Data Studio FAQs

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What do the Media Download fields mean?

  • Clicked is when a Media Link is followed. If you add a link as a media item, clicking it will increase the Clicked count by one.
  • Downloaded is any form of downloading your content. If you upload a file (eg., PDF), either clicking a link to download it or loading a web page where it is embedded will increase the Downloaded count by one.

What do the Forms fields mean?

  • Viewed is the loading of a form in a landing page or website page.
  • Inserted is when a brand new form submission is recorded.
  • Updated is when a submission is recorded with an email address that's already in your submission list. If there are new or updated fields in the form submission, they will be updated on the contact record.

What does the “Enable message behavior data correlation” option mean?

When an Export is run, you specify the time frame you want results for. Enabling this option does two things:

  • It limits the results to messages sent in the time frame selected and generated for that particular Export
  • It includes response action (such as Opened and Clicked) up to 5 days past the end of the time frame.

You should use this option if the time frame for the report has messages sent at the end and you want the resulting actions (up to 5 days) to be included. You should not use this option if the report has actions from messages sent before the selected time frame that you want to be included.


Which email field should I use? Some of my email addresses are blank.

  • The Email profile field is what currently exists in your list in the field mapped as the System Usage Field for "Contact's E-mail Address."
  • The Recipient E-mail field is the address that was used for a particular sent message. If a contact was not sent that specific message, their email will be blank on that report.

Which data grouping option should I use?

  • If you're using Data Studio to export raw data to analyze (build pivot tables, use a BI tool, etc.), choose Detailed log data. You'll generate more rows which you can manipulate as you'd like.
  • If you're using Data Studio to generate a report to use as is, choose a specific field to use for data grouping. The data will be more presentable and digestible in an aggregated format.

What type of filter should I use?

Step 2 of the Export wizard uses inclusive filters:

  • Only pulls data from the assets, campaigns, etc. that you specify
  • Uses fewer resources, so will process faster and consume fewer Tokens
  • Allows for reports with greater time frames (multiple years)

Step 5 of the Export wizard uses exclusive filters:

  • Pulls all possible data, then filters it by the criteria you specify
  • Can be set in much more granular ways (logic works very similar to building segments)
  • More useful if you are not using a separate BI tool to sift through the data

Data seems to be missing from my Export - why?

If you have filters set in Step 5 of the Export wizard (Filters tab), try changing these or removing them altogether. There may be some logic in these filters that is not working as you intended.

Can I generate "all time" data for my Exports?

You may find that your data sets are too large to export several years' data at once. Adding "inclusive filters" (see above) may lower the size enough to make this possible.

To export several years of unfiltered data, you may need to break reports up into single years or whatever time frame will allow the report to run.

Why are fields red and black in the Data Set tab?

Data Studio pulls two different types of data: Facts (behaviors) and Profile fields.

  • Facts are any action/behavior that is tracked by Act-On. These are black.
    • Facts are associated to the email address of the contact making these behaviors.
  • Profile fields are any data that exist on your lists and contacts. These are red.
    • To add fields to appear here, they must be added as Standard Field Names.

How are uniques evaluated?

For all datasets (except website visitor traffic), the unique context is recid (recipient id).

For website visitor traffic, the unique context is cookieid (because of the large number of anonymous visits; besides, known visitors can also be identified by cookie id) Unfortunately, Data Studio does not reconcile cookie id, email addresses and recipient ids to identify a true unique.

If this is required, we recommend downloading the detailed log and using an external ETL process or BI tool to compute true uniques.

What profile fields are available for an Export if multiple lists are referenced?

  • If you select a set of lists for an Export using inclusion filters (i.e., if you select multiple messages that have been sent to different lists), all profile fields for those lists are made available for the Export definition.
  • If you do not specify inclusion filters in your dataset, only standard profile fields will be available.
    • However, an administrator can override the system and allow you to inject a custom profile field if needed.

Can I create a custom field or aggregate?

No, you cannot but an Act-On Customer Success Manager could create one on your behalf. In a future version, the creation of custom fields or aggregates will be supported natively as a self-service option.

Generating Exports

Is there a limit to how many Exports I can schedule in Data Studio?

10 data studio Exports is the standard limit. To increase this, contact your account manager.

Why did my Downloadable File Export disappear?

If you choose to run your Export as a downloadable file, it will not be stored in your account permanently. It will eventually be removed, though the timing depends on storage limits in your account and other factors.

We recommend setting up external Destinations instead so that your Exports will be available as long as you may need them.

What periods of data can I report against for On Demand exports?

