Klaviyo Campaigns vs. Flows – What’s the Difference?

Ryan Turner // August 12 // 0 Comments

Klaviyo has revolutionized the email marketing game with its advanced segmentation to target your email campaigns and automated flows.

Understanding the differences between, and benefits of, flows and campaigns will help you navigate Klaviyo more effectively and unlock the true potential of your email marketing strategy.

This guide will take you through the differences between Klaviyo flows versus campaigns and which you should use in various situations.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is the difference between Flows and Campaigns in Klaviyo?

Generally flows are emails triggered by some action or event taken by a user on your website such as buying a product, adding something to their cart, signing up, or browsing certain items. Email flows can be setup to send when any of these actions are taken. These events are called triggers. Campaigns are sent manually by an email marketer whenever they think is best, on a set date and time. Usually, everyone eligible to receive a certain Klaviyo campaign gets it on the same day. There are no action-based triggers for campaigns – you just send them whenever you like.

That’s the quick and basic answer. Now let’s take a more detailed look at flows and campaigns, and when to use each one.

What are Klaviyo Email Marketing Campaigns?

In Klaviyo, campaigns are sent to a predetermined target list or segment at a specific date and time. Campaigns are created manually, and you can either send them immediately or schedule them to go out at a fixed date in the future. 

Klaviyo campaigns come in handy during specific holidays or when you need to send newsletters, sale announcements, and new product launches.

Think of campaign emails as messages you just want to share once, or a couple of times within a short time period, with your email list to convey a specific message. There is no automation, and typically everyone gets the campaign at the same time – or within a few hours of each other depending on your sending strategy.

There are no “triggers” with Klaviyo campaigns like you may have seen with Flows. The message is sent at whatever date and time you feel is best – not when potential recipients complete some kind of action.

Popular types of Klaviyo campaigns

Product launch campaigns

When launching a new product, you need to inform your email list about the launch and get them excited about the upcoming product or service.

Generally, product launch campaigns consist of one to three emails that build up excitement, then give access to the new item. Usually a brand will use campaigns in this situation, because the message is time-sensitive. We want everyone to receive the campaign the day the product launches. There is usually no need to create an automated flow here.

Educational/blog campaigns

It is usually a good idea to use educational emails promoting helpful content as part of your wider email strategy a few times per month. Again, we want people to get access to blogs or other educational articles when they are published and timely – so we send a campaign to the relevant segment of the list, and everyone sees the new blog post as it launches.

Promotional campaigns

Another time-sensitive email category. Sales and promos are usually only relevant around a specific date, and will expire so we want to use campaigns for most promotions. If you’re running a sale this weekend for 48 hours, setting up one or more campaigns is the best way to make sure your customers and subscribers see it – all at the same time.

Newsletter campaigns

A weekly or monthly newsletter letting people know what’s happening with the brand right now is another popular use of campaigns in Klaviyo. You know that the newsletter needs to be sent each week or month, and the information inside is timely and relevant right now, so we use campaigns for newsletters. There is no need for automations or triggers here.

Using Klaviyo Campaigns – Summary

Whenever you want every recipient to receive a message at or around the same time as in the examples above, use a campaign. Also use campaigns for anything time-sensitive such as a sale or new product launch, or when you publish a new piece of helpful content you want to promote.

What are Klaviyo flows?

Klaviyo flows are automated emails that get sent out to customers or subscribers based on a set of filters and specific triggers. Once customers perform a particular action that meets your pre-determined conditions, they get added to a specific flow and receive an automated email. 

You can set up multiple Klaviyo email marketing flows that will constantly run in the background and send out the right messages to your customers at the right time. This is great for personalization.

After setting up your Klaviyo account, you can navigate to the flows tab to access the default flows, which provide suggested layouts and sample texts for flows of all kinds. You can edit the flows to fit your needs and customize them to be on-brand. We definitely recommend looking at the Klaviyo suggestions if you’re new to the software.

