Correct property values that were overwritten by a form submission

Last updated: July 23, 2018


HubSpot can deduplicate contacts through browser cookies. If multiple people fill out a form on the same browser, each form submission will overwrite the existing values on a single contact record, based on the cookie. 

When visitors first come to your site, a cookie is dropped in their browser that is used to track them on their journey through your website. If a visitor leaves and comes back, that cookie is still tied to them. When a submission is captured, it is tied to that cookie and that data either creates a new contact record or updates an existing contact record if one already exists. If multiple submissions occur with the same cookie associated, each new submission will be treated as a contact update, not a new contact. 

This happens when:

  • Someone fills out your form on a cookied contact's computer.
  • Someone forwards your marketing email to a friend, then that friend clicks a link to your site and fills out a form (the submission would be tracked under the original contact's cookie).

There are a few ways you can prevent your contact's data from being overwritten, but below are two ways to correct your data if this does occur. 

Reimporting form submissions to create new contacts

If you notice a large number of contacts being overwritten, you will likely want to correct this in bulk by reimporting those form submissions. This will recreate the overwritten contact records as new contacts and the existing, overwriting contact will stay on the same record.
Please note: any existing analytical history (including previous website page visits, form submissions, and email activity) from the original contact record will now be associated with the overwriting contact's email address.
  • First, export the submissions for your form. This will provide you with a CSV file that will include each unique submission.
  • You will then take the same exported file and import it back into HubSpot. Since HubSpot creates and updates contacts based on email address, this will create a new contact if a contact with that email address does not already exist. However, when a contact's email address is overwritten by a form submission, the original email address will become the contact's secondary address. In order to recreate the contacts with the correct email address, you will need to remove the secondary address before reimporting the contacts. 
  • You may want to modify the exported file to only include the overwritten contacts or the fields that you are looking to update prior to import. For example, if you import all the properties that were exported, you run the risk of unintentionally updating properties that have since been updated.

Manually recreating new contacts

If you only see a few contacts being overwritten, you may want to instead handle this manually on each contact record in HubSpot. This method will also ensure that any previous website page visits, form submissions, and email activity will still be associated with the original contact's email address.
  • First, navigate to the overwritten contact record in HubSpot.
  • If you hover your mouse over one of the contact properties that was included as a field in your form, you will see a button for See history.

  • Clicking See history will show you the history of previous values for that property.
  • Copy the original value to your clipboard and exit the history pop-up for your property. 
  • When you return to the contact record, paste the original value back into the property and click Save Changes

Please note: you will need to repeat this for each property on your form for each affected contact record. You will also want to then recreate the overwriting contact's record. The best way to do this is by viewing the submission data for your contacts in one browser tab and then manually adding the new contact in another tab.

This post from the HubSpot Customer Blog has more information about cookies if you are looking to learn more.

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