Why you want to import contacts?

Importing contacts from an external file lets you add new contacts or update existing contacts in the current project by importing them from an file outside of Dialog Insight.

Prerequisite and notes

Prerequisite
The file to import must be an Excel format (.xls or .xlsx) or in a CSV format (comma separated values (.csv)). The size of the file must not exceed 50 Mb. This file can be compressed to the ZIP format if needed (non locked with a password and containing only one file).
The project into which to import contacts must be opened.More info...Opening an Existing Project
If the project is new and you are importing contacts for the first time, you will need to first configure the project fields. More info...Defining Project Fields
Note : Importing contacts does not automatically create a separate group of contacts. If you do not create a group before importing, all imported contacts will be added to those already included in the project, with no distinction.

Clarification about consents
If you have implemented a consent center and wish to keep a record of consent dates to your communications, it is important that the contact file you want to import includes columns to hold the subscription fields and dates for each of your communications. If you do not add those columns, your contacts will not be shown as subscribers and therefore, messages won't be entitled to be sent to them.
As an example, if you have a newsletter, you should have at least the following:
- 1 column name Newsletter, in which you will enter either 1 for Subscribed, 0 for Unsubscribed and nothing if you do not know.
- 1 column Newsletter_Optin_Date, to hold the date of the opt-in/out, in the proper format.
During the import process, it is important that you assign those subscriptions fields and dates to the corresponding fields in the project for contacts to be registered as having subscribed and receive messages.

Access Path
> Contacts > Import

View how-to video



Read all the detailed steps

Define the import

  1. In the New import window, define your import:
    1. In the Source section, click on Browse to select the file that includes the contacts you want to import (.xls, .csv or .zip file).
    2. In the Destination section, specify where you want to import the content of the file:
      • In the contact list
      • in a custom table, that you will need to select.
        If the project has at least one custom table, a choice of table will be listed. If none, this option will simply not show.
    3. In the Import type section, how you want the content of the source file to be integrated in the project contact list .
    4. If needed, other import options are available if you display the advanced import options, shown when you click on this option in the upper right corner of the window.
      • In the Source section, you will also have the possibility to import contacts from another project.
      • In the Import type section, the option to import by replacing the existing contacts by the ones in the source file is offered.
        WARNING - This type of import deletes all the contacts existing in your database by the ones found in the file to import.
  2. Click on Continue.

Map project fields to external file columns

Mapping fields consists in matching the data in the source file to the data in the target file, that is the fields in a project.

There are two different mapping modes offered, but by default, you are always presented with the simple mode. If the simple mode options do not meet your needs, or are more complex, you can simply toggle to the advanced mode using the mode selector.

Note that if you switch to the advanced mode and save your field mapping, this import will always display in advanced mode further on.

Mapping in simple mode

The header of the mapping section shows the import type as well as the destination project for the import.

  1. If you have already imported contacts from the same source file, want to import the same data in the same order and have saved the format of the previous import, you can select this format under Apply the following file format so that fields are already mapped.
  2. Then comes the mapping of the data to import in the project.     
    Header
    Shows the first line of the external file to import, which most often is the header row.
    Samples
    Shows a value from the external file for the selected column. To show other values for this column, use the before and next arrows.
    Import into
    Shows drop-down lists from which you must select the project field in which you want to import the external file value.
  3. For each external file data you wish to import, select the project field in which you want to import the information.
    Note that you do not have to map all the columns in the external file, but it is mandatory that you map a column to all the required fields in the project.
  4. If an opt-in field has been selected to map a value from the external file, you must also specify the date on which you got consent to opt-in. To do so, you must map a date column to the Consent acquisition date field. Note that if you do not define this date at this step, it will be requested on the next step.
  5. Check the Keep this file format so that it can be used for future imports option if you want to save the mapping you just completed in order to use it later. If saved, you will need to provide a name for that mapping format.
  6. In the Opt-in management section, specify how opt-in information should be imported as it is crucial that you do not lose existing information.
    
