The new “Merge Duplicates” feature allows you to, well, find and merge duplicate Contact Records. No more sorting through Contacts that share the same information; no more digging through messy lists to find your target Contacts. Now you can tidy up your marketing efforts simply and seamlessly.
Contact fields, Tags, Sequences, order history, open orders (subscriptions and payment plans) and credit card details from duplicate Records can all be merged into one Contact Record with the specific information that you choose to consolidate. The duplicate Contact is then deleted to remove clutter.
How to Merge Contacts
1. The “Merge Duplicates” option can be accessed through Contacts > Settings.
2. A field selection page prompts you to select the fields you wish to search for duplicate Records. All fields must be an exact match to be considered a duplicate. In the example below, both Contacts, a husband and wife, share an email address.
Email Last Name First Name
firstname.lastname@example.org Jefferson Thomas
email@example.com Jefferson Martha
Here are the possible outcomes:
- Select only the Email field: The two Records are matched as duplicates.
- Select Email and Last Name fields: the Two Records are matched as duplicates.
- Select the Email, Last Name and First Name fields: The two Records are not a match and will not display as duplicates.
- Select the Email and First Name fields: The two Records are not a match and will not display as duplicates.
3. Next go to the View Matches screen. Here the duplicate Contacts found via field selection are displayed. In addition to the fields selected to check for duplicates, this screen also displays these fields:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Company Name
4. Use the Actions menu to export (download) or permanently delete any Contacts shown in this screen. Now click Next to start merging Contact Records.
5. On the Merge Contact screen, the duplicate Contact information appears in the left and right columns, while the center column displays the new Contact information.
6. First, click the individual fields that you want copied to the center column. Now choose to either:
- Replace All: Overwrites all data in the center column with the selected data.
- Combine All: Fills blank fields but does not overwrite data already in the center column.
7. When finished, click Merge and continue to create the new merged Contact and start configuring the next duplicate pair for merging. On the last merge pair, clicking Finish creates the new merged Contact and exits the function.
8. All information you have selected is merged into the oldest Contact Record and the newer, duplicate Contact is deleted.
Things to Note:
- If the two Contacts are on the same Sequence, the merged Contact is subscribed to the Sequence on the latest step (the merged Contact will not repeat any step).
- Open orders (subscriptions and payment plans) are merged to the new Contact.
- Purchase history and all transactions are merged to the new Contact.
- For credit cards, the card with the most recent successful transaction is used for the new Contact.
- Creating the new Contact does not trigger any global Rules.
- If one of the Contacts is in a Partner Program you can choose to have the new, merged Contact in the Partner Program as well. However, the Partner will need to obtain new Promo Tools (as the old tools are tied to their old Contact ID).
Why can’t you just make a button I can press to do it all in the background?
We know your customer data is extremely valuable and we want you to have the most control over the process as possible. We’re huge fans of automation (of course), but some things require human judgement.
Why do you allow duplicate Contacts at all? You should prevent me from entering a duplicate in the first place.
There are many situations where a duplicate might be wanted, such as a husband and wife team or a small business team that shares the same email account. We allow duplicates to be entered manually or imported with the “Create New Entry” field for those cases.
I want more control over what is merged. Why can’t I choose the credit card number to use instead of automatically selecting the card with the latest successful transaction?
We want to provide you with the most control possible over the process, but some parts had to be automated.
I really want to be able to have my husband/wife/parents/children in separate Contact Records but under a primary Contact Record that handles all the billing, etc. Why can’t I do that?
The Contacts collection is designed as an efficient, responsive database that performs a lot of actions very quickly. But we are listening, and do have a killer new feature coming soon that will allow a lot more flexibility. It’s called Custom Objects and it will allow related information — like that husband and wife — to be stored with a “parent” or “master” Record in the Contacts collection.
Sign up for the Ontraport Blog weekly review to stay up-to-date with all our new feature launches. Also, like us on Facebook.