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Can someone help clarify use case where we should have Subscriber key related to multiple email addresses?

We generate our own subscriber key but we want to give a Subscriber opportunity to be communicated to different email addresses (what he wants to receive on what email) but we still want to track him through 1 Subscriber key.

How should we approach to this scenario? Possible solutions?

2 Answers 2

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In order to understand the multi-email address scenario per Subscriber Key, it is vital to understand the logic behind email address in a sendable data extension vs. email address in All Subscribers list.

When a send to a data extension occurs, the following process occurs at sendtime, under normal circumstances:

  • The data extension field related to the Subscriber Key value on the All Subscribers list is identified
  • The value for each record in the data extension is looked up on the All Subscribers list as Subscriber Key

If the value does not exist, a new record is created:

  1. If there is no field with an Email Address datatype, nothing is added to the All Subscribers list, and subscribers who do not exist will not be sent to
  2. If there is a field with an Email Address data type, a new subscriber is created on the All Subscribers list

The related Subscriber Key field value is set as Subscriber Key on the All Subscribers list and the value in the field set as an Email Address datatype will be set as Email Address on the All Subscribers list

If the value does exist:

  1. The Email Address value on the All Subscribers list is sent to, regardless of the Email Address value present in the data extension
  2. The Email Address value on the All Subscriber list is not updated

You CAN ask Salesforce to change the settings on the platform, to change this behaviour, allowing you to store and use multiple email addresses for each Subscriber Key, regardless of email address stored in All Subscribers.

When a send to a data extension occurs, the following process occurs at sendtime, if setting on the platform are changed by Salesforce:

  • The data extension field related to the Subscriber Key value on the All Subscribers list is identified
  • The value for each record in the data extension is looked up on the All Subscribers list as Subscriber Key

If the value does not exist, a new record is created

  1. If there is no field with an Email Address datatype, nothing is added to the All Subscribers list, and subscribers who do not exist will not be sent to
  2. If there is a field with an Email Address data type, a new subscriber is created on the All Subscribers list

The related Subscriber Key field value is set as Subscriber Key on the All Subscribers list and the value in the field set as an Email Address datatype will be set as Email Address on the All Subscribers list.

If the value does exist:

  1. The Email Address value on the data extension is sent to, regardless of the Email Address value present on the All Subscribers list
  2. The Email Address value on the All Subscriber list IS not updated

From a day-to-day operations, this is the easiest and quickest approach, however it DOES have an impact on tracking.

In summary, regardless of the Email Data Source setting, the Email Address value on the All Subscribers list is not updated at sendtime. If the Email Data Source business rule is enabled, the only difference in behavior is that the Email Address value is overridden at send time.

The tracking architecture is linked to subscribers on a system-generated field called SubscriberID. When pulling any data from tracking that produces an Email Address, the tracking system looks up the Email Address on the All Subscribers list using the SubscriberID field.

If Email Addresses can't be matched, it will result in inaccurate tracking results for any individual subscriber whose Email Address present in a data extension differs from that of the All Subscribers list, based on the same Subscriber Key. This inaccuracy propagates to inaccurate results in the following objects when based on Email Address (but not limited):

  • Bounce reporting for a job
  • Open reporting for a job
  • Click reporting for a job
  • Unsubscribe reporting for a job
  • Any reports based on subscriber engagement

A more solid solution would be to update the email address in All Subscribers list prior to sending out the email to that particular Subscriber Key, however it would require substantial business logic to ensure this is done at the right time prior to any send-out: transactional or bulk. This will keep your tracking data consistent.

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  • Lukas, for your 'more solid solution' can you clarify it a little bit (last paragraph). How exactly would we be able to update the email address in All Subscribers list prior to send out?
    – Vasily
    May 8, 2019 at 11:01
  • As All Subscribers is a list, you can either update it via API, SSJS or Import - all depending on how rest of your solution looks like. There are quite few examples here on SFSE if you search for "Update email address in All Subscribers" May 8, 2019 at 11:05
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I would recommend you please do any of the below for 1 Subscriber Key referring multiple email addresses --

  1. Edit the values in the All subscribers list for all the Subscriber Keys that have multiple email addresses before the send -- check for the default email address in the Contacts record

  2. Create a Salesforce DE if you wish not to edit the records in 'All Subscribers' and perform send for the Salesforce DE

  3. Create a Journey in Journey Builder and configure the Entry Dat Source for the DE of choice with the desired email addresses

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000341115&type=1

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