I often get asked in my Mailchimp classes and meetups to explain the difference between Mailchimp Groups, Segments and Tags. All have similar functionality in that they allow for targeting our marketing however there are significant differences between when we should use one over the other.
Mailchimp recommend one Audience (there are many very good reasons to use a single Audience). The contacts in that Audience may then be ‘divided’ via Groups, Segments or Tags. Below I’ll briefly describe the differences between the three.
Groups have been available in Mailchimp for many years. The specific characteristics of Groups include:
- Selection of Groups may be performed by Audience Contacts (Groups are shown by default on profile forms).
- Contacts must be Subscribed in order to be added to a Group.
- The Groups that a Contact belongs to is shown in a comma separated Audience field.
Segments have also been available in Mailchimp for many years. If you’re on a Mailchimp Premium plan you get more segmentation options however the segmentation options available in all other plans make for very effective targeting.
In short, here are the characteristics of segmentation (based on segmentation options available in all Mailchimp plans besides the Premium plan):
- Segments are created by Mailchimp users (not Contacts).
- A Segment is a search of data in Mailchimp that is related to your account.
- Segments are auto-generated therefore dynamically include (and exclude) contacts as the conditions of your segment are met.
- You can have as many Segments as you wish.
- A Segment can include Groups and/or Tags.
Tags are the newest of the three items mentioned in this article. Many of the other software services you use likely also use Tags e.g. Eventbrite and WordPress.
Here are the specific characteristics of Tags:
- Tags are created by you, the Mailchimp user (not Contacts).
- A Tag is a label. You can create Tags as they meet your needs.
- Tags show in the ‘Tags’ column in your Mailchimp Audience.
- Some integrations will automatically fill Tags for you e.g. Eventbrite.
- You can have as many Tags as you wish and a contact can have unlimited Tags assigned to them.
- There are multiple ways to Tag contacts including; via integrations, during import, using the Bulk Tag functionality and editing a Contact profile.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.