The Subscription Center

BetaThis feature ready to use, and unlikely to fundamentally change, but we're actively working on it. You may notice us add-on to this feature in the near future or make minor UI changes. Click here to learn more about beta features.

A subscription center helps you differentiate between the different types of messages you send, and lets your audience decide what kinds of campaigns and messages they want to receive.

 The subscription center is a beta feature

We’re actively working on this feature. While we’re confident that the subscription center is stable and provides a basic level of functionality, we need your feedback to make sure that it fits your needs. Contact us at product@customer.io to let us know what you think!

How it works

You’ll set up the topicsA category of message, set within your workspace’s subscription center, that people can subscribe to or unsubscribe from. Topics let your audience determine the kinds of messages they want to get from you. that your audience can subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) in your workspace settings. When you setup a campaign, broadcast, etc, you’ll decide which message topic your campaign sends.

People with the appropriate topic preferences will receive messages from the campaign; people who have opted out of the topic (or have not opted into the topic) can still move through the campaign, but they won’t receive messages.

When people receive a message, they can use the unsubscribe link to unsubscribe from an individual topic. Or, they can open a page where they can set preferences for multiple topics or unsubscribe globally.

flowchart LR a[person matches
campaign trigger]-->b{is unsubscribe true?} b-->|no|d{is the person
subscribed to the topic?} d-->|yes|e[person receives
messages from campaign] b-.->|yes|f[person does not
receive messages] d-.->|no|h[person does not
receive messages]

Topics are either opt-in or opt-out

You can set up topics that either require people to opt-in (default) or opt-out. By default, topics are “opt-out”: people must change their preferences to unsubscribe from a topic.

When you create a topic, you can change the Automatically subscribe people setting, determining whether people are opted in or out of a topic by default. If you disable this setting people must subscribe to a topic before they’ll receive messages belonging to that topic.

People are Automatically subscribed and must opt outPeople won't receive messages until they opt in
A topic that people will get by default
A topic that people will get by default
A topic people must opt into
A topic people must opt into

Globally unsubscribing vs unsubscribing from topics

A person can either unsubscribe from all messages or unsubscribe from individual topics.

When someone clicks the Unsubscribe link in messages, they’ll see a screen where they can click Unsubsribe again, or go to their subscription preferences. If they click the unsubscribe button on this page, they’ll only be unsubscribed from the topic associated with that message.

When a person goes to the subscription center, they can change their subscription preferences or click Unsubscribe. In the subscription center, the Unsubscribe button is global, and removes the person from all topics.

flowchart LR a[person clicks unsubscribe]-->b{"Do they click
unsubscribe or not?"} b-.->|person clicks
unsubscribe|c[person is
unsubscribed from topic] b-->|person goes to
subscription center|d{What preferences
do they change?} d-.->|person clicks
Save Preferences|f[person's subscription
preferences are updated] d-.->|person clicks
Unsubscribe|g[Person is globally
unsubscribed from all messages]

If you set a person’s unsubscribed attribute to true, which might happen outside the subscription center, that person won’t receive messages (unless you use the Send to all subscribed and unsubscribed setting). But, if you change that attribute back to false, we’ll preserve that person’s preferences, so they pick up where they left off.

 You can expose preferences without clicking Unsubscribe

Add {% manage_subscription_preferences_url %} to your message to expose a link to your subscription center without requiring your audience to click Unsubscribe.

Set up your subscription center

To take advantage of the subscription center, you must determine the topic or Audience for running campaigns and broadcasts; you can’t enable the subscription center until you’ve applied the Audience setting to active workflows. So, to enable the subscription center, you’ll need to:

  1. Add topics
  2. Apply topics to your campaigns and broadcasts.

     Map out your topics before you start

    You need to apply topics to campaigns and broadcasts before you can enable the subscription center. It may help to map out and/or tag campaigns and broadcasts before you create topics to help you get a handle on the topics you want to create and the things they apply to.

  3. (Optional) Backfill your audience’s subscription preferences using the cio_subscription_preferences attribute.
  4. Enable the subscription center.
the subscription center page
the subscription center page

Add subscription center topics

When you add a topic, you can determine whether your audience must opt into it or opt out of it. By default, a new topic requires people to opt out; workflows using a new topic with default settings will send messages to everybody (who isn’t globally unsubscribed) until they opt out-of the topic.

