Since adding more customization options, as well as alignment and logo resizing to our email builder, we’ve been hard at work on adding more power too. We’ve now introduced dynamic content to the builder so everyone has the ability to create different content for different groups of subscribers.

What’s dynamic content again?

For those of you who have been using Campaign Monitor for a while you’re probably familiar with dynamic content. It allows you to send highly targeted emails to your subscribers, by displaying different content for different recipients, based on what you know about them. It’s a bit like creating multiple versions of a campaign, but bundling them together into one. It can help cut campaign setup times, but more importantly the increased relevancy of the message leads to better engagement and ultimately better results.

Now you might be thinking, how is that different to personalization? Which of course is something you can already do in the builder. Well it’s similar but with much greater flexibility. Instead of just inserting values into your email, you’re able to actually display different content based on those values. A subtle distinction that adds tons of power and opportunity to what’s possible.

A simple example of dynamic content in action is, say you sell clothes and know the gender of your email subscribers. You want to send out an email about a big summer sale you’re having, but not everyone is going to be interested in everything on offer. So instead of sending out generic email content to everyone, you can show women’s clothes for the females and men’s clothes for the males.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic content in the builder

While dynamic content already exists in the app, to date you’ve had to insert specific tags into your email code to use it. Great for those who coded their own email templates, not so great for everyone else who wanted to get their hands on it. Since we’ve now introduced a new email builder to create amazing emails in minutes though, it just makes sense to also add in dynamic content so everyone can use it to create more relevant emails.

So how does dynamic content work within the builder? Well you go about creating your email as normal. Then say, following on from the example above, it comes to adding the line of clothing products to be featured. You’d create a section featuring women’s clothes, and then use the “who should see this” setting to pick the females segment that you’ve created in your list.

Selecting who should see your dynamic content

Then you’d create the men’s clothes version of that section and set it so that is what the male segment saw. The rest of the email, for example a banner saying Summer Sale up to 50% OFF, would remain set to all recipients and both segments would see it. In the email preview you can then check both versions to make sure everything was looking just right for both groups of recipients.

Selecting a preview for each section

To help make this whole process even easier, we’ve also now added the option to duplicate a section. It’s a fantastic time saver that allows you to create multiple versions of content for different segments simply by tweaking the original.

The power is in your data

We’re really excited about the targeted campaigns that you’ll be able to start sending using emails you build in Campaign Monitor. It’s important to remember though that you still need the subscriber information to drive the creation of the segments you use in these super relevant campaigns.

Sometimes, for example when using our geolocation rules, you’ll be able to build these segments using information found within your account. More often though it will require you to start capturing new information, or consolidate information you’re already collecting, and import it into your account. Whether that’s interests, gender, membership status, or job title. The list and use cases really are endless and often specific to your business and the relationship you have with your email subscribers. We’ve put together a few tips on what to think about when gathering data and what kinds of data is useful as some inspiration for those who haven’t used segmentation much before.

If you’d like to learn more about dynamic content you can also check out our full guide to dynamic content.

We look forward to seeing how you all use dynamic content in your email builder campaigns. And as always if you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it.

  • James

    Can’t see this in the app? Or is it only available to your email builder system rather than templates we upload ourselves? Serious limitation if that’s the case!

  • Cole

    @James check out the code section for dynamic content:

    Hope this helps!

  • Randall

    +1 on James comment. Here’s hoping this is available in custom templates.

  • Vitor Pinho

    Love this feature. Will help me a lot.

  • Marco

    James, in the email builder itself next to the text/image/block layout there is a small cog wheel where you normally find the move and delete functions….click on that and then the options are shown

  • Chrsitoph

    Sounds great, but can’t find this feature too =(

  • Justin

    Really great idea guys, well done.

    If you would be able to populate that content from a centralised location (a CMS with an appropriate RSS feed for example) then it would allow content management centrally, even for email communication.

  • Greg Strutton

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Currently, there isn’t a way to create dynamic content in custom built templates via the campaign editor, it’s only available via the email builder. However, I’ve added a vote each for this in our feature request list.

    You can still create templates using Dynamic Content tags as per:
    And when the campaign has been created, you’ll be able to preview the different output based on what Dynamic Content tags have been added.

    @Justin: This may well already be available for you. You could build a custom template that uses a combination or Dynamic Content tags to pull out content from specific RSS feeds based on the subscribers data. Would that work for you?

  • David

    Annoying it’s not on the custom templates… feel this part of Campaign Monitor is getting forgotten about at the expense of the limited design functionality of the email builder. Putting in code is fine for us techies but for the client end of things there’s no non-technical way of doing it, if you wanted a fully branded up newsletter. :(

  • Giovanni Sanguily

    I’m concerned that Campaign Monitor is not focusing enough on expanding the customization options within Canvas. Based on previous Blog posts around new Canvas Features the was an overwhelming amount of request to expand the customization options within Canvas such as changing the background colors within each given section. The ability to change text to any color within a paragraph or a heading. The ability to use various button colors in one email among several others. I don’t recall seeing request for the dynamics content feature. Don’t get me wrong this is a nice feature however there are more pressing needs for Marketing Professionals that need more flexible email design. Please let me know the Campaign Monitor’s stance on this so I can set proper expectations for myself and determine if I need to make a change in our email marketing platform. Thank You!

  • David Greiner

    @Giovanni, thanks for the feedback. Rest assured we have a lot more planned for Canvas around more customization and control. Like we mentioned above, there is a continual balance between heavily requested power features like this one, and some of the more fine grained editing controls like you’re looking for. We’re listening to both, and have a lot more good stuff rolling out soon.

  • Jay

    This looks like a great feature, although I don’t use Canvas yet (waiting for more flexibility).

    One question I have though about previewing the emails – if I have a section that shows to subscribers in the Male segment, and another section that shows to subscribers in the Teenagers segment, how can I preview the email for someone that is in both segments (a male teenager)?

  • Thomas

    Really happy about this development CM. One thing I would like to see is a Dynamic Subject lines. I do B2B & B2C offers so being able to adjust wording would be pretty handy :) I know I can do it by sending two different emails. Just an idea.

  • Balthazar Simões

    @Thomas We hear ya! Adding dynamic content to subject would open up a lot of new possibilities and I’ve added a vote for you to a feature request we have for that :)

  • Penny Olorenshaw

    While I too am waiting for more design flexibility, I am using Canvas with a couple of my new clients. I did a test and found that links in the dynamic content area don’t appear to be counted when clicked. Links in non-dynamic sections are reporting clicks correctly. Is this an oversight?

  • Carissa Phillips

    @Penny, I’m really sorry you’ve not seen clicks come through on the Dynamic bits! We aren’t seeing this ourselves, nor have we had reports like yours, but we’re taking a look in your account now, and I’ve just emailed you to get details.

  • Laura Shapiro

    I echo David’s concerns about custom templates being left behind. We want fully dynamic content and fully branded emails, sendable by non-technical people. I can’t believe this is the holy grail. Ideally I’d love to ditch custom templates to take advantage of the email builder, but that will only work for us if we can control fonts and colors in the builder.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi there Laura, thank you so much for speaking up in regards to how we’ve implemented dynamic content in custom templates. Going forward, we’d love to explore options that are more simple to use than diving into code / using our template tag language. And absolutely, introducing more font and color options to our email builder is also on our radar.

    We’ll keep you posted as we continue to make changes to both editors and hopefully, we’ll have some great news for you in the not too distant future. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

  • Number One Kitchens

    Really interesting article and will definitely apply to my email marketing! Thanks.

  • Kevin Medeiros

    Excellent! This will be incredibly useful.

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