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Contact fields overview


This article explains what the different contact field types are, how to create new contact fields, and how to edit or archive existing fields.

Contact fields are used to store and collect information about your subscribers, such as birth dates, age, gender, location, email preferences, and more. There are a variety of contact fields you can use and there are also a number of data types to choose from, as explained below. You can then use this data to create audience segments or personalize email content

After you've set some contact fields up, they can be included in your signup forms for new subscribers. This will additionally add the fields to your manage preferences forms, allowing contacts to update their personal details on their own.

Important notes about contact fields

  • You can't change the contact field type after a contact field has been created.

  • While any Emma user can archive contacts, you must be at the Administrator level and above in order to delete archived contacts

  • You can't create two contact fields with the same name, even if the original contact field has been archived.

Emma Contact Field Types

Contact field type

Short answer

Entries can be up to 255 characters long; numbers, letters, spaces, and symbols are accepted.

Long answer

Entries can be up to 2,500 characters; numbers, letters, spaces, and symbols are accepted.

Numeric answer

Use this field to store numeric values intended for use in segments or integrations requiring math. 

Numeric fields cannot contain any characters besides numbers and decimals, and it's best to import numbers only because a decimal is added by default. For example, "23" becomes "23.0". If you import "23.0" it will be changed to "23.0.0".

Tip: For numeric values such as phone numbers or age, use the "Short answer" field type.

Radio button menu

A shortlist of options, where only one option can be selected.

Select multiple

A list of options, where one or more options can be selected.

Dropdown menu

A dropdown list, where only one option can be selected.

Checkbox menu

A list of checkboxes, where one or more options can be selected.

Date picker

Select from three data types from the dropdown menu; month, day, or year.

Postal code

This data type only allows numbers to be entered and is strictly intended for 5-digit US postal codes.

Tip: For international postal codes, use the “Short answer” field type.


An alphabetized list of all the states within the United States of America. The full state name is necessary for segmentation purposes and they are displayed in a dropdown menu.


An alphabetized list of widely recognized countries, displayed as a dropdown menu


How to create new contact fields

New contact fields can be added in two ways to your Emma account. You can set them up prior to collecting any data from new subscribers, or import previous contact data to your account. These next instructions are for the former because we always suggest setting up some contact fields to include in your signup form for new subscribers. Here's how to create a new contact field in your account:

  1. After logging into your Emma account, go to the Audience tab, then click on Contact fields from the lefthand menu.
  2. You will be brought to the "Manage contact fields" page, click on the blue button to Create contact field on the right side of the page.
  3. A popup window will appear, and you will need to enter a field name, then use the "Field type" dropdown menu to make a selection. If you select a multi-option field, you will also need to enter the options for people to choose from.
  4. After you have made your selections, click Save. The new contact field will be added to the bottom of your "Manage contact fields" page, and you can reorder how these are displayed. 

Different ways to manage your contact fields 

As noted above, after a contact field has been created, you can't change the field type or the shortcut name. However, you can change the field name and edit the options for multiple-option contact fields, as detailed below.

How to edit a contact field

  1. After logging into your Emma account, go to the Audience tab, then click on Contact fields from the lefthand menu.
  2. You will be brought to the "Manage contact fields" page where you will see a list of all of your designated contact field names. To edit these, click on the downward-facing arrow in the row of the contact field you want to change and click on Edit field. 


One aspect to remember about the automatically generated "Shortcut name" is that because it is designed to be used with API calls, you can't change it. For example: If a contact field was originally named "Color preference", its shortcut name will be color-preference (as seen in the above image). If the field name is later changed to "Favorite color", the shortcut name will still be color-preference.

If you need to change the name of a contact field to display it on your signup form, you can optionally edit the display name on the form itself, instead of changing the contact field name.

Notes on making multiple-option field changes

You can edit the list of options available for multiple-option contact fields — like the "Radio button menu" or "Checkbox menu" — however, it's important to understand the possible outcomes of any changes you make.

When contact field values are used to create segments, the values are case sensitive. To use the "Color preference" example pictured above, let's say your original option values were lowercase, “yellow, blue, green”, but you later change them to title case, “Yellow, Blue, Green".

A segment created to group contacts who selected "yellow" as their color preference, would not include contacts with a value of "Yellow". You can get around this by adding another rule to the segment so that both "yellow" and "Yellow" are included, but the person creating the segment would need to know that the option values were originally lowercase.

How to archive or restore fields

As previously mentioned, you cannot delete contact fields, but you can archive them. To do this, click the downward-facing arrow on the right side of the row of the contact field and select Archive field.


After you have archived one contact field, a list of the archived fields will show at the bottom of the page. To reactivate a field at any time, simply click on the downward-facing arrow in the row of the contact field you want to change, then click Restore field. 

How to reorder fields

You can customize the order that your contact fields are displayed on the "Manage contact fields" page. To do this, click on the dots to the left of the contact field name to drag and drop it into a new location. 

Please note: The display order of your contact fields can also be changed via your signup form. However, any changes made to the signup form will overwrite the order set on the "Manage contact fields" page.