Custom Fields

Custom Fields not only allow for powerful filter and search options, but better recommendations too

Grip allows participants and exhibitors to interact and connect with the right people at events. We get recommendation data from your event participants' usage of the platform, along with the information within their profiles.

There are a few ways this profile data can be gathered; participants can input data when first logging into the platform, or this data can be uploaded ahead of them logging in (for instance, during the registration process). Custom Fields are a core part of this data. These can be any sort of information that you know (or want to know) about the people, companies or items within the kind of events you run.

Custom Fields are also great for providing filters for long profile lists and as keywords in search, to make discoverability easier.

What can I use custom fields for?

In short, custom fields can be used for the following:

  • Displaying data in a variety of formats on a Profile or Session - like interests, facts or web links.
  • Gathering additional data from your participants (i.e. through onboarding questions).
  • Providing essential contextual data for Grip's AI to make recommendations better.
  • Creating filters in lists to make it easier for your participants to find what they want.
  • Making search results more accurate for your participants.

Where possible, Custom Profile Fields should not be used to store Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Please do not allow visible PII in your event without your attendees' express permission.

Sessions

Custom Fields can also be attached to Sessions as well as Profiles, and they can provide the same sort of benefits. This means that you can add any sort of information you like to your event agenda, and make it much easier for you participants to find and enjoy the right content. Please use this main article to understand custom fields in general, and then see this article for details on the options and differences between Session and Profile Custom Fields.


In this article we will cover:

Single-Event, Multi-Event

There are two types of Custom Fields, 'Single-Event' and 'Multi-Event'; this is true for both Profile and Session custom fields.

Single-Event Fields only exist within a single event, so the custom field data stays within that event. Multi-Event fields exist across multiple events in an event app so the same data is then available within any of your events, and will be available to use in any future events too. This is an very good time saver and it's recommended to try to use multi-event fields wherever possible, especially when you run many events with similar datasets.
Note that only dashboard users with the role App Admin or above can make changes to multi-event fields.


Profile field permission levels - Multi-event, Single-event, Data Type

There are controls for Custom Profile Fields in three places, how do I use them all?!

Grip is a very flexible platform. The way that Profile Custom Fields are designed reflects this, so that you can customize the platform in a manner that suits you best. Session Custom Fields work slightly differently as explained in this article.

Simply put, while a field and its data can exist across multiple events, you can control some of its settings at the event or data type level. This granular control means that you could have two different data types in one event, sharing a multi-event field, but you've only permitted one of those data types to be able to edit field data in that particular event.

The main thing to remember is that like many other permissions in Grip, the highest-level permissions can't be overridden by those below it. So, if you've created a multi-event field, and disabled the 'Profile field visible' control, it will be disabled across all events and data types. This is a big time saver for data that you're sure you'll never ever want visible (like data that's GDPR-sensitive/PII), but of course you cannot then create exceptions to your rule.

Generally, you'll want to do the opposite of the above, leaving options enabled at the multi- or single-event level, and then fine tune the permissions at a data type level.

Managing Custom Fields for a Single Event

Heading to the Event Details > Custom Fields page will show you all on the fields available in the current event. You can see a mixture of multi-event fields along with any single-event fields created for this event. You can sort and filter all the fields and information within this page.

This is the best place for creating and managing field settings within a single event. Changes on this page will affect any and all profiles that are using the field within this event.

You'll need to be an App Admin to make changes to a multi-event field as you will be making changes that could affect other events. If you do not have App Admin privileges, you can still assign multi-event fields to a specific data type within the current event, directly from this page.

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Understanding the Custom Fields Page

In this tab we're only looking at Custom Fields for Profiles - to manage Session Custom Fields, click on the second tab, although the functionality is very similar.

1. 'Status in event'. This column will either be 'Active' or 'Inactive'. To make a Profile Custom Field active you will need to assign it to at least one data type with the dropdown in the 'Types using field in event' column.

UNDERSTANDING CPFS

2. 'Name'. This is the name of the Custom Field. Assuming that the field is made visible in your event, it's what your event participants will see.

