List Vs. Segment: Choosing the Right One for Your Marketing Needs

Lists and segments are both highly useful tools to utilize in your marketing activities. In this article, we will explore the difference between them and when to use each one. 


Lists are used to manage subscriptions to specific kinds of marketing material. The contacts in your lists have opted-in to receiving your emails. You can create lists based on groupings of contacts who share certain characteristics or interests, or who want to receive specific kinds of communications from you. When adding new contacts, you can subscribe them to specific lists, or unsubscribe contacts as the need arises. 

List Use Examples: 

  • B2B customers
  • B2C customers
  • Customers you send communications to on weekdays
  • Customers you send to on weekends

For more information about lists, see How to Create a List


Segments are dynamic groupings of contacts used for sending highly targeted messages. Segments are your answer when you want to send emails only to one part of a list, and allow you to avoid creating a completely separate list to do so. Using filters within a list, you choose the type of customers you want to contact; for example, customers who signed up for your communications in the last month. Segments are updated in real time, so they are always changing. With segments, you always have up-to-date information ready to go. 

Segment Use Examples: 

  • Contacts who made more than three orders and did not visit the website in the last three months. 
  • Contacts who have left items in their cart valued over $500. 

For more information about segments, see Utilizing Segments.

In short, lists help you manage your contactsโ€™ subscriptions, while segments allow you to send targeted messages to dynamic groups of contacts. When each tool is used properly, they can help you make big strides toward achieving your marketing goals.