Some of Klaviyo's built in automations

We’ll explain the very basics in this guide, but you can learn a lot more about advanced flows and automations in our Klaviyo training program for Ecommerce stores.

Here are some of the most popular flows in Klaviyo:

Welcome flows

The Klaviyo welcome flow is used to introduce new subscribers to your brand. Emails in this sequence get sent out automatically to first-time subscribers to convert them to future customers. 

Order confirmation flows

Order confirmation flows are sent to customers as post-purchase communications thanking them for the purchase.

They may also share additional information about the order, such as the shipping method and address sent via SMS messages. 

Cart recovery flows

Whenever a customer abandons a purchase with products in the cart, an abandoned cart or cart recovery flow is used to send a reminder email. The email is automatically customized with the items in each customer’s cart.

Customer reactivation flows

Customer reactivation or win-back flows send custom emails to customers who have made a purchase in the past – but not for a few months – in an attempt to re-engage them.

You can customize win-back flows with different offers and timing.

Post-purchase flows

Post-purchase flows are automatically sent to customers a few days after an order, usually with a goal of encouraging them to buy related items. These are sometimes called cross-sell flows. We use this strategy a lot here at our email agency to help brands increase customer lifetime values.

Birthday flows

Birthday flows are set to send good wishes to customers on their birthday, automatically. You can also customize them to fit other custom events if the data exists, such as anniversary dates.

Using Klaviyo Flows – Summary

These are just the very basics of Klaviyo flows, but that should give you an idea of the difference between flows and campaigns. Remember that flows are always based on triggers when a customer or prospect completes a certain action, making them eligible for an email or SMS. Campaigns are sent manually, without triggers.

The main benefits of Klaviyo email flows over campaigns

They increase transactions on autopilot

Using emailing flows to send out unique emails embedded with links to your products will increase transactions over time, without any extra effort required from you once they’re set up.

They increase efficiency

Automated flows do most of the heavy lifting in sending out emails automatically, increasing efficiency. The result is an error-free system that delivers timely emails to the proper addresses at the right time.

They keep potential clients engaged.

You can count on keeping your potential customers engaged with your brand with using flows. Sending these regular emails to your lists increases customer loyalty and retention due to high levels of personalization, timing and relevancy.

The offer extremely high ROI on time/money invested.

This is probably the biggest benefit of leveraging flows. The ROI can be almost infinite. Build an effective flow today and it’ll perform for you on autopilot 24/7 for months or even years to come. Of course some optimizations and maintenance are required along the way, but the upfront work you put into developing flows now will pay off well into the future without much additional work required.

Campaigns vs Flows: FAQ

What is the difference between a campaign and a flow in Klaviyo?

In Klaviyo, email flows are automated messages sent out depending on specific filters and triggers. Campaigns are one-time messages that are manually sent to a select target group.

Between Klaviyo campaigns and flows, which generates the most revenue?

Both Klaviyo flows and campaigns contribute to revenue flow, and typically you can expect a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio in favor of campaigns. That is roughly what we see here on average across all clients in our Klaviyo marketing agency.

Klaviyo flows versus campaigns: Which is the best strategy?

This depends of course. Generally we see that flows generate a higher ROI on time/money invested, but it takes much longer to realize. Campaigns generate more overall revenue, but you need more of them. We like to send 2-3 campaign emails weekly for brands, while running anywhere from 10-30 flows. In this setup, campaigns almost always produce more sales, but do require more work.

If you’d like to learn more about how these strategies could help your brand, considering speaking with our Expert Klaviyo team who specialize in Ecommerce growth. We’ll give you a clear idea about what we can do for your brand, and the ROI you’ll likely see.

About the Author Ryan Turner

Ryan Turner is the lead strategist here at EcommerceIntelligence.com with over 6 years experience growing Ecommerce brands using proven Klaviyo email marketing strategies.