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Frank Hagan


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    Merge Duplicate Contacts

    About Merging Duplicates

    Applies to: All ONTRAPORT accounts.

    Merge Duplicates allows you to search for duplicates in your Contacts collection and combine them into a single Contact record. You choose which Contact fields to keep from each of the duplicates, as well as the Tags and Sequences to which the merged Contact will be subscribed. In order to make the process manageable certain decisions are made for you:

    • The Bulk Email Status is set to Transactional Only (opt out) if any of the merged records have been opted out. This means you will not be able to send email to the merged Contact if one of them was opted out.
    • If both are on the same Sequence the merged Contact will be subscribed to the Sequence on the latest step (no step is repeated)
    • Open Orders (including subscriptions and payment plans) are merged
    • Sales, payment and transaction history can be merged
    • The credit card with the last successful transaction will be merged
    • Partner Programs: The oldest Contact record is retained, and the newer Contact Record is merged into it. The merged Contact can only be in one Partner Program. You can select the Partner Program during the merge operation if they are different. Only the Promo Tools for that Partner Program are retained. If both Contacts are in the same Partner Program prior to the merge then the Promo Tools for both will continue to work. The newer Contact Record's Promo Tools will be redirected to the merged Contact.
    • WordPress Memberships: All memberships are copied to the merged Contact. If each duplicate Contact has a membership both memberships will appear in the merged Contact record. We do not merge memberships using different usernames into one membership
    • After the merge operation, the information you have selected is merged into the oldest contact record and the newer, duplicate record is deleted

    Finding Duplicates

    1. In the Contacts collection click Settings and Merge Duplicates

      Merge Duplicates
    2. Select the Fields to match for the duplicate Contact records and click Next
      1. To be considered a duplicate, each field you select here must be an exact match
      2. Selecting a single field such as the Email field will find the most duplicates

        Step 1

    Tips for Finding Duplicates

    The more Contact Fields you add to the Match by Following Fields selection the fewer duplicate records will be returned. Consider the Contact records for the following duplicate contacts (a husband and wife sharing the same last name and email address):

    Email Address Last Name First Name
    • Match on Email: Contacts are shown as duplicates
    • Match on Email and Last Name: Contacts are shown as duplicates
    • Match on Email and First Name: Contacts do not show up as duplicates (First Name is different)
    • Match on Email, Last Name and First Name: Contacts do not show up as duplicates (First Name is different)

    Note: Setting the correct criteria for the duplicate Contacts is important. The merge operation adds the information you select into the older Contact record and deletes the newer, duplicate record.

    Merging Duplicates

    1. Follow steps 1 through 3 above to find the duplicates you want to merge. When satisfied with the criteria, click Next. A recap of the duplicate contacts is shown. To reset the criteria, click Back.

      Step 2
    2. To download a CSV of the duplicate Contacts select them, click the Actions menu, then Export Contacts. To delete any of these Contacts permanently, select them and click Delete in the Actions menu.

      Export dupes
    3. To continue to the Merge screen click Next
    4. The first duplicate Contacts are shown. One is in the left column, and one in the right column. In the center is the information you want to keep in the merged Contact record.

      Step 3

      1. Click the Skip button to keep these two Contacts in the database without modifying them, and go to the next duplicate pair.

        Skip contact

      2. Click an individual value in either the left or right column to add that value to the merged Contact (the center column).

        Add value to center column
      3. Click Replace All to move all the data from that section into the merged Contact record, overwriting any blank or populated data in the fields
      4. Click Combine All to fill blank fields with the data from that section but not overwrite any data already added from the other Contact record

        Combine all values
      5. Add new values into the new Contact using drop downs or typing the information.

        Add new values
    5. When satisfied with the information shown in the center column click Merge and continue to merge the information and present the next set of duplicates.
    6. ONTRAPORT merges the information into the oldest Contact record and deletes the newer Contact record.
    7. Repeat the process for each set of duplicate Contacts. For the final set of duplicate Contacts click the Finish button.
    8. The Automation Log in the Contact Record will include the details of the merge operation.

      Automation Log showing Merge Operation


    Q. I have heard the force is strong with opted out contacts. Can you explain this?

    A. We always have to honor the opt-out, and the merged contact will be opted out, even if the contacts are using different email addresses. If you have this situation we recommend you copy over the information from the opted out record and simply delete it rather than merging it into the opted in record.

    Q. Why can't you just automatically merge all duplicates?

    A. We know your customer data is extremely valuable to you and want you to have the most control over the process as possible. We’re huge fans of automation but some things require human judgement.

    Q. Why are duplicates allowed anyway?

    A. There are many situations where a duplicate might be wanted, such as a husband and wife or a small business team sharing the same email account. We allow duplicates entered manually, added programmatically via the API, or imported with the Create New Entry option for those cases.

    Q. I have a specific question about this process that is not covered in the article. Where can I get a quick answer?

    A. Check at the ONTRAPORT Community Q&A Forum. During Support hours, you can chat our Support team for assistance (see the link in the help menu inside the app).

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      Charlie Page

      Very helpful and step-by-step. I agree that this needs to be a manual process. Although it is time consuming to do it manually, when compared to the Lifetime Value of a customer the cost of doing this one-by-one pales in comparison.