The Differences Between Pardot Campaigns and Salesforce Campaigns

by Sarah Kelleher - November 16, 2017
The Differences Between Pardot Campaigns and Salesforce Campaigns

One topic that repeatedly causes confusion and frustration when using Pardot with Salesforce is the topic of Campaigns. The two main questions that tend to come up around Campaigns are:

  • Are Pardot and Salesforce Campaigns the same thing?
  • Should Campaign success be reported from Salesforce or Pardot?

In this post, I’ll attempt to untangle the differences between the two and explain what each one is useful for.

Pardot Campaigns

Firstly, let’s start with Pardot Campaigns. Every time you create a marketing asset in Pardot (an email, landing page, form etc.), you’ll be asked to select a Campaign to associate that asset with. This means that any interaction with that asset is tracked against that Pardot Campaign. Most importantly, the very first Pardot Campaign that a Prospect interacts with will be set as their Pardot Source Campaign. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

A new visitor visits a Pardot Landing Page promoting an event, which is tracked with the Campaign ‘Customer Event 2017’. They fill in the form and become a Prospect in Pardot. Because the Landing Page is their very first interaction, ‘Customer Event 2017’ becomes their Source Campaign and the Landing Page is their Conversion Point.

A second visitor visits the same Pardot Landing Page via a social media link which has been sent from Pardot using the campaign ‘Twitter’. When they fill in the form and become a Prospect in Pardot, their Conversion Point is the Landing Page, but their Source Campaign will be set as ‘