Personalisation Mismatches And Lists Not Appearing

Questions this guide will answer:

  • Why is my list missing when I go to schedule my campaign?

  • How can I check what personalisation I am using in a message?

  • How can I change the name of a custom field in my list?

Personalisation is a great way to connect with your customers and make them feel valued. This is why it’s so important to get it right.

If you navigate to the Campaigns tab, go to schedule your campaign by clicking Email or SMS, choose the message you want to send and then click Next, you may see this:


The message you select, if it includes personalisation tags, will affect the list selection that appears. This is so that you cannot send a personalised message to a list that does not contain the matching custom fields for each personalisation tag.

After having chosen the message you want to send, you’ll be presented with a sub-selection of your lists which are compatible with this specific message. In order for a list to appear when scheduling a campaign, there must be a matching custom field in each list for all personalisation tags in the chosen message. These must be exactly the same and are case sensitive.

If the custom field for personalisation exists, but there is no data in it for a particular email address, then it will default to the “Personalisation Fallback”. See our guide on personalisation fallbacks for more information on this.

In the example below, you’ll be able to see how you can identify the personalisation you are using in your message and compare this with the custom fields in the list you want to send to.

The first step is to open the message and to have a browse through its contents to spot any personalisation tags. In our example message, there is only one personalisation tag, which is “{~first_name~}”.


Another way of finding the personalisation you are using is to go to the third “Testing” page by clicking Next from the editor. Here, there will be a section titled “Personalisation fallbacks” which you can use to easily identify all of the tags that are in the message. This can be useful if you have a lot of tags or are not sure where in the message you have put them.

Now that you’ve identified the personalisation tags that you are using in the message, you’ll need to compare these with the custom fields in your list. To check or change the custom field name in the list, go to the List tab, find the list that you want to send to, then click Edit from the drop down menu.


This will bring you to a screen which allows you to change the name of the list and the names of any of the custom fields. If you need to change the name of one or more custom fields to match with the personalisation tags in the message, then do so and click Save.

Alternatively, rather than changing the custom field name(s), you can instead change the personalisation tags in the message to match them with what is currently set in the list. This approach is best if you have a signup form feeding into that list, because changing the custom field names would mean needing to update the sign up form to match, whereas changing the personalisation tags in the message would not.

Once everything is matching up, you can go to schedule your campaign again and you’ll be able to see the list you want to send to after choosing the message (as well as any other lists which match).

Personalisation can be used for many things other than first_name, which we have used in the example. They can be used to show information that may be different for each recipient, such as date_of_renewaltown or unique_voucher_code. In these cases, a personalisation fallback my not be appropriate and could cause the email to not make sense. In the worst case scenario, a critical piece of information could be missing which may raise concerns with recipients.

This is one of the key reasons that the platform carries out an initial validation check and only shows lists with a compatible custom field name for each piece of personalisation. What it cannot determine however, is whether a specific piece of personalisation is critical to the email’s purpose (such as for date_of_renewal) or whether it’s simply a polite greeting (such as first_name). In the latter case, blank fields would be non-critical and a fallback would not cause an issue, but with the former it could look quite awkward if it was blank or contained a generic piece of text. You may want to check that the field is populated for every address if you don’t think a personalisation fallback is going to cut it, otherwise the platform will allow you to send and will use the fallback in cases where data is missing.

It’s worth noting that, while this guide mostly speaks about email messages, the same principles apply for SMS messages as well.