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What's an Audience?

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

by | Apr 2, 2019

Struggling to understand who your customer actually is?…and what motivates them?
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There’s changes afoot at MailChimp towers…


If you’re a regular MailChimp user, chances are you received an email from our Monkey overlords recently talking about some changes they’ve made.

In it, they announced that lists are no more and that audiences are now how we organise our data.

So what does this mean to us, the users who are manipulating our data on a regular basis and who love change in MailChimp as much as cats love dogs.

Well… in reality not that much!

  • A list is now a redundant term and we need to all start calling lists, audiences.
    For the majority of users, this is just going to take a little time to get used to. The fact is that the structure of your data hasn’t actually changed. It’s still structured the same way, it’s still best practice to have one list/audience and to use groups or tags to segment.  That’s not changed at all.
    However, it does mean that those of us who are MailChimp trainers/teachers/bloggers have to go back into all our old articles and swap out the word “List” for “Audience” 😐
    Frustratingly, it also means I have to change my own pithy catchphrase “Mo Lists, Mo Problems” to “Mo Audiences, Mo Problems” (which is nowhere near as catchy)!
    So it’s not really going to impact you that much at all.
  • You need to get used to the new way to navigate through audiences.
    MailChimp has added a drop down menu on campaigns, reports and audiences to make it easier to specify which list (dammit…) I mean audience we’re working with.
    If you have one audience, it doesn’t make any difference at all from a navigation point of view, but for those of us who have more than one audience, we can move between audiences to make seeing our information easier.
  • You can still see your list of audiences.
    It’s a click away, but if you click on the manage audience button and then manage audiences, you can still see your previous list of audiences.

So things haven’t changed that much… so why change?

Well, although the structure hasn’t changed, there are definite advantages in terms of accessibility to data and also if you’ve got more than one audience in your account (e.g if you have a few test audiences)

  • You get more data on your audience make up
    The new audience page gives you lots of easily digestible information such as locations, where your contacts come from and how engaged your list is – right in front of you – which is interesting information and can be useful in how your audience is developing – this could be an eye opener for some MailChimpers.
  • Splitting out Campaigns and Reports by Audience
    If you do run several different audiences legitimately, then the new set up makes it much easier to see campaigns and reports by a specific audience.  This makes navigation much easier – I’ve used it several times on my main account in the last day or so and the navigation is much, much easier – so that’s a big plus (if you do have multiple lists audiences.

Much Ado About Nothing

I tried to stretch out this blog to give a bit more detail, but the simple fact is that apart from me retyping the word audience instead of list several times in the last few minutes, there isn’t a big tangible difference to life before audiences.

Yes, the navigation has changed, and MailChimp are using this as a way to promote and help users to target and segment their audience (never a bad thing), but if you’re like most MailChimpers and running a single audience… then this change is just a new way of looking at the same data and doesn’t add any major benefits.

…I’m now off to start autocorrecting all my other blogs!


(and if I missed a “list” in this article – let me know and I’ll change it!) 

Struggling to understand who your customer actually is?…and what motivates them?
Use this FREE Customer Avatar Worksheet to develop your marketing activities with a specific person in mind and ensure you know what to say and where to say it.
Download it now!

Robin Adams

Robin Adams

Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.

1 Comment

  1. Jane Gordon

    the changes are really annoying! with multiple people signing in to our account, all working on different newsletters, it defaults to the last one amended – very confusing!


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