Often, when you want to use contact tags will overlap with when you want to use a custom field. This leads to confusion as to when to use which.

Custom fields are more suitable when you want to capture more permanent customer information. This means such information is not likely to change very easily. Some examples will be birth dates, contact number, contact’s name. Custom fields also have the scope of creating personalized tags. This lets you insert the data stored in your custom field, into your campaigns.

Contact Tags, on the contrary, are mostly used to capture customer information that is likely to change based on contact actions and behavior. You can filter your lists by tags, but unlike custom fields, you cannot insert data.

To help you understand it better, here are some examples of when you should use Tags and when to use Custom Fields:

  • You will use a contact tag to indicate that a contact is a Twitter user, but you will opt for a custom field to store their Twitter handle. Here, you create a segment of Twitter users and you also use a custom field to insert their Twitter handles into the campaign.
  • You will use a contact tag to identify a customer, but a custom field to store their order number.
  • You will use a contact tag to pinpoint that contact has downloaded an eBook but a custom field to store the data of that download.

NOTE: You can use both custom fields and tags as conditions when creating segments, advanced searches, automation workflow conditions, ‘if/else’ automation conditions, and more when using the floating segment builder. Also, you can use both custom fields and contact tags as automation start triggers through segment.