  1. In Customer.io, go Settings > Workspace Settings.
  2. Go to Subscription Center, and click Add.
    set up a new topic
    set up a new topic
  3. Set a Name and a Description. The name is how you’ll select your topic in the Audience setting. Your audience will see both the Name and Description when they set their subscription preferences.
  4. Determine whether or not to Automatically subscribe people.
    • Off: People must opt-into the topic to get messages.
    • On: (Default) People will get messages for this topic unless they change their subscription preferences to opt out. Before you use the On setting, make sure that you have your audience’s consent or won’t otherwise violate their message preferences and send them messages that they might consider spam!
  5. Click Save.

Now you can set your topic in the Audience setting for your campaigns and broadcasts.

Edit a topic

You can update the Name or Description for your topic. This does not affect your Audience settings or people’s subscription preferences. It only affects what people see when they change preferences using the subscription center.

  1. In Customer.io, go Settings > Workspace Settings.
  2. Go to Subscription Center, click and select Edit for the topic you want to change.
  3. Change the Name or Description for your topic.
  4. When you’re done, click Save.

Delete a topic

You can’t delete a topic that’s in use. You’ll need to change the Audience setting for any running campaigns and broadcasts that use the topic you want to delete before you can delete it. You don’t need to worry about draft or stopped workflows.

  1. In Customer.io, go Settings > Workspace Settings.
  2. Go to Subscription Center, click and select Delete for the topic you want to remove.

Set a topic in a campaign

In your campaign’s Settings step, you’ll use the Audience dropdown to select the topic for your campaign. People subscribed to this topic will receive messages from the campaign.

set the topic for a campaign
set the topic for a campaign

Set a topic in a broadcast

In the Recipients step when you create a broadcast, you’ll answer the question, Who should receive this newsletter? After you answer that question, you’ll select the topic for your newsletter or broadcast using the Audience dropdown. People subscribed to the selected topic are eligible to receive your newsletter or messages in your broadcast.

set the topic for a broadcast
set the topic for a broadcast

Enable the Subscription Center

Before you can enable the subscription center, you must have created at least one topic, and applied topics to the Audience setting for all your active campaigns, scheduled newsletters, and API-triggered broadcasts. When you enable the subscription center, your audience’s Unsubscribe link in your messages also lets people set their topic preferences.

To enable your subscription center:

  1. Go to Settings > Workspace Settings.
  2. Click Subscription Center and then click Enable.
the subscription center page
the subscription center page

The subscription preferences URL

You can expose the subscription center prompt, without requiring your customers to click Unsubscribe, by adding {% manage_subscription_preferences_url %} somewhere in your message. You might do this when you announce a change to preferences, etc.

Backfill or migrate subscription preference attributes

Before you turn on your subscription center, you might want to set or migrate your audience’s subscription preferences. You’ll almost certainly need to do this if you set your topics up as “opt-in”—by default.

You can set your audience’s subscription preferences using the reserved cio_subscription_preferences attributeA key-value pair that you associate with a person—like their name, the date they were created in your workspace, etc. Use attributes to target people and personalize messages.. Each topic in the attribute is numbered, based on the ID that you see in the UI—topic_1 corresponds to ID 1 in the left-column in your Subscription Center setup page. For each topic, true indicates that a person is subscribed to a topic; false means unsubscribed.

You’ll set this attribute—either through the API, a Create or Update Person action, or Database sync—to apply preferences to a person.

{
   "cio_subscription_preferences": {
      "topics": {
         "topic_1": true,
         "topic_2": false
      }
   }
}
Find the ID of your topics to set preferences
Find the ID of your topics to set preferences

 There’s no validation for this attribute yet

This is still a new feature, and we don’t yet validate this attribute. Check your payloads carefully before you apply subscription preference attributes to your audience.

Find people’s subscription preferences

After you enable topics, you’ll find people’s subscription preferences when you select them on the People page.

find your audience's attributes
find your audience's attributes

What people see when they click Unsubscribe

When you enable the subscription center, your the unsubscribe links in your emails sends people to a page where they can manage preferences. From here, people can automatically subscribe to, or unsubscribe from, topics.

When you configure topics under Settings > Workspace Settings > Subscription Center, you can click Preview to preview your subscription center. This is what your audience will see when they click unsubscribe links in your emails.

Note that the Unsubscribe button in the image on the left only applies to the immediate topic. If a person wants to unsubscribe from all of your messages, they’ll need to go to the subscription preferences page by clicking here in the image on the left.

When people click unsubscribe, they'll see thisWhen people click to manage preferences, they'll see this
the unsubscribe prompt
the unsubscribe prompt
the unsubscribe prompt
the unsubscribe prompt
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