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Contact Import Automation

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About Contact Import Automations

Users often wish to integrate their contact records with Qualtrics by uploading files to a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) server, or to an HTTPS file hosting service, so that Qualtrics can regularly import these records to their Qualtrics accounts. Users may wish to import these records as contacts, then schedule survey distributions for those contacts, all under the most safe and secure transfer methods.

With contact import automations, you can create, configure, update, test, and review your own automation jobs, which streamlines your contact management. When the automation is scheduled to run, it’ll process any designated files that have not been processed by the automation yet, including newly uploaded files.

You can set these up in the Automations tab of the Directories page.

Tab that says Automations between Distributions and Directory Settings

Qtip: Each user can create up to 100 automations, and you can run each automation an unlimited amount of times. There is no limit to the total amount of automations your brand can have. The file size limit for a single automation run is 250MB. If a file is PGP encrypted, the decrypted file size limit is 250MB.
Attention: Qualtrics can accept CSV, TSV, and pipe delimited file types for contact import automations. Make sure your example file matches the format of the file you want to use. For CSV files, Qualtrics can only accept CSV files with UTF-8 encoding.
Attention: You can only view automations that you’ve created within your own Qualtrics account.

Step 1: Starting and Scheduling the Automation

  1. Go to the Automations tab.
    Tabs as described
  2. Click New Automation. 
  3. Name your automation.
    Create Automation field
  4. Click Create Automation.
  5. Determine whether your automation should happen daily, weekly, monthly, or On-Demand. If you select On-Demand, the automation will check files every 15 minutes and process those eligible.
  6. Determine the time of day / day of the week it should take place. You can run on the hour, or 15, 30, or 45 minutes after the hour.
    Qtip: All automations are scheduled based on UTC and therefore do not observe daylight savings time.
  7. Click Add Another Time to add another time of day / week / month this update should occur.
    Qtip: There is a limit of 8 times daily, 20 times weekly, or 16 times monthly. While you can technically add the same time multiple times, this will result in the automation only being run once on that time.
  8. Determine the date you want the first automation to take place.

    Qtip: If the date is set to today or in the past, the automation will run from now on.
  9. Determine when you want the automation to stop importing contacts. You can always modify this later.
  10. Click Continue to enter the next step, Configuring an Import Source.
Qtip: If an automation run is scheduled but a previous run is still going, the second run will be delayed until the first finishes.

Step 2: Configuring an Import Source

When you reach Configure Import Source in the contact import automation, you tell Qualtrics the location of the contact data you would like to import. You have a few options.

configure import source is the heading at the top and the label to the right

  • Qualtrics File Service: Set up a file service with Qualtrics. This eliminates the task of setting up an SFTP server on your own side. When you select this option, you’ll be shown instructions on how to set this up.
  • SFTP Server: You have your own server where these files will be hosted. You must provide the username, password, host URL and port of the SFTP server for the automation to import the files.

    Qtip: When setting up an SFTP connection, we recommend your IT team Allowlist the Qualtrics IP Ranges. Use the following IP Ranges to Allowlist:

    • EMEA and Asia Pacific: 139.60.152.0/22
    • All other regions: 162.247.216.0/22
    Qtip: If your account is within our FedRAMP environment, the IP addresses for allowlisting differ from those found on this page. To securely access your IP address information, please login to your FedRAMP Support Portal.
  • Google Drive or Dropbox: You have access to an Open Authorization (OAuth) file storage, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, where your import files will be hosted. You must login and give Qualtrics permission to manage your files on the OAuth file storage. The automation will only manage the files in a designated folder configured in the next step.
Qtip: The Qualtrics File Service and SFTP options will likely require that you work with your organization’s IT team to set up properly.

