Profile properties are an essential part of using Klaviyo because they allow you to understand your customers on a personal level and segment them based on this knowledge. In this guide, you'll learn the difference between custom and special properties, how to use them, how to remove them, best practices, and more. By the end, you'll be able to gain new insights into your customers and leverage properties in a more strategic and organized way.
Don't have time to read? Check out the dos and don'ts graphic at the end of this guide for a brief outline of best practices.
Before You Start
Before jumping in, it is important to have your ecommerce store integrated with Klaviyo and profiles in your account to work with. It is also best practice to enable signup forms so that you can gather custom and special properties about your subscribers.
To check if signup forms are installed properly in your account, go to Install Code Snippet. If the green success banner appears on this page then you know that they were successfully enabled. If this banner does not appear, then forms are not enabled on your account and you’ll need to install a snippet of code on your ecommerce site.
Head to our Help Center article on installing signup forms for step by step instructions.
Custom vs. Special Properties
You can find profile properties within the Profiles tab of your Klaviyo account. Once you select Profiles, your first 50 contacts will appear. Click into a profile, or search for one directly in the search bar at the top of your page. On the right-hand side of an individual's profile are details about them, and towards the bottom of this is the Information section which contains many of these properties.
There are two different types of profile properties: custom properties and special properties.
Custom properties are found under the custom properties section in the Information tab of a given profile. Custom properties are just that— completely customizable properties that you generate yourself and are specific to your content, brand, and use case.
Custom properties that you may consider gathering include:
- Information about gender, size, interests, and birthdays
- Preferences around email frequency, type of content, etc.
- Responses to a questionnaire
Special properties are default properties in your Klaviyo account, and you can find them listed in various spots within a profile. When exported in a file, many of them are identified by a dollar sign ($) prefix. Please note that this dollar sign prefix is not necessary to add to your CSV when uploading the same properties into Klaviyo as you will be prompted to map the upload with the property of your choice.
Klaviyo’s special properties include:
- Klaviyo ID
- First Name
- Last Name
- Phone Number
- Address 2
- State / Region
- Zip Code
- SMS Consent Timestamp
- First Active
- Last Active
- Profile Created On
- Date Added
- Last Open
- Last Click
When you export a profile, the last open and click, first and last active, and date added properties do not appear in your CSV.
Using the $id property for identifying profiles is often not best practice. However, if you choose to do so, please refer to our API documentation to learn how to use it for template sends, personal messages, and targeted exports.
Add Custom Properties to a Profile
There are three ways you can add custom properties to profiles in your account:
- Manually add them (from a list or individually)
- Ask customers for them
- Sync them through your integration
Manually Add Them
From a List
When uploading a list, any column after the "Email" column in a CSV file can be used to attach a custom property to a profile. For example, you could have a "Gender" column that corresponds with each contact's designated gender.
In a CSV file, create a column for Email, First Name, and Last Name. Then, add a fourth column after these for your custom property; in this example, the property is called Gender. For each person, add their designated gender preference. For the sake of this example, the contacts all identify as female. However, if some identified as male or another value, we could likewise input these values here.
Next, copy these four columns of information and head back to the Lists and Segments tab of our Klaviyo account. Select Create List/Segment in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Create a new list (in this case, it is entitled, “female customers”).
Once this list is created, there are several options for how to add contacts, as detailed below. Select, Upload Contacts.
We will then be directed to Upload file or Upload via copy/paste. Both are useful options, but for the sake of this example, we'll choose Upload via copy/paste.
Navigate back to our previously copied list of contact information from the CSV file. Copy and paste those into the text box. Then, select Start Import.
After uploading this list, we will be brought to a Field Mapping page. Here, review the fields that were uploaded. The Name and Email headers automatically map to Klaviyo's default properties, which we can verify here. For new custom properties, we will have the option to create an entirely new property from them or add them to an existing custom property instead, under Klaviyo Field.
Be sure to apply the correct Klaviyo field when uploading special properties (such as for location). If there is already a Klaviyo field (for example, City for a list of customers' home cities) apply that field rather than creating a duplicate property that would clutter your account.
If a property has not been created yet, a "Create option" will appear in the dropdown. Type in the property name you want it to be defined as (ex/ Gender).
Finally, select a Data Type. It is important to select the appropriate type so that our information appears as accurately as possible. For this particular case, select String. However, there are other options to choose from. For example, if you upload a series of dates or birthdays, you would use Date as the data type in order to properly format your information.
