How can I separate contacts who have been overwritten by form submissions?

Last updated: January 5, 2017

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One way that HubSpot deduplicates contacts is through browser cookies. This can sometimes cause an issue if multiple people fill out a form on the same browser. This results in each form submission overwriting the existing values on a single contact record, based on the cookie. We do have some resources that discuss how to prevent this from happening on your forms, but if it does occur, below are two approaches to correct your data.


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. 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.


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 an 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. You can best do this 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.