There are a few things that people find confusing in Mailchimp; in every Mailchimp class people ask what the difference is between segments and groups. Of course there are the the official explanations however I believe that the difference is simpler to explain.
What is a Mailchimp group
[A group is] a collection of subscribers, categorized by their interests or preferences. A group consists of a group category and group names. Mailchimp
A group in Mailchimp is simply a way of assigning people to a category. For example, we may have a group defined for our customers and for our staff. We place all our staff and customers in a single Mailchimp list and then mark each person as a staff member, a customer or both. When we come to sending an email campaign we choose which group to send to.
Of importance is that a group is based on a certain condition being met in a single field in your Mailchimp list.
What is a Mailchimp segment
Segments are used to create target audiences based on shared data. When you create a segment, you’ll set conditions to filter contacts based on the information that’s available in your list. Each segment can include up to five conditions. Mailchimp
A segment in Mailchimp is a search of available contact data. In many ways a segment is similar to a group in that we combine our contacts by similar interests or demographics. Segments are more flexible than groups in two specific ways:
- A segment may consist of data in up to five fields.
- Segments may be created and deleted at will without affecting, or needing to amend, list data.
For example, assuming we have the information for each contact, we could create a segment containing all staff in a specific location with a birthday next month.
Should I use a Mailchimp segment or group
If you’re unsure whether you should be setting up groups or segments then it’s safe to assume that you should be using segments. Unless you use an integration with the likes of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics CRM then segments will probably be most flexible for most people.
Can people unsubscribe from a single group or segment?
A quick word of advice; your contacts (also called subscribers) can amend their preferences and data in your list so that they change or are removed from groups or segments. If your contact however clicks the unsubscribe link in an email campaign that they receive then they are unsubscribing from the list (i.e. they are unsubscribing from receiving all email communication from the list).
We have a guide that will walk you through defining and creating your segments in Mailchimp. get your free Mailchimp segment help workbook.