Step 3: PGP Encryption

PGP encryption is optional for contact import automations. It is an extra means of encrypting and protecting your data before you proceed with your automation, and will require you work with your IT team. They will need to select a PGP encryption software, such as the PGP Tool, the GPG Tools, or the GPG utility. If you are generating the import files from a script, they should utilize a GPG/PGP library particular to the language of the script. Unfortunately, Qualtrics Support cannot set up your PGP encryption for you, or un-encrypt files you have encrypted.

  1. Select whether you’d like the file to be encrypted using PGP software.
    Yes on PGP option at bottom of screen

    Qtip: This PGP encryption is available for automations using both SFTP servers and the Qualtrics File Service. If you did not encrypt a past automation but would like to, you can always edit the automation to add encryption.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. Click Download our public key. Your IT team will need to use that public key to encrypt import files before uploading them to the SFTP server or the Qualtrics File Service.
    Public key blurred out

    Qtip: If an automation is configured to use PGP encryption but receives an unencrypted file, it will fail and notify the email recipients, as per the notification preferences in the automation.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Now you will either define your SFTP folder paths, or go straight to Data Field Mapping.
Qtip: The PGP public key and fingerprint will rotate every few months. However, all previous public keys can be used for existing and new automations as long as the key is not compromised.

Step 4: Selecting Folder Paths

After you decide the source of your contact data files, you need to specify the folders where these files are saved so the automation knows where to retrieve them from.

  1. Enter the name of the folder on the SFTP server, Google Drive, or Dropbox the file you want to import is located on. If the folder is inside another folder, be sure to specify the path, e.g., Central Folder/Contacts 2018.

    Qtip: If you’re using Google Drive, you do not have to specify the name of the drive – just put the name of the folder. For example, if your automations are in your drive in a folder called AutomationFiles, put AutomationFiles in the Folder Path field. If your AutomationFiles folder is inside another folder called QualtricsStuff, put QualtricsStuff/AutomationFiles.
    Qtip: This folder name is case sensitive. This must be an existing folder, or the automation will fail. The folder path should also be relative to the default directory of the SFTP, Google Drive, or Dropbox user provided to the automation. Qualtrics will not be able to access files if they’re in a higher level directory than the one specified in the folder path.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. Select which files should be imported from this folder.
    Your options are:

    • All Files: All files in the folder.
    • Files whose name contain a specific prefix: When selected, you can specify the prefix.
    • Files whose name contain a specific suffix: When selected, you can specify the suffix. The file extension is included here.
      Example: The file name is 1234-sample and it as a CSV. You want all files that end with -sample and are CSVs. Your suffix would be -sample.csv
    • Files whose name contains specific text: When selected, you can specify the phrase the names must contain. This phrase can be anywhere in the file name.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Processed file will be stored on Qualtrics and can be viewed when managing past automations. Click Continue.

Step 5: Data Field Mapping and Mailing Lists

This section covers two parts of the contact import automation: Map Data Fields and Select Mailing List. This is where you decide what fields will be imported into Qualtrics from your contact files, how they are formatted, and what specific mailing list the imported contacts will be imported to.

  1. Click Download Example File. This will download a CSV to your computer that provides an example of a correct file template. You may also use your own template file, which can be a variety of file types. All files imported by this automation will need to match the formatting of the example file you upload.
    Select file button in blue in center; example file link in blue text below
  2. When your file is ready, click Select File and upload your example file.
    Attention: Sample file sizes cannot exceed 100MB.
  3. Choose a delimiter.
    Delimiter dropdown in center in white
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Suggested column headers for Qualtrics field mappings will be provided; however, you can rename any column or map a column to an existing embedded data field by modifying the dropdowns in the Import as Field Name row.  Note that if you’re naming a column after an embedded data field, it must be case-sensitive.
    File content is previewed with columns of data. second and third rows of data are actually dropdowns and fields where you can make adjustments as described in these steps
  6. Use the Import as Field Type row to determine if each field is a contact field, embedded data, transactional data, transaction date, or if it should be excluded from import.