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3. ‘Field type’. Here you have two options, ‘Single-Event Field’, and ‘Multi-Event Field’. As mentioned above, a ‘Single-Event Field’ only exists within a single event, and a ‘Multi-Event Field’ exists at the wider application level, so can be used in multiple events. Assigning multi-event fields to a data type from this page will not affect other events.

If you are an app admin you can add a multi-event field to a data type as a default in the ‘Multi-Event Fields’ page, then whenever that Type is added to an event, it will automatically have that Custom Profile Field assigned to it. See the section Managing and creating Multi-Event Custom Fields below for details on this.

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4. ‘Input type’. Here you can see what form the data and values within the profile field will take. More on this in the sections below.

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5. 'Matching type'. These are classifications used by our platform and AI to make recommendations, matches, and for the AI's learning process.

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6. ‘Types using field in event’. These are the data types that are assigned this field within this event. You can easily add or remove a data type using the check boxes in the dropdown from this field.

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7. ‘Setting’. This is where you can edit each Custom Profile field. This will take you to the configuration page for that Custom Profile Field, which is explained in the next section.
Note that for multi-event fields, editing of multi-event fields can only be done by dashboard users of role App Admin or above.

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Changing settings for a single data type only

To make changes on a data type level, you can access Custom Profile Field settings by going into the individual data type that they're assigned to. In the dashboard click on the 'Data' tab and click on the Data Type you would like to go into (for this example we will use Attendee).
Once the list of Attendee profiles has loaded, click Custom Profile Fields at the top.

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You will then be taken to the Custom Profile Fields page specifically for this data type. You can go back to the event-level page by clicking the button 'Go to event custom profile fields'.

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On this page you will see 'Attendee profile fields' which are the default, simple profile fields that cannot currently be changed.
Below this, you will see 'Attendee Custom Profile Fields' which are currently assigned to this data type. On this page you're looking at controls for any assigned field on the data type level - changing settings here will not affect other data types, even when they're sharing a field.

This is very useful if you have field that you don't want visible for a particular data type - simply head to this page, find the field and toggle off that option. If the option is disabled and you can't use it, that's a sign that it's being blocked by the same setting higher up the permission level - you'll need to make sure you've enabled this permission for that field at the single or multi-event settings.

You can also re-order visible fields from this page, by dragging them up or down. This will affect the order in which they're displayed on a profile from the current data type. Note that Link-type fields are always shown underneath all other fields.

If you've previously viewed a profile within an event, re-ordered the profile fields, and then notice that the order of the fields has not changed, speak to your Grip contact for assistance. Profile information is usually 'cached' when you view it, meaning that we may need to force a regeneration of the profile's data to see any updates.

How to create a Single-Event Custom Field

Tips for creating effective Custom Fields
When it comes to custom fields, we believe in giving you the flexibility to add as many characters as you need. However, we'd like to highlight the importance of testing the visual impact of longer field names. Opting for a shorter, concise version can enhance the overall look and readability of your fields.
Additionally, we recommend using statements instead of questions for custom fields. This choice ensures full understanding when using them as filter options that your participants can use. By following these recommendations, you can optimize the feel and functionality of your custom fields.
Remember, our goal is to provide you with the best user experience possible, so feel free to explore the possibilities while keeping these suggestions in mind.

Again, the steps below are specific to Profile custom fields - Session custom fields are created from the second tab and have fewer options. See our companion article here.

1. Click the 'Create new custom profile field' button on the 'Custom Profile Fields' tab.
If you are an App Admin or above, you will be prompted about whether you want to create a multi-event field, or just a single-event field. Again, multi-event fields are recommended unless you don't plan on using this field again in future events.

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2. You will then land on the custom field creation page.

Storing Personally Identifiable Information

Initially, you will be forced to answer the question of whether you plan to store Personally Identifiable Information (PII) within the field that you're about to create. This is an extremely important question which we must get confirmation of before you can continue.

PII is generally classed as 'any information that could be used by itself or in combination with other data to identify an individual'. For more information see here. In relation to the events industry, making data like people's names visible is generally unavoidable, so in reality this will be something like an email address, telephone number, date of birth, address etc.

