Importing subscribers just got a makeover

Feel like you've got better things to do when importing email addresses into the app? We know the feeling. So just recently, we overhauled the process of adding new subscribers to lists and campaigns, so it's now quicker, easier and a lot less fussy than before.

The all new import report

Given that adding new subscribers to a list is a fairly fundamental part of everyone's workflow, it was really time for us to step our game up. For starters, one of the top requests we received from customers was to be more specific about why individual subscribers weren't imported into a list - either because they're invalid, in duplicate, already exist, or have been previously suppressed. So, we've introduced import reports, which allow you to download the email addresses that couldn't be imported, alongside the reasons why. It sure beats being left guessing and may really come in handy when cleaning and consolidating your lists.

Import report

Drag and drop, or copy and paste

While the new import reports are kind of a big deal, what will probably be most apparent when you next add subscribers is our new import screen, which allows you to not only drag-and-drop files, but copy-and-paste new names, email addresses and now, custom field values.

New Add new subscribers process

We didn't want to stop short on the files thing, so now, it's possible to upload both Excel (.xls and .xlsx) documents and compressed files (.zip, .rar, .7z and more). In fact, a zipped file is typically about 90% smaller than an uncompressed version, so uploading just got much faster too.

See your progress

While we're on the topic of large imports, one aspect of this task that previously caused confusion was whether or not things were going to plan when subscribers were being imported. So, we've now added progress bars to both the upload and processing stages, so you can make sure your import is ticking along. We've made lots of changes under the hood so now you can import much larger lists. Once you see the 'Processing your subscribers...' screen, you can even queue up another import, or even close your browser - behind the scenes, importing will continue without you having to stay focused on it.

Processing...

During the 'Processing...' stage, you can also watch as new subscribers get added on the list details page. Especially with big lists, it's always reassuring to know that the task is getting done.

Now good with names

Finally, we found that issues were commonly arising when subscriber names in a file were split across two columns. Previously, as the app required a single name column, the only choice folks had was to to jump into Excel and combine names manually. This not only took a bit of effort, but spreadsheet know-how as well.

Now, when the app sees two name fields, it will give you the option of mapping them to the default 'First name' and 'Last name' fields and we'll combine them for you behind the scenes. It's a small time saver that we hope you find to be useful.

Automatically match names

Updated create/send workflow

If you're sending a campaign to a new group of subscribers, you no longer need to import them first before working on your campaign. We've moved all of these nice improvements right into the create/send workflow so you can import them without ever jumping out of that process.

We pushed these updates a couple of hours back, so they're available and ready to use in your account. As always, we're keen to find out how we can make tasks like this better for both you and your clients, so leave us a comment or get in touch if there's a little something we could be doing better.

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

50 Comments

  • Ophelie
    8th October

    Very nice! We re-import our entire subscriber list every week (don’t ask), so the ability to upload it as a .zip will come in handy.

  • Andrew Beeston
    8th October

    Oh man so good to finally have a one step process to import the file! I was waiting for so long. Great work - I used it today with much happiness.

  • James
    8th October

    Great to add the Excel functionality - seemed crazy having to save as CSV all the time! Can you confirm that you can upload .xls and .xlsx files?

  • David Greiner
    8th October

    @James, that’s right, both .xls and .xlsx files (and even ods files) are supported. No more mucking around with CSV exports from now on.

  • Chriz
    8th October

    Wow, great news – I used it 5 minutes ago with a list of 25,000 emails and a lot of custom fields. I love every tiny detail about the process (the animations, fading from blue to green after uploading) and especially the “See why?”-overview. Even multiple imports are recognized.

    Thanks to the whole design and programming team (and every person involved in the process) – from a user perspective this is one of the best updates this year.

    Have a nice week!

    Best
    Chriz

  • Sarah
    8th October

    Fantastic, thanks for this update!  Does this mean I no longer need to create first name and last name custom fields to accommodate the occasional person with two first names, double-barrelled names, etc?

