Data Transfer Into Salesforce Interaction Studio (via CSV)

By Jakub Dabkowski

Salesforce Interaction Studio (now known as Marketing Cloud Personalization), is Salesforce’s real-time personalization and interaction management solution that’s part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. You can use both online and offline customer data to power personalized experiences on web, email, and more. 

This step-by-step guide will take you through transferring offline customer data into Salesforce Interaction Studio for online personalization, including how to prepare the CSV file, choosing the correct ETL type, uploading and testing the import process, and finally, committing changes to the database. Also, I discuss SFTP connection for secure file transfer and best practices for data transfer and management.

Why Use ETL Transfers?

You may have already collected valuable offline customer data. This data could include customer names, contact information, and purchase history. However, to expand your business online, you should use this offline data to personalize your online interactions with your customers.

One way to do this is by transferring your offline data into Salesforce Interaction Studio. By doing so, you can use this data to create personalized experiences for your customers online. For example, you can use their purchase history to recommend similar products or services or their contact information to create targeted email campaigns and personalization on your website.

Interaction Studio supports various types of CSV files related to different ETL data feeds, such as: 

  • Product ETL
  • Promotion ETL
  • User ETL
  • Account ETL
  • User Profile Object ETL
  • External Email Campaign Events ETL
  • Catalog Object ETL
  • Transaction ETL
  • Category ETL
  • Manual Segment ETL
  • Product Localization ETL
  • Catalog Localization ETL

Each data feed is designed to serve a specific purpose, such as updating products in a catalog, adding promotions, and maintaining manual segments.

READ MORE: Available ETL Data Feeds for Interaction Studio

Step 1: Prepare the File

I have prepared a sample CSV file that contains contact data for this example. I have included just two records and a few columns to simplify the process. However, you will likely have CSV files generated by exports from your database or data warehouse.

Step 2: Access the Feeds Dashboard

Once your CSV file is ready, log in to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and go to the Personalization section. From there, navigate to FeedsFeeds Dashboard.

The Feeds Dashboard section offers various functionalities for managing and monitoring data feeds related to different ETL types. With this dashboard, you can create and manage data feeds, monitor the feed status, review the history of data feeds, validate data feeds, and schedule feed imports.

When it comes to uploading CSV files into Salesforce Interaction Studio, there are a few different methods you can use. In this case, we can use the web interface for simplicity and ease of testing.

However, in a real-world scenario, you would likely use an SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) account to upload your CSV files.

Step 3: Choose the ETL Type

In this example, we have chosen the UserETL type, which is used for importing user data.

Once you select the correct ETL type, click the Validate or Execute button to begin the import process.

After clicking the Upload File button, select your created file from your computer.

Step 4: Test the Import

Once your file is uploaded and imported, you will see all of the records from the file in a straightforward table. This will allow you to check if everything is correct visually.

In this example, it looks like Interaction Studio is in a good mood – only two records and no errors! Let’s keep this positivity going and proceed with the test process.

Click the Run Test button to test the import process automatically. Assuming everything looks good and no errors are detected, you can confidently move to the next step.

Step 5: Commit the Changes

Committing newly uploaded records in Interaction Studio is an essential step in the data upload process. Interaction Studio adds the records to a staging table when you upload a CSV file. The records in the staging table are not yet available for personalization or any other use.

Committing the changes means that the records are moved from the staging table to the main database. Until the changes are committed, the records remain in the staging table, and any personalization or other processing will not reflect the newly uploaded records.

Click the Commit button to add the records to Interaction Studio.

As a final step, you must confirm that you want to commit the changes to the database. Once you have confirmed, you will have added new records to Interaction Studio.

When importing data from an external system into Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization, some profiles may already exist while others do not. In such cases, Interaction Studio will merge the profiles automatically, allowing you to easily combine the data from the external system with the existing data.

Credentials for SFTP Accounts

Suppose you want to automate our dataflows. In that case, you should use an SFTP connection to securely transfer files from external sources to the Interaction Studio server. This is a more efficient and secure method for uploading large or sensitive files, and it’s also the preferred method in many enterprise-level organizations.

To do this, navigate to the Security section of Interaction Studio and select “Manage SFTP Configuration”.

Once in the SFTP Configuration section, you must create a new setup by choosing a label or name for your account and the data set you are operating on.

In Interaction Studio, you can create multiple data sets for various reasons, depending on your business needs. These data sets can segment your data based on geography, different brands, test data versus production data, or any other criteria you choose.

Once you create a new setup, the system automatically generates a new user and password.

Now, you can connect to the SFTP server; remember that the address of the Interaction Studio SFTP account is listed at the top of the “Manage SFTP Configuration” page.


Congratulations! Now, you can automate your CVS file transfer processes.

In this guide, I have provided an easy-to-follow step-by-step process of preparing a CSV file, choosing the correct ETL type, uploading the file, testing the import process, and committing changes to the database in Interaction Studio.

Overall, my goal is to provide you with a comprehensive developer’s guide on how to work with Interaction Studio to simplify your workflow and bring a smile to your face. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

READ MORE: What is Salesforce Interaction Studio? (Marketing Cloud Personalization)

The Author

Jakub Dabkowski

Jakub has had an extensive and varied career in marketing automation, gaining expertise in various platforms, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot.

Leave a Reply