The Difference Between Lists and Segments in Klaviyo

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The difference between list and segment klaviyo


The terms “lists” and “segments” often come up in discussions about targeted marketing, and while they are related, they serve different functions within a marketing strategy. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:


  • Definition: A list is a collection of contacts or leads that you have gathered, often containing information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other relevant data. These contacts could have been acquired through various means, such as sign-ups on your website, customer purchases, or through lead generation campaigns.
  • Purpose: Lists are primarily used for direct communication. They are the foundation of your marketing efforts, allowing you to reach out to potential or existing customers through email campaigns, direct mail, or other channels.
  • Static Nature: Generally, lists are static; they don’t automatically update based on changing customer behaviors or preferences. While you can add or remove contacts manually, a list does not dynamically segment itself based on criteria like recent activity, interests, or demographic changes.


  • Definition: Segmentation involves dividing your broader audience or lists into smaller, more defined groups (segments) based on specific criteria, such as demographic information, purchase history, engagement levels, or interests.
  • Purpose: The primary aim of segmentation is to tailor marketing messages more precisely to meet the needs and preferences of each segment. This customization aims to increase relevance, engagement, and ultimately, conversion rates.
  • Dynamic Nature: Unlike lists, segments can be dynamic, automatically updating as people’s behaviors or profiles change. For example, a segment of “recent purchasers” will continually evolve as new purchases are made, and customers move in or out of that classification based on their actions.

Key Differences

  • Functionality: Lists serve as the broad database from which segments are created. While a list is a simple collection of contacts, a segment is a more targeted subset of that list, defined by specific characteristics.
  • Flexibility: Segments offer more flexibility and are more strategic in nature, enabling marketers to craft messages that are highly relevant to a particular group. Lists, on the other hand, are the basic building blocks and are more about the collection of data.
  • Application: Lists are about who you will contact, while segments are about how you will tailor your communication to resonate with different groups within your list.

In essence, lists and segments work together in targeted marketing campaigns. Lists provide the raw data — the who — while segments allow for deeper analysis and customization, offering a more nuanced approach to how you engage with your audience.

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