  • David Greiner
    8th October

    @Chriz, thanks for the super kind words, the team will be so happy to hear that. Always nice to hear when a customer noticed the little things.

    @Sarah, we didn’t actually change personalization at all here, it’s more for the customers who had the name already split in their own file, but had no way of combining them into our single name field. That’s been fixed for them, but we’re still rolling with a single name field for everyone and the same personalization defaults for first and last name.

  • Chr1s
    9th October

    Hi CM, you might wanna check the images in the (updated) help topic t=12, the images are broken (that is to say: in our labeled application, they do work on http://help.campaignmonitor.com/topic.aspx?t=12).

    PS: the blog comment field “Your website” is now obligatory but also on your blog I like to stay kind of anonymous so my apologies for the strange and non-working url ;-)

  • Chr1s
    9th October

    Hi CM, following up on Sarah’s question (and just to be very sure):

    Do I understand correct that when inserting the personalization “First name” and “Last name”:

    —the First name is still everything before the first space in Full name?
    —the Last name is still everything after the last space in Full name?

    If so, this is going to cause significant confusion over here in Europe I’m afraid, where multiple-word-last-names are very common:

    —Germany: Heinz Von Staufenstein
    —France: Jean de Boulanger
    —Spain: Juan del Castela
    —Italy: Stefano di Pizza
    —Netherlands: Eddy van Halen

    The split fields on import strongly suggest that the content of these fields will be used as imported, while in fact (if I understand correctly) above examples would result in:

    Guten tag Herr Staufenstein!
    Bonjour monsieur Boulanger!
    Ola signor Castela!
    Buongiorno signore Pizza!
    Hallo meneer Halen!

    Can you confirm if this is the case? And—dare I ask boldly—would it be an idea to use first name / last name field content as imported?

  • Chris
    9th October

    I really love you for this! Importing xls without converting to UTF-8 manually is the best new thing! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  • Chr1s (a lot of Chrisses here!)
    9th October

    .... following up on my follow-up on Sarah’s question:

    Humble apologies, I got it wrong in the first place, didn’t I? It’s like this:

    When inserting the personalization “First name” and “Last name”:

    — the First name is everything before the first space in Full name
    — the Last name is everything after the FIRST space in Full name

    But, still, it would be nice if first name / last name field content would be used as imported ;-)

  • Paul
    9th October

    Does the new subscriber import process have any effect on the import process using the API?

  • Julian Wellings
    9th October

    This is great. It’ll save me quite a bit of time. Thanks guys.

  • Laura Bedell-Pearce
    9th October

    I’m afraid it’s not working at all for me. I have tried it in 3 browsers and neither the drag and drop functionality nor the file upload button is working using the usual csv file format that I import. This is quite urgent as I need to upload an up to date client list before sending out an important email. Any support would be appreciated.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    9th October

    Hey there Chris! Thank you so much for your feedback, you’ve been so helpful! I’ve just fixed the screenshots in in-app help, so you should be able to see them in your account now. We’re so sorry for this breakage and no worries about the URL - we should really not be making this mandatory, anyway.

    You’re correct - the last name is everything after the first space. For example, my IRL name is Rosanne de Vries. First name = Rosanne, Last name = de Vries. Of course, this isn’t perfect (especially when middle names are used), so we’ll most certainly look at how we can better handle this better, including mapping imported names. ;) Thanks for your feedback there!

    Paul - No, we haven’t changed how the API handles imported names. By all means, get in touch if you see any changed behaviours here.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    9th October

    Laura - We’re really sorry to hear that you’ve been having trouble importing new subscribers to your lists. I’ve just reached out to you via email - once we hear back from you, we’ll do our best to get this working. Sorry for the trouble!

