Import profiles

There are a couple of ways to get your profile data into a Copernica database. You can manually enter the profiles one at a time or you can use our API to synchronize profiles automatically. It is also possible to import profiles from a CSV or tab separated file (the type of files that you can edit with spreadsheet software).

Imports from CSV files are very flexible and can even be used for layered databases that contain collections and subprofiles. It also is possible to schedule automatically repeating imports that download a file from your server. The import module can be found in the Marketing Suite within the database & profiles section.

The import file

Your import file has to be formatted in a specific manner to be suitable for an import. It must be a tab or comma delimited file and the first line should hold the names of the database fields into which you are going to import. The file must be UTF-8 encoded and we recommend all users to put quotes around their field values. It should look similar to this:

Firstname, Lastname, City, Phone
'John', 'Doe', 'Denver', '555-343-32'
'Peter', 'Smith', 'Nashville', '555-341-66'

Almost all spreadsheet software will have the functionality to generate these files.

Linking columns

After you've uploaded a field you must link the columns in the file to fields in the database. This is normally a very straightforward job: the column "firstname" gets linked to the field "firstname" in the database. If the database does not (yet) have a "firstname" field, you can link the column to a different field or you can directly use the import module to add a new field to the database.

When you're linking the columns you can also assign the key fields. These keys fields will allow you to use imports to update profiles. For each line in the import file, Copernica searches for matching profiles based on the selected keys and updates these matching profiles. You can also configure what should be done when no matching profile is found: you can ignore these lines or create new profiles.

Importing subprofiles

To import a layered database with profiles and subprofiles you need a special notation for the field names in the import header. For each of the fields in the collection you use the "collectionname.fieldname" notation. If you're running a pet shop and you have a customer database with for each customer a collection of its pets you can import the following file:

'Firstname', Lastname, City, Pets. Name, Pets. Type
'John', 'Doe', 'Denver', 'Blacky', 'Dog'
'John', 'Doe', 'Denver', 'Princess', 'Cat'

Notice that "John Doe" is mentioned twice. This is the same customer "John Doe" that happens to have two pets: Blacky the dog and Princess the cat. Because each subprofile (the pets) has to be entered on a separate line, the profile data ("John Doe") is repeated. Do make sure that you have assigned the right key fields (for example the combination Firstname, Lastname and City) to allow Copernica to recognize that the two "John Doe" lines refer to one profile, instead of handling the lines as two separate profiles: one with a dog and one with a cat.

When using an import to update profiles, you will always need to assign a key field to match the profile with.

Periodic imports

Instead of uploading a file, you can also enter the URL to an import file that is hosted somewhere on the internet. By assigning a URL you can schedule repeating imports. Copernica downloads the file and can repeat this at regular intervals. The import can be performed over FTP, but also the secure protocols sFTP and FTPS are supported.

All the settings for periodic imports are the same as for uploaded imports. For periodic imports you also have to link columns to fields and you also can assign the key columns. The only difference is that the import dialog has an extra tab that you can use to set the import interval.

Date notation

Dates in Copernica normally use the YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss notation. This is a useful notation because such dates can easily be sorted. However, in some languages dates are displayed in a different order (like DD-MM-YYYY) which could confuse the import algorithm. It is therefore best to include only dates in the recommended YYYY-MM-DD format in input files.

But if you do use a different format, you can use the option to automatically convert these wrong dates. Dates in other formats are automatically recognized and converted to our notation. However, this is not a 100% safe conversion. The date 03-09-1980 can be read as 3 September or as 9 March. So it is better not to rely on this conversion and always upload files that use the Copernica format.

Invalid dates are ignored and are converted into 0000-00-00 dates.

Rollback incorrect imports

If you make a mistake with your import, you may overwrite your entire database with wrong data. This makes it very important to stay concentrated! There are some tricks to rollback some of the effects of a wrong import, but prevention is always better than a cure.

If your wrong import created profiles that you now want to remove, you can create a selection with just these new profiles. For this you can make a selection with a single "check for changes" condition based on the "profile was created" event. After you've created this selection use the "edit/remove multiple profiles" dialog window to remove all profiles from this selection.

Did the import modify profiles that you want to bring back to their original state? Individual profiles have a rollback feature, but this feature can only be used one profile at a time. You can also ask Copernica to install a backup of your database, however we charge an extra fee for rolling back a database.

Creating an import in the Publisher

Importing data is performed under the Profiles section. The menu Current view provides you the option Import/export profiles....

Creating an import in the Marketing Suite

To create a new import in the Marketing Suite, first select the database or collection that you want to import data into. Then, you will need to click on the gear to access the settings window. Here you can select the option manage imports.

More information

Your database should be safely in the system now. Now it might be the time to add some restrictions to protect it, or to add some more fields. Find out more in the articles below.