How to use "Starts with" operators in ActiveCampaign segments

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ActiveCampaign segment operators are powerful tools for expressing exactly which contacts you want to meet your segment criteria. The “starts with” and “does not start with” operators allow you to quickly match values you have used within text fields. While similar to the “contains” operator, “starts with” limits its focus to the start of a text field rather than any text that matches within the field. This eliminates the possibility of accidentally matching values in the middle of your text.

This article will help clarify how the segment “starts with” and “does not start with” operators work within ActiveCampaign.

Learn more about how to create segments in ActiveCampaign.

Take note

  • “Starts with” and “ Does not start with” operators are case insensitive
  • Segment “starts with” and “does not start with” operators are currently only available for select conditions (listed below) (link to section below)
  • In situations where “contains” and “starts with” could be used interchangeably, it is best practice to use “starts with” as it should process faster
  • Aside from overall condition limits, there is no specific limit to the number of “starts with” operators you can use within a single segment
  • There is no limit specific to the number of characters that can be used in a single “starts with” value
  • The minimum character limit for a “starts with” value is one character

Segment “starts with” and “does not start with” availability

Segmentation “starts with” and “does not start with” operators can be found in most of the segment builders in ActiveCampaign, and can only be used within specific conditions that support “starts with” functionality. Below is a list of segment conditions and segment builders that support “starts with” conditions. 

Segment conditions that support “starts with” functionality:

Condition Support "Starts with" Operators

Custom Fields (text input & text area field types only)

  • Custom contact fields
  • Custom account fields
  • Custom deal fields
  • Custom object fields (including custom-object-based integrations)
Starts with
Does not start with

Standard Fields

Contact Details

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Full Name
  • Phone

Account Details

  • Account name

Deal Details

  • Has deal with title
Starts with
Does not start with

Geography

  • Zip Code
  • Area Code
Starts with
Does not start with

Site & Event Data

  • Has visited url/domain
  • Has not visited url/domain
  • Was referred from url/domain
Starts with
Does not start with

 

List of segment builders that support multi-select conditions:

Segment Builder Location Support "Starts with"
Advanced Search Yes
Automations Yes
Campaigns Yes
Conditional Content No
Lists Yes
Scoring Yes

 

List of field types that do not support “starts with” functionality:

Condition Types Supports "Starts with"
Non-text input or text-area field types (includes both standard & custom fields)
  • Date, datetime
  • Number, currency
  • List boxes, multi-selects, radio buttons, checkboxes, etc.
No
Complex data objects
  • Tags, lists, campaigns, emails, links, forms, automations, goals, site messages, ecommerce stores, custom events, attribution data, etc.
No
Other standard fields
  • Email
  • Country, state, city
  • IP address
  • etc.
No

How to create a segment with “starts with” and “does not start with”

To begin using “starts with” and “does not start with” operators:

  1. From a supported segment builder, select a supported “starts with” segment condition.
  2. Once a selection is made, you will see the “starts with” and “does not start with” operators available in the dropdown. Click on the operation you want to perform.
  3. Fill in the text value of the operation to complete the condition
  4. Depending on your segment builder, click “Next” or “Search” to complete the segment.

Example Starts with operator in the segment dropdown.png

“Starts with” operator definitions

"Starts with" Operator Definition
Starts with Contacts who’s field values start with the provided text string. Includes field values that match the entire text string. All characters in the provided text string must match (not case sensitive) starting from the beginning of the field value.
Does not start with Contacts who’s field values do not start with the provided text string. Starting from the beginning of the field value, if any character in the provided text string does not match (case insensitive), then that contact will be returned.

Examples using the “starts with” operators

To help explain how each of the operators works in a segment, we are going to use the following example using contact zip codes:

  • Jane Doe - Lives in downtown Chicago (Zip code: 60602)
  • Martino Doe - Lives in broader Chicago (Zip code: 60654)
  • Macy Doe - Lives in Indianapolis (Zip code: 46204)

Below is a walkthrough of how each of these contacts would appear in an advanced search with each operator:

"Starts with" Operator Use Case in Practice
Starts with Let’s segment for contacts that live within the broader Chicago area: specifically, zip codes that start with “606”. Instead of creating a condition for each individual zip code, you can create a single condition where the zip code starts with “606”.
Running this segment will return contacts: Jane Doe and Martino Doe.
Does not start with Let’s segment for contacts that live outside the broader Chicago area: specifically all zip codes other than those that start with “606”. Instead of creating an “is not” condition for each individual Chicago zip code, you can create a single condition where the zip code does not start with “606”.
Running this segment will return the contact: Macy Doe.
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