The Intercom Glossary

These are words you’ll commonly see when you use Intercom

Emmet Connolly avatar
Written by Emmet Connolly
Updated over a week ago

Trying to understand something that's not defined here? Ask us in a message — and we can add it to the list 😄 


Active people

An active person is a lead or user who received a message from you, sent a message to you, or logged into your app or website, in the past 90 days.


An extension of an Intercom product or channel that connects Intercom with another platform. Some apps are visible in Intercom, while some work in the background.


An article is a content type in our Articles product. Articles are designed to hold answers to the questions your customers ask and search for, as well as product guidance and best practice advice. They can be added to collections that live on a public Help Center, or you can add them to conversations (you’ll need an Intercom product that has a team inbox to do this).

Article reactions

Every article has three reactions at the bottom, so people can tell you if the article answered their question. This lets you know how well your content is doing. Plus, every time someone clicks on a negative 😞reaction, they’ll be sent an automatic reply in the Messenger, giving you a second chance to solve their problem. Then you can use their feedback to improve the article for future visitors.


You can assign conversations to any teammate or team in your company and move it to their inbox. 

Attribute / Data attribute

A type of data that collects facts about a person relevant to your product, like what plan they’re on, or about your conversations with them, like when they last messaged you. Some data attributes come standard with Intercom, and you can create your own custom data attributes. 

Badge notification

An icon on the Messenger's launcher that lets customers know messages are waiting to be read.

Campaign rules

Each auto message in a campaign has its own rules, so it only sends when a user matches those rules. But each campaign has entry and exit rules, too. 

Entry rules can be based on any attribute or event: they work just like message rules. Exit rules are more specific: users exit when they either hit the campaign goal, or when they’ve received all the messages in the campaign (they never get the same message twice).

Campaign goals

Smart campaigns have a single, measurable goal, such as 'I want users to upgrade to Plan A'. When a user hits that goal, they leave the campaign — even if they haven’t gotten all the messages. The objective is to hit the goal, not read all the content.


One of our two in-app message types, a chat message is designed to start a one-to-one conversation. 


A collection is a group of articles that lives on a public Help Center — all part of our Educate product. Each collection organizes your articles so people can easily browse and find what they need. When you import articles from another knowledge base, we’ll automatically create collections for you based on your old site hierarchy. 


The companies feature lets you group all your users from one company together so you can filter and message them more easily — but you can also use it to group any set of users together.

Company profile

An overview of your data on users within a company — updated in real time — so you can see the history and current state of your relationship with the company as a whole.

Keep reading: Company profiles


Our simple interface for composing messages and replies to users or leads. You’ll see the same composer when you’re writing in-app, email or push messages, and when you’re sending replies from the inbox.


Contacts in Intercom are your customers — users of your product and leads you’ve had contact with.


A conversation happens when someone sends a message and another person replies. A user, lead or a teammate can start a conversation. You can see your conversations in your inbox in Intercom, and users and leads see their conversations in Intercom Messenger. 

Conversation list

The conversation list gives you lightweight control of conversations even if you don’t have our Inbox product. You can see and reply to conversations, see when your teammates are replying, and sort open, closed and snoozed conversations. You'll find the conversation list in Intercom's Platform (behind the Intercom logo).



You can send email messages from Intercom immediately, or set up automatic emails that send whenever people match certain criteria. When you get a reply to an email, it turns into a conversation in your inbox in Intercom. That means you can handle replies to emails and in-app messages in the same place.

Email forwarding

A way to route mail from any address (your own, or a team address) to Intercom, so you can reply to customers and keep your team’s conversation history in one place.

Email template

There are four standard email templates in Intercom. They’re designed to be simple, personal and focus on the message. You can also create your own template to completely control the look and feel of your emails.


A type of data about actions your users take in your product. Events record the first and last date something happened and how many times it happened. You can also add metadata to events to give them more context. 


A place to store and organize your auto messages. For example, you might want to store all your onboarding messages in one folder, and all your customer research messages in another.