  • Jonathan M
    9th October

    Hi and thanks for this update.
    I uploaded some lists and there were some errors and duplicates, of course.
    Then I downloaded those lists for correcting them, but it seems to be a bit more complicated than I thought. I have the details in this kind of format:
    InvalidEmail,“some.one @gmail.co”,
    Its a little time consuming to delete all the extra details away for correcting the addresses. Or could I just correct the address itself and leave other details to be for re-importing?

  • Dylan
    9th October

    It’s awesome to see yet another improvement to already great product.

    One feature that I think would be really useful is some way to easily sync a list. A lot of clients create multiple subscriber lists as there’s no easy way to remove subscribers when importing a csv file… They need to be removed manually.

  • Amanda
    9th October

    Clicking “select a file from your computer” doesn’t seem to do anything in Opera.  Is it just my computer or is this browser not compatible?  I’d like to still be able to upload with it.

    Selecting a file does work in Firefox - dragging & dropping just opened the text file in the window.  But I use an old version, so that may be the issue there.

    I’m a little disappointed that the option to fix invalid email addresses on import has been removed as well.  But the split of counts for the different reasons they weren’t imported is very nice!

  • Rosanne Hodgekiss
    10th October

    Hey there Jonathan, it’s certainly possible to download the reports, make corrections to the email addresses, then re-import the report into your subscriber list. You can choose to ‘skip’ columns containing any additional data that doesn’t need to be included in the import. I hope that helps!

    Dylan - Ah, this is an interesting one. If you could kindly let us know a bit more about your clients’ workflow (ie. what apps they’re using to manage their lists, etc), we may be able to suggest a better way to keep them updated.

    Amanda - That’s very unusual, could you kindly contact us with details as to what browser version/OS you’re using? We’re very keen to get to the bottom of why this is happening for you. Sorry for the hassle!

    We’re more than happy to note your interest in fixing invalid email addresses from within the app. Thank you for your feedback, Amanda! We’ll keep you updated if this gets tucked into a future update.

  • Ashley
    10th October

    I HATE the upload a new subscribers list (140,000+, email address only) and it took me over 12 minutes to import the list!! The longest it has ever taken me in the past is maybe max 2 minutes to upload. Oh any my file i uploaded was just a .csv file like i normally upload.

    I also liked it better when you could fix a one off invalid email address on upload instead of having to download a file and then fix the email address.

    I maybe wouldn’t mind the features if it didn’t slow me down when importing my lists.

    My suggestion to make this feature work for more people is to have a “Test Your Subscription Upload” section. This section can be where people can upload a file and get all the download files of things that need to be fixed on their lists. Then they can make the necessary changes to their do another test or just upload them to a subscribers list.  Same concept that is used in Google Merchant and Bing Advertising that allows their customers to test their import data before actually uploading. 

    Then for those of customers who don’t want the additional processing information they could just skip the testing process and upload a file and just get back basic information that we had received in the past.

     

  • Simon Byrne
    10th October

    Oh my goodness, this is possibly the best update you have ever released! I have added many of these items to your wish list over the years.

    — Reporting/detail on failed contacts
    — Drag and drop
    — Excel files
    — Firstname/lastname
    — Create list as part of new campaign workflow…

    Every single one of those items has just improved my workflow or completely eradicated minor annoyances I had with Campaign Monitor. And the failed import reporting alone will allow my clients to improve the quality of their data considerably.

    Excellent work. Thank you!

  • David Greiner
    10th October

    @Ashley, thanks so much for the heads up about those delays you’ve been experiencing. It looks like the guys have identified a few performance issues that are causing some imports to be slower than they were previously. They’re working hard on a fix right now and we should have our normal performance back in the coming days.

    @Simon, that’s just plain awesome to hear. I passed your kind words on to the team who worked on this update, and it’s much appreciated.

  • Jakob Tischler
    10th October

    First off, good job on the update - for the most part.

