Mailchimp Tags vs. Groups vs. Segments

Mailchimp segmentation icon on a desktop computer

Many new Mailchimp users wonder what the difference is between tags, groups, and segments. These three tools can all be used to organize your audience and send targeted campaigns. However, each tool is slightly different and is best suited to unique applications. Here’s a basic breakdown of all Mailchimp’s segmentation tools.

Mailchimp Tags are Labels for Your Contacts

Tags are Mailchimp’s simplest segmentation tool. Tags can be added automatically through imports, integrations, and automated journeys. They can also be assigned to contacts manually from the audience page. 

When you add a tag to a subscriber, Mailchimp attaches it to the contact’s records like a label. Then, you can send targeted campaigns to all contacts who have that label attached. Tags can also be used to trigger automations, or as a simple way to store & organize data about your contacts.

Some example uses for tags could be: 

  • Manually tagging all contacts who attended an event 
  • Tagging any contacts who have purchased something in-person
  • Automatically tagging subscribers that sign up through a particular form

Need help creating your tags? Try a strategy call with one of our email experts.

Create Categories with Mailchimp Groups

Similar to tags, Mailchimp groups can identify your contacts based on their interests or characteristics. However, groups are organized into categories, while tags have no hierarchical organization. 

It can be helpful to envision groups on your signup form: the group category is the “question” which potential subscribers answer by selecting one (or more) of your group options. Visible groups give contacts the opportunity to opt into the kinds of emails which most interest them. However, groups can also be hidden and used internally to organize an audience into general categories. At Pure Firefly, we often use groups during audience consolidation projects. Contact us to learn more!

One example of a hidden group would be a category for “State Employees” with the groups: State Representative, Senator, and Staffer. 

Segments Are Filters: They Change with Your Audience

A Mailchimp segment is a filter composed of a series of logical statements. When you set up a segment from your All Contacts page, segment page, or campaign builder, you identify the characteristics you want to apply to all contacts in a segment. Then, Mailchimp continuously updates your saved segment with any audience members who match these characteristics.

These characteristics may include any of the following elements:

  • Information about your contacts: Name, email, location, etc.
  • What contacts have done: Campaign activity, e-commerce purchases, etc.
  • Groups and Tags

Compared to groups and tags, segments are more “stretchy.” This means that they adjust with your audience. For example, a segment with the conditions: “Campaign activity > Has opened > All of the last 5 campaigns” will continuously change as you send more campaigns and different contacts open them. One day, the segment may contain 100 contacts, and then drop to 80 after you send a new campaign.

Mailchimp’s segment builder is updated frequently, so keep an eye out for new segmentation options in the coming months. Or, set up a call with one of our email specialists to step up your segmentation game.

Pure Firefly Can Help You Set Up Effective Segmentation

If all of Mailchimp’s segmentation options make your head spin, don’t worry! Pro Partners like Pure Firefly can help you set up segments, tags, and groups to maximize your emails’ engagement potential. Schedule a quick training call for one-time segmentation concerns. Or, for more extensive projects, contact us any time.

Our Mailchimp audit is a great way to check that all your segmentation options are used to their highest potential. Just shoot us an email to learn more!

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