Smart Lists

A Smart List is a dynamic list that updates its user membership in real time based on any criteria that you set in Audience Builder or through the API.

For each Smart List, you can set its source as one or more Natural Lists, all Natural Lists, or all users in your account. (Other Smart Lists cannot be used as a source for Smart Lists). Only those users who are part of the source and meet your custom criteria are included.

Defining Smart Lists

You cannot directly add or remove members from Smart Lists. Each Smart List exists as a query, dynamically including or excluding users when they meet or fail to meet the list's criteria.

For example, you can maintain lists which contain users in a certain geographic area, users who have recently opened your emails, or users whose birthday matches today's date. The list of available criteria (available to you in Audience Builder) is wide-ranging, and highly customizable.

NOTE: If you'd like to force re-count a Smart List, hover over the Users or Valid Emails count to see when the list last counted and run a List Snapshot. The Snapshot amount, minus any Optouts and Hardbounces, reflects the valid emails on your list in real-time.

Create a Smart List

There are three options for creating a Smart List: Creating a new Smart List in Audience Builder, creating one from an existing Snapshot's criteria, or by copying an existing Smart List.

Each method is explained below.

Audience Builder

Specify a user source and the attributes (via Filters) that should determine Smart List membrship. Then, from the bottom bar, click Save as Smart List.

For more detail on this process, see the Audience Builder documentation.

Build from a Snapshot

Build a Smart List from an existing Snapshot.

  • Go to your Snapshot Report in the UI and click Save As Smart List.

Copy an Existing List

Copy an existing Smart List to use it as a basis for a new Smart List.

On your Lists page, click the Copy button 52 02_01 List Functions - Copy next to the smart list.

  • When you click the Copy button, a pop-up appears asking you to give a name to your new list. Give it a unique name and click Save.

    Note: You cannot use a dollar sign ($) in list names.

  • Your new list is created. You will immediately be taken to the Edit Smart List screen for your new list.
  • Make changes to the query as you wish and hit Save to prompt a fresh list count.


  • The original Smart List will not be affected.
  • After giving a new name to the list and saving, you'll be taken to the Edit Smart List screen for your new list.
  • If you abandon that page without making changes to the list name or details, your copied Smart List will still appear in your lists.

Manage Smart Lists

View Your Smart Lists

To see all the criteria and parameters that were used to generate an existing Smart List, find the Smart List in your Lists page. Below the Smart List name, the Audience Builder filter criteria that is being used to generate the Smart List is displayed. If the full criteria is too long to be displayed, hover your mouse over the list description to display it. Note that lists displayed with no criteria below their name are Natural Lists, not Smart Lists.

hover on smart list name for detail

Just as with Natural Lists, each Smart List is designated as either Primary or Secondary List. If you mark it as a Primary List, you can track its growth and view detailed reports on it in your List Reports page. For more information, see the page Primary vs. Secondary: What's the Difference?

Edit Smart List Membership Criteria

You can edit the Smart List's criteria by clicking the list name to open it in Audience Builder which displays the list source, and any filters as they were last configured. You can:

  • Add new filters
  • Delete or edit existing filters
  • Modify the source

You cannot modify the name of the list. To use a new name, you will have to create a new Smart List.

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