How to Create a Filtered Data Extension in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

By Anthony Lamot

A filtered data extension is, basically, a filter that we add to an existing data extension to give us the records that we want. This tutorial will show you how to create a filtered data extension Salesforce Marketing Cloud (if you are not familiar with data extensions and how to create them, check out this video tutorial).

This post has been adapted from the SFMC Data Tutorial #06 by DESelect. This video series of how-to tutorials show you different techniques for managing data in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) that will make your life easier.

1. Setting the Scene

@ 00:30

I created this data extension and uploaded some data into it:

We have about 8 contacts here, we know the first name last name and we also know if they’re active or not. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could filter this? That’s exactly what we’re going to do!

Side note: filters are great as long as you want to filter on the information in just one data extension like this one. However, if I wanted to check if these subscribers recently made a purchase, then I would need to cross-reference this data to that purchase information; this scenario would require a million other filters, so filters will not cut it (like I said, filters are just based on one Data Extension). If you want to go across several Data Extensions, I would recommend you to not use cross-Data Extension filters, but instead, use SQL queries. Theses are hugely flexible, but do require you to know how to write SQL! Alternatively, you can use a third-party app, which is called “DEselect”.

2. Create a New Filtered Data Extension

@ 02:38

Having shown you the Data Extension, let’s go back to subscribers.

Click the create button (that you would have used earlier to create the Data Extension).

But as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not going to create a standard data extension. We are going to create a filtered data extension.

I select a source, which is, of course, that subscriber DE that I showed you just before.


3. Define Filter Criteria

@ 03:10

Once we’ve done that we get to this screen. This is where I can define filter criteria. On the left hand side, I have the fields that I have available in this data extension. I’m going to drag and drop active to the right hand side, and we’re simply going to say ‘active is true’.

Now, obviously, if you had older values or you want to filter on the last name for some reason, you can also do that. You can see there are several options (in the image below), but for now, we’re going to keep it very simple.


4. Measures

@ 03:46

There’s also something called measures.

Measures are about the interactions these customers have done, so not about the data that you have stored in your Data Extensions.

So, for example, you could say ‘let’s see what sends marketing have done recently’, ‘have there been unsubscribes, or have these people clicked in the last 30 days?’.

Filtering subscribers like this show you the general trends, but if you want to go further than this, or if what you want to do is not listed here you want either:

  • Write SQL queries
  • or, use a third-party tool like DESelect.

5. Save and Build

@ 04:40

Now that I’m happy with this filter, I’m going to click ‘Save and build’. This will allow us to create a new data extension, which I will call “subscribers 2 active”.

Here’s the finished product:

If you click on ‘records’, you will see that the four contacts that were marked as active have been saved here, which is perfect.


The Author

Anthony Lamot

Anthony Lamot is the CEO & Co-Founder of DESelect, a segmentation solution for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

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