As well as the default contact data fields already in place in your address books (such as FIRSTNAME, FULLNAME, LASTNAME, etc.), you can create new contact data fields to capture and/or contain additional information about your contacts. The more useful data you can collect on your contacts, the more you can usefully segment, target and personalise your campaigns and in turn generate better response rates.
You can have 246 contact data fields of type 'text', 50 of type 'numeric', 49 of type 'date/time' and 50 of type 'yes/no'. In addition, contact data fields of type 'text' can contain up to 255 characters.
When you create a contact data field, it is added to all of the address books in your account. This way, all of your address books maintain the same structure.
To create a new contact data field, follow these steps:
- Select Contacts > Contact data fields from the navigation bar.
- Click on the My data fields tab and then click on the New data field button. The 'Create new field' window is displayed.
- Set for each data label:
- Name: Enter a unique name for this new contact data field. You can't use spaces between words when creating a name for a new field.
- Data type: This is a dropdown from which you can choose 'Text', 'Numeric', 'Date' and 'Yes/No'.
- Default value: You can optionally enter a default value for the contact data field in the event that it's not populated after uploading your data. For example, if this was a 'Yes/No' data type, you might set the default value to 'No'.
- Access: These radio buttons determine who has access to updating this field.
- 'This data label is public' – will allow your contacts to view/amend the data you hold on them for this contact data field.
- 'This data label is private' – will allow only users of your account to view/amend data held in this contact data field.
- Folder: If you've organised them in such a way, you can choose which folder you want to save the contact data field in.
- When you have completed the screen, click on the Save button.
You can also create contact data fields in the 'Data fields' tab when viewing and editing a contact.
You can delete any of the contact data fields you’ve created by clicking on the red cross alongside it, under ‘Delete’. You can’t delete any of the default contact data fields however (FIRSTNAME, FULLNAME, etc.).
Warning - Please bear in mind that deleting a contact data field will also mean deleting any of the data you already have stored under it. In which case, you need to be certain that you don't mind losing the data prior to deleting a contact data field.
If you don’t want to lose any data, export your contacts from the application and then import the data back in after having created the new data field or fields you require.
You can change the non-critical properties of contact data fields but you aren't allowed to edit the critical properties. If you were able to, it would cause severe problems for your account and our system.
Critical, non-editable properties are:
- Data type
Non-critical, editable properties are:
- Default value
To change the non-critical properties of your contact data fields, click on the ‘Properties’ icon next to the field of your choice. The box will appear allowing you to set or change the default value and also to change the contact data field to either private or public. Click Save after you have made your change or changes.
There is a good reason why we don't allow you to edit critical properties: if you were able to, existing information you held such as date and time values, stored correctly under a ‘date’ data type, could be then switched to a ‘text’ data type, for example, at which point data type recognition would fail. Furthermore, if you were able to change the name of an existing contact data field, then any existing data mapping would break. This is why they are strictly non-editable.
If you’re looking to change a name and/or data type, the best way to do this is to delete and then recreate the data field, whilst exporting and then re-importing any data that you wish to keep, as outlined above.
You do have the ability to change your view on the contact data fields page. Click on Display to open up the viewing options.
Here you have the choice to sort contact data fields into ascending/descending order by way of a certain attribute ('Name', 'Data type', 'Access', 'Created' or 'Modified'), determine how many contact data fields are listed on the page, and select which columns to make visible. Click Submit to apply your changes.
For more on contact data fields, you might want to check out How do I create a default value for a contact data field?