    One thing though: I’ve been importing .txt files until now, going
    “First name”, “Surname”, “Full name”, ... [and a whole bunch of custom values]
    Now I’m being told I can’t add a [full] name value if first name and surname are already there. I assume this is because the full name is being generated automatically? So this would mean I’d have to delete the “full name” column from my import files? (I’m asking because I’m having these import files created automatically, and I’d need to do some edits to the code in order to change it.)

  • David Greiner
    10th October

    @Jakob, in this case, I would simply import your “Full name” column into the Full name custom field, and then create new custom fields for first name and last name, and match those up with the first two fields in your file. This is probably a close match to how you’ve been doing it anyway.

    Alternatively, you could skip the Full name field altogether, and just match first and last name to the corresponding fields and we’ll combine them automatically for you behind the scenes.

  • Jakob Tischler
    10th October

    [Edit update]

    I’m sorry, I meant the other way around:
    “If Name is specified, First name / Last name may not be also specified.”

  • Jakob Tischler
    10th October

    @David

    Yeah that’s what I figured. It’s way easier to combine [first name] and [last name] to a full name instead of the other way - seperating full names into first and last. Just like Chr1s wrote, I deal with a lot of three or four part names, or even company names, so splitting them automatically would be a hassle (either for CM or for me as the client).

  • David Greiner
    10th October

    @Jakob, thanks for clarifying. Basically, we still only have a single name field, and the first and last name options in that drop down just map to that field, so you’d either use full name or first and last name, not both at the same time. Of course, you can always create your own custom fields during the import for these extra fields, so we have you covered either way.

  • David Greiner
    10th October

    Oh, and if this is still not making sense (it is kinda confusing for your specific example), feel free to get in touch and a member of our support team can walk you through it in more detail.

  • Michael
    12th October

    Any way you’ll be adding the ability to import a group of names to a specific segment on a list?

  • Matt Walsh
    12th October

    Shame you can’t add them into an autoresponder cycle though - that would be really helpful and what is missing from the whole thing.

  • Megan
    12th October

    Hey guys, great job on an awesome update!

    I do however miss the feature of being able to fix email addresses with obvious typos etc straight from the CM interface (on the “here’s what happened” page), rather than downloading the csv, fixing it and then re-uploading. I think this was easier for our clients to manage too.

    Other than that - very awesome indeed!

  • Brent Williamz
    12th October

    Great article, folks. Gives us more confidence for re-importing subscribers into our Campaign Monitor list that we’re getting ready for XMAS.

    One thing: Tell your design person to use a darker grey (than #808080 or whatever they’ve chosen) for the text of the articles on your site. Truly, It’s a bit of a pain to read it easily. Design is 2nd in importance to highly legible text onscreen.

    I might be an old codger but I’m not blind; darker greys such as #333333 or #444444 work much better & how can they not be nice?

    Otherwise we love Campaign Monitor; come on… Festive Season!

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    16th October

    @Michael - We don’t have plans for this just yet, but we’ll keep you posted if it’s something we consider! In the interim, you can add folks to a segment by creating and updating custom fields.

    @Matt Walsh - That’s a great idea for a future update, so i’ll keep you posted if it’s something we add. Sorry for missing the mark here.

    @Megan - We may well bring this back sometime, so thank you for letting us know! I’ll be sure to give this request a nudge for you :)

    @Brent Williamz - Hah, that’s a good call, thanks for letting us know! Stay tuned, as we might experiment some more with text colors here… For the festive season, indeed! :D

  • Robert Sedor
    18th October

    It is great that you have added the option to download import errors, but I am disappointed that you have removed the option to correct errors in the web interface. I much prefer quickly scanning the errors (rejecting blank emails and correcting any typos) rather than having to download a separate file, make corrections and then re-upload it to the list. This will not save time.

  • Rosanne Hodgekiss
    18th October

    Hi Robert, we hear you - there have been a couple of requests to re-add this to the import process, so we’ll certainly look into it. Sorry for the additional work here - we’ll keep you posted on this one.

