Audience Builder Tips and Tricks

Updated by Alexis Salcedo

With our new audience builder, you can build out complex audiences using donation, engagement, and location data. If you are using Switchboard for both texting and email, you can create email lists using data from your texting program, and vice versa. When attached to a text broadcast or email blast these searches will automatically refresh on send, saving you the step of having to re-pull a static list before each send goes out. Build your criteria once, and reuse your audiences all cycle long!

Using the audience builder is an easy and fun experience. We definitely recommend going into your account and playing around with it, adding filters, and hand-on learning. However, when you are building your audience, there are a few things you should know to make sure you don't hiccups later! Let's go through them:

Understanding the difference between "Any" and "All"

When should I use All?

Use All when you want to create a list/saved search of emails/phones that match every single filter


I want to send a broadcast to everyone who is in Montana and has the label VOLUNTEER

  • To create this using inclusion filters:
  1. select All and apply…A location filter for State of MT
  2. A label filter for VOLUNTEER
  3. This results anyone who lives in Montana and is labelled VOLUNTEER

When should I use Any filters?

Use Any when you want to create a list/saved search of emails/phones that match only one of the filters


I have a list that has some location-based reusable field data (sb_state, sb_zip_code) but some phones/emails do not have any data for those fields. I have also labeled some phones/emails as DC-resident. I want to create a list with anyone who I know is in DC.

  • To create this using inclusion filters
  1. Select Any and apply…
    1. A location filter for State of DC
    2. A location filter for all known zip codes in DC (this can be a resource but note that zip codes can cross state lines)
    3. A label filter for DC-resident
    In words, this is anyone where we have sb_state = DC or has sb_zip_code in DC or is labelled as a DC-resident
Grouping Filters

Grouping filters allows you to use and and or logic within the inclusion or suppression sections.

  1. To group filters, first create your filters and then click the checkboxes on the left of each filter. Then click the Selected button and click Group Filters.
  2. Now, you have audience of phone numbers that have opened an email OR clicked on a text broadcast, and are all in the eastern time zone (based on their phone number area code).
  3. To ungroup filters, click the checkbox and then click Selected and then Ungroup Filters.
Suppression Common Mistakes + FAQ

Below is an example of a common mistake we’ve seen when using the audience builder. Remember that for some of the filters (donations and location in particular), you may not have full data coverage across all your phones or email. Because of that, when doing suppressions, you should make sure to adequately narrow your universe.

Goal: create an audience of donors that do not live in New York.

There are several ways to do this correctly.

Start by including all donors and then suppressing anyone who is in NY

  • Suppress both donors based in NY or phones who have sb_state = NY to be safe. In general, just suppressing your donors in NY is probably fine, but we did want to note that these fields could be different if the latest ActBlue donation was from NY but then you uploaded a CSV with the phone and mapped sb_state with a different state, maybe because you have a different address for this phone number in your CRM.
  • You can also do this in the include section by adding a “have not” filter ⬇️
However, please note that just suppressing NY-based donors will NOT work. As you can see here, this increases the audience size to 42 (from 16 above) because it’s also including non-donors. What you are getting below is:
  • All non-donors
  • Donors except for those in NY
New to Universe

Using “New to Universe” lets you target phones or emails that have recently been added to Switchboard. The creation date is based on when the phone or email is first added to Switchboard through CSV upload, NGPVAN import, ActBlue donation, or form submission.

Using this New to Universe filter with an Engagement filter allows you to target new phones or emails that have not yet received an email. You can use this in a saved search that will dynamically update. Do note that if you have scheduled sends with filters like this, uploading a CSV or running a large NGPVAN import may drastically increase the audience.

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