In general, the only information we recommend you store in custom fields should be interest or non-personal - for example, Company Details, Topics that the participant is interested in, website links etc.

We strongly recommend that you do not store PII in custom fields, so as to avoid any issues with sensitive information being visible to participants in your event and risking GDPR or other data leak issues. If you do plan on storing PII in a custom field, answer Yes and accept the prompt - and ensure that you have all the legal agreements from your participants in place to justify this decision, and protect you from legal repercussions.

Additionally, if you plan to store PII in a custom field, we recommend that this field is set to not be visible (toggle off the 'Visible' control), for all of the same reasons as stated above.

Field settings

Once you've made your choice about PII data, you can continue with the field setup. First you'll need to select the Input type of the field, so that we can show you the right options.

Input type

1. Pre-defined values:  Create a field where answers can only be picked from a defined list, e.g. 'Industry'.
For predefined input types, you can add the field's values in the 'Field Values' tab at the top of the page.
2. Freeform: allows anything short line of text to be input, e.g. 'Name'. Freeform text cannot be used for recommendations.
3. Pre-defined values and freeform input allows a combination of the first two options.
4. Link: Creates a multi-purpose link field to allow participants to create and manage multiple external weblinks on their profiles. Participants can add names and descriptions to their links themselves. This is really useful for allowing people to add Social Media links to their personal or company profiles and to avoid you having to create individual fields specific for each link.

5. Marketing Consent: This uncommon field type allows your participants to specifically choose whether they want to share their information with a given company profile in your event, and prevents things like Leads in that company's Team from being populated unless the option is accepted.
This will negatively affect engagement at your event, so we would recommend that you discuss this with a contact at Grip before using it.

Once this initial choice is complete, you'll see the page add or remove options and you can continue with the remaining steps. If an option is disabled, that means it can't be used with the Input type you've selected.

Field system name
(only shown after field is created)

Automatically-generated name, used as a unique ID for data integrations. This will stay the same regardless of name changes. It's not visible to participants.

Profile field label This is the name of the field as it will appear within the event, click the flag to add different translations. 
Field Explainer Text This customizable text appears as a placeholder in free-form input fields, or on the selection box for pre-defined and Link fields. Use it to give your attendees a hint about what the field's purpose is.
Profile field visible.

Controls whether this field and its contents can be shown on participant profiles in events.

Profile field editable. Controls whether this field and its contents are editable by participants during onboarding or when editing their profiles.
Profile field filterable. Controls whether this field and its contents are permitted as a filter on profile lists within events.
Profile field can be used in recommendation engine. This should normally be turned on unless you specifically don't want to use the data in this field to help recommend this profile.
Profile field can be used in personalized URLs Controls whether the data in this field can be used as part of a personalized URL - see this article.
Parent / Child field Enables parent/child functionality for this field - see this article.
How many answers can be selected? Choose whether this field is a single or multiple choice field.
After making a selection, you'll see a Required field toggle appear, or some options to control the minimum/maximum answers possible - more on this in the section below this table.
Use for matchmaking engine as:

This field gives you a choice about how our AI should interpret the data within this field.

1. Fact - Facts are values used by our AI for learning purposes and in order to do things like compare 'similar' attendees. Use this option for general data about a user themselves - when any of the other more intent-based options below don't seem to fit.

2. Supply - Used as a pair along with a demand field, to create a common ground between two data types. One group of people will select 'supply' values - for example an Exhibitor listing their available services.

Once you've created a Supply field, you should connect it to its matching Demand field (if you're already created it of course).

These values MUST exactly match those in the equivalent Demand field.

3. Demand - The other group of people will select 'demand' values - as per the example above, this could be attendees showing interest those exhibitor services.

Once you've created a Demand field, you should connect it to its matching Supply field (if you're already created it of course).
These values MUST exactly match those in the equivalent Supply field.

4. Matching fact - Matching Facts act as both Supply & Demand and are used to create matches using only one field. The AI is more likely to recommend users that have entered the same value(s) for the Matching Fact that they have both answered. If you want to ask more than one data type the exact same question, and want them all to be recommended to each other based on matching responses, this is easier than creating pairs of supply/demand fields.