After reviewing this information, select Start Import. Because this is a small number of people, the import is fairly quick.
For information on how to format dates so that they upload successfully into your Klaviyo account, head to our article on formatting dates and timestamps in CSVs.
Contacts that do not already have their own profiles will have new profiles created. Otherwise, any new column value will be added to their existing profile. You can navigate into one of these new or newly updated profiles to take a look at how it appears on their designated page. As you will see, the custom property: Gender, appears under the Information tab.
Any column that already exists on a contact's profile will be overwritten by the most recent upload. Meanwhile, any column that does not already exist will not affect existing properties, as you can have as many custom properties as you desire on a given profile.
You can also manually add individual custom properties to a profile, rather than in a list of profiles. To do so, navigate to the profile you wish to add a property to. Select Add next to Custom Properties.
This will generate a modal where you add a Property and Value.
For this example, I input the custom property: Favorite Color and value: Blue.
Then select Add Property. This will add a completely new property under the Custom Property section of this profile.
If you want to manually input a special property, follow the same process as custom properties. Create an additional column and put the name of the special property. For example, if you would like to input a value for subscribers' home city, you could title the column "City" and then fill in the values for each subscriber. When you upload it, you will map that property to the existing special property in Klaviyo.
Ask customers for them
The second way to gather custom properties is to ask your customers for this information directly.
You can take three possible routes to collect information from customers:
- Collect custom properties with a signup form
- Collect custom properties with a subscribe or manage preferences page
- Collect custom properties by asking for information in your emails
Let's say you decide to collect custom properties with a signup form. When creating your form, there are a number of blocks you can drag and drop in to customize its appearance and the type of information you collect from subscribers.
When you select a block, editing options will appear in the left-hand sidebar. Configure the details of the block, including text and styling. If you want to gather information on your customers' favorite colors, drag a dropdown input into your form. Plug in the custom property input that prompts the customer to add their own value.
If they then type in “blue,” this is will be mapped to their profile within your account. If this person already has a value for that property on their profile, when they submit the form, the existing value will be overwritten by their new value.
Sync Them Through an Integration
The third way to collect custom properties is to sync them directly from your integrations. This happens automatically, and the type of properties that appear depend on what integrations you have. For example, a Shopify integration automatically syncs an "Accepts Marketing" custom property to Klaviyo.
For more information on the custom properties that are synced through integrations, please refer to the integration documentation on our Help Center.
It's important to consider how to name, manage, and delete custom properties. To ensure formatting consistency across all profiles, think through the name of a custom property before creating the property itself. Changes to property names and their values, even something as simple as editing the spelling or capitalization, will generate an entirely new property in Klaviyo. Properties and their values must be exactly the same across your account.
For example, changing "gender" with a lowercase g to "Gender" capitalized would result in both inputs becoming their own properties, despite the fact that they are meant to be the same. Moreover, keep the spelling and formatting consistent for all properties and their values as you add properties to profiles over time. "Gender: Male" and "gender: male" would have two different properties and two different values if they were both to be put into your account.
Consider the naming conventions you use beforehand so you don’t end up with extra clutter that you will have to go back and delete. Remember, consistency is key.
In general, the goals of property management are to remain organized, cut out superfluous properties that you don’t need or that you generated by accident, and pay attention to our rules around naming and editing.
When naming and editing properties, make sure that the property name and value matches across your Klaviyo account as this is case sensitive.
If you decide to edit a property after it has been applied to profiles, it will generate an entirely new property and you will have to go back and delete the previous one. If you do not keep these factors in mind, you will soon have multiple properties for the same information, and your account will become cluttered and disorganized.
That being said, it's a good practice to clean out properties that are no longer useful to you. If for any reason you find that you would like to get rid of a custom property that you created in your account, you can do so within the profile itself. You cannot, however, delete special properties because they are default Klaviyo properties that are built into the platform.
If you have many properties that span across profiles, you may find the need to bulk delete them. Bulk deletion can only be performed by a Klaviyo staff member, so this should only happen when absolutely necessary. If this is the case, reach out to a member of our Support Team. When you do so, you will be prompted to file a support ticket. In that ticket, list all of the properties that you want to be deleted.
In other cases, you may want to delete a property from a single profile. In this case, you can manually remove this property by heading to the Profiles tab of your Klaviyo account and clicking into one of the affected profiles.
