How to Create Lists and Segments in Klaviyo Tutorial [2021]

In this blog, we will go over Lists and Segments in Klaviyo. I’ll explain what Lists are, what Segments are, and how to choose when to use a List or when to choose a Segment.

This video below goes through this tutorial with a screen recording.

Lists and Segments are powerful tools in Klaviyo. They have some similarities, but despite them being under the same label in the side menu, they have very different purposes.

You may have heard people say that Lists are static, and Segments are dynamic, but what does that mean?

Okay, so let’s start with the easy one.


A list is simply a place where you can put your subscribers. Customers join your list through forms on your website, pop-ups, through the checkout, competitions, and other forms that you set up. Subscribers can also be imported directly into a list. 

How to set up a list

Within Klaviyo, under Lists & Segments, click on “Create List / Segment”.

Lists & Segments menu on Klayivo, mouse over the Create List / Segment button in the upper right corner

Then click on the List box.

You then want to give the list a name, for this example, we will name the list, “Newsletter”. Once you have named your list, click “Create List”.

Create List menu, text box for naming list

Once you have done that, your list is now ready to have contacts added to it. From this page, you can connect the list to a signup form, or you can upload contacts directly.

If you would like to learn more about using signup forms and pop-ups, check out our blog for that here:

At Email Experts, we recommend you have only 3 lists: 

  1. The list for your signup offer. For example, if you have a 10% offer, set up a separate list for this list and use this as the trigger for your welcome series.
    – If you want to know more about connecting forms to your list, we will be making a video about making a welcome series soon, so subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay notified.
  2. The list for your checkout. Connect the checkout to a list.
  3. Your other list, so “Newsletter” or “Subscribers”. This is the list to add subscribers to when you need to import them. Even if this is rare, we recommend setting up this list. 

So, lists are buckets where you can add subscribers. Subscribers are added when they subscribe and are removed when they unsubscribe.


Segments are a way to look deeper at your subscribers, understand how they behave and target them with precision.

Unlike other platforms, Klaviyo segments are not a subset of a list, segments pull subscribers from all across your account.

There are a few ways to segment your subscribers:

  • By something they have done, or something that they have not done.
    – Such as buying, browsing, or opening emails.
  • By something they are or where they are.
    – These are any profile properties about the subscriber. This can include the country or state they’re in, their name, or even their birthday.
  • By something Klaviyo predicts about them.
    – Klaviyo has predictive analytics. If you have a small store, Klaviyo will allow you to predict their gender based on recent US census data and your customer’s first name. If you have a larger store, Klaviyo will allow you to also predict churn rate likelihood and likely next purchase date.
  • A list that they are on.

The great thing about segments is that you can combine rules.

For example, if you’re a Californian brand, and you want to win back disengaged customers with a discount, you can combine these rules.

  • Something someone has done: people who have bought before.
  • Something someone has not done: people who have not bought recently
  • Where they are: people who put their address down in California
  • Something Klaviyo predicts: people Klaviyo has predicted as Women.

Now, you should also always include your lists as rules, to make sure you only send an email to those customers who have given you marketing permission.

How to make a segment in Klaviyo

Within Klaviyo, under Lists & Segments, click on “Create List / Segment”.

Lists & Segments menu on Klayivo, mouse over the Create List / Segment button in the upper right corner

Then click on the Segments box.

For this tutorial, we will be using the example we gave earlier, a Californian brand that wants to win back disengaged customers with a discount.

First, enter a name for your Segment.

Create Segment menu, a text box for writing the name of the Segment

We then want to add our four rules to the Segment.

Click on “Select a condition” to open up a dropdown menu. We first want subscribers who have bought before, so we will click “What someone has done (or not done)”.

Select a condition dropdown menu, cursor hovering over “What someone has done (or not done)

This will expand the panel, where we can enter the specific details from our subscribers we want the segment to include. First, we select the metric “Placed Order”, then we specify “at least once”, and “over all time”. This first rule has the effect of excluding any subscribers who have never placed an order from this segment.

For our second rule, we want subscribers who have not placed an order recently.

To create this rule click “+ Add” and once again click “What someone has done (or not done)”.

