What is the difference between "Add & Update" and "Update Only" during the import process?

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when I do a new import and click Add & Update, rather than updating the current contact it is creating a new contact and the old one is still there? How can I make sure that the current contact is updated so that I don't have duplicate contacts in the system?
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ICAN

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Posted 4 years ago

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Katie Watts, Support Team Manager

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Official Response
Hi there!

Emma uses the email address of a person as the unique identifier for that contact record. So when you do an import and select "add and update," if any of the other information that you've mapped during the import process for that contact record changes, it will be updated on the current record. Selecting the "add and update" option during the import process gets your current member records updated and adds in brand-new audience members.

Since the email address is the unique identifier for a contact record, if the email address changes for a person, then Emma will create a brand new contact record for that new email address. For example, let's say I had an existing contact record in your account with the name "Katie Watts" and the email address of abc@myemma.com. Then you did an add and update import, and in your new spreadsheet, you had the name for abc@myemma.com reflected as "K Watts." That would update the name on the existing contact record for abc@myemma.com to "K Watts." But if on that import you had an entry with the name "Katie Watts" and the email address of abc2@myemma.com, then a new contact record would be created for abc2@myemma.com.

Hope this helps clear things up! If you're looking for some additional information on this, please check out our how-to information on IMPORTING YOUR AUDIENCE CONTACTS. Or if you're finding a situation where the email address matches on both the existing contact record and the spreadsheet you're importing but the existing record isn't being updated as expected, please comment on this thread with the email address of that contact so I can dig in further in your account. Always happy to help!
(Edited)
Based on this response and Emma's inability to truly update (not add a new contact), is it best to only use their email address when importing? Or is his possibly an update in the works? Having all these undeliverables b/c they are old email addresses take time to double-check them, delete them, and also skews the response stats since those bad emails already are in there and keep showing as undeliverable. 
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Katie Watts, Support Team Manager

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Hi there!

Emma uses email address as the unique identifier for all members in your audience, and you can indeed update any existing contact within the account. This Resource Center link gives some great guidance on editing a contact's information within the Audience section of your Emma account. If you're looking to update existing contacts in bulk, then you'd likely want to do that through the import process -- mapping the fields during the import process that you want to update and choosing the "add and update" import style. If you only map email address during the import process, then you're exactly right -- you won't be updating anything about your existing contacts at all, only adding them to the group you specify during the import process. The import process only creates a new contact if you're importing an email address that doesn't already exist within your Emma audience. Any email addresses imported that do already have a contact record will just update the existing record in your audience.

As far as the contacts in your account that have had past delivery issues go, you shouldn't need to spend any time managing or deleting those records. Once a contact has hard bounced one time or soft bounced in response to four consecutive mailings, Emma handles the legwork automatically and moves that contact out of active status and in to error status. When you send a mailing through Emma, it only goes out to the contacts in active status within the group(s) you select, so you don't have to worry about the error status contacts skewing your response data.

Hope this helps clear things up! If I can provide any further import assistance, please give me a shout here.