  • Julia
    19th October

    Just sent an explanation to our biggest client who has complained that their favorite feature (repairing malformed emails on the fly) is no longer included. Hoping they’re not too peeved. They used CM as their editing and list management tool because they don’t have a CMS. So importing, exporting, fixing offline then importing again is a PIA for them.

    Doesn’t really matter to them if someone else thinks they’re being inefficient, that’s the way they do it and have done it for years. (insert leading a horse to water idiom here.)

    Ditto on the darker website text as I wear bifocals and sit near a window.

    Great move on importing .xls file BTW.

    Thanks.

  • David Greiner
    19th October

    Thanks so much for the great feedback everyone. We hear you guys loud and clear on the ability to fix dodgy addresses within the import process, and we’ll be working on a nicer experience for this in the coming weeks.

    We’ll update the blog the moment it’s live.

  • David Vu
    24th October

    Looks great and great work on the import .xls feature… no need to save a separate csv file just for CM.  Thanks CM!

    One problem though, if a CSV with new updated names (and other custom fields) is imported into an existing list already in CM, the duplicates with the new names are rejected instead of refreshing the existing entries with new names (and fields).  Is there a way to override this behaviour so that any subsequent duplicate import means an update of the existing entries?

  • Rosanne Hodgekiss
    25th October

    Hi David, I just reached out to you via email - we’d be keen to look into why this is happening for you. Sorry for the trouble here, but we really hope we can help out!

  • Edward
    14th November

    I love every single new feature here. They’d been on my wish list for a while, and the improved workflow is a nice touch! Lovely work.

  • Michael Wagner
    14th November

    It’s not working for me at all on IE10 (exactly like the Google Image Search uploader, so it seems to be a wide-spread problem of this drag-drop-html5 uploaders…)
    When trying to drag&drop; a file, it just tries to open it in the browser. Clicking “Select it from your computer instead” does nothing, doubleclicking on the area opens a file selector, but clicking “Open” in the dialog does nothing again.
    It’d be nice if I didn’t need to switch over to Firefox just for the upload…

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    15th November

    Hi Michael, we’re very sorry about this - the issue with IE 10 is a known bug and we’ll likely be looking at getting it fixed shortly. We’ll be sure to keep you updated once this is done. Sorry for the trouble here!

  • Michael Wagner
    17th November

    Ros, thanks for the answer. Good to know you’re aware of the issue and there’s a solution on the horizon.

  • Ross Leedham
    19th November

    Thanks everyone for your feedback here about our import process.  Today we have released another update for this to bring back the ability to fix invalid email addresses in the application.

    In the list of invalid emails you can now click them and be able to update them inline.

  • Sarah
    11th January

    Further to Michael’s comment in November any timescales when the issue with ie 10 will be resolved?

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    11th January

    Hi Sarah, it looks like we pushed a fix for this issue in late December. If you’re still not able to upload lists using IE10, kindly contact our team and we’ll look into why it’s not working for you. Sorry for the trouble!

  • Ken Nguyen
    14th February

    Hi Guys, just wanted to let you know that we’ve fixed the bug where you can’t upload or import lists on IE10/Windows 8.

  • Jake Lennon
    4th April

    It would be good if you were able to DELETE more than one list at a time, as currently we have more than 500 lists (due to mis-management in the past) uploaded to our CM account and it is a painstaking process having to go through them all and delete them one by one. What makes it worse is that, due to it being a subscription company that we use CM for, the outdated lists are completely useless and new ones need to be uploaded each month anyway so it is getting a bit out of hand. If there is a way to do this then please let me know.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    4th April

    Hi Jake, thank you so much for letting us know about this. At present there isn’t a way to delete multiple lists at once, however in your case, if you could kindly get in touch with our team, we’ll gladly look at helping you with this task.

    In the interim, I’m happy to add your vote for bulk deletion and will keep you posted if it’s something we add at a later date :)

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