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Easy segmentation tactics using a real example from Appcues onboarding

Personalization goes way beyond “hey {first name}!”. Marketers and product people are under increasing pressure to create bespoke experiences that walk the line of helpful and creepy. Segmenting flows by custom events gives you and your users more control over messaging in your product, without more fields or engineering work.

The background

I was refreshing our onboarding and realized, like myself, there are probably others who’ve come to Appcues from another company, prefer to learn on their own, or just don’t want onboarding messages. In general, I want to give people more control over the messages they receive in Appcues, so I started with onboarding to test it out right at the start of someone’s journey with us.

This is a version of one of our welcome flows, what do you think?

Plan of action:

I needed to determine exactly when to use my custom event in the customer journey. I already chose onboarding as the general timeframe, but when do I first offer an opt out? I wanted to give a clue as to what our onboarding was like first before giving folks the option to totally check out, so I decided to add an opt out to the congratulations message someone gets when they publish their first flow. 

How we built it:

This is one of the easiest guides I’ll write. First, create or clone a step of your flow for a confirmation step. A confirmation step is essential for any kind of alert or action driven by a custom button. Otherwise, someone will click and the flow will disappear or go to the next step.

Create or clone a step to create a confirmation step that confirms their button selection.

Double check that step you just cloned so it shows up in the right order and doesn’t end up in the middle. Click and hold, then drag your steps in the bottom of the builder to rearrange.

Next up, add your button! Be sure the action is set up to go to the correct step that your confirmation message is on, and that you are tracking an event. This part is crucial. Toggle “Track event” on and give your event a very obvious and intuitive name. In my example, I used “Onboarding - Opted out of Tips”. This should make sense to anyone who reads it, I hope…. 

screenshot showing how to add a custom event to a button
Add a button and track your event. This ties any clicks of this button to this event you named here.

Then write up your confirmation message. Try to be as explicit as possible. 

screenshot of slideout that reads: thanks for letting us know! you won't get anymore onboarding messages. you may still get occasional critical notifications. this does not opt you out of email. got it.
The confirmation someone gets when they click the button.

Last but not least, create your segment. Then add an “Event” condition in the dropdown, and find your event in the list! If you’re having trouble finding it, publish the flow to yourself using your email address or user ID and click that button to trigger the event. Go make a cup of tea or coffee and when you come back, your event should be visible in the list.

Create a segment using an Event condition and pick the event you tied to the custom button. Boom. 

Use this segment whenever you create a new flow to prevent users who have opted out from seeing more flows and bringing down conversion rates, getting frustrated, and overall taking away from their experience. 

Add this segment to flows and select “doesn’t match” to remove anyone who has opted out.

Here’s the whole flow!

There’s hundreds of other ways to use this general formula to improve your experiences and create groups of users. I’ve also used this to group users by:

  • Self-identified role/goal
  • Hand raisers for future beta programs or research
  • Survey respondents

I’m here if you have any questions, want to share your clever tricks with others featured here. Drop me a line at lyla@appcues.com or on LinkedIn.