Select the metric “Placed Order”, then specify “zero times”, then select “in the last” which will open up time options. For this let’s say “60 days”. This rule will now exclude any subscribers who have placed at least 1 order in the last 60 days, leaving us with a segment of subscribers who have placed an order before, but not recently.

Segment rule 2, Placed Order, zero times, in the last, 60, days

For our third rule, we want subscribers from California.

Click “+ Add” and choose “Properties about someone” as the condition. In “Dimension”, choose “State / Region”. Then select equals, and type in the State you want, in this case, “California”.

For the fourth rule, we want subscribers Klaviyo predicts as female.

Click “+ Add” and choose “Predictive analytics about someone” as the condition. For a small store, Predictive Gender will be the only option here. Klaviyo predicts gender from the subscriber’s name, using US census data. Selecting that, you have two options here, you can choose “is likely female” or “is not likely male” depending on your audience. The difference between these two options is where Klaviyo allocates gender neutral names to. “Is likely female” will include gender-neutral names that could be female or male, while “is not likely male” will exclude these names.

We recommend that the message you create to be not overly gender-specific to avoid upsetting a subscriber if their gender is predicted incorrectly by Klaviyo.

Segment rule 4, Predicted Gender, is, Likely Female

These four rules will give us our segment. The result of these rules leaves us with subscribers who have placed an order before, but not in the last 60 days, are located in California, and Klaviyo has predicted as likely female. Any subscriber who does not meet these rules will not be included in the segment.

You should also include your main three lists mentioned earlier as rules as well, here is how to do that.

Click “+ Add” and choose “If someone is in or not in a list” as the condition. Then choose our created newsletter list.

Click “OR” in the bottom right and once again choose “If someone is in or not in a list” as the condition. Choose the Shopify Accepts Marketing list.

Segment rule 5, Person is in Newsletter or Shopify Accepts Marketing lists

Finally, include a rule about if the subscriber is or is not suppressed for email.

Click “+ Add” and choose “If someone is or is not suppressed for email” as the condition.

Segment rule 6, Person is not suppressed

It’s good to have this rule as well, but don’t stress if you don’t. When you send an email, Klaviyo will automatically exclude unsubscribed and suppressed users from your send. This rule is only here to make sure your segment accurately reflects the number of email addresses you can send to. Not including it will not allow you to send to unsubscribed and suppressed users, Klaviyo does not allow this.

You then click “Create a Segment” on the bottom right corner of the page and Klayivo will calculate the segment for you.

Result of Segment rules 5 and 6, cursor clicked Create a Segment button in the lower right corner

When to use a List vs a Segment

Firstly, when you create a campaign, consider whether the content you’re creating is relevant to all of your subscribers, or just a subset. If it’s just a subset, make a segment. On the other hand, if you’re having trouble coming up with content ideas, making some segments can help trigger ideas for campaigns. For example, you have a lot of customers who haven’t bought in a while. You may consider sending an offer or making a segment of people who have bought but haven’t bought one particular product before. These customers may not be aware of this particular product and this is an opportunity to promote it to them. 

Here is a table outlining when to use a list and when to use a segment.

Table outlining appropriate uses of Lists and Segments, outlined in detail below

Signup forms: when you create a signup form, you have to connect it to a list, a segment is not an option.

Flow triggers: we always recommend creating a List. It is possible to create a segment, but segments do not calculate in real-time, so a customer might subscribe and meet the rules of the segment, but there may be a delay before they trigger the welcome series, for example.

Campaigns: we recommend creating segments, because you can combine all the relevant lists into one segment, and you can create audience segments. Audience segments are amazing because you always get more engagement if you create a target audience.

Facebook Audience: similar to campaigns, we recommend making segments because it allows you to make granular and more targeted Facebook Audiences; for your seed audience, for your look-alikes, or as an exclusion audience.

Segments are one of the best tools in Klaviyo and they are a very powerful way to understand your customers and build audiences.

Shaun is the Founder of Email Experts. Combining his love of data analysis and his passion for marketing, Shaun enjoys working with marketing professionals to deliver excellent results for ecommerce businesses.