Audience Groups vs. Segments - Please explain!

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Hi friends at Emma, 
Can someone explain the difference between audience groups and segments for me? Currently we do everything in audience groups (which we tend to call "lists") when sending emails. I get my lists from Raiser's Edge which is what we use at my work for our database. Then I'll upload those lists individually as an audience group. (Side note: I usually just delete these groups a few weeks after the email has been sent. I do have a number of groups I keep in there all the time for a few specific audiences - newsletter, one of our membership programs, etc.)

I went to exclude one of those groups from an email today and found that I needed to have a segment instead of an audience group to exclude this chunk of people. 

I just want to make sure I'm understanding these things correctly because I'm starting to think I'm over-complicating things and there may be an easier way to work on my email lists!

Thanks!
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Cleveland Zoological Society

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Posted 2 years ago

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Laura Dickerson, Official Rep

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Hi there,

Your groups are the folks that you pull into the system that you send to. They are not necessarily based on criteria, but can be. Segments are built around specific criteria pulled from the contact's information. They can be based on Audience groups, contact fields (city, gender, love of pizza...what ever contact fields you have attached to your sign ups or imported info that allow you to sort by those fields), whether they have opened/received/clicked on mailings, and/or signups or manage preferences history. 

Think of Groups as being the over all audience lists and Segments of being subsets of those lists based on specific data. 

You can send to segments just like audience groups. You can also suppress them. Segments update in real-time as they search your audience, so you can trust the numbers to be up to date before you send!

I hope that helps!