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Manage contact fields

Use contact fields to store and collect information about your audience members, such as birth dates, age, gender, location, email preferences, and more. You can then use that data to create audience segments and personalize email content.

In this article, we'll explain the different contact field types, as well as how to create new contact fields, and edit or archive existing fields.

After you've set some up, they can be added to your signup form so that new subscribers can add information themselves. This will additionally add the fields to your manage preferences form, allowing contacts to update their own details.

Contact field types

There are a variety of contact fields you can use to collect and store information about your subscribers. There are also a number of data types to choose from, as explained below.

Contact field type Description

Short answer

Entries can be up to 255 characters long, and numbers, letters, spaces and symbols are accepted.

Long answer

Entries can be up to 2,500 characters, and numbers, letters, spaces and symbols are accepted.

Numeric answer

Use this field to store numeric values intended for use in segments or integrations requiring math. For example, data imported from our Shopify integration can be used to create a segment for customers with a specified number of purchase orders.

Numeric fields cannot contain any characters besides numbers and decimals, and it's best to import numbers only because a decimal is added by default. For example, "23" becomes "23.0". If you import "23.0" it will be changed to "23.0.0".

Tip: For numeric values such as phone numbers or age, use the "Short answer" field type.

Radio button menu

A short list of options, where only one option can be selected.

Select multiple

A list of options, where one or more options can be selected.

Dropdown menu

A dropdown list, where only one option can be selected.

Checkbox menu

A list of checkboxes, where one or more options can be selected.

Date picker

This data type provides three dropdowns, for month, day and year.

Postal code

The “Postal code” data type allows numbers to be entered and is intended for 5-digit US postal codes only.

Tip: For international postal codes, use the “Short answer” field type.

State

An alphabetized list of all the states within the United States of America. Displayed as a dropdown menu.

Country

An alphabetized list of widely recognized countries, displayed as a dropdown menu.

Create new contact fields

New contact fields can be added in two ways. You can set them up in your account prior to collecting or importing contact data. For example, you might want to set up some fields to include on your signup form. You can also add new fields during a file import.

Before you start, please note:

  • You can't change the contact field type after a contact field has been created.
  • It's not possible to delete a contact field, they can only be archived.
  • You can't create two contact fields with the same name, even if the original contact field has been archived.

Add a contact field to your audience

To create a new contact field in your account:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, then click Contact fields on the left.
  2. On the "Manage contact fields" page, click Create contact field.
  3. In the popup window, enter a field name, then use the "Field type" dropdown menu to make a selection. If it's a multi-option field, enter the options for people to choose from.
    create-contact-field.png
  4. Click Save.

The new field will be added to the bottom of your "Manage contact fields" page. You can reorder how these are displayed.

Add a new field when importing data

When importing contacts from a file, you are prompted to match each column in your file to a contact field in your account. Follow the instructions below to create a new contact field for data that you're importing.

Before importing a file, review the format of each column in your file. Certain contact fields, like date fields or multi-option fields, require the data to be formatted in a specific way.

  1. If you haven't already started the file upload, follow steps 1-4 for importing a file.
  2. Click the contact fields dropdown menu, on the left, then select Add field.
  3. In the popup window, enter a field name, then use the "Field type" dropdown menu to make a selection. If it's a multi-option field, enter the options that correspond to the values being imported from your file.
  4. Click Save, then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the file import.

After the file has been successfully imported, any new fields created will be added to your list of contact fields.

Manage contact fields

To make changes to existing contact fields, open the Audience section in your account, then click Contact fields on the left to see the "Manage contact fields" page.

Edit fields

After a contact field has been created, you can't change the field type or the shortcut name. However, you can change the field name and edit the options for multiple-option contact fields. To make a change, click on the field name to open the "Edit contact field" window:

Editing a radio button menu field with three option values for favorite color

Field name changes

You can't change the automatically generated "Shortcut name" for a contact field, because it's designed to be used with API calls.

If a contact field was originally named "Color preference", its shortcut name will be color-preference (as pictured in the example above). If the field name is later changed to "Favorite color", for example, the shortcut name will still be color-preference.

If you need to change the name of a contact field to display it on your signup form, you can optionally edit the display name on the form itself, instead of changing the contact field name.

Multiple-option field changes

You can edit the list of options available for multiple-option contact fields — for example, a "Radio button menu" or "Checkbox menu" — however it's important to understand the possible outcomes of any changes you make.

For example, when contact field values are used to create segments, the values are case sensitive. To use the "Color preference" example pictured above, let's say your original option values were lowercase, “yellow, blue, green”, but you later change them to title case: “Yellow, Blue, Green".

A segment created to group contacts who selected "yellow" as their color preference, would not include contacts with a value of "Yellow". You can get around this by adding another rule to the segment so that both "yellow" and "Yellow" are included, but the person creating the segment would need to know that the option values were originally lowercase.

Please contact support if you need some advice on editing option values.

Archive fields

You can't delete contact fields, but you can archive them. To do so, click the down arrow alongside the contact field, then click Archive field.

The contact field dropdown menu, showing the Archive option

That will add it to a list of archived fields at the bottom of the page. To reactivate a field, click the down arrow alongside the archived contact field, then click Restore field.

Reorder fields

You can customize the order that contact fields are displayed on the "Manage contact fields" page. To do so, click on the drag handle to the left of the field name, then drag-and-drop it in a new location.

Clicking and dragging a contact field row to reorder it

The display order of contact fields can also be changed via your signup form. Changes made to the form will overwrite the order set on the "Manage contact fields" page.

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