Looking for a marketing automation tool for your mobile/web app? Customer.io is one of the most alluring options around. Trust me on this, Customer.io is all you need and that, at a very competitive pricing with plans starting from 100$ a month for 15000 profiles. This tool is especially helpful for SaaS based mobile or web apps and should be preferred for this vertical.

To start with, let’s define the product. Customer.io is a B2C marketing automation tool that enables personalized interaction with customers through multiple channels like email, sms, push notifications, web push and slack messages using webhooks. Customer.io is a reliable tool with a powerful rules engine and a fast UI that offers a lot of customization options. Sounds cheesy, eh? Well, there are some limitations and disappointments too. We’ll talk about them in detail later.



Contact management & Rich user profiles. Customer.io has a good contact management system which is a basic feature found in any email marketing service. What takes Customer.io to the next level is the rich user profiling its capable of doing with custom attributes that can be configured to capture various user details like birthdays, marital status, location or anything that is being captured in the mobile or web app. Additionally, you can see all the previous interactions with the customer, their response, and important activities performed on the app like subscribing for an add-on service, upgrading the plan, etc. This facilitates an unified full view of a customer with all the relevant information on one screen.

Segmentation. Segmentation is an integral part of any marketing automation tool. Customer.io as well allows segmentation of contacts based on their behavioral data (pageviews, events, email activity) or any associated attribute like age, subscription plan, etc. You are gonna love this feature if you are implementing automation the first time, just for the control it gives you over targeting right marketing messages to the right people allowing you to develop 1-on-1 personalised conversation through various channels. Here’s an example

Rules Engine. Rules Engine facilitates trigger based messaging across channels.

Used for Autoresponders and transactional emails like invoices, password resets along with user notifications based on in-app user activities. Customer.io features an advanced rules engine that allows it to trigger messages through email, sms, push notifications and slack messages. All you need to setup next level autoresponders.

Workflows. Customer.io allows building workflows so that personalized interactions can be orchestrated for users at various stages of their journeys. Workflows automate drip campaigns prompting users to take certain actions on the app (generally a revenue generating conversion).

Design & personalization using liquid templating. Customer.io has inbuilt email templates which can be edited using an inbuilt visual editor to suit the requirements. Alternatively, you can also upload your own HTML. Custom attributes like first name, current plan, age, etc, can also be inserted using liquid templating. Liquid templating allows retrieving data from a database, which in this case is the custom attributes.

Analytics. Customer.io offers a decent analytics platform which focuses on email/notifications/SMS data like opens, clicks, etc along with conversion tracking and attribution. Analytics can be used to identify trends and accurately measure performance of campaigns. It gives a detailed view of how user is interacting with the app mapping their journeys.

A/B testing. Customer.io facilitates A/B testing for subject line, from address, content, timings. The results can be analyzed and insights can be implemented for optimized performance.


What actually is at offer here (Benefits)

‘Signing up a customer is easy, but so is customer never coming back’. Customer.io aims at solving this problem. This tool is best used for mobile/web app based SaaS products. It helps in Customer onboarding, improving feature adoption and maximizing retention. This is achieved by sending more relevant messages through channels like sms, email and push notifications using segmentation of users based on user attributes and website data. Messages are also automatically triggered based on real time events in the app using ‘rules engine’. That means messages can be triggered when user performs some action in the app. Isn’t that just what you have been looking for!? Customer.io uses webhooks for integration with any API. This allows easy integration with Salesforce, Trello, Zendesk etc.



  • Easy to use interface with lots of customization options.
  • Automatic behaviour triggered communications across channels.
  • Ability to segment users for targeting.
  • Analytics to find out trends and measure performance.
  • Makes available the complete picture of customer communication showing all the important activities performed by the user along with all the previous interactions.
  • Great for bulk emailing and drip campaigns.
  • Very good and helpful Support team.
  • Free trial available (no credit card required).



  • Doesn’t Supports pulling data from external sources.
  • Doesn’t supports merger of duplicate profiles.
  • Knowledge of HTML & CSS is required to compose good looking mailers. Visual editor is not upto the mark.
  • Branching is not supported for workflows.


Consider going in for Customer.io if

  • You are offering a SaaS product.
  • You want to automate transactional emails.
  • You want to improve the performance of your email campaigns.
  • You are a small to mid-size company that doesn’t require other features of a full-fledged marketing cloud like campaign manager, DMPs, social media management tool, etc.
  • You are satisfied after a 1 month free trial.


Don’t go for Customer.io if

  • You have a very large customer database (you might be better off using a tool with integrated DMP).
  • You require advanced data analysis tool.
  • You need to build fairly complicated workflows with IfElse logic (Branching in workflows is not supported).
  • You think automation is magic and things will start going upside just by implementing the tool. Proper implementation and marketing creativity is the key to success.



Every tool is not a fit to solve marketing problems specific to an organization, or a class of organizations based on industry, size, etc. The choice of tool should depend on specific requirements. Close integration of email/sms/push marketing with your website visitors enabling fairly sophisticated workflows and triggers, is the most noteworthy feature of Customer.io that separates it from many of the competing email marketing apps and companies. If the tool fits your marketing needs and other requirements, it’s a good tool to have with robust performance. The company as well is constantly innovating so you can expect significant improvements and feature additions over time.  Integration with Segment is available which enables easy data flow and makes Customer.io implementation easier.  A free 30 days trial is available without the need to enter credit card details. So, if you are considering buying this tool, you can take a free trial and evaluate if it fits your requirements. Paid plans start from $100/month. Top competitors are  retain.cc, intercom, getvero. You have got to check them out too. All of them have their USPs worth taking a look. Hope this review will be helpful in making this very important choice of selecting the best suited marketing automation tool for your business.


Author Akshay Anurag

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Tauqueer says:

    What does customer.io offer that AgileCRM doesn’t at a fractional cost?

    • Akshay Anurag says:

      Hello Tauqueer,

      Both can be a preferred tool depending on specific marketing requirements. So, I will outline the differences and their impact.
      Firstly, AgileCRM is more of a B2B marketing automation tool while Customer.io is a fully B2C focussed tool. So, the pricing plans too have been designed accordingly, with Customer.io offering larger number of contacts and much larger number of Emails/messages per month.
      Customer.io is more geared towards mobile apps, although its good enough for web apps too. As AgileCRM is a B2B tool, its generally implemented on landing pages and websites. It can be used for mobile apps too but is not at all fit for a B2C mobile app.
      Customer.io is deeply integrated with the app making creation of very specific user segments possible based on user behaviour on the website. In AgileCRM such segments based on detailed in-app user behavior and events is not possible.
      For a B2B organisation, AgileCRM is the preferred tool, whereas for a B2C mobile/web app based platform Customer.io is the preffered tool.

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