5. Unused - Use this if your data cannot or should not be used for AI recommendations - e.g. for web links.

Types using field in event These are the types where you want this custom profile field to be present, e.g. Company, and Exhibitor representative.

 

3. In the 'How many answers can be selected?' field, if you select 'Can pick one' you will see a required field toggle, which will make this Custom Profile Field mandatory to complete before proceeding in the platform. If you select 'Can pick many', you will see a minimum answers required box, and a maximum answers required box. We have an article which explains these options here.

4. Click 'Create custom profile field' to confirm and create it.

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5. If you've created a pre-defined field, you'll be taken to the next tab in order to input the values (answers) that will form a list for your participants to select from.

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From here you can add your pre-defined answers. Click 'Add rows' and enter your answers. You can copy and paste values from a spreadsheet into these rows. You can paste as many values as you would like without needing to add new rows, simply copy and paste! You can delete rows by clicking the trash button under 'Delete'.

Always click Save new values before trying to leave the page.

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If a participant has already provided answers to questions and selected values in a Multi-Event Custom Field, such as during Event A, they won't need to fill them in again when attending Event B. The Custom Field data, including values and answers, will already be present, saving time and ensuring all information is pre-filled for a seamless experience. This means they will get even better recommendations with our AI learning more each time.

Hiding and Displaying values (pre-defined fields only)

When you create or import values you'll notice that each has a tag to indicate whether it is 'displayed' or 'hidden'. This effectively controls whether that value is visible to participants within your events and, if the field is being used for recommendations, allows the AI to use the displayed values. (Of course, if you've hidden the entire field by toggling off its visibility toggle, then no event participant will be able to see any data contained within it.)

When you add values via the dashboard, they will be displayed by default.

To Hide/Display a value, select the value(s) you want to deactivate and click ‘hide selected’ or 'display selected' at the top of the table.

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Where do Hidden values come from?

Aside from values that you've specifically chosen to hide, hidden values will be values that were imported along with a profile, but didn't match any existing values for that field.

See more on the section 'Importing Data into Custom Profile Fields' below.

Managing and creating Multi-Event Custom Fields

Please note, you must be an App Admin to make to create and edit Multi-Event Custom Profile Fields. You can always contact your delivery manager or our support team if you require assistance.

1. Multi-Event Custom Fields exist within 'App Settings'. The steps to create these are the same as the steps for creating Single-Event Custom Profile Fields with a few minor differences outlined below.CPF21

Please note, you can't add 'Types using field by default' from this screen as you can in a Single-Event.

2. To change the 'Types using field by default' field, click the 'Settings' cog on the right.CPF22

3. At the bottom of the page you will see the 'Types using field by default' drop down menu. Just like Single-Event Custom Profile Fields, you can add your type. The only difference is this is now application wide, meaning every-time you create a new event and across current events this Custom Profile field and data will pull across saving you time. CPF23

Always remember to click 'Save changes'.

Importing Data into Custom Profile Fields

It's best to create and assign your Custom Profile Fields & values prior to importing participants, companies and items into your event. Doing so allows you to add data to these fields during data imports through dashboard bulk uploads and Native Integrations, as well as through custom API integrations.

There are, however, two ways of importing the fields' values into these fields - through the dashboard (as explained further up in this article) or through simply importing profiles into your event.

This is not relevant for freeform or link type fields, as their data is always populated by imported profiles - it cannot be pre-defined.

Creating predefined values in advance (recommended)

If you've populated all of the values for your fields in advance, you'll give your attendees a full list of options for those fields (for things like filtering lists and onboarding). This is the best option, as it ensures that all of the values that should be available to your attendees are indeed present.

However, you must ensure that the profile data that is imported into your event EXACTLY matches the values you've entered into the dashboard.

This is where hiding and displaying values becomes really important.

Grip has some inbuilt logic that allows new values to be created automatically if they are present in a participant's profile when they're imported. This is very beneficial as it means that incoming data which is 'unexpected' (doesn't match values that already exist) is not lost. Instead, those values are 'hidden' and so not shown on profiles or filters.

