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How do visitors, leads and users work in Intercom?
How do visitors, leads and users work in Intercom?

How visitors become leads, how leads become users and more.

Lisa McMahon avatar
Written by Lisa McMahon
Updated over a week ago

What is a visitor?

Any unknown visitor to your site who’s not logged in and has no conversation history with you. Check out our guide for talking to visitors.

When does a visitor become a lead?

As soon as a visitor starts a conversation with you, or replies to an outbound message, they become a lead. You can follow up with leads via email if they share their email address with you.


If I email a lead, can I identify them on my website?
Yes, if you send an email to a new lead and they click on a link which takes them to your site, they'll be automatically identified with the same email address when they start a conversation in the Messenger. You can see all the pages they visit, or greet them with a personalized message.

Why do I have duplicate leads?

If a lead emails your app with the email address of an existing verified lead, we'll only associate the conversation with a verified lead. If there's no verified lead with that email address, we'll create a new lead instead.

A lead becomes verified when:

  • They originate from an inbound email.

  • Or they were uploaded from a CSV.

Note: A lead won't be verified if they got in touch via the Messenger or their email address is edited by an admin in the UI.

Why do leads have random names?

When a logged out visitor starts a conversation with you, we don't have information about their real name, and sometimes they choose not to leave their email address either. Creating a random name, such as Blue Cloud from New York, helps to think of your leads in a more personal way. When someone provides their email address, we'll use it to replace the random name.

You can also update their name manually from the Help Desk sidebar, or add it as qualification data to be collected in the Messenger. You can use Basics or Workflows (if it's part of your subscription) to collect this data.

Outside of the Help Desk, you can update a lead's name using a CSV import or our API (using the lead's unique identifier to match the update to the correct lead).

When does a lead become a user?

A lead becomes a user when they sign up to your product, or log into an existing account. All of the information and conversations you've had with them remain in their user profile. 

Note: We only automatically merge leads into users when they share the same device cookie.

Can I track leads in my mobile app?

No, but if you install Intercom in your mobile app with our Android or iOS SDKs, you can track unidentified users. If you don't  identify them in Intercom with a name or email address, you'll see an automatically generated name with the format: 'User qwv0'.

How do I get a visitor’s email address?

When a visitor or lead starts a conversation, they’re automatically prompted to enter their email address in case they leave before they get an answer. If they don't leave their email, they’ll need to come back to your website to receive your answer.


  • If a visitor or lead leaves their email address, you can edit it at any time. 

  • If a visitor or lead doesn’t leave their email address they’ll have to come back to your website to receive your answer. 

  • If you get your visitor or lead's email address while chatting, you can manually add it to their profile

Can I track events and custom data for leads?

Yes. However, events and custom data are only recorded when a visitor initiates a conversation and becomes a lead.

Can I track sessions for visits/page views for leads?

We don't track sessions, because many onboarding messaging workflows are based on the number of sessions a user has with your product. You can, however, track page views using event metadata

Note: It’s not currently possible to filter leads based on specific event metadata. 

Can I add leads to companies?

Yes, it is possible to add leads to a company via the REST API.

Can I import leads via a CSV?

Can I delete leads? 

Yes, every now and then you may want to clean the list of people you're tracking - especially leads you haven't interacted with in a long time. Here’s how.

Are leads supported in Intercom's APIs?

Yes. There is basic support for things like creating leads, converting leads into users, and updating leads. You can also contact users using the conversations endpoint in the REST API.

Do Intercom's integrations support leads?

Yes, you can easily manage your leads workflow with our two-way Salesforce integration.  Zapier also provides limited support for leads.

How do I clear a user’s session with the Intercom shutdown method? 

If you use Help Desk combined with another product (like Proactive Support), any user who shares a computer and browser will be able to see the most recently active Lead or Users’s conversation history until the cookie expires. You should call the Intercom shutdown method to clear your users’ conversations anytime they logout of your application. 


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