Getting Started: Platform Overview
Welcome to Customer.io! The pages in this Getting Started section aim to introduce you to the terms and objects you’ll see in Customer.io. This Platform Overview page introduces the core concepts involved in working with Customer.io. The following pages dive deeper into each concept. After we explain everything, we’ll discuss the ways you can integrate your system(s) with ours.
Customer.io lets you customize behavioral and transactional campaigns, so that you can send sophisticated, personalized messages.
The image below illustrates what a well-rounded integration with Customer.io looks like.
- Your System sends Customer Activity into your Customer.io Workspace in the form of Attributes, Events, Page Views and Devices.
- All of that data is associated with individual customers (a.k.a. People in our system).
- People data is used to populate Segments and to build powerful Campaigns and Broadcasts that send messages to Your Customers, to Your System or to Other Systems.
- Those messages spark more Customer Activity over in Your System and around we go again!
Still not sure what Customer.io is? Learn more about what we do here: Getting Started: What is Customer.io
Everything revolves around People in Customer.io. A Person is an object that stores the current state of the entities you communicate with via our service. Usually, a Person in Customer.io describes a customer or user in your database.
All the data that is stored about a Person in Customer.io is collectively known as their profile. A Person’s profile is where you will find their Attributes, Segments, Devices, Drafts, Sent Messages, Activity Log and Journeys. Your profile data and activity is what feeds your Segments, Campaigns and Broadcasts. This allows you to send targeted and customized messages that generate more activity.
Learn more about People profiles here: Getting Started: People
Simply put, Segments are groups of People in Customer.io. They can trigger Campaigns, define recipient lists, configure conversion criteria and more. To help you get started, a few Segments were pre-configured in your Workspace when it was first created. We added Segments like, “Paying Customers”, “Have not logged in recently” and “Unsubscribed”. Be sure to check those out!
There are two different kinds of Segments in Customer.io, “data-driven” and “manual”. People enter and leave data-driven Segments automatically when they match and stop matching the Segment’s conditions. People enter and leave manual Segments when you explicitly add or remove them. These two types of Segments give you total control over when and how People enter and leave them.
Learn more about segmenting your users here: Getting Started: Segments
Campaigns and Broadcasts send email, SMS, push messages, and in-app messages to People in your account. You can also send Slack messages and update profile Attributes. You can even report data to any public, third-party API like Zapier, Stitch or your own system. Transactional messages are emails that you send in response to your audience’s actions in your app.
Campaigns allow you to send one or more messages in a workflow sequence. People enter Campaigns on their own time when they meet the Campaign’s trigger condition(s). You can trigger Campaigns when Events are performed, when conditions are met, or when a particular date for a customer occurs.
Campaigns are ideal for dripping content to individual People as they become eligible to receive it. Examples would include:
- Welcome and onboarding series
- Re-engagement series
- Abandoned cart notices
Broadcasts allow you to send one or more messages at once to a set of People based on a recipient list you define. Broadcast messages will be queued to send to all the defined recipients at a time you specify.
Broadcasts are ideal for manually sending newsletters or programmatically triggering announcements in bulk. Examples would include:
- Newsletter messages
- Pre-scheduled announcements
- Periodic release notes
- Community alerts
- Event change notifications
- Product launches
Transactional emails are a convenient way to respond directly to your audience’s actions in your app. Unlike broadcasts and campaigns, transactional messages are one-to-one interactions. Transactional messages are ideal for:
- Purchase receipts
- Registration confirmations
- Password resets
- Event reminders
- Shipping updates
All the objects above are grouped together into what we call “Workspaces” in Customer.io. Each Workspace can hold its own set of People, Segments, Campaigns and Broadcasts, and more. The data and configuration for each Workspace is not shared with any other Workspace. Use Workspaces to isolate different sets of People or messages while still granting access to all team members.
Example uses would include:
- Separate businesses
- Different product lines
- Distinct audiences (e.g., buyers, suppliers)
- Multiple departments (e.g., marketing, HR)
- Proofs of concept
- Confine experiments
Learn more about Workspaces here: Getting Started: Workspaces
Once you grasp the basics of Customer.io, you’ll want to plan your integration. You’ll decide what data to send as well as how and when to send it. You’ll also determine if you need to retrieve data from Customer.io. Our API enables you to build custom tools related to your organization’s use of Customer.io.