I'm new to SFMC (about 7 months experience so far) but have a very strong background in other MA tools such as Marketo, Communicator, and eCircle. Currently, my employer has many 'segments' that they send emails to and that they then collect analytics from via Google Analytics and UTM tagging on email links. From my past experience, the way that we are currently doing this is extremely inefficient but no one seems to understand why. So I wanted to reach out to the community to see if I simply have had atypical experience?

One example.

At previous engagements we would send an email to for example 5 geographic locations. So this entails, generally, cloning the email 5 times and updating the UTM tagging in the links unless some automation exists to do it for us. Then we have delivered to us a target list, one each for the 5 geographic regions. Then we set up and send the email. There is no reason then to assume that the email is delivered to someone who is not on the list to which it is being sent.

However, my current employer will have the same process, but then on top of that will have a laundry list of 'exclusions.' So one email may have 1 target list (generally a DE) and then up to 10-12 'exclusions.' This seems extremely odd...why would ExactTarget send an email to someone who isn't in the DE to which it's being sent? In other words...why is the exclusion list even necessary if the DE is only populated with the right people?

...and if the DE is being populated with the wrong people...why would that be?

2 Answers 2


Subscribers in exclusion lists/data extensions are removed from the final sending audience automatically. It's easier to use an exclusion list than it is to manually remove subscribers from the primary sending data extension.


There are a few options to exclude your contacts from your mailing lists in SFMC. For instance, in Email Studio, you can do that using send definitions. You can exclude suppressed subscribers from guided sends, user-initiated, or triggered emails by selecting the suppression to remove from the email send, when you select an audience in Email Studio.

There’s also a possibility of excluding contacts in Journey Builder. For that, you would need to apply AMP script, you may want to add it when you click the “Delivery Options” box and manually check "Suppress From Send Report". Here's the example of the AMP Script that can be used: enter image description here However, if you would like to exclude contacts from a certain campaign you may need to write a SQL Query. Your query should look like that ( depends on what source DEs you use as well):

  • Select the Subscriber Key fields from data view _Subscribers
  • Then create a LEFT JOIN relationship between the data extension "Example: emails to Exclude" and data view _Subscribers
  • Finally, make sure the WHERE Email field in data extension "Example: emails to Exclude" is NULL.

I hope it’s helpful.

We have also written an article on a similar subject for our DESelect blog https://bit.ly/3dawa6v.

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