Learn how to use the segment tool to target your contacts.
A lot of email marketing relies on sending relevant content to your contacts. To simplify the process of finding the right contacts for a campaign, we have two types of lists for managing contacts: address books and segments.
Address books are static lists of contacts. Contacts are added or removed from address books based on actions by you, or by the contacts themselves; address books can be exposed to your contacts by using signup forms and preference centres.
To learn more about address books, check out the Email address books section of our Help centre.
Segments are dynamic lists of contacts that meet certain criteria defined by you. A simple segment might be:
- All contacts under the age of 25
- All contacts living in London
- All contacts that have never opened an email campaign
Or segments can be more complicated. For example:
- All contacts between the ages of 16 and 25, living in London, who have received at least one campaign in the last six months, haven't opened any email campaigns in the last six months, aren't in the address book named Gap year, and haven't received any re‑engagement campaigns.
The segment builder is extremely flexible. This means the more detailed the data that you capture for your contacts is, the more targeted your segment criteria can be.
Create a new segment
To create a new segment:
Step 1: Create and name your segment
- Go to Email > Contacts > Segments, and select NEW SEGMENT.
- Choose blank template to build your segment from scratch, or choose one of our pre-built templates which works for your purposes.
- For Segment name, enter a name.
- Expand the Segment location drop-down menu and select a folder location.
If you don’t want to specify a folder, then by default segments will be placed in the top-level Segments folder.
- Select Continue.
Step 2: Set the rules for your segment
Segments consist of one or more rules. By default, a segment starts by including all of your subscribed contacts (the contacts found in your account’s All contacts list).
To start defining your rules, drag blocks from the left side of the segment builder into the Include or Exclude drop zones. For example, drag a Data fields block into the Include drop zone.
Step 3: Configure each rule
After selecting a rule, you must set up the configuration. To do this:
- Select the rule – in this example, select [click to select a datafield].
- From the rule options, select the relevant contact data field (or campaign, or address book, depending on the rule type).
- Based on the type of contact data field selected, there are additional options at the bottom of the form to configure your rule.
In this example, because we selected the TELEPHONE contact data field in order to find all contacts we have a phone number for, we want the option to target contacts where this field Is not empty.
- When complete, select OK.
- If you want to move the rule, select the rule block title and drag it to another position in the Include or Exclude drop zones.
To find out more about creating segment rules, check out the Types of segmentation rules article.
Step 4: Group rules together (AND/OR)
As you add rules to your segment, they build up. For example, when you add rules such as:
- Data field GENDER must be equal to Female
- Have not opened any campaign
by default, only contacts that satisfy both conditions are found in the segment because the grouping is set to AND.
Female contacts that have opened campaigns are not in the segment, as well as male contacts that haven't opened any campaign. If you want your segment to include contacts that match any (but not necessarily all) of the rules, then select OR.
By dragging in new AND or OR groups from the left-hand menu, you can mix them to form complex segments. For example, by mixing rules and groups you can build a segment that finds all contacts who:
- have both made a purchase within the last 30 days AND visited your website at least three times
- have EITHER been sent a specific campaign OR opened any campaign they were sent in the last 30 days.
That segment looks like this:
If you want your segment to contain both And rules and Or rules, you can use multiple groups.
Step 5: Add specific exclusions
At the bottom of the segment builder, there is a second drop zone to define contacts that should be specifically excluded from the query.
Drag blocks from the left-hand menu and build your rules in the same way as above.
Step 6: View your contacts
Once you build your segment, you can preview the number of contacts it contains by selecting GENERATE SEGMENT above the segment builder canvas.
The segment count is then displayed.
You can then select VIEW to see a list of the contacts in the segment.
Working with segments
There are many things you can do with segments once you create them, besides sending to them.
All segments need to be refreshed in order to show the most up-to-the-minute contact count. This can be done manually, either from the segment builder screen or by going to Contacts > Segments and selecting the Refresh icon. You can also set segments to refresh automatically before a scheduled send.
- be edited, copied, renamed and deleted
- be moved to other folders
- be checked against the Global suppression list
- have the value of a data field bulk updated for their contacts
- have a random sample taken to create a smaller list of the specified contacts
- be removed - along with their contacts - from your account
- be converted or copied into an address book
To learn more, check out the Email segments section of our Help centre.
You can create location-based segments using the segment builder based on location-specific Contact data fields such as town, state, country, or postcode. However, if you want to segment your contacts using a map view, then check out Building a geographical query.