Managing Your Contacts

Managing You Contacts

Your contacts are the most important information you'll import, manage, grow and store in ActiveCampaign. Your contacts are the reason you use ActiveCampaign, building custom experiences for them based on their actions, interests, and more.

In order to get the most out of ActiveCampaign, it's important to understand contacts: the information you need, how they are organized, and how to grow and manage them.


A contact in ActiveCampaign is designated by a unique email address. You can (and should!) store additional information in a Contact record, which is where you aggregate information about each contact.

Contact Statuses

Contacts can have several statuses: Active, Unconfirmed, Unsubscribed, and Bounced. Keeping an eye on these statuses in your account will allow you to stay on top of how many contacts you are being billed for in your ActiveCampaign subscription.

  • Active: Active contacts have confirmed their subscription to your list, and have not unsubscribed or bounced. These are the contacts who will receive your communications.
  • Unconfirmed: Unconfirmed contacts submitted their information to an ActiveCampaign form, but did not complete the double opt-in process. You can only send a confirmation mail to these contacts. (Carefully weigh double opt-in versus single opt-in!)
  • Unsubscribed: Unsubscribed contacts have either clicked unsubscribe in an email, were manually unsubscribed by you, or were unsubscribed by ActiveCampaign automation. You may be able to save contacts before they unsubscribe by following thisguide.
  • Bounced: Sometimes an email doesn't hit the inbox. Contacts that have a bounced status have been sent a message that was either temporarily or permanently rejected by the email server, depending on their bounce code. Bounced contacts do not count toward your contact limit.

Organizing Contacts: Lists, Tags, and Custom Fields

Before importing your contacts, we recommend understanding (and configuring) your Lists, Tags, Fields and Custom Fields. We'll get into each individually, but to begin:

  • Lists: The largest grouping of contacts, organized by differing communication types. We recommend that you have as few lists as possible; new accounts will automatically have a Master Contact List added to their account.
  • Tags: Think of tags as badges for your contacts, that can easily be added or removed based on several criteria. We recommend a robust, organized tagging structure in your account.
  • Fields and Custom Fields: All accounts include the standard fields of Name, Phone Number, and Account. Custom fields allow you to gather all of the additional important data you need about each contact. Generally, information stored in fields is more permanent than tags.

There are many ways to organize your contacts. You want the fewest lists possible. Tags are flexible and should be used meaningfully. Fields and Custom Fields bring additional information to each contact, and increase your ability to segment your contacts in meaningful ways.


New ActiveCampaign accounts will provide you with several options for your primary list(s), including Newsletter, Customers, Prospects, and Events. However, if you require additional lists, you can create one with ease.

In order to send to a contact, they must have an Active status, and be subscribed to a list. Contacts subscribed to multiple lists will only count as one contact toward your contact limit. Remember: Lists are your broadest grouping of contacts.


Tags give you a way to store important information for segmenting; tags are like badges for your contacts. Two important types of tags include:

  • Status Tags: These tags allow you to quickly segment by actions your contacts have (or haven't!) taken.
    • Engaged vs. Disengaged
    • Enrolled vs. Not Enrolled
  • Information Tags: These tags help you add additional information to a contact record that you wish to segment by, such as actions, sources, and interests. Organize your tags like this to keep your information clear.
    • Action: Clicked More Info button
    • Source: Instagram - Photography
    • Interested in: Cat treats

Fields and Custom Fields

Fields and custom fields live in every contact record across your account. Standard fields are available in every account and include First Name, Last Name, Phone, and Account.

Custom fields can include any other field you'd like to store for every contact in your account. Use custom fields to add new questions to your forms, insert Personalization Tagsin your communications, and keep track of important moments for your contacts.

Popular examples include: Birthday, Instagram Handle, Last Engagement Date

If you're still unsure if you'd like to create a new tag or a new custom field, remember that a tag is like a badge, and is easily removable, while a field is more likely permanent information you'd like to store for all contacts.

Also, be sure to select the correct custom field type when creating them, such as text field, date, list boxes, radio buttons, etc. Custom field types cannot be changed after creation.

Importing Contacts

There are several ways to add contacts to your ActiveCampaign account. Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Import a CSV
  • Manually add one-off contacts
  • Subscription forms

When you start sending with ActiveCampaign, be sure to consider deliverability, and start sending to your most engaged contacts.


Segmentation is the act of grouping your contacts by attributes and/or actions. Create dynamic segments by combining the information stored in your Lists, Tags, and Custom Fields.

Your goal is to send targeted messages to all of your contacts. Segment by Attributes (such as Customer) and Actions (such as Clicked Email Link) to build the most powerful segments.

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