Configure account Contact model in Marketing Cloud.
The Contact model defines how Marketing Cloud stores information about subscribers across channels. It can be configured in the Data Designer tool within Contact Builder and allows to relate data stored in channel applications.
The Contact model combines Subscribers data from different channel applications based on a unique key referred to as Contact Key.
A Subscriber is an individual who opted in to receive communication through a specific channel in Marketing Cloud.
Subscriber data is managed in Marketing Cloud channel applications, such as Email Studio for email, MobileConnect for SMS, or MobilePush for push notifications.
A Contact is an individual who receives communication through any channel in Marketing Cloud. A Contact can also exist in Marketing Cloud without being subscribed to any channel. Each Subscriber is therefore a Contact, but not every Contact needs to be a Subscriber.
Contact data is sourced from Marketing Cloud applications, such as All Subscribers in Email Studio or All Contacts in Contact Builder, Journey Builder, MobileConnect, and MobilePush. In addition, Contact data can also be sourced from external data sources through integrations such as Marketing Cloud Connect for Salesforce Sales Cloud or Service Cloud.
Marketing Cloud combines Contact information across channels based on the Contact Key. In Email Studio, the Contact Key is referred to as Subscriber Key.
The Contact Key is a unique value assigned each Contact and Subscriber. It allows Marketing Cloud to identify Subscribers across channels as a single Contact.
If no Contact Key is defined for a Subscriber, the value is defaulted to address of the channel, such as email address for emails, mobile number for SMS, or device ID for push.
The Contact model can be configured with the Data Designer tool within Contact Builder. It consists of Attributes, Attribute Groups, Relationships, and Populations.
An Attribute describes a single piece of information about a Contact. Attributes can be created to define a relevant data model around Contacts.
There are two types of Attributes about Contacts:
Profile Attributes describe who a Contact is (e.g. name), and Behavioural Attributes describe what a Contact has done (e.g. email clicks).
Attribute Groups can be used to organize Data Extensions related to Contacts. They consist of a collection of Data Extensions whose fields become Attributes.
Data Extensions in Attribute Groups can be linked to each other, to Contacts, and to Populations. Relationships are defined based on a key, such as the Contact Key. Supported cardinalities are one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.
Populations allow to create distinct subgroups of Contacts. This helps to separate communications to different types of Contacts within a single Marketing Cloud account.
It is not necessary to create populations for simple segmentation, but only for advanced use cases with complex queries or API integrations. The number of populations within an account should be less than three.