Follow up action

Follow-up actions cause internal system changes and customer-facing content to appear. Actions include internal actions such as tagging a customer or creating a new Salesforce lead and customer-facing actions like sending a bot message or a Messenger app.


Help Center

A Help Center is the public knowledge base that comes with our Articles product. It holds collections of articles that help people understand your product. Every article on a Help Center is integrated with Intercom Messenger, so people can start conversations with you if an article doesn’t answer their question. That means they can help themselves but still reach out if they get stuck. 

Your Help Center is turned off by default when you start using Articles. You can customize it, point it to your own domain URL, then turn it on in Articles' settings.

In-app message

This is any message that appears inside your app or site. There are two in-app message types: a chat to start a conversation, and a post to tell a story.


Each product in Intercom contains insights for that product, which show things like how your messages are performing and how many conversations your team has handled. They’re tailored to help you optimize for the job your team is doing.


An installation is the process of setting up Intercom on your site or app. There are three easy ways to get set up.

Keep reading: Installing Intercom


An ongoing connection with a third-party product that helps you do more with Intercom, like keep data in sync or manage messages sent from another platform.


Last active status

This appears on your teammate profile in Intercom Messenger to show users and leads when you were last active on Intercom. It also appears in your profile in Intercom.

Keep reading: Last active status


The button in the corner of your app or site that launches Intercom Messenger. The launcher displays badge notifications so your users can see when they have unread messages.

Most apps show the standard launcher, but you can set up a custom launcher instead. Custom and standard launchers work independently — which means if you use a custom launcher, you should manually turn off the standard launcher in your settings, or you’ll see both on your app.


A person who hasn’t yet signed up for your product (or sometimes, a user who’s not logged in). If someone starts a conversation with you in Intercom Messenger, they are automatically saved as a lead. You can also import leads via CSV.



A saved response to a common question your customers ask that can launch inbox actions.


Mention your teammates by their @name in notes on conversations, so you can work together to answer questions.

Message Audience - Fixed message (One-off)

A message that sends immediately to a group of people (or even just one) based on criteria you define. Depending on how you choose to deliver the message, they’ll see it in their email inbox or in your app.

Message Audience - Dynamic message (Ongoing)

A message you write to users, leads or visitors that’s personal to who they are and what they do in your product or on your site. It’s automatically sent when they meet the rules you set for the message.

Message engagement rules

You can add rules to any message in a smart campaign to trigger the message based on a person’s interaction with a previous one. For example, you can trigger messages if people have or haven’t been sent, opened, or clicked another message.

Message goals

A single goal you can set for each message using any attribute in Intercom. You can see people who met the goal after receiving the message.

Message priority

You can prioritize messages in a smart campaign. Priority doesn’t mean messages are always sent in a set order. It kicks in when users match rules for a few messages at once, so they always get the one that’s most relevant first, and not all at the same time. You can override this, and send all the messages a user matches, whenever that happens. 

Message seen state

For you and your team, this is a record of when someone saw a message: 

  • You’ll see it recorded in product insights, message details, and in real time during conversations. 

  • Your users and leads also see this in real time, in some situations.

Keep reading: Message seen states


The Intercom Messenger lives on your site or your app so customers can message you in real time and see all their conversations with your team. Any messages you send to users are saved the next time they come back to the Messenger.

Keep reading: Messenger explained

Messenger app

An extension of Intercom Messenger that connects it with other platforms. Anyone can build their own app based on our Messenger app framework.

Minimum wait time

This is the ability to set a minimum time between messages in a smart campaign. Usually, the time between one campaign message and another is down to user behaviour — they do something that triggers another message in the campaign. But if they trigger two or more messages at once, you can set a minimum time between sending the first message, and sending another. 

Important: at the end of the minimum wait time, the message isn’t sent automatically: Intercom will check to see if they still match the rules. Their actions since then may trigger the rules for another message. Message priority ensures the best message is always sent.

