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Understand unified contacts

Provide personalised experiences, improve customer service, and cultivate long-lasting relationships with your contacts.

Gareth Burroughes avatar
Written by Gareth Burroughes
Updated over a week ago

With Dotdigital, you have a complete contact management solution that simplifies how you store and organise your contact information, allowing you to communicate seamlessly across multiple channels.

You can easily access, track, and manage communications across email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, and more, by keeping all your contact details in one place. This ensures a consistent and personalised customer experience.


A contact is someone whose information is saved in your account because they've previously interacted with your business in many possible ways, such as browsing your website or landing pages, shopping at your store, or signing up through a form. To add a contact to your account, all you need is a way to contact them, like an email or a phone number – we call these Channels.

Why did we unify contacts

The previous system of separate contacts for different channels, such as email and SMS, could be time-consuming and confusing, leading to difficulties in managing customer interactions and maintaining accurate, up-to-date information.

By unifying contacts, contacts are no longer stored under the individual channels you use but instead stored as multi-use contacts that can have one or multiple channels. This approach to contacts allows for a full 360-degree view of how customers engage with each channel, giving valuable insights into the best ways to reach your audience.

Benefits of unifying contacts

  • Improved multi-channel customer engagement.

  • Increased efficiency in managing contacts through a centralised location.

  • Better data accuracy through the elimination of duplicates.

The new Dotdigital has several advantages. It unifies all contacts from different channels in one place, allowing you to have a comprehensive overview of all customer interactions, and enhancing customer engagement. Additionally, managing contacts becomes more convenient due to the centralised location, ensuring that contact details are consistent and up-to-date across all channels.

Single customer view

Each contact has a unique profile that stores and consolidates their personal information, behavioural data, marketing preferences, and interaction history. We call this the Single customer view.

The Single customer view lets you gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and needs, ultimately helping you to deliver personalised experiences and targeted marketing campaigns.

Learn more in Single customer view.

Unique identifier

When a contact is stored in your account, we give them a unique numerical identifier. This unique identifier is the anchor for storing all additional information about the contact and remains consistent and unchanged. It is a permanent, stable identifier.

So, suppose anything changes in the future; for example, the contact changes their name, email address, mobile number, or anything. In that case, we can update that information without changing or altering the unique identifier, leaving all the contact's current and historical data intact.

The diagram below shows how a contact can change their name while their unique identifier stays consistent. This way, all other stored information, like their mobile number (or anything else), remains the same and connected to the contact.

Find a contact's unique identifier

To find the unique identifier for a contact, go to their Single customer view. The unique ID is a numerical string located in the URL.


Channels are the various communication methods and platforms for engaging with your contacts. These channels allow you to send targeted and personalised messages to your contacts, building relationships and driving conversions.

Available channels



Channel identifier


Create and send tailored email campaigns to your contacts, such as newsletters, promotional offers, and transactional emails.

Email address (Email)


Send SMS messages directly to your customers' mobile devices. This is a great way to send timely and relevant updates, offers, and reminders.

Mobile number (mobilenumberid)

Channels are communication methods that can be added or removed from a contact, always anchored by the contact's unique identifier. The channels added to a contact can change, and you can add more or less depending on the contact's needs and interactions with your business.


Terminology change

In the new Dotdigital with unified contacts, we've changed the name of Address books to Lists.

Lists are areas to sort and manage your contacts. They might consist of contact groups based on specific criteria like interests, preferences, or any other category relevant to your business.

With lists you can keep your contacts organised, which makes sending targeted messages to the right audience easy. For example, you might have one list for customers and another for subscribers to your newsletter. By organising your contacts this way, you can customise your communication for each group, enhancing engagement and ensuring the best experience for your audience.


Segments are dynamic groups of contacts within your account that you can create based on specific criteria or conditions. Segmentation is dividing your contacts into these groups to better understand and target your contacts with personalised content.

Learn more about segments in the Segments section of the Help Centre.

A simple segment might be:

  • All contacts under the age of 25

  • All contacts living in London

  • All contacts that have never opened an email campaign

Or segments can be more complicated. For example:

  • All contacts between the ages of 16 and 25, living in London, who have received at least one campaign in the last six months, haven't opened any email campaigns in the last six months, aren't in the address book named Gap year, and haven't received any re‑engagement campaigns.

The segment builder is extremely flexible. This means the more detailed the data that you capture for your contacts, the more targeted your segment criteria can be.

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