ActiveCampaign Custom Contact Fields Explained

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If you’re new to ActiveCampaign…

You definitely want to familiarise yourself with Custom Contact Fields!

There’s just so much more you can do with ActiveCampaign if you understand the different uses for custom fields.

In this post, I’m going to show you…

3 Ways To Use ActiveCampaign Custom Fields All Beginners Should Know

1. Storing Contact Information

Their most basic function is storing contact information.

By default, ActiveCampaign has fields for name, email, and phone number but it’s highly likely that you’ll need to store more information about your contacts than just these.

You can do this by creating a custom field for each bit of information that you’d like to store about your contacts.

It might be something like their date of birth or it could be something completely unique to your business such as an ID or reference number.

And if you need to store lots of information, you can organize your custom fields into different groups.

This way, the fields are displayed on the contact record in their groups and you also have the option to show or hide field groups individually which makes it easy to find the information you need.

You also have the option to hide empty custom fields by default so each contact record is shortened to only show the information available for that specific contact.

This is a MASSIVE improvement over ActiveCampaign’s old contact record where there was no way to organise fields into groups and ever field showed on the contact record whether there was information in the field or not. 

I was really happy when they introduced this upgrade!

2. Segmenting Contacts With Multiple Variables

This is one of my favorite uses for custom fields!

If you do an internet search for information about segmenting contacts, the first thing you’re likely to find is that you apply tags which you can then use to create segmenting rules such as…

“If tag exists” or “If tag doesn’t exist”.

That’s fine for anything with 2 options but when you have more variables it can be a little more tricky using tags depending on how you need to use the information.

To help explain, here’s a specific example of how I recently used a custom field so I could segment contacts in an automation…

I needed to be able to send different emails depending on the status of a contact’s coupon code. So I used a Dropdown field type called Coupon Status with four possible statuses…

It’s not that it’s wrong to use tags for this purpose because you can definitely use tags to achieve the exact same outcome.

However, I prefer using custom fields for stuff like this for the following reasons:

  1. If you used tags in this example, every time a new tag is added in this series, you need to make sure you have a rule set up to remove any of the other tags because you don’t want a contact having a tag for more than one status.
  2. I prefer the workflow within an automation doing it this way.  Using tags, you would configure rules using If/Else settings with either “tag does exist” or “tag does not exist”.  The same rule configured with custom fields would be “custom field: Coupon Status = Expired” and this just makes more sense to me. 
  3. I find it easier to quickly interpret the information on a contact record using custom fields over tags.  On a contact record, all tags are grouped together in one section.  Information stored in custom fields is displayed in logical field groups which you get to define yourself.  This makes it easy to quickly review all related data.

You’ll often find there are many ways of achieving your desired outcome.

In some circumstances there is a definite “best practice”.  Other times, there’s no logic for choosing one method over another, it simply comes down to what makes more sense to you.

2. Store Data Passed From Integrated Apps

The third use for contact fields is to compile information about contacts from other apps.

Depending on what your business is, ActiveCampaign might be just one of many apps that your contacts interact with. Maybe you have an online course with different membership levels and you want to be able to see what membership level a contact is on without needing to login to your online course.

Or maybe you need your sales team that uses ActiveCampaign to have access to a couple of bits of accounting information without giving your staff full access to your accounting software.

You can create custom fields and integrate them with other apps. This will allow you to store all the information about your contacts in one place either through convenience or necessity.

Getting The Most Out Of Custom Fields

The three uses I’ve covered here are what I consider to be the most basic uses for custom fields that all beginners should know.  There are plenty of other ways they can be used because they are an incredibly versatile tool.

As you become more confident with ActiveCampaign you’ll naturally think of other use cases. 

For now, if you still consider yourself to be an ActiveCampaign beginner, I’d start by making sure you have a good system for organizing your Activecmpaign lists and a good system for your ActiveCampaign tags.

The reason these are important is because the way your lists and tags are set up will impact your ability to get the most out of custom fields.

I’ll be covering more advanced use cases for custom fields in other posts so if you have any questions about possible uses cases then comment below and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.

Did I miss something?

My goal is to make this blog post the best resource available on this topic. If you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, something wasn’t 100% clear or maybe you did get the info you wanted… Either way, I’d love for you to comment below so I can make any necessary improvements.

Look forward to hearing from you!


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