Real-time Segments

A segment type that allows for retargeting on the next page view. The segment evaluation is done in-browser rather than server-side, so it is handled differently than other segment types. Real-time segments are often used for site personalisation, owned and operated audience targeting, and may also be sent to real-time activation partners.

Please note that only data that is collected in the browser can be used for Real-Time segments, page attribute, events etc. Data from first-party imports or 3rd party providers can not be used in Real-Time segments.



How do Real-time segments work?

Real-time segments allow a browser user to qualify for the segment and become immediately targetable; the segment ID is written to the browser's localStorage and available for targeting on the very next pageview. 

Note: Segments will not remain in localStorage across subdomains.

Membership in a segment looks at the conditions on a single page view. The user then stays as a member of the real-time segment for 72 hours.

How do users qualify for a Real-time segment?

Only users that qualified in the past 72 hours are counted for the segment membership for segment activation.


  • Day 1: Real-time segment sees 10 new users. Population in the UI the next day = 10  
  • Day 2: Real-time segment sees 5 new users. Population in the UI the next day = 15
  • Day 3: Real-time segment sees 5 new users. Population in the UI the next day = 20
  • Day 4: Real-time segment sees 5 new users. Population in the UI the next day = 15 (10 from Day 1 removed, 5 from Day 4 added)

When targeting the segment via Onsite activation, the available devices will be from the last 72 hours, though.

How often are Real-time segment populations refreshed?

Real-time segment populations are computed daily from the data that Salesforce Audience Studio receives from pixel.gif. 

The Control Tag identifies users who fall into a Real-time segment. That information is then pushed to pixel.gif and the population will update in the UI the following day. Therefore, the UI will always show yesterday's population.

The "weekly" setting that can be seen on the activation screen does not apply for real-time segment. The population is always computed daily, showing all users that have qualified for the segment in the last 3 days (=72 hours).

What are the targeting requirements for Real-time segments?

  • The segment is automatically enabled for Onsite activation
  • For O&O, the Audience Studio O&O snippet must be implemented on the page with key value set up. This is the piece of code that drops the segment and User ID values in local storage. Please reference the Implementation User Guide for more information.
  • For off-site activation, you must have a real-time offsite activation partner enabled (e.g. Google DV360 and The Trade Desk)

Note: Real-time segments are only available for onsite (O&O) targeting and activation partners that are participating in real-time activation.

Are there any rule limitations associated with Real-time segments?

For a user to qualify for a Real-time segment, all the rules for the segment must be true in a single pixel.gif call. Real-time segments are computed as a whole segment and not at the rule level, so you will not see populations for the individual segment rules. To see populations for the underlying rules of a Real-time segment, create a Standard segment with the same rules as your Real-time segment.

 Segment rules that can be used within a Real-time segment:

  • Page attributes (without frequency or recency)
  • User attributes
  • AND / OR operators
  • Standard segments (users must qualify for the standard segment first and see "Can standard segments be used in Real-time segments?" below)
  • JavaScript event data
  • Users of the Safari browser which blocks 3rd party cookies

Segment rules that CANNOT be used:

  • 3rd party rules
  • Integer attribute types
  • Imported data
  • Media attributes
  • Img pixel event data (the JavaScript event data can be used because it is written to localstorage)
  • Technographic and geographic rules (recommended to target in ad server)

Why isn't my Real-time segment showing a people population or rule populations?

Real-time segments are processed in the browser as opposed to our database, so we only have segment level populations. In addition, the process for calculating people population is outside of the browser process and because Real-time segments are processed in the browser, there are no people populations available in Audience Studio.

Can Real-time segments be pushed to mobile apps?

Real-time segments cannot be returned to mobile apps directly. Some of the real-time enabled activation partners can use real-time segments in Apps though, e.g. Google DV360.

Can standard segments be used in Real-time segments?

Technically, this can be done, however the use case for this is rare.

The primary purpose of a Real-time segment is to target immediately. For instance, if a user visits a checkout page and then abandons the shopping cart, you can serve an ad on the next page view to try to get the user to return and complete the purchase. Collecting users 30 days in advance with a standard segment and then applying those users to a Real-time segment disregards this “immediate targeting” use case. A standard segment must be enabled for onsite in order for a Real-time segment to be created from it.

Can Real-time segments be pushed outside of onsite partners?

Yes, real-time segments may be sent to activation partners that are real-time capable.

When a real-time segment is enabled for an approved partner, will the user will be targeted on next offsite page view, or is there a delay between data push, matching and activation? 

Real time segment activation is not guaranteed on next offsite page view. Segments are sent to partners within a matter of hours, however Audience Studio cannot control the user being targeted in their next offsite view, as this is under control of the DSP.

Can a real-time segment have the same name as a standard segment?

No, a real-time segment cannot have the same name as a standard segment. 


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