. These are called "instant" triggers. In Zapier, instant triggers wait for new information. When it receives something, the Zap runs.

The type of trigger is defined by each app’s API. Some apps support polling triggers, others support instant triggers, and some support both.

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You cannot change a trigger's type. The trigger type is defined by the app’s API. Most APIs provide ways to poll for new information. To use instant triggers an app must offer webhooks, which send new information to a Zap.


Polling triggers

The majority of triggers are polling triggers. They check (or poll) the app for information at regular intervals. The Zap will check if there's new information by comparing the item's unique ID to those it's already received.

The interval it uses to check for data depends on your Zapier plan. The shorter the interval, the faster new information will come through the Zap.

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Users on Company plans can change when their polling triggers run.


Instant triggers

Instant triggers work by using webhooks. Webhooks are automated notifications sent between apps. Whenever there is new information, the app will notify Zapier as soon as it this information is added to the app.

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Zaps with instant triggers are labeled "Instant" on your dashboard and in the Zap editor.

Learn more about how to set up a Zap trigger.

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