Horizon allows the bulk importing of contact data from a MS Excel (.xls) or comma-separated list (.csv) file. The import wizard can handle updates to already imported contacts, in addition to data grids (multiple rows of data) assigned to a single contact.
If you wish to use Dropbox to import your contacts automatically, see Importing contacts with Dropbox
Limitation on use
The Horizon terms of service forbid the use of third-party purchased or rented lists. If in doubt, please contact us to discuss your data before importing it.
Your spreadsheet or CSV file needs to contain a minimum of two columns:
- A column containing a unique identifier for each person (typically their customer reference number or email address).
- A column containing each person’s opt-in preferences. These need to be named as per your Horizon opt-in categories. If you’re using more than one opt-in category, separate each one with a semicolon (e.g., Newsletter; Product Updates; Best Practice Guide).
- Plus any other columns you’d like to import, such as first name, address, other contact details and any custom fields that you’ve set up.
If you also want to import transaction data for each person (e.g. their purchase or booking history) then you’ll need to prepare a second CSV file or spreadsheet with:
- A column containing a unique identifier for the person (e.g. customer reference or email address). This will help establish the contact that the transactional data belongs to. It is best practice to use the same unique identifier for contacts across both spreadsheets.
- A column containing a unique identifier for the transaction (e.g. booking reference).
- Plus any other columns regarding the transaction that you’d like to import (order date, quantity, price)
Optionally, you may wish to group all contacts you are uploading into a new List Group. To do this create an empty List Group before you start the import process.
Tips on importing
If you’re importing data for the first time, it may be useful to let Horizon create an import template file for you. To do this, follow steps 1-4 below, then click
Horizon will then produce a template file (you can choose between CSV or Excel spreadsheet format) that contains columns for all data fields that you might want to import for this type of contact.
If you’re using MS Excel to import phone numbers, either put a space somewhere in the number or start it with a single quote character (‘). This will stop Excel from treating it as a normal number (otherwise it will automatically remove the "0" from the front).
Any dates need to be in dd/mm/yyyy format - so 5th December 1971 would be 05/12/1971.
Make sure you include a column for your contacts' opt-in preferences (our import templates include a column called "opt_in_categories"). Otherwise none of your contacts will be sent your marketing messages! Each contact's opt-ins should all be listed in one column, separated by a semicolon (;)
Limitation on import
You may find that some fields on a contact aren't being updated. There are various fields that cannot be updated through an import and have to be done manually. They are:
- Channels: This includes all channels (e.g. email, SMS, etc)
- Opt-in categories
This is to ensure your contacts don't lose important data, such as the opt-in category, which would stop them from receiving content.
Another point to note is you cannot delete contacts through an import. To delete a contact, you would need to do this manually, by finding the contact and clicking the Delete button.
Importing contacts into your database
1. Click on | Contacts | at the top of the screen, then click | Import contacts | (on the left of the screen).
You’ll start by choosing how you want to import your contacts. If you’re importing for the first time, select | New Import |. If you’ve saved a previous import configuration, you’ll have the option to select it from the Import Settings dropdown. This will display a summary of the saved configuration for steps 2 and 3.
2. Select the Type of Contact you wish to import from the dropdown list.
3. The wizard will then prompt you to choose whether this import contains data for Individuals or Businesses. Typically you’ll select “Individual” unless your Horizon administrator tells you otherwise.
4. Choose which type of data you wish to import. Horizon allows two types:
Standard Information – Generic contact information (i.e. Name, Email, Address) in addition to any existing Custom Fields. All details for each contact will appear on a single row in your spreadsheet.
Transaction Data – Information such as purchase history or booking history, where there is the potential for multiple rows of data within your spreadsheet for a single contact.
Click on the appropriate box.
Note: If you’re importing transactional data you will need to select the name of the data grid you’re importing into. The selected box will be highlighted by a green border. If you are uploading transactional data and do not see an option for your custom fields make sure you have selected the Data collection option.
5. Select the file containing your data:
You can choose your Excel Spreadsheet or CSV file by either dragging the spreadsheet from your desktop onto the designated pane in Horizon, or by clicking | Browse for your file |.
Note: There is a 5MB limit on the size of files that can be uploaded.
Click | Next | at the bottom of your screen
6. Select the fields in Horizon that will store your data:
Horizon will validate the import, and all the column headers from your spreadsheet will now display as boxes on your screen.
Where the header of the spreadsheet exactly matches the name of the corresponding field in your Horizon database, the box will be green – and there’s nothing for you to do.
If there is a conflict between the Horizon Field name and the column header name in the spreadsheet, the box will be red. Use the drop-down menu provided to select the correct Horizon database field you want to map the data to.
Alternatively, if you do not wish to import this particular column from your spreadsheet into Horizon, you can click on | Click here to skip this column |.
7. Select how you want to check your file for duplicates:
Horizon needs to know how to identify everyone uniquely. Therefore it is a requirement that there is a column in your spreadsheet that contains no duplicate values – one that can be used as a “unique identifier”. Usually this will be the Email Address or a Contact ID.
8. Indicate how the data in your spreadsheet is separated:
Value Delimiter – set this to | Semicolon |
9. If you want to add all the contacts you’re importing to a particular List Group, click on |…|, and browse to select the List Group you want to add your contacts to. You can clear the groups existing contacts if you wish by ticking “clear the group first”.
10. Configure opt in categories:
If the Opt-in categories in the spreadsheet you have uploaded match exactly to the way they are labelled in Horizon, then ticks should appear within the relevant checkboxes; if not, simply match the Imported Value (value in spreadsheet) with the Horizon Opt-In Categories tickboxes as appropriate.
11. Next, Horizon will evaluate the spreadsheet as a whole and tell you how many contact records will import successfully, how many are duplicated and how many need attention. You can click on the relevant | Download | button to access an “import report” spreadsheet, with an explanation of the issue so that you can correct it.
12. Once you’re happy to proceed, click on the | Import my file | button at the bottom of the screen. This will start the import of the new contact data into your Horizon database. If you have not used a pre-existing import configuration, you’ll have the option to save your current settings for future imports.
13. Once complete, you can click on | Contacts | to view the newly imported contact records.
Checking import status
You can check the status of the import by going to Contacts > Adminstration. Here you will see whether if a import is still importing (which will indicate how contacts are 'pending').
If contacts have failed to import, you will be able to click the relevant column and download a excel file, which will indicate why a contact failed to import.