When importing contact lists to an already populated contact database, you might be concerned about creating duplicate contact records. Keela makes it easy to tackle this issue with built-in duplicate management tools.
Quick Tip: Looking for duplicates within your existing contact data in Keela? You're probably looking for our "Managing Duplicates within your Contact Database" article!
How does Keela identify potential duplicates?
Keela identifies duplicates during import by using the following information:
- Keela's unique "Contact ID" code
- Primary Email Address
- Full Name or Organization Name (if "Contact or Organization name" is checked)
Note: If you are importing separated names (First, Middle, Last) instead of Full Name, Keela will combine First, Middle and Last into Full Name upon import and use this for duplicate checking.
Why didn't Keela identify my duplicates?
The data in your database must exactly match the data in your import file in order for Keela to identify it as a duplicate. This includes spaces, so check your data carefully for these prior to import.
Example scenario: If a contact with the Full Name 'John Smith' already exists within your Keela database, and you import another contact with the Full Name 'John Joseph Smith', Keela will not identify this as a duplicate because it does not match exactly.
Quick Tip: If you imported contacts that did not match exactly (i.e. "John Smith" and "John Joseph Smith"), you can manually edit one of the records to have the same Full Name or Primary Email Address as the other one, then merge them using the "Managing Duplicates within your Contact Database" tool.
What happens when duplicates are found?
Once you've submitted your import, Keela will automatically scan your incoming import to find any potential duplicates with the contacts that already exist within your database.
When a potential duplicate is found between the data being imported and what already exists within your database, you'll be presented the duplicates for review, and have 3 options for handling the duplicate.
- Ignore - the data from the incoming import will be ignored, and the existing contact record will not be updated
- Separate - a new contact record will be created using the incoming data, leaving the existing contact (and potential duplicate) as-is
- Merge - the data from the incoming import will update the existing contact record
You can either individually choose an action for each record by selecting the button on the right, or use the "Ignore All", "Separate All" or "Merge All" buttons at the bottom of the screen to handle your duplicates in bulk.
Example scenario: If 'John Smith' already exists within your Keela database, and also exists in the incoming data that is being imported, here is the result of each action you may choose...
- Choose Ignore - The 'John Smith' within your incoming import will be ignored (no contact created), and the 'John Smith' that already exists within your contact database will not be updated
- Choose Separate - A new contact record will be created for the 'John Smith' within your incoming data, and the 'John Smith' that already exists within your contact database will not be affected. You will now have 2 'John Smith' contacts.
- Choose Merge - The 'John Smith' within your incoming import will update the data for the pre-existing record for 'John Smith' in your database.
Note: Once contacts have been merged, this cannot be undone. If you're not sure about merging, you can choose "Separate" and then review both contacts in your database, then merge them later using the "Managing Duplicates within your Contact Database" tool.
What happens to the data when records are merged?
When multiple Contact records are merged, the contact record that exists in your database is updated with information from the newly imported contact(s).
Exactly what information is updated depends on what kind of data it is, and what field it is in.
Contact Profile Fields
Single Value Fields
Information in fields that can contain only a single value is replaced with the newly imported data. Here are some examples of fields that contain single values:
- Full Name
- Preferred Name
- First, Middle and Last Name
- Birth Date
- Organization Position
- Primary Email Address
- Primary Address
- Membership Start or End dates
- Custom Fields with a single value type (Single Select, Number, Date and Time, Yes/No, Text)
Example scenario: If 'John Smith' already exists within your Keela database with the value of "Mr." in the Title field, importing a title of "Dr." for this contact will replace "Mr."
Multiple Value Fields
Information in fields that can contain multiple values is added to the existing contact. Here are some examples of this:
- Custom Fields which can contain multiple values (Multiple Select)
- Additional Phone Numbers
- Additional Email Addresses
Example scenario: If 'John Smith' already exists within your Keela database with a value of "2016 Gala Attendee" in the Tag field, importing a tag for "2017 Gala Attendee" will add this tag to the existing contact, and the contact will now display both tags.
Fields which cannot be updated via import
There are two fields that cannot be updated during an import. Instead, these must be managed manually by editing the individual contact profiles:
- Solicitation Status
- Global Subscription
Importing additional records to existing contacts
When you import and merge additional records to an existing contact, such as:
- Donation records
- Revenue records
- Volunteer records
The imported records will be added the existing contact. No records on the existing contact will be replaced during this process.
Example scenario: If 'John Smith' already exists within your Keela database with 3 donation records, and you import 3 more additional donation records for 'John Smith', the existing contact record will now contain 6 donation records.
Importing additional records when there are no existing contacts
When you import records into Keela, and there is no existing contact in your database with the same Full Name, Organization Name, Primary Email or Contact ID, Keela will create 1 contact record per row. Each contact will contain 1 record from your spreadsheet.
Example scenario: If 'John Smith' does not already exist within your Keela database, and you import 3 donation records for 'John Smith', you will now have 3 contacts called 'John Smith', each with 1 donation record.
This is why we always recommend importing contact records first, before importing additional records. This will allow Keela to find your existing contacts and add the records to those, instead of creating more contacts.
If you have already imported records without an existing contact and have multiple duplicates, no worries! You can easily merge them together after import using the "Managing Duplicates within your Contact Database" tool.