Flow Triggers and Filters



Each Klaviyo flow has a single trigger that sets the flow in motion. This is the Flow Trigger.

To get even more targeted with your automation you can limit the scope of this trigger using a Trigger Filter. For example, if a flow triggers when someone places an order, a trigger filter could be added to limit this to specific product types. Trigger filters get applied alongside the trigger itself and only let the right people into your flow.

If you want to target a very specific behavior, or a specific group of people, you can use a more general Flow Filter. Flow filters get applied when people enter your flow as well as before every email in the flow sends. Flow filters ensure that only people that still qualify continue moving through a flow.

The diagram below illustrates when trigger filters and flow filters are applied in the flow lifecycle.


Flow Trigger

A flow can be triggered when someone takes an action (metric) that is tracked by Klaviyo, when someone is added to a list or segment, or based on a date property attached to their profile. When someone meets the trigger you set, they will qualify to enter your flow at that time.


Here is a list of the four different types of triggers and when they might be used:

  • List
    If you have a signup form(s) or a subscribe page on your website, you likely have all new subscribers getting added to a specific list in Klaviyo. Using this trigger, you can ensure every new subscriber gets queued up to receive a series of automated emails from you. You can use a Welcome Series to send a thank you email to subscribers immediately when they sign up and then automate 2-3 other emails (each a few days apart) to start introducing new subscribers to your brand.
  • Segment
    Segments are defined by a set of conditions, and will thus grow as new people meet the conditions and shrink when certain people no longer do. Triggering a flow based on when someone new is added to a segment will allow you to ensure everyone who meets a certain set of conditions will be queued up for this flow. This can be useful for when you want to use multiple actions to trigger a flow. Keep in mind, however, that segment-triggered flows will only send to a given person once: the first time they get added to the segment. For this reason, segment-triggered flows cannot be used to automate order-related followup emails or any other emails you might want someone to receive multiple times for repeat behavior.
  • Metric
    This trigger option allows you to queue up people for a flow promptly when they take a certain action; this action can be any event activity captured through an integration (i.e. started a checkout, placed an order, filled out a form) or events created via the Klaviyo API. For example, an Abandoned Cart flow would trigger off the action Checkout Started, with an added Flow Filter to restrict the flow only to those that have also not yet completed this checkout.
  • Date Property
    You can build an automated flow that either starts on a specific date, or you can choose to set a flow in motion before a specific date. A person will qualify to enter a Date Property triggered flow whenever the selected property is added or updated on their profile. This can be useful if you're creating a flow that centers on a specific date, like a birthday or anniversary. Additionally, these flows can recur on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.

After creating a list or segment based flow, you will be prompted to select a list or segment name and then see options to restrict further who gets emails from your flow.

After creating a metric based flow, you will be prompted to select an action metric to trigger the flow. You will then have the opportunity to add one or more filters to that action. 

After creating a date property based flow, you will be prompted to select the date property that will trigger the flow -- this will be a value like "first purchase date" or "birthday." If you want to use a custom property to trigger a date property based flow, you must ensure that the property is being stored correctly as a date value, and not text. Once you configure this, you'll have the opportunity to add one or more filters to the flow.

Setting Trigger Filters

If you choose "Takes an action" as your flow trigger, and select a specific action metric to trigger your flow, by default everyone that does this action will qualify to enter your flow. You many, however, want to narrow the scope and target only a subset of this more general action. This is where Trigger Filters can be used. Trigger filters filter flows at the event level, meaning only metric-based flows can have trigger filters.

A trigger filter is useful for grabbing only certain events for your triggering metric. For example:

  • Post-Purchase Cross-Sell
    You may have a particular category of items (Category A) that is often purchased alongside another category (Category B). To turn a post-purchase flow into a targeted cross-sell opportunity, use the general Placed Order metric as your trigger, but then use a Trigger Filter so only orders that included Category A but didn't include Category B qualify for your series.
  • High-Value Item Browse Abandonment
    Browse Abandonment flows can help you convert casual window shoppers into customers by following up with those that view items on your site but never start a checkout or purchase. You may not want to trigger Browse Abandonment emails for every item in your catalog, however; you may want to limit the scope of this follow up for high-value products only. Trigger your flow off the Viewed Product metric, but use a trigger filter to specify only items where the value is over X amount qualify for the series.
  • Post-Purchase Thank You & Tips
    Certain items you sell may require some how-to instructions, or otherwise warrant a targeted post-purchase message. For a flow triggered by your Placed Order metric, use a trigger filter to target the purchase of just a specific item to give these customers the personalized follow up they need.


Setting Flow Filters

Flow filters are useful when you'd like to target specific behaviors with your flows. Flow filters operate at the profile level, meaning they will evaluate whether or not someone qualifies based on properties about them or actions they have previously taken.

Abandoned carts flows, for example, are built on the Checkout Started metric. The behavior you want to target, however, is when a customer starts a checkout and then abandons the process. This means you have to add a flow filter to target this specific behavior: Has placed order zero times since starting this flow. This will ensure that people only receive a flow email after they started a checkout but did not place an order.

You can also use multiple filters if you'd like -- the example below features a flow that would only send to people that have not placed an order since starting the flow and live in the United States.


Setting an Additional Filter for a Single Flow Email

Adding additional filters to an email within a flow allows you to tailor specific emails after a person has set off a broader trigger. Additional filters are similar to flow filters in that they also operate at the profile level, meaning they will evaluate whether or not someone qualifies based on properties about them or actions they have previously taken. The main difference is that they only apply to a single email within the scope of the entire flow.

For example, you may want everyone to receive the first email in your welcome series after they sign up, but you may not want those who have made a purchase since starting the flow to receive the fifth email. Additional filters allow you to narrow your audience for a single email.

First, click on the email card. Here, you will see a filter icon and a section labeled Additional Filters in the lefthand panel. Click this link, and you'll be brought to a page where you can specify additional filters for this particular email.


Let's say you have a flow that sends to customers several weeks after their first purchase, encouraging them to order again. Your first email might have the subject line, "We Missed You." This email may provide a discount code or some other incentive to convince your customer to come back.

As you add additional emails to this flow, you may want to consider sending certain messages only to those that have failed to open a prior message. This is a great way to resend a great offer or partially recycle a great design until you grab the attention of your customers.

This additional filter will consist of one condition: 

What someone has done (or not done) > has Opened Email zero times over all time 
> where Subject equals ______


Using AND vs. OR in Filters

Using the OR connector between a sequence of filter conditions will make a filter more inclusive. We check each condition in the sequence individually -- if Joe meets one condition in the sequence but does not meet another, Joe will still be included in your flow.

In the following example, anyone that placed an order in the last 30 days OR was active on site in the last 30 days will be included:


Using the AND connector between conditions will make a filter more exclusive. We will check each condition separated by AND individually, but each condition must evaluate to true in order for someone to be included. If Joe meets one condition but doesn't meet another, Joe will be excluded from your flow.

In the following example, only those that placed an order in the last 30 days AND were active on site in the last 30 days will get included:


When Flow Filters are Applied

A flow captures everyone who qualifies with the initial trigger (i.e. Checkout Started). Then, they will enter the flow. All trigger filters AND flow filters will be applied at this time as well, however:

  • If someone fails the trigger and/or flow filters at this time, they will be filtered out and will not get queued up for any flow emails
  • Everyone that passed the trigger and flow filters (initially) will enter the flow and get queued up for all emails at this time

When each email is scheduled to send, however, Klaviyo will apply your flow filters again (i.e. has Placed Order zero times since starting this flow) and skip anyone who fails your filters. This is why you may see people queued up for your flow in Waiting that you know shouldn't receive the flow's emails. Flow filters will always get applied again right before each email sends.

If you explore the Recipient Activity for a flow email, by clicking on Analytics (Last 30 Days) > Recipient Activity, you will see the number of total recipients. If you click on the Other drop-down, you will see the number of individuals falling into the Skipped: Fails Flow Filters bucket. This shows you those that entered the flow but failed the flow filters at email send time.

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