Opt-ins only
Contacts for whom the opt-in field equals 1 will be subscribed. All other contacts (whose opt-in field does not equal 1) will keep their current opt-in state unmodified.
Opt-ins and opt-outs
Contacts for whom the opt-in field equals 1 will be subscribed, while contacts for whom the value equals 0 will be unsubscribed.
  1. Click on Continue.
  2. If you have selected an opt-in field and have not yet associated a date field from the external file, you will be asked to specify the date on which you want consents to be effective. This date will be written in the Consent acquisition date field of the project. Then click on Continue.
Mapping in advanced mode

The top part of the window indicates the source (external file name) and the target (project name) of the import, as well as the type of import applied.

  1. If you have already imported contacts from the same source file, want to import the same data in the same order and have saved the format of the previous import, you can select this format under Apply the following file format so that fields are already mapped.
  2. You can also enter a description of the import under Describe the file you are importing. Note that this description is provided for your information only and never shows in publications intended for contacts.
  3. Under the Assignment tab, map the data to import to the fields in the project.
    1. In the left side of the assignment box, which corresponds to the contacts found in the source file, select one column to map.
    2. In the right side of the assignment box, which corresponds to the fields available in the project, select the field into which you want to import the column selected on the left side.
    3. Apply the mapping by double-clicking on the desired available field (in the right side) or click on the arrow head.
      The field will then display in the left side, in the 2nd column, under the column header Import in the field.
    4. Repeat the 3 previous steps for each column to import.
  4. Clarification about consents
    If you have implemented a consent center and wish to keep a record of consent dates to your communications, it is important to assign the subscription fields and dates shown in your import file to the corresponding fields in the project. If you do not add these columns, your contacts will not be shown as subscribers and therefore, they won't entitled to receive messages.

    For the mapping to be complete, values MUST be assigned to the fields in the project that compose the primary key () and those that are required (). All the other values in the source file are not mandatory.
    However, you must assign a field to each column you wish to import in the project. If a value to import cannot be associated to a field in the project, as it does not show in the list of available fields, you can add a new field by clicking on Add a field. More info...Defining Project Fields

  5. To display the value found in a specific line in the source file, click on the - or + sign preceding the Show the content of this row label, until you see the number of the desired line. Since the source file often contains a header, you might not want the header info to be imported. If this is the case, displaying the value of a specific line will help you validate the imported data. For example, when displaying line 3, you will see all the values contained on line 3 of the source file, for all the columns. For example, if the source file has 4 columns, you would see something similar to the following:
    
idContact
123456
f_PostalCode
G1L 2G5
f_FirstName
Micheal
f_LastName
Simms
  1. If the source file contains a header, it is recommended to exclude that line from the import by specifying the line number under Number of header rows that will not be imported.
  2. Check the (missing or bad snippet) option if you want to save the mapping you just completed in order to use it later. If saved, you will need to provide a name for that mapping format.
  3. Once the field mapping is completed, you can assign static values to some fields or preview the result of the import. It is important to know that you MUST perform either of these tasks BEFORE processing the import and clicking on Continue. Once the mapping is processed, it is not possible to go back to perform those two optional steps.
  4. When all the import parameters are defined, click on Continue.

Assign a static value - Optional - For advanced mode only

Assigning a static value to a field provides the ability to always have content in a given field in the project, even if the source file does not contain a value for a column. For example, if the project has a field to hold the language but the source file does not contain a language value, you could decide to assign the value English to the project field Language if you know that the imported contacts speak English.

The assignment of static values MUST be done BEFORE the field mapping is completed, since once the field mapping is done, the system validates and processes the import.

  1. Select the Static values tab.
  2. The Assign a static value for the following field field will display a list of all the fields in the project that were not assigned.
    1. Select the field to which you want to assign a fixed value.
    2. Click on Add.
    3. Type in the fixed value to apply to that field for ALL the imported contacts.
  3. Once you have assigned a value to the desired fields, you must go back to the Assignment tab to complete the mapping process.

