Audiences based on email data

How to segment visitors using data from your email service or marketing automation tool. Personalize for subscribers, leads, and customers.

What are email-based audiences?

Typically, all information collected through forms are sent to your email service (ESP). Maybe you have also set up triggers and collect data about visitors' behavior using your ESP (e.g. "subscriber A downloaded PDF"). This allows you to create personalized emails or to trigger automated email flows.

For this, your ESP transforms data into so-called merge-tags. Those tags can be attached to any link in your emails. Unless can pick up these tags and create audiences based on it. This way you don't just personalize your emails, you can also personalize the pages that are linked within these emails.

How to set up email-based audiences

Common email merge tags

How the email merge tag (=query string parameter) looks, depends on the email tool you are using. Here are some of the most popular tools and their merge tags.

  • MailChimp's merge tags: |TAG| (e.g. |FIRSTNAME|)
  • ActiveCampaign's merge tags: %TAG% (e.g. %FIRSTNAME%)
  • Drip's merge tags: {{ tag }} (e.g. {{ firstname }}
  • ConvertKit's merge tags: {{ tag }} (e.g. {{ subscriber.first_name }})

Tips and best practices

  • To create an audience, use the final string or just the parameter (without a value). A dynamic string (parameter={{some_value}}) will not work - the audience has to be set up according to the parameter displayed in the final URL.

Example: within your email tool, you'll create the link{{preferences}} which for the subscriber will result in - always use the final result.


unless-parameter-audience-wrong Query string parameter is set to preferences={{preferences}} will not trigger the audience.


unless-parameter-audience-right Query string parameter is set to preferences OR preferences=roses will trigger the audience correctly.

  • The triggers "is empty" and "is not empty" is useful if you want to set up audiences that trigger if no (or any) parameter is set.
  • Remember to correctly use the AND/OR function. For example: You can target based on two query string parameters but a person might only match one at a time. In that case, use the "OR" function to combine those triggers.