Mobile Push

A message you send directly to a user’s mobile screen that links to a specific page in your mobile app. The message itself doesn’t appear inside your app.


A notification that there is content elsewhere — a message, or a feature in your app — that you want your user to see. Notifications can appear in the app, on a desktop, or on a home screen as a push notification. You can also send notifications to users by email. As a teammate, you also get notifications when you receive a message or are mentioned in a comment.



Paths are a group of bot messages and data attribute collections that end with reply buttons or follow up actions.


A longer message designed to tell a story, a post takes over your full screen when it’s open — though you can choose to notify your users more gently, with a snippet of text.

Product tours

Multi-page interactive guides you can design to take customers through your product step-by-step.

Push notification

A notification of an in-app message that’s pushed to your user’s mobile screen. It takes them back to your conversation in the Messenger.

Real time messaging

When someone messages you and you reply, you’ll both see an update instantly, in real time. You'll also see whether the other person is  online, when they’re typing, whether the message was seen, and their last active status (which will update to ‘Active right now’ or ‘a moment ago’ when you’re in conversation).


A set of emoji or thumbs up/down reactions you can use with note or post messages when you want simple feedback you can act on right away.

Reply Button

Reply buttons are pre-defined choices that a customer can select. Reply buttons are used in workflows and bots.

Reply type

Control how customers reply to a message. Depending on the audience of your message, you can choose from a text reply, a set of lightweight reactions, or a field to collect email.



A saved group of users or leads you create by filtering certain events or attributes. People are automatically added to a segment as soon as they match the criteria set with your filters.

Keep reading: How segments work

Snippet notification

A notification style that shows the first few lines of text from an in-app message. Snippets are low-interruption. We love snippets :)


Status labels and system messages that show that people are active on either side of a conversation. 'Status' includes the ‘is-typing’ text to show both sides of a conversation that a reply is being composed,  as well as each teammate's 'active' or 'away' status.


A manually-created group of people and conversations. You can create tags and apply them to people and companies, or tag replies within conversations when a user mentions a specific issue or topic.

Keep reading: How tags work

Team inboxes

In Intercom, every team has their own team inbox to easily manage conversations and collaborate: you can assign conversations in your inbox to your teammates, or to another team’s inbox. Team inboxes live in the conversations section of the app. 

Team profile

Your team profile appears in the Messenger. It shows: 

  • Photos of active teammates so people can see who’s mostly likely to respond.

  • How soon you typically respond (you can edit this or automate it).

  • An intro to your team, inviting people to ask a question.

Keep reading: Team profile

Teammate profile

Your teammate profile appears in the Intercom workspace and Messenger. Intercom Messenger displays just a few key elements — your photo, an intro to you and your role, and your last active status — so people know who they’re talking to.

Teammate notifications

Intercom can notify you by email, push, on your desktop or in your browser when you receive a message or are @mentioned in a note in a conversation. Every teammate controls their own notification preferences on their personal settings page.


A ticket can be used to capture request details and create tasks for internal teams to handle asynchronously. Used for complex queries that take time to resolve, require investigation, multiple steps, or collaboration. Tickets can be standalone or linked to conversations and are managed from the Help Desk.

Keep reading: Tickets explained

Text reply

A reply to a message that lets your users and leads write as much text as they want, and include attachments and emojis.


A signed-up, logged-in user of your product.

User list

All the people — users and leads — you track in Intercom. You can filter the people in the list based on events and attributes to send personal messages to them.

User profile

All your data on a user, updated in real time, so you know who you’re talking to. Displays in your conversations with that user, and on a unique page for that user in Intercom.



Any unknown visitor to your site who’s not logged in and has no conversation history with you. Visitors become leads once they start a conversation with you in the Messenger.


A workflow is an automation which can include customer facing bot messages and internal automations for your team, such as taking actions on conversations (assigning, tagging, snoozing, etc.)

Keep reading: Workflows explained


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