Preview the content of the source file - Optional - For advanced mode only

Previewing the content of the source file lets you see a sample of the source file, with all its columns. It might be useful to perform a preview to make sure you are mapping the proper column with the proper field in the project.

  1. Go to the Preview tab.
  2. Once you have previewed the source file, you can go back to the Assignment tab to complete the mapping process.

Validate the mapping

Once the mapping has been processed, an analysis is displayed in the approval window. You can see in this analysis the number of lines read in the file, the number of contacts added, updated and in duplicates, as well as the total number of lines not included in the import.

Depending of the analysis results, three options are possible:

  • If the analysis is clear of errors and the number of lines read is the same as the number of lines in the source file, you will be able to process the import by clicking on Approve.
  • If however the analysis shows errors, it will probably by caused by a bad mapping; you will want to correct your mapping errors or the static values assigned by selecting Reassign columns. The window display the type of error in the area called Error belong field and error type. To see the actual lines in error, click on Errors.
    • If you decide to reassign columns, you will need to start from scratch, unless you have saved the import format and reuse it.
    • If you display the errors, you have the option to export the lines in error in an Excel file to later perform the necessary changes.
    • Following a new mapping of the source file columns to the fields in the project, if the analysis is still not correct, it is recommended to reject the import and to start again.
  • When the import analysis contains errors, duplicates or no new or updated contacts, or if you have done a new mapping without success, it is possible that you have selected the wrong source file or import type. If this is the case, click on Reject import to cancel the current import and start from the start a new import process.

Review the import

Once the import is completed and approved, the review window displays various information about the processed import, such as the type and date of the import, the results, as well as the processing sequence. Following is a list of available functions:

  • View sample - This function lets you display a list of the contacts that were added or updated. It is possible to show the details and the history of each contact. This function is available only for a few days following the import, as it shows information from the imported file, which cannot be maintained too long on servers for its size is often substantial. 
    • The Details button displays the selected contact's profile. You can go to the next or previous contact by simply using the direction arrows.
    • The History button displays the history of messages sent to the selected contact, as well as the open dates and number of clicks for each message. Obviously, if the contact was just added, there will be no messages.
  • Errors - This button displays a list of the import errors, if there are any, and lets you export them to an Excel file to correct them.

Next possible steps

All the way down the import page you can see the most common steps that can be done following an import. You can therefore quickly go to the next step. The proposed steps are:

  • Create a message
  • Send a message
  • Perform a new import - This function launches a new import process. This function is always available, regardless of the import date.
  • Launch a campaign - This function launches a new campaign for the newly added contacts or adds the new contacts to an existing campaign. This function is available only for a few days following the import. It is possible however to start a campaign anytime using the Campaigns menu.
  • Create a group with this import - This option opens the simplified group creation page, with the criterion already added. By default, the group targets all contacts from the import, but you can edit this choice by targeting only added or edited contacts. Also, by default the group is named as the import file, but again, it can be changed if needed by clicking on the edit icon .
Description of import types
    
Import Type
Description
Complete
Import type that updates existing contacts in the current project and adds those that are not included. This option is the most common.
Add
Import type that only adds the contacts that are not already part of the current project.
Update
Import type that only updates the contacts that are already part of the current project.
Replace

Available only in the advanced import options.

Import type that replaces entirely the contacts in the current project with those included in the external source file; this option deactivates all contacts in the project and activates those in the external source file.

In addition, you can choose to reactivate contacts who have unsubscribed if they are present in the external source file by checking the related option.

Note: When importing contacts, the system determines whether it should update or add a contact based on the information contained in the field set as the primary key (often the email address). For example, if the type of import is Complete, the system will add all the contacts in the source file that do not have their email address already in the project and will update all the contacts that have a matching email address in both the source file and the current project.