Contact Marketing Preferences

Contact Marketing Preferences


Creating and managing marketing preferences and categories
Viewing and editing contacts' preferences
Viewing contacts opted into a preference
Using preferences in segments
Sending a campaign to preferences
Using preferences in a signup form
Using preferences in your preference center
Using preferences in a survey
Uploading contacts in bulk with preferences
Using preferences with ConsentInsight
Exporting contact preferences
Using preferences in the program builder
Marketing preferences in reporting


If you want to improve the targeting and effectiveness of your communications, then using marketing preferences is one of the best ways to do this.

You can set up as many preferences as you like, and categorize them, enabling you to organize your contacts according to what they like and, ultimately, what they really want to hear from you about. This is turn will help to increase your engagement rates and ROI.


Your marketing preferences can be made available for selection in signup forms and surveys, and will automatically display in our default preference center (as above), allowing you to easily gain the information you need. Plus existing preferences can also be included in contact uploads.

You're also able to combine preferences with recording contacts' consent, helping you to maintain a GDPR-compliant audit of the type of communications your contacts have agreed to receive.

There's lots more you can do across the platform with preferences though - send to them, segment with them, use them in programs, and leverage them in advanced personalization in campaigns and landing pages.

This article covers the basics to get up and running, and a lot more besides.

Creating and managing marketing preferences and categories

You can create marketing preferences and categories. You can put preferences within categories.

For example, a sports and outdoor equipment store may want to have a camping category that contains three preferences - tents, clothing, and rucksacks; and a sports category that also contains three preferences - football, running, and tennis equipment.

You can also have preferences that don't belong to a category - for instance, the sports and outdoor equipment store could have one called 'Special offers' that sits outside of a category.

Preferences can be made 'public' or 'private'.

  • Public - means a preference will be visible in your signup forms, preference centres, and surveys for contacts to opt in and out of. You can give a preference a public name that's different to its private name, and this will be what your contacts will see.
  • Private - means a preference will be hidden from contacts and won't be visible to them

You can also give a category a public or private name. A category will only show to your contacts if it contains at least one preference.

Follow these steps to create preferences and categories:

  1. Go to Contacts > Marketing preferences

  2. Click on New preference or category to open up the 'New preference or category' side panel

  3. From the side panel that slides in, select whether you want to create a preference or a category type
  4. Enter a private name for your preference or category, and enter a public name if you want it to differ from the private name (otherwise the private name is duplicated for the public name)
  5. Select whether a preference is public or private
  6. Select which category you'd like a preference to belong to (you'll need to have already created a category for it to appear in the dropdown list)
  7. Click Create

    Note: Categories, and preferences in the same category or that don't belong to a category, require a unique private name. You can't drag a preference into a category that already contains a preference with the same private name.

Your preference and categories will be listed once created.


You can manage your preferences and categories from here, by editing and deleting them. You can also drag and drop them to create new orderings, as well as move preferences into categories.

Also note that by creating these, you'll have automatically set up marketing preferences in the default preference center.

Viewing and editing contacts' preferences

To view and edit your contacts' preferences (manually opt them in/out):

  1. Go to Contacts, select an address book and then click on a contact of your choice
  2. Click on the Marketing preferences tab. This will list all of your preferences and will indicate which ones a contact is opted into.
  3. To change a contact's preferences, select or de-select a preference or preferences (selecting or de-selecting a category will select or de-select all preferences in that category)

  4. Click Save

Your contact's preferences will be updated.

Viewing contacts opted into a preference

The number of contacts belonging to a preference is given alongside each one in the 'Contacts' column of the 'Marketing preferences' page.


Click on the number to view the list of contacts.

As well as being able to export the list, you can perform further actions as selected from the 'More actions' list:

  • copy them to an address book
  • send a previously sent campaign
  • delete them from the account
  • unsubscribe them from the account
  • suppress them from the account


Using preferences in segments

Follow these steps to use preferences in a segment:

  1. Go to Contacts > Segments > My segments and either create a new segment or edit an existing segment
  2. Drag in and drop the 'Preferences' block from under 'Sources' to create your rule
  3. Click on have any preferences (only if you don't want this as the actual rule) to create your rule

    marketing_preferences_in_segments.pngThe rule can be set for contacts having any preferences, having specific preferences, or not having specific preferences. After selecting the rule, choose preferences by ticking them (ticking a category will select all the preferences in that category).

  4. Click OK when happy

The segment's count will include all contacts that are opted into the preferences or otherwise, depending upon the type of rule that's been set.

