Define and collect custom attributes

Custom attributes let you save customizable information to each of your subscribers and then build segments based on that information. You can use custom attributes in a wide variety of ways, primarily to send targeted campaign messages to customers grouped together by a specific interest and create segments that suit the unique needs of your business or marketing goals.

You can apply custom attributes to specific subscribers in your journeys by adding an Add custom attribute branch. The best use case for custom attributes are for Two-Way Journeys™, where you can prompt subscribers to text you a reply with a keyword, and then add a custom attribute based on their response.

Note: You can also manage your custom attributes programmatically through the Custom Attributes API.

For example, if you sell furniture, you can prompt subscribers to reply with the room that they want to buy furniture for. Then, each subscriber who responds with “patio” is given the patio custom attribute, subscribers who respond with “dining room” are given the dining room custom attribute, and so on.

Custom attributes have two components:

  • The custom attribute category, which houses individual custom attribute values.
  • Custom attribute values, which are individual values within a custom attribute category.

How do custom attributes work?


  1. When a subscriber reaches the Send conversational text message step in a journey, they're sent a text message prompting them to reply with a keyword or a number.
  2. If the subscriber replies with a keyword, the keyword is saved to the subscriber as a custom attribute, and the subscriber enters the path for that custom attribute.

    Subscribers who reply with 1 get the living room custom attribute, subscribers who reply with 2 get the patio custom attribute, and so on.

    Note: If the subscriber doesn’t reply at all, they go down the Else branch and receive a generic message and no custom attribute is applied.
  3. Subscribers are sent a different text message depending on their response to the conversational prompt.

Create custom attributes

You can create custom attributes and custom attribute categories in two ways:

Create custom attributes from Settings

To build a custom attribute from the Settings page:

  1. Sign in to Attentive, go to the Settings tab, and then click Custom Attributes.
  2. Click Create custom attribute in the upper-right corner.
    Create a new custom attribute opens.
  3. For Category name, enter the general type of information you want to collect, like “Room preference for furniture”. Your subscribers won’t see this, but the category name is what you’ll use when segmenting on custom attributes, so make it descriptive!
  4. For values, enter each custom attribute that you want to be able to apply to subscribers, like “office,” “living room,” and “bedroom”. Click +Add value to add additional custom attributes, or click the X to remove one.
  5. When you’re finished, click Create Attribute. Your custom attribute category can now be used in segments or journeys, and you can see it from the Custom attributes page in Settings:

Create custom attributes within a journey

To build a custom attribute from within a journey:

  1. While building a journey, click the + in a journey and select Add custom attribute where you want to collect a custom attribute.
    The Add custom attribute panel opens.
  2. Click the Choose attribute dropdown, and select + Create new.
    The Create new custom attribute window opens.
  3. From here, the steps are the same as when creating a custom attribute from the Settings page.

Create a segment from a custom attribute

Now that you’ve applied some custom attributes to subscribers, you can build new segments that target specific subscribers by their preferences. To use our example from above, if you added the office custom attribute during a journey, you can build a segment that includes only those subscribers who said they were looking for office furniture.

Also, heads up: this section assumes that you’re already familiar with how segments work in Attentive. If not, you may want to check out What is segmentation? And Create a dynamic segment before proceeding.

To create a segment from a custom attribute:

  1. Sign in to Attentive, and go to Segments.
  2. Click Create segment from the upper-right corner.
  3. Click Create next to Dynamic segment.
  4. For Choose condition, select A subscriber’s characteristics.
  5. For Choose characteristics, scroll to the Custom Attributes section and choose the custom attribute you want to build a segment from.
  6. Select one or more custom attribute values you want to include in the segment.
  7. Finish setting up the segment, and then click Create in the lower-right corner. Your custom attribute segment is now saved, and you can use it in both campaigns and journeys.

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