It’s not straightforward to know what is billable and what isn’t. Here is a list of what is classed as a billable contacts:

  • Contacts, Leads, Person Accounts and Users synchronised into the MCE from Sales and Service Cloud (Salesforce CRM) are all billable.
  • Subscribers that have had an email sent to them in the past, that are not synchronised in from Sales and Service Cloud. 
  • Subscribers with a Held or Unsubscribed status in All Subscribers / All Contacts.
  • Duplicate records with the same email address.
  • Contacts without an email address or a mobile number.

Now you have worked out what constitutes a billable Contact, where do you check how many billable contacts you have in your MCE account?

There are two places:

  1.  In Marketing Cloud hover over Audience Builder and click on Contact Builder > All Contacts > and click All Contacts again. The number in brackets is your billable contacts total.
All Contacts
  • Analytics builder > reports > click the small blue view catalogue button > and search for the report called: Contacts Counts” run this report to see how many billable contacts you have. This report can also be automated to keep you updated. Please note, this report can take a while to update; recently added or removed contacts may not be reflected straightaway.
Contact Counts

If there are contacts you want to remove, here is how you remove unwanted billable contacts:

Step 1.

Firstly, enable Contact Deletion Settings. To do this follow these steps:

 In Marketing Cloud hover over Audience Builder > click on Contact Builder > click on Contact configuration tab. Locate the Contact Delete option and make sure the “On” button is ticked, see below.

Contact Delete

Click the manage settings to access the screen below. Here you can alter how long you keep deleted contacts before completely removing them. This is in case you delete them by accident.

Contact Deletion Setting


Step 2.

Create a Sendable data extension that includes a Subscriber Key (click here for more details) and use a SQL query (or a Data Filter) to identify the Contacts you would like to remove. Once you have populated your data extension, go to Contact Builder > All Contacts > select the dustbin icon and select the “Delete the contact from your data extension” option.

Be careful not to delete records that you need. If in doubt, our Marketing Cloud consultants at Westbrook will be happy to help. With the correct documentation and training you will be able to perform these steps on your own in the future.

Be selective on which Contacts you are bringing into Marketing Cloud Engagement. 

By being able to synchronise any data (both custom and standard objects) from Sales / Service into Marketing Cloud allows the Marketer to target and personalise their marketing messages. However, pay attention to your Contact / Lead volumes, as they are billable. It pays to be selective.

To help with this, you may want to use the following strategy: create a non-formula Boolean field on the Contact record in Salesforce and use it as a “gatekeeper”. You can do the same for Leads too. This allows you to only synchronise contacts that you need.

This Boolean field from Sales / Service cloud can be used in: Contact Builder > Data sources > Synchronised > Contacts > Edit Fields > Add the field in. Then click on the Configure Synchronisation area. Here you can select the field. See below:

Configure Synchronization

While editing these settings alone won’t remove contacts, however using a strategy like this helps to prevent unwanted contacts from being imported into Marketing Cloud Engagement in the first place will save you money.

Not only does this help you save in the long run, it will also make the synchronisation process much smoother and more efficient.