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Two unrelated records merged

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New Contributor

Hello,

 

We had a new form submission come through and instead of creating a new contact in Hubspot, it added the email address (and all information gathered in the form submission) to an unrelated contact. Is it possible the existing contact forwarded a marketing email to this new person, and they clicked somewhere in the email to our website, and submitted the form? If so, how can we prevent this from continuing to happen? If not, anyone have any other thoughts? They are completely unrelated - one is an entirely new name, the other has been in our database for months.

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Advisor

Hi @mwilliams,

 

Well - the forwarded email would be a relationship, right? Smiley Happy

 

That is a potential explanation.  Another would be that the two contacts used the same computer/device to submit the form, or perhaps the same IP address (although in most cases the latter would not be enough to cause the issue).

 

Short of turning off Cookie Tracking on your form, which would create a new record for every submission, but would also result in the loss of most of the activity tracking data on your website, I don't think you can prevent it

 

You could create a workflow for yourself to make it easy to watch out for situations like this.  Just create a workflow that enrolls every time a Contact Email address is known AND the first conversion date is more than 1 day ago.  Allow customers to be re-enrolled everytime the criteria are met.  This should re-enroll people every time their email changes. From there, you can send an email to your marketing team to check on the contracts, or add them to a static list that you go back and check on every so often.

 

-Trevor

If my post resolves your issue, please accept my post as a solution.
Advisor

Hi @mwilliams,

 

Well, the forwarded email is a relationship, right? Smiley Happy

 

That is a potential explanation for your problem.  In addition, the situation could also be caused by two visitors using the same device to complete a form, and possibly different devices on the same IP address (although that normally would not be enough to cause the issue.)

 

Short of turning off cookie tracking on your form, which would create a new contact for every submission, but would also cause you to lose all of your website tracking on actions before and after the form submisison, I don't think there is a way to prevent this from happening.

 

You can build a workflow that helps you keep an eye out for situations like this so you can fix them before there is a problem.  Just build your workflow to enroll every time the email address is known, AND ther first conversion date is more than 1 day ago.  That should enroll existing contacts when their email changes.  Also, be sure to allow them to be re-enrolled every time the criteria are met.  From there, you can either send an email to your marketing team to check and make sure the change is valid, or add the contacts to a static list that you check periodically.

-Trevor

If my post resolves your issue, please accept my post as a solution.
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Regular Advisor | Gold Partner | HubSpot Certified Trainer

@mwilliams,

 

Interesting. Are the contacts on a separate domain all together?




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Josh Curcio

We help tier 1 & 2 manufacturers generate leads!
HubSpot Gold Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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New Contributor

In our case, yes. They are usually from the same company!

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New Contributor

We have the same problem with ours! I hope somebody has a solution because we often lose some data when trying to sort it out!

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Regular Contributor

My understanding is that it has to do with the underlying cookies.  These people may seem to be unrelated..but could be friends, roommates, co-workers, husband/wife, etc. We have it happen all the time.  : (

 

Or maybe they are going to the same library.  I wish there was a notification when this happens so someone has to approve combining them as one contact or making them separate contacts.

 

 

Regular Contributor

We have the same issue. Often when they are from the same office. I like the workflow idea presented above, but it would be better if we had to approve the merge instead of manually extracting them. 

Occasional Contributor

This happens to us every day. Within the industry we serve, our customers share devices at work all the time. Whenever they fill out a form, the contact is merged and property fields are changed. This will sometimes disrupt important workflows. We tried turning forms cookie tracking off for a time but that was even more painful. We stopped getting all of the crucial metrics that make Hubspot such a powerful tool. It all but destroyed our ROI reporting in HS. Now we have cookie tracking turned back on and we suffer in that there seems to be no way to send a notification when this occurs and we just stumble upon the bad data during manual retention efforts. We can't afford to turn off cookie tracking but we also wish that we could turn off auto-contact merge entirely. It provides no value when a decision-maker email is replaced with a new employee email.

 

I do like the workflow idea submitted by  @trevorjones71  and I am going to give that a try.

 

The notification workflow idea has a flaw. Do not trigger the workflow on both conditions, otherwise it will trigger for every new contact (not merged) from a form submission 24 hours after the form submission. This happens because both conditions must be true to trigger the workflow. This happens immediately when the first conversion date is 1 day ago (email address is still known after 24 hours) Instead, trigger only on email address is known and then add an If/Then Branch on the condition that the First Conversion Date is in the past. Use either the "before todays date" filter or the "more than 1 day ago" filter. Even with this method, however, people sharing devices who fill out more than 1 form within 24 hours using different email addresses will be merged and will not be enrolled in this workflow.

Advisor

HI @JasonMM,

 

Have you tested it?  I'm not sure that I agree with the flaw you described.

 

The reason I say that is that when the email address is populated the first time, both criteria will not be met.  The filter won't run again until there is another change to the email address field, at which time both criteria will be met and the workflow will be triggered.

 

I'll run some tests to be sure.

 

-Trevor

If my post resolves your issue, please accept my post as a solution.
Occasional Contributor

I tested it. Almost immediately had a contact enroll that was created 24 hours prior and had been created via first form submission. I also confirmed that the contact did not have more than 1 form submission. Once the First Conversion Date of more than 1 day ago trigger was met, the contact enrolled.

 

Still waiting for the first enrollment for the method that uses If/Then branch to filter for First Conversion Date.

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Advisor

Interesting.  The test I built a few minutes ago hasn't enrolled anybody yet, but we'll have to give it until tomorrow.

-Trevor

If my post resolves your issue, please accept my post as a solution.
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Occasional Contributor

Any new updates on this? This particular setting is making the platform useless for our purposes, which is slightly frustrating since we met with a HubSpot engineer to determine our unique integration would work and there was no mention of this, which would have been a red flag. Let me share a bit of how we use the program where this comes into play. We have individuals register for courses on our website which then maps over to HubSpot to create/update a contact. In many cases, administrators register their staff for courses under a single order. In this case, HS ends up merging all the attendees into a single contact record (usually under the admin who isn't even taking the course). 

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Visitor

Couldn't you use an email containing a "," (comma) as a trigger? I'm trying it now. I'll let you know if it works.  

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