When to use Groups & Tags in Mailchimp

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We also choose groups over tags as have to stay visible!

Jun 8, 2023

We all want to segment and target contacts in our audience with relevant communication, but how should we use and store the data in Mailchimp in the best way?

Tags & Groups are the primary way you can segment your audience, and on the face of it are pretty interchangeable… but there are a few things that we’d suggest you look at to guide when to use them.

Keep reading as we’ll explore the differences between groups and tags, and how you can leverage their power in your campaigns.

Delving into Data

Before we get into the details, it helps to understand a bit about the types of data that relate to email marketing & Mailchimp.

There’s personal data, which includes information about each individual subscriber, such as their name, birthday and location..

There is data that’s used to segment your audience, which centres around helping you send different emails to collections of emails that have something in common.

Finally, there’s tracking data, which can be divided into two types: data tracking related to the emails you send (opens, clicks, etc.) and tracking activity outside of Mailchimp, like form submissions).

So if these are the types of data you’ll typically use, when should you use groups and when should you use tags?


Tags are essentially a way to identify people who have things in common. You can ‘tag’ a group of contacts in MailChimp in whatever manner you choose.

Which means they are great for both segmentation and tracking.

…but it’s really hard to use tags to know what people’s preferences and interests are – mainly because it’s very hard to add tags to forms and give people the chance to choose the tags appropriate for them.

Tags work best when they’re in the background and don’t require someone to tell you which tag they want to be in… so they are great at tracking actions taken, especially outside of Mailchimp, such as completing a specific form or completing a specific course.

You need the info in Mailchimp BUT you want to be in control of who gets what tag (so internal data only you can see/change)..

If you don’t need to let your contacts categorise themselves, and you’re looking for a way to organise contacts internally, consider using tags.


Unlike Tags, Groups are easy to include in forms of all types, which is why they’re great for segmentation data.

Mailchimps allows you to create Group Categories within your Audience.

Within your Group Categories, you create individual groups.

Group names are the options that a user would select when completing a sign-up form. So you can collect information based on what your contacts tell you about themselves e.g. user preferences.

If you are using forms, then you do have the option of both adding people automatically to groups or giving people the choice in the form.

You can’t do this with tags….

If you want to give contacts a choice in how they’re communicated to, you’ll want to be using groups.

So to summarise…

For segmentation – Use both groups and tags

For tracking – Use tags

    Final Thoughts 

    The main difference between Tags and Groups comes down to visibility.

    Groups can be easily set up to be seen in any form you want completed, whereas for tags it’s much, much harder to do this.

    There are circumstances where tags are quite helpful and much easier than Groups – for example, making a quick list of people to target based on certain criteria.

    It’s so easy to add people manually to tags… and the fact that there are no limits to the numbers of tags you can have, means that using tags tactically can be very helpful.

    … and then using Groups as a more structured approach for longer term, solid classifications makes sense as well… especially if you want to say different things to different people in a single email (using conditional merge tag blocks)

    We recommend using both groups and tags.

    Tags are great for tracking, while groups excel in segmentation. By combining the power of groups and tags, you can transform your email marketing from good to extraordinary.

    The fact is, it’s all about you and your own usage of MailChimp.


    Need to get the right answers?
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    Liz Seymour

    Liz Seymour

    Queen Chimp Of Marketing

    Cheesy as it sounds, Liz is the biz when it comes to  Mailchimp & Email Marketing.

    She's worked in Marketing for around 20 years when she went to uni and studied Multimedia Technology…That's where her love affair with all things Marketing began. 

    Since then she has worked for household names such as Wickes, The Rank Group, Nuffield Health, Snappy Snaps and Marriot. Not to mention a great variety of businesses and agencies.

    Here at Chimp Answers she deals with all things Marketing focusing on the Content and Copywriting side of things such as Blog posts, Emails and landing pages. Liz is Certified in Direct-Response Copywriting, Google Digital Marketing Fundamentals,Hubspot Inbound Marketing,Hubspot Social Media and Mailchimp Foundations.



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