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This document contains conceptual, procedural, and scenario information that you can use when using the data filter functionality. This document is intended for business managers, system administrators, and other application users who are responsible for segmenting lists. The information in this document applies to users accessing ExactTarget Email via the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud or http://members.exacttarget.com.

Prerequisite

Using the data filter feature requires understanding of AND and OR logical operators. 

What Is a Data Filter

A data filter is a group of criteria that segments a subscriber list or data extension. The data filter segmentation is based on subscriber attribute values or measures you create from behavioral data. 

Data filters provide far more sophisticated list segmentation than was previously available with the groups feature. In addition to subscriber lists, data filters allow you to segment other types of lists that you keep in your data extensions.

The item in the list being filtered must satisfy the criteria to be included in the segment. For example, you could use a data filter to get all of the subscribers on a list who own a car OR a motorcycle AND live in the state of Indiana OR Ohio.

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Data Filter Definition

You create a data filter definition on the Subscribers tab. You choose whether to create a filter that segments a subscriber list or a data extension. 

If you choose to create a data filter to segment a subscriber list, you can use any combination of the following types of information to determine whether the subscriber satisfies the conditions:

  • Profile attributes
  • Preference attributes (except the HTML email preference)
  • Measures you create and predefined measures

You do not have to specify a subscriber list in the filter definition. You can associate the same data filter to multiple different lists using different filter activities or groups.

If you choose to create a data filter to segment a data extension, you use the attribute columns in the data extension to determine whether the record satisfies the conditions. Because different data extensions can have different attribute columns, you must specify the data extension to segment when you create the data filter.

When you create a filter, you create conditions that the system evaluates each subscriber or data extension row against to determine if it qualifies for the segment. For each condition, you select:

  • The profile attribute, attribute column, or measure to evaluate
  • The operator to use to compare the values (See Appendix: Logical Operators.)
  • The value to compare against

For example, you might create a condition where:

  • The profile attribute is AGE
  • The operator is IS GREATER THAN
  • The value is 17

When you segment a subscriber list against this condition, only subscribers whose age is 18 or older will satisfy the condition and be added to the segment.

You can put multiple conditions together in a grouping using an AND or OR operator. You can also put multiple groupings together into an outer grouping that uses an AND or OR operator. When you use the OR operator, a subscriber or row that meets one or more of the conditions satisfies the grouping. When you use the AND operator, a subscriber or row must meet all of the conditions to satisfy the grouping.

The data filter creation interface provides graphical tools for creating the conditions and groupings. The SQL created using the graphical tools appears on the screen in the Filter Text section for your reference.

Group

Regardless of whether you use interactions, you can use data filters to segment subscriber lists by selecting the data filter when you create a group. You create groups on the my groups screen on the Subscribers tab. The Create Subscriber Group wizard allows you to Build a group based on a Data Filter. If you select this option, the wizard prompts you to select the list to filter and the data filter to use. When you create or refresh the group, the system applies the logic you created in the data filter to the list you selected to populate the group. The subscriber list and filter definition must already exist before you can select them in the group creation wizard.

If you use interactions, you can include the filter-based group in a program by using the Group Refresh activity.

Filter Activity

If you use interactions, you can use data filters to segment subscriber lists or data extensions by selecting the data filter when you create a filter activity. You create filter activities on the Filter Activity screen on the Interactions tab. If you are filtering a subscriber list, you also select the list to segment with the filter and provide a name for the group to contain the resulting segment. If you are filtering a data extension, you select the data filter and provide a name for the data extension to contain the resulting segment.

After you create a filter activity, you can start it or include it in a program. When you start the data filter activity or refresh the group, the system applies the logic you created in the data filter. If you include the filter activity in a program, the system applies the filter logic at the appropriate point in the program processing.

The subscriber list and filter definition must already exist before you can select them on the filter activity. You enter the name of the resultant group or data extension that the system creates when you save the filter activity.

Filter activities have more robust API support than subscriber groups.

Why Use a Data Filter

Use a data filter to apply complex segmentation rules to your subscriber lists. Complex segmentation makes it easier for you to precisely target your message to the specific subscriber.

Because you create a standalone filter definition and do not associate it with a subscriber list until you create a group or filter activity, you can reuse the same filter definition with many lists by creating different groups or different filter activities that use the same data filter. Currently you can select only one list per group or filter activity.

Data filters provide the ability to segment a data extension and use the segments in the course of a program. 

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Last updated by bhobbs at 11:58, 18 Feb 2014