  • For On Demand (or manual) exports, you can choose:
    • Specific date ranges
    • Relative date ranges ('Last X days')
    • All time
  • The date range selector appears when you are generating an Export (or Package) manually.


  • 'All time' includes all data available on your account for this dataset. It includes any available data for today (the day when you run the export).
  • An absolute date range must specify both start and end dates. If today (the day when you run the report) is included in the date range, the report will include any available data.
  • Relative periods of data do not include the current day. The most recent time available is the previous day (1 day ago in your account’s time zone. The maximum time available is 365 days.

What periods of data can I report against for Daily or Weekly scheduled Exports?

For Daily or Weekly Exports (or Packages), the Export (or Package) schedule determines the schedule:

  • If specific days of the week are selected, the export/Package runs on those days between 3am and 5am in the account’s time zone and retrieves data for the previous X days (based on the range you selected).
  • You can set additional date limits of 'After Date X,' 'Before Date Y,' or 'Between Dates X and Y' (this last option includes both days X and Y).


  • If a daily Export is scheduled with a time period of 'Last 1 Day,' it will run every day between 3am and 5am in your account’s time zone. The Export will contain data for the previous day.
  • If a weekly Export (time period of 'Last 7 Days') is scheduled to run every Monday, it will run between 3am and 5am in your account’s time zone. The Export will contain data from the previous Monday starting at 12am midnight until the previous full day (Sunday) at 11:59:59pm.
  • If a Package is schedule to run Daily, its child Exports will use this date range for data. Any different time ranges made on the individual child Exports will not be used.

How does the Monthly schedule work?

For Monthly Exports (or Packages), data is always retrieved for a full month. The Export (or Package) will always run on the 1st day of each month (between 1am and 3am in your account’s time zone).

As with the daily/weekly schedule, if a date boundary is specified, the monthly scheduled Exports (or Packages) always run within those bounds. Note however that the date boundary for monthly schedules specify a month and year pair. As an example, if a monthly Export is requested for July 2015 until November 2015, the first instance of this Export (or Package) will run on August 1st, 2015 between 1am and 3am in the account’s time zone (wherein data for the entire month of July 2015 will be generated). Similarly, the next run will execute on September 1st, 2015 between 1am and 3am and generate data for the month of August 2015. This will continue every month on the 1st day of every month between 1am and 3am until December 1st, 2015 where the last run will generate data for the period of November 2015.

What file formats can you Export to?

CSV, CSV ZIP, CSV GZ, or XLSX. We recommend using the Zip or GZ options for more exports, since they will process and download faster. (Note. The XLSX format is limited to 10,000 lines of output)

How do I identify the initiator of an Export or Package run request?

For an on demand Export or Package, you request for a run by clicking the GENERATE link in the Export (or Package) list view. In the Run Logs view, you’ll see your queued / running / complete job with your name (or the name of the requester) on it.

For a scheduled job, the initiator of the run is the system Export Scheduler.

What does delivery mean in an Export or Package definition?

This specifies how you would like the output for the processed Export or Package be delivered. The output could either be preserved by Data Studio for a period of 7 days for a manual pull download OR it could be pushed to SFTP destinations defined in the Destinations section.

Do you support emailing the generated files?

Yes. When specifying the destination of your export, there is a check box for Attach export output to email. (Please note that this option is only available for Excel formatted output; as a result, it will include up to 10,000 rows of data .)

Can I be notified when my Export (or Package) generation has completed?

Yes - optionally - via email.

Is exporting to PDF, HTML, XLS, JPEG, GIF, PNG, SVG, or any other file format supported?

Not at this time. The goal of Data Studio is to get you your data in raw form that you can then plug in to your favorite BI tool and generate polished visuals. Therefore, we haven’t focused on high fidelity output formats.

If a scheduled Package contains a scheduled (or on demand) export, what schedule is used?

The schedule of the Package overrides the schedule of the Export and drives the export. The Export (by itself) will run on its own defined schedule (or not at all if it is defined to be on demand).

The Package will drive another instance of the Export based on its schedule. It is quite possible that the Export may run twice on the same day (once for its own schedule and once when invoked by a Package).

If a Package contains an Export being generated as a zip or .gz file, do I get a zip inside a zip?

No - all child Exports contained in a Package will be generated as CSV files (even if the Export definition specifies its destination file as a ZIP or GZIP).

If a Package contains two Exports with the same output file, what happens?

A run time error would occur while combining the two output files into the Package archive. You will still be charged for the token cost of each of the successfully generated exports.

Should I join Package reports into a single file?

The option to join reports together in a Package may not work if you are joining different types of data. If you encounter issues with this feature, it's best to run the reports separately and then merge them outside of Act-On.

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