    Qtip: Transaction dates are the dates a transaction occurred. Dates will be assumed to be in UTC unless the timezone is explicitly included in the date value. If the date column is empty, the transaction date will be set to the current date. If the date is invalid, the row will be failed. Here’s a list of compatible time formats:

    • ANSIC (Mon Jan _2 15:04:05 2006)
    • UnixDate (Mon Jan _2 15:04:05 MST 2006)
    • RFC822 (02 Jan 06 15:04 MST)
    • RFC850 (Monday, 02-Jan-06 15:04:05 MST)
    • RFC1123 (Mon, 02 Jan 2006 15:04:05 MST)
    • RFC3339/ISO-8601 (2006-01-02T15:04:05+07:00)
  7. Once you’ve reviewed your fields, click Continue.
    Qtip: If you’d like to replace the file you uploaded, click Upload a new example file.
  8. Select the mailing list in your XM Directory where the contacts from your import source will be imported. When you click this dropdown, you may create a new mailing list, or search for a preexisting list by name.
    Field for electing mailing list. In this screenshot, chosen to create new, so field for name and below that blue button to create
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Decide whether there should be no distribution or a distribution automation set up with this contact automation. You can link multiple distributions. See the Linking Distribution Automations section for more details. If you did not elect to link a distribution automation, finish setting up your automation.
    No is selected

    Qtip: Even if you do not set up a distribution automation now, you can come back and link an existing one later.

Step 6: Linking to Distribution Automations

Automations support the ability to send multiple distributions from a single contact import. This is accomplished by linking survey distribution automations to a contact import automation. Linked distribution automations will send survey invitations based on the distribution automation’s settings as soon as the contact import automation finishes.

Attention: If you are using contact import automations and distribution automations in the same survey, you must link them together in this step.

You can link your contact import automation to any number of distribution automations as long as the total number of your automations does not exceed 100.

Warning: Your linked distribution automation will run if the linked contact import automation completes, even if the distribution automation hasn’t been activated.
  1. Navigate to the Link Distributions section of the automation.
    Yes is selected
  2. Select Yes.
  3. Click Continue.
  4. Either select to create a new distribution automation, or select from existing automations.
    Dropdowns allowing you to select from distribution automations you've made
  5. Once a distribution automation is added, you can choose to Navigate to Automation or Remove it. Distribution automation added
  6. Click Show Criteria to add the conditions under which contacts are added to this distribution.
  7. To add conditions, select Filter the contacts.
    Filter option in dropdown
  8. Conditions are joined by “All” or “Any.” You can add conditions based on values of contact fields, embedded data, or transaction data.  Conditions can be nested.
    An image that shows filtering the contacts, how the limit on filter conditions appears beneath them in the product, the dropdown where you choose whether to limit the number of recipients, and said sampling options. After that is an image of the blue "add another automation" button, followed by the save and finish later vs. continue buttons at the very bottom

    Qtip: You can only add up to 10 conditions. The user interface will tell you how many conditions you have left to add.
  9. Choose whether you’d like to distribute to all contacts that meet your criteria, or if you’d like to sample a limited selection of them.
  10. If you chose to take a sample of contacts, select how you’d like to create the sample:
    • Number of contacts: Enter the number of recipients you’d like to receive the survey. This number cannot exceed the number of contacts in your list.
      Example: If you have a list of 1,000 contacts but only want to survey half of them, then enter 500.
    • Percentage of source mailing list: Enter the percentage of recipients you’d like to receive the survey.
      Example: If you have a list of 1,000 contacts and enter 75%, then 750 contacts will receive the survey.
  11. To link this contact import automation to another distribution automation, click Add Another Automation and repeat Steps 4-10 as needed.
  12. When finished linking automations, click Continue to move onto the final steps of your automation.
Qtip: Since contacts can be included in multiple distributions, you need to be careful of contacting people more than once. If you do not want your contact to be included in multiple distributions or wish to prioritize one distribution over another, make sure to set the sampling rules in the distribution automation so they are mutually exclusive.

