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Delete Contacts in Contact Builder

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Enable Contact Deletion in Marketing Cloud.
  • Delete one or more contacts in Contact Builder.
  • Review the progress of your deletion requests.

Enable Contact Delete

Deleting contact information from Marketing Cloud is an important operation that can dramatically affect your customer data. For this reason, we require that an admin enables the feature before anybody can use it. This section shows you how to turn the feature on.

In this module, we assume you are a Marketing Cloud administrator with the proper permissions to delete contacts. If you’re not an administrator for Marketing Cloud, that’s OK. Read along to learn how your administrator would take the steps in a production org. Don’t try to follow these steps in your Trailhead Playground. Marketing Cloud isn’t available in the Trailhead Playground.

  1. Log in to your Marketing Cloud account and click Audience Builder in the app switcher.
  2. Next, click Contact Builder.
  3. Then click Contacts Configuration.
  4. Navigate to the Contact Delete section and click Enabled.
  5. Click Manage Settings.
  6. The suppression period for Contact Delete defaults to 14 days, but you can set another length value. We recommend setting this value to 0 in the text field to ensure contacts delete almost immediately and you can proceed with your marketing activities.
  7. Click Save.
Note

Note

Any change you make to the suppression period value affects both currently processing and future contact delete requests.

There you go! Your account is ready for Contact Delete.

Delete One or More Contacts

After your account is enabled for Contact Delete, you can remove contact records right in Contact Builder. This section shows you how to delete those contacts, either one at a time or in groups. When you delete contacts from Marketing Cloud, you can select one or more contacts from All Contacts, or you can delete the contact information in your Marketing Cloud account for all contacts in a data extension. Here are the steps you take to delete from All Contacts.

  1. In Contact Builder, navigate to All Contacts.
  2. To delete one or more contacts, select the checkboxes next to the appropriate contacts.
  3. Click Contact Delete Icon and select Delete selected contact.
  4. Review the deletion information and click Delete.
Note

Note

You likely have many pages of contacts, so be sure to delete your selected contacts before moving on to the next page. Changing pages clears the selections you previously made. And remember, if you’re deleting more than a page worth of contacts, consider using the REST API—it’s more efficient and prevents the system from processing multiple jobs. More on this later. 

After you complete this process, you can click Contact Delete Icon and select View Pending Deletions to track the contact deletion progress. You can also check out the information in the Contacts Analytics dashboard, which we cover in the next section.

Take a Look at the Dashboard

Contact Delete processes can take some time. If you only delete one contact at a time, it probably won’t take long (depending on what’s going on in your account at the time). But if you’re trying to delete millions of contacts from your account using multiple requests, that could take a little more time. That’s why Marketing Cloud has a dashboard to help you determine how the jobs are progressing.

To view the dashboard, open the Contact Builder app and click Contacts Analytics. All data shown in this dashboard appears in nearly real time.

Note

Note

Access the dashboard in the top-level account of your tenant.

Here’s what you’ll see.

  • Total—shows the sum of all contact delete requests initiated in your account during the specified time period.
  • Complete—shows the sum of all contact delete requests made in the specified time period that successfully completed in that same time period.
  • Processing—shows the sum of all contact delete requests that have not concluded at this point.
  • Invalid—shows the sum of all contact delete requests that contained bad data and did not successfully complete. (Invalid requests result from errors in REST API requests. For example, errors occur on requests that originate from a child business unit or that don't include one or more ContactKey values. Review your REST API requests for error messages related to these invalid requests.)

You can view this data in three different views.

  • Day shows request volume and status for the past 24 hours.
  • Week shows request volume and status for the past 7 days.
  • Month shows request volume and status for the past 30 days.

You can also click the graph or chart to see individual contact delete requests. This dashboard shows information for any requests made in Marketing Cloud or via the REST API. Speaking of REST API, the next section covers how to use REST API calls to automate your contact delete requests or make them in bulk batches.

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