Sending a campaign to preferences

Follow these steps to send a campaign to preferences:

  1. Send a campaign in the normal way, which will take you to the 'Select contacts and schedule campaign' screen
  2. The option 'Select address books, segments or marketing preferences' will already be selected; click on the Marketing preferences tab to select which preferences to send to (selecting a category will select all the preferences in that category)

  3. Go through the rest of the process as normal

Your campaign will be sent to contacts opted into the selected preferences.

Using preferences in a signup form

You can make public preferences visible when creating a signup form.

When the generated code is applied on your site, your signups will see the public preferences and will be able to opt into them.

Remember that only preferences set as public will display in the signup form.

Using preferences in your preference center

Public preferences are automatically shown on the default preference center for contacts to opt in and out of. Private preferences are never shown.



Using preferences in a survey

You can make public preferences available in a survey by dragging in and dropping the 'Marketing preferences' element. Your respondents will see these and will be able to opt into them.


Uploading contacts in bulk with preferences

You can upload contacts in bulk with their preferences by including preference columns in the source file. To do this successfully, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you prefix preference column headers with Preference: (note the colon; this is required as it tells the system that this column shouldn't be assigned to a contact data field)
  2. Follow this prefix with the preference's name if it's a standalone preference - e.g. Preference:Tents, or, if the preference belongs in a category, follow the prefix with the category name, then the 'greater than' sign, then the preference's name - e.g. Preference:Camping>Tents
  3. Include contacts' opted in or opted out status for the preferences by including True/False, or Yes/No, or 1/0. Alternatively, the status can be left blank (see below about how blank entries are handled when merging with existing preference data).


If you're making use of our advanced settings for merging uploaded data, it's important to note that a blank entry for a preference in an uploaded file is interpreted as unknown and is simply ignored and skipped over. It isn't treated in the same way as a blank entry is for a contact data field.

Please take a look at the examples below, outlining the behaviour you can expect in different scenarios.

Update all data fields

Preference Source status (in uploaded file) Existing status (in app) Result
Preference:Camping>Tents Yes No Yes
Preference:Camping>Clothing No Yes No
Preference:Camping>Rucksacks   Yes Yes

Don't update data fields with blank values

Preference Source status (in uploaded file) Existing status (in app) Result
Preference:Camping>Tents Yes No Yes
Preference:Camping>Clothing No Yes No
Preference:Camping>Rucksacks   Yes Yes

Don't update data fields that already have a value

Preference Source status (in uploaded file) Existing status (in app) Result
Preference:Camping>Tents Yes No No
Preference:Camping>Clothing No Yes Yes
Preference:Camping>Rucksacks   Yes Yes

Using preferences with ConsentInsight

When you use preferences in combination with recording consent (with ConsentInsight) for a contact - for instance, either in a survey or in a signup form, or when uploading contacts in a file that contains both consent and preferences - then the contact's preferences, as given at that point, get recorded as part of the ConsentInsight record.


The benefits to this are:

  • you can have consent text that says words to the effect of 'I agree to receive communications on the preferences I have selected', and then those chosen preferences will be stored in the same ConsentInsight record
  • it provides a useful audit; if a member of your team has changed a contact's preferences manually via the contact's 'Marketing preferences' tab in the platform, then you'll be able to confirm this by checking it against what the contact actually consented to in their ConsentInsight record
  • you'll be able to segment on preferences as part of Insight data
  • you'll be able use preferences in advanced personalisation

Exporting contact preferences

Contact preferences are included when exporting contacts as follows:

  • when exporting contacts in bulk (using Export > Export all), you'll be asked whether you wish to include marketing preferences or not

  • when exporting an individual contact, their preferences get exported too. If you're using preferences in combination with ConsentInsight, then the contact's preferences will also be included in the ConsentInsight collection's JSON file.


Using preferences in the program builder

When building a program, there are a couple of nodes in which you can directly make use of preferences:

  • 'Update contact' node: you can update a contact to be opted into or out of a preference or preferences
  • 'Decision' node: you can select the condition that a contact must be opted into a selected preference in order for them to progress down the 'Yes' route

Furthermore, there's a useful program template that will help you to migrate your preferences if you're already storing them in another way within the platform.

Marketing preferences in reporting

Marketing preferences can be found in reporting in the following areas:

  • in the 'Campaign details' section of the campaign report overview, you can see which preferences you sent a campaign to

  • at the very foot of account reports, a chart shows a breakdown of your preferences by popularity (up to a maximum of 25 preferences) as they stand at the current time (using the filter or date range functions on account reports won't affect it)

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