Example: You have customers from the UK in both distributions. In order to avoid contacting them multiple times, you add a condition to one of your distributions to avoid including contacts with a UK email address.

Condition says email address must contain @qualtrics.co.uk

Step 7: Sending Run Reports and Enabling the Automation

The final steps of a contact import automation include determining who is emailed when an automation runs, and then enabling the automation. This encompasses the Run Summary Recipients and Review portions of the automation.

  1. Determine who will be alerted with an email when the automation runs. Use the plus signs ( + ) or the Add Recipient Email button to add additional recipients.
    Run Summary section with a list of emails you add
  2. If you do not want to email a report when there wasn’t any work done to report on, check the box.
  3. Click Continue.
  4. Click Edit next to go back to any section and make changes.
    Button to enable in blue in upper-left
  5. Click Enable Automation to start your automation, or click Finish without enabling to save the automation but not start it.

Changing Data Fields Included in the Automation

There may be times that you want to modify the fields included in the contact import automation. For example, maybe you realized you forgot to include a patient address column in your contact imports, and now you want to save patient address information in future contact imports.

The example file that you upload in the Map Import Fields section determines the embedded data fields that will be uploaded to Qualtrics. This means you can exclude column headers to skip over them, or you can use the exact name and spelling of a field to include it in future imports.

Attention: You must map new fields to your automation for these fields to pull in correctly. If your field is not mapped, it will be set as transactional data by default. Additionally, if you’re removing fields from your imported file, you need to remove them from your mapped data fields. If your file is missing a field that’s mapped into the automation, the automation will fail.

To change the fields included in an import:

  1. Go to the desired automation and click the dropdown.
    Automations tab home
  2. Click Edit Automation.
  3. Click edit next to where it says Map Data Fields.
    Image of automation opened, menu on right with list of steps and the "edit" button next to mapping fields highlighted; Upload a new file button in blue at top
  4.  Click Upload a new example file.
  5. Click Download Example File.
  6. Edit the file so it includes your desired headers. Make sure spelling and capitalization is the same.
    Example: The files you keep in your source folder have a field called Address. In the example file, add a header called Address. Using a lowercase ‘a’ will not work.
  7. Click Select File. Upload your new file.
    Uploading a file
  8. Click Continue.
  9. Suggested column headers for Qualtrics field mappings will be provided; however, you can rename any column or map a column to an existing embedded data field by modifying the dropdowns in the Import as Field Name row.  Note that if you’re naming a column after an embedded data field, it must be case-sensitive.
    File content is previewed with columns of data. second and third rows of data are actually dropdowns and fields where you can make adjustments as described in these steps
  10. Use the Import as Field Type row to determine if each field is a contact field, embedded data, transactional data, transaction date, or if it should be excluded from import.
  11. Once you’ve reviewed your fields, click Continue.

Qtip: Transaction dates are the dates a transaction occurred. Dates will be assumed to be in UTC unless the timezone is explicitly included in the date value. If the date column is empty, the transaction date will be set to the current date. If the date is invalid, the row will be failed. Here’s a list of compatible time formats:

  • ANSIC (Mon Jan _2 15:04:05 2006)
  • UnixDate (Mon Jan _2 15:04:05 MST 2006)
  • RFC822 (02 Jan 06 15:04 MST)
  • RFC850 (Monday, 02-Jan-06 15:04:05 MST)
  • RFC1123 (Mon, 02 Jan 2006 15:04:05 MST)
  • RFC3339/ISO-8601 (2006-01-02T15:04:05+07:00)

Creating Additional Automations

Once you have created automations, you can add more by clicking New Automation in the upper-right.

New automation button

Qtip: When managing past automations, you can click the contact import automation and then click View File to see the files that were imported.

Selected contact import. To the right in the menu at the bottom is a blue view file link

FAQs