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Granicus Insights

Using Segments

Your communications are most effective when your audience finds your messages relevant. When sending a bulletin, you can select your audience through the use of topics and filtering criteria, targeting just the right people. You might find that you often choose the same combination of topic subscriptions and filtering criteria, and to help you more efficiently send bulletins to these groups, GovDelivery Communications Cloud offers segments.

How Segments Work

At the most basic level, a segment is a saved subscriber filter. It is not a set list of subscribers. Segments are dynamic. Subscribers fall in and out of segments over time, based on their behavior, tenure, location, and other traits.

You can create segments using multiple topics, creating a cross section of selected topics and applied criteria. You can select up to five criteria about your subscribers, such as:

  • When the subscriber was added or updated
  • If they were sent a specific bulletin
  • If they engaged with a bulletin (e.g., opened the bulletin or clicked a link within it)
  • If their email address contains a certain string or domain

You can also set up your segment to pull a random sample of subscribers from across one or more topics and criteria.



Segments are refreshed every four hours, which means you can see the changes in your targeted subscriber group in real time. Your segment list is always the most accurate collection of subscribers who meet your criteria today

Why You Might Create a Segment

In addition to targeting a specific audience for your messages, you can use segments to learn more about your subscribers and put that information to use. For example, you can: 

  • Use a segment to watch subscribers react to your bulletins.
  • Create a segment based on responses to your saved questions, and monitor both your subscribers’ response rate and how they answer your questions.
  • Cause segments to recalculate automatically by changing the filtering criteria, saving snapshots of the segment as customized real-time reports about your subscribers.
  • Export a segment’s subscriber list and use that information to build the subscriber list for a new topic.
  • Create a segment based on interaction with transactional messages, such as the Subscription Acknowledgement email so you can build more personalized and targeted subscriber touch-points.

For more information about putting these strategies into practice, see the Using Segments section below.

Segments and Permissions

After you’ve created and saved a segment, it’s viewable on the Segments page and available for selection when sending bulletins, but only by administrators who have access to all of the topics in the segment. Administrators who don’t have permission to use all of a segment’s topics won’t see the saved segment on the Segments page or on the Send to Segment tab of the Recipients section of a bulletin.

The only time that administrators without permission to all of a segment’s topics may use that segment is in the case of scheduled bulletins. If the segment in an administrator’s scheduled bulletin has been changed to include a topic the administrator doesn’t have access to after the bulletin has been scheduled to be sent, the bulletin will still be sent, but only to those topics the administrator does have access to. Even then, the administrator won’t be able to use that segment for new bulletins.

Creating a Segment

Your account must have the Communications Cloud Advanced Package. 

To create a segment:

  1. On the Account Area toolbar, click Segments.
  2. Click Create Segment.
  3. Enter a Name that describes the subscribers you want to include in the segment.
  4. Expand the To section and select one or more topics. Select the topic(s) to include in the segment.
  5. Choose your criteria to further refine the subscriber list.
  6. Click Save.

For information about sending a bulletin to a segment, see Selecting Your Bulletin Audience and Channels

Segments and Filtering Criteria

When you create a segment, you add the filtering criteria, just as you would applying them in a bulletin, by clicking on Criteria field in the Subscribers pane, and selecting your filtering criteria from the drop-down menu.

Segments use all of the filtering criteria you’d find when creating bulletins. For more information, including important notes on combining filtering criteria, see Using Filtering Criteria. To access information about each filtering criteria type, see: 

Modifying Segments

To modify a segment:

  1. On the Account Area toolbar, click Segments.
  2. Click on the segment name.
  3. Update the segment's name, topics, or filters.
  4. Click Save.

Using Segments

In Bulletins

Segments help you avoid topic proliferation by slicing and dicing your audience base without prompting them to add more subscriptions. You can use questions data and their open and click behavior to narrow the audience for a particular bulletin, thereby improving message performance. For information on sending a bulletin to a saved segment, see Selecting Your Bulletin Audience and Channels.

As Reports

Because they always give you the most current results to whatever filter you wish to apply against your subscriber base, segments are a great way to create ad hoc reports. Simply construct your filtering criteria, then save that snapshot of the segmented subscribers by clicking Export on the Segment's Subscribers page.



For larger lists of recipients, your report file name will reflect the time at which you saved the report, using the following format:


  • YYYY = Year
  • MM = Month
  • DD = Day
  • HH = Hour (24-hour clock)
  • MM = Minute
  • SS = Second 

If your report contains less than 10,000 subscribers, the report will be simply named: recipients.csv.

Using segment reports, you can gather actionable data about your subscriber and use that data to inform your communications strategy.