FTP Import to All Contacts

  • Updated

Automating contact updates from external systems can be made easier with Act-On's FTP import. 

New to FTP with Act-On? Please see our FTP Setup Guide to get started.

Choose File to Import

From All Contacts, you can set up a recurring FTP sync. Before getting started, configure your FTP client application to sync the file to the Act-On FTP server.

  1. Go to Contacts > All Contacts >  > Import Contacts.
  2. Select Import from FTP file.
  3. Select your file.
  4. Choose the file you want to sync from the list of files found in the FTP server & click Next.

Import Options

FTP Import Options.jpg

  1. If you want the contacts to be added to a directly selected segment, identify or create a segment. If you don't pick a segment, the contact will still be added to All Contacts.
  2. In Sync options, Set your sync schedule.
  3. Advanced options are less frequently modified. See the section below for more info.
  4. Check the box to agree to the acceptable use policy and click Next.

Map Fields

The next step is to map fields from your imported file to your All Contacts list:

FTP Import Field Mapping.jpg

  1. If the fields have the same name, they will be matched automatically.
  2. If a match is not found, select the appropriate field from the Act-On Contacts drop-down list
  3. If you don't find the field on the drop-down, check the box to Create a new field.
    • Choose a data type for your new field. If you are unsure, text is a universal type
  4. If you don't want a field to be imported, leave it unmapped.
  5. Review the Merge Rule for each field. This controls whether data is overwritten on existing contacts.
  6. Click Next to continue.

Review Import

The import summary reviews your selections:

FTP Import Review.jpg

  1. Click Save to finish the import setup.
  2. You can now import the file immediately, or wait until the next scheduled import time.

Advanced Import Options

FTP Import Options Advanced.jpg

The Advanced Options allow you to configure the following:

  • Line 1 contains: Field names or Field values.
  • Field Separation: Commas, Tabs, or Semi-Colons.
  • Field Value Quotes: Single or Double.
  • Default Merge Rule: Choose whether existing contact fields should be overwritten or only filled if blank. You can alter this on a per-field basis on the field mapping screen.
  • Match existing contacts on: Email or External ID.
    • If an external ID is used, identify the field. You must also specify a value for the "object type" field (such as contact, customer, lead, etc). The external ID and object type are used as a pair to match existing contacts. (See note below for more info).
  • Reject Rules: Reject incoming contacts if they are on your Opt-out, Hard bounce, or email suppression domains list.
  • Remove entries if not on the import list:
    • If you are matching by email, you must add contacts to a segment to use this feature. Contacts will be removed from the segment but not from the All Contacts list.
    • If you are matching by external ID and you are adding contacts to a segment, this feature will allow you to remove them from the segment.
    • If you are matching by external ID and not adding to a segment, this feature will allow you to remove contacts from the All Contacts list.
  • Contact preference: Import contacts as Opt-Outs, Spam complaints, or Hard Bounces. This helps you sync this type of data from other systems.

Managing FTP Syncs

If you created a segment for the FTP synced contacts, the info card for that segment (hover over the i) shows the FTP status, including the file it is syncing from. If you did not create a segment, you'll see FTP information in the "All Contacts" segment.

You can use the segment menu to Manage FTP Sync - this allows you to edit the sync definition or schedule. Use the  menu at the top of the sync definition page to delete the sync definition completely:

FTP Sync Segment Menu Manage FTP.jpg

The import log, accessible from the FTP setup page, will show you a history of all imports with success or failure information and the number of contacts added and updated.

Using External ID to Match Contacts

If you are uploading contacts from an external system, you may want to match on an external ID such as a contact ID, account ID, etc. Act-On uses a system field called 'External ID" to hold this data. This, combined with a field called 'Object Type', forms a unique pair that Act-On uses to match to an existing contact. 

You do not need to create these fields in your All Contacts list - they are automatically added.

To match via an external ID field instead of e-mail, on the import options screen expand the Advanced Options and set Match existing contacts to External id:

FTP Match External ID.jpg

From the drop-down list, pick the ExternalID field in your uploaded file. You will not need to map this field on the field mapping screen, as it will automatically map to Act-On's system field ExternalID. 

ObjectType is used as a system field in conjunction with ExternalID. You can fill in your choice of identifier here such as "member", "client", "customer", "contact" etc. To protect CRM data from accidentally getting overwritten, Act-On will append "custom" to the front of any ObjectType you designate.   

If you have contacts with different designations in the same file, such as some leads and some contacts, set them all to one type here and import a different field to track your designation. 

If you are trying to append data to existing CRM data, contact Act-On to activate the "Do not append "custom" prefix to ObjectType uploads option. This will enable you to match the CRM's object type.  Be sure to use the correct CRM External ID. In SalesForce, for example, the LeadId is 15 characters while the ExternalId is 18.  Importing with the wrong ExternalID will cause duplicate contacts. You can see what Act-On has for the ExternalId for any individual contact by looking at the Contact Report Info tab.

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