This logic helps prevent unwanted values from automatically appearing in your event and causing problems.

Example:

Your registration form contains a question with an option for the registrant to choose a value or write their own response. This might be something like a 'Reasons for Attending' question, with some existing options, along with an 'Other: please specify' option.

You don't know in advance what your registrants might write into that box, and whether it should be visible to everyone else.

In Grip, you've added your existing options, so anything else that comes through as a value will be hidden automatically. This prevents unwanted answers from clogging up your filter options for this field, for example, leaving only the 'displayed' values that you initially set.

This means of course that if the values that are coming in through an integration don't exactly match an existing value, they will be created and hidden, and you'll end up with answers that are very similar to each other. As mentioned above, this is why you must be very accurate when entering values in advance - spaces, symbols, spelling etc. must be precise otherwise your profiles' values will be hidden.

If you notice blank profiles or filters missing values in your event, mismatched custom field values are likely to be the cause.

You will also be able to check by finding a profile whose data isn't displaying, opening it in the dashboard and trying to save the profile. If the values assigned to it don't match what's been 'displayed' in that custom field's values, you'll see an error saying 'Not all Profile Field Data was updated', and the problem field(s) and value(s) will be highlighted:

What can I do about it?

The issue is that your data doesn't match - so you need to work out which is correct. Is the data you entered into the dashboard wrong, or are the profiles that are being registered coming in with incorrect data?

If the values coming in look the same but are being created as 'duplicates' and are hidden, there is probably an issue like a leading or trailing space character, or even two symbols that look the same but are actually different.

Once you've worked out where the problem values are coming from, you'll need to take some steps to 'clean-up' your data.

If you entered values into the dashboard and the imported profile data is correct:

  1. Delete (or hide) incorrect values on the field's value page.
  2. Add all missing values and ensure they match the data coming in.

Or, if your dashboard data is good, but the profiles being imported have incorrect values:

  1. Correct the problems in the integration or data upload so that the values match the dashboard.
  2. Delete the profiles that you've previously imported.
  3. Reimport the profiles with the corrected data.

You should notice that values will start to appear in filters and on profiles and you should not see any errors when saving profiles in the dashboard.

If you've previously viewed a profile with incorrect data in the event, have fixed it, and then see no new values (or the old values) still shown, speak to your Grip contact for assistance. Profile information is usually 'cached' when you view it, meaning that we may need to force a regeneration of the profile's data to see any updates. This does not include the dashboard, where profile information should always be shown correctly.

Relying on data integrations to populate values (not recommended)

This option requires less work in advance, but can cause a lot of headaches later on.

If you don't pre-populate your field values, you can simply wait until your initial data upload is complete, then head into the Custom Field values page, select all the imported values and choose to display them. The downside of this method is that you're relying entirely on the data coming in to populate all of your values - so if no one has selected a particular value during registration, it will never appear in Grip.

FAQs

Can I have multiple Custom Profile fields with the same name?

Yes.

How much Custom Profile Field data can be stored against one profile?

The maximum size a profile's CPF data can be is 64kb. The character limit will depend on the data being sent but works out as roughly 25,000 characters per profile. This is a very large limit and profiles containing anywhere near this amount of data would be very difficult to manage and view in an event.

Can I copy and paste data values from an external spreadsheet?

Yes, just 'add rows' and then paste into an empty cell, like you would a spreadsheet.

Who can create Multi-Event Custom Profile Fields?

Only app admins can create and edit Multi-Event Custom Profile Fields.

In what order do Custom Profile Fields appear in onboarding?

Currently there is no hard rule, but they generally appear in the order in which they are created.

Are emojis supported within custom profile fields? 

No, emojis are not currently supported within custom profile fields.

How can I export my Custom Profile Field values once they have been created?

In order to export CPF values, select the Custom Profile Field first. Open the tab ‘Single-Event Field Values’ or ‘Multi-Event Field Values’, and click on the ‘Export Data’ button. CPF24

Help! Field values seem to be missing or profiles are blank.

It's likely that you have a data problem, and the incoming fields values don't match what's been Displayed for each field. See the Hiding & Displaying values and Importing Data sections above.