Using Segments to Structure Your User Base

What are segments?

A segment is a group of users who meet a specific rule, or set of rules. Here are some very simple examples of segments:

  • Users in a free trial
  • Users who created an account within the past 30 days

The beauty of segments is that they update automatically, meaning new users are added to a segment as soon as they meet the rules. As soon as the user no longer meets the rules, they’re removed from the segment.

For the above example, if a user upgrades from a free trial to a paid account, they will no longer appear in the segment “Users in a free trial.”

Tags and lists (both common grouping methods in other communication tools), on the other hand, are static. This means that once a tag is applied to a user (e.g., “Trial”), there is no way to automatically remove that tag once it no longer applies. Instead, more and more tags need to be added to the user’s profile (e.g. “Trial ended,” “Subscription created,” etc) — and things can get messy quickly.

Each of the segment examples above use only one rule to determine whether a user falls within the segment. E.g., is the user currently on a free trial? If yes, they fit the segment. If no, they do not. However, creating segments with multiple rules allows you to filter your users more meaningfully, and identify users who have or haven’t taken important actions inside your product.

Here are some examples of slightly more advanced segments:

  • Users currently on a free trial, who created their account within the past 3 days, but have not created a project
  • Users who began adding their credit card details to the billing page of your app, but who did not complete the purchase

When you create a segment by combining time-based rules and event-based rules (e.g., started a trial account within the past 3 days, but has not created a project), you can identify which users might be stuck, or need help achieving success with your product — and automatically trigger an email to them accordingly.

For more inspiration, listen to this interview with Val Geisler:

Viewing segments

Segments are available in the Settings menu in the top right corner of your screen.You can view the list of current segments and how many users belong to each segment (percentage and the actual numbers). You can click on the number to see the  list of users.

Creating and editing segments

Each segment has a name and a set of conditions that define it. Userlist engine constantly re-evaluates these conditions and dynamically updates the list of users who match them. In the example below, we define Advanced Users as users who have used certain features a number of times.

Best practices for naming your segments

Just like naming your properties and events: when it comes to naming your segments, planning ahead is key!

The golden rule is this: choose a naming convention, train your team on it... and stick to it. This will prevent countless headaches related to segment-naming confusion, and make it much easier to send your segments meaningful communication.

When naming your segments, you’ll want to first make sure you’re starting with an organized method for naming your properties and events. If you need help creating a method for naming your properties and events, please refer to this section of our integration guide.

Once your properties and events have been logically named and organized, naming your segments simply requires choosing a formula, and plugging the relevant properties and events into that formula.

Here’s an example of a segment naming formula:

  • [Price Tier] [User Attribute]: [Object] [Action] [Date Range] [is/is not] [Product Attribute]

Now, let’s use the following data to demonstrate some uses of this naming formula:

Price Tiers
User Attributes
Objects Actions
Account Created, Upgraded, Downgraded
Subscription Created, Canceled
Workspace Created, Shared, Deleted
Project Created, Published, Shared, Deleted

We could create and name segments using this data as follows:

  • Trial Owners: Account Created within 2 days
  • Trial Admins: Workspace Created within 5 days is 1
  • Trial Members: Project Created within 7 days is 0
  • Basic Owners: Subscription Created within 1 day
  • Enterprise Owners: Subscription Canceled

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