Under Information, you will see your custom properties for this profile listed. Next to the property is a pencil to edit and a red X to delete it. Click the X.
The phrase, Delete property? will appear. Select Yes.
By following these steps, you will successfully remove the property from that profile.
However, deleting a property from one account will not automatically delete it from other profiles. This should only be done when you want to remove properties from a single, or a small, number of profiles.
Use Profile Properties
You’ve learned what properties are, how to upload them in your account, and how to manage them. Now, the question is: how do you use profile properties? In this section, we'll go through examples of how to strategically use special and custom properties in your account.
More specifically, we will outline:
- How to input dynamic properties into Klaviyo emails
- How to use properties to create key segments for advanced targeting
- Best practices around filtering flows base on properties.
Note that you cannot segment or filter a flow with a property until it exists on at least one profile within Klaviyo. For that reason, you may consider having a test profile to add these properties to before creating your designated segments and flows.
Input Dynamic Properties in Klaviyo Emails
With regard to inputting custom or special properties in emails, you can do so using variable syntax. This allows you to customize content to be user-specific by inputting the person variable and adding the lookup filter with your property attached to dynamically populate emails with customer-specific content.
Here is an example in which Favorite Color is the desired input.
It's usually a good idea to provide a default value in case someone doesn't have the custom property you're trying to use by including the default filter. It is also important to note that we don't recommend placing a custom date property in your default preference pages in Klaviyo, as you would need to make sure people enter a date in a format we accept.
Use Properties to Create Key Segments
A key factor in sending successful email campaigns is to segment your audience. Segmentation allows you to target email recipients with specific content that appeals to them. Moreover, you can use segments to send customers content via social media ads, targeted forms, and SMS.
Here is an example in which you can use a custom property to target a specific segment (Women's Patriots Fans) with a form. The custom property is brand, and these specific individuals chose the Patriots as their brand of choice.
Make sure that all instances of that property value and name are included if you have not remained consistent across profiles. Moreover, customers may add their sports preference differently, in this case with Pats, Patriots, patriots, and pats.
Another common instance where this may occur is with the country property. Someone from the United States may list their country of origin as USA, US, us, United States, etc. All values that you add would need to be accounted for, split between OR conditions.
Next, target this Women’s Patriots Apparel Segment with a form that informs customers of new deals on women’s Patriots apparel. Instead of having an area to subscribe to marketing, I have a link to that page of my website. Likewise, it is set to only target individuals within the chosen segment.
Another way in which you can target custom properties is with the contains property after selecting Properties about someone as your condition. This means that your segment condition would state that this profile’s property contains ________.
You can only apply contains to list data types. List data types must also have the full value within your condition. They are formatted as an array in your account.
For example, let's say you own a bakery. If you gather custom properties in a signup form for your customers' favorite baked goods but want them to have the option to select multiple properties, you may end up with multiple properties for one profile. They may be the following: chocolate cake, vanilla cake, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and pie. These will appear as list data types in your account.
However, you can't simply target "chocolate" when creating the segment condition by stating that the property "contains chocolate." Instead, you need to include the entire property name, written out in full, (such as chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies) as shown below:
For more information and ideas for segments that you can customize and use to boost sales, check out our Guide to Advanced Segmentation.
Use Properties to Filter Flows
You can use custom and special properties to filter flows and target your customers with specific information that is relevant to them. An example of this would be a Happy Birthday Flow.
Say you collect birthdays from customers when they sign up for your newsletter. You can then use this property when creating your flow by having the flow trigger be a Date Property, as shown here, and sending them a coupon or other thoughtful message via email. Have this flow repeat annually and update the timing to match your customers' local times and your own content needs.
Make sure to choose different names for your profile properties and event properties. If an event property has the same name as a profile property, only the profile property will appear in the filter.
By now, you’ve officially learned how to create, manage, and use custom properties. You will also have a deeper understanding of the differences between Klaviyo’s special properties and the custom properties that you make yourself.
Now, it’s time to try it out! Check out our complete list of the do's and don’ts of custom properties at the end of this guide as another key resource to add to your Klaviyo toolkit. Then, see how you can use properties to create targeted content for customers that directly applies to your business’ needs. This is just another step in the direction of truly owning your marketing.
- Seeking more information to understand the profiles in your account? Head to our article outlining the Information section of profiles.
- Learn how to delete, merge, or export profiles.
- Use profile properties more effectively with advanced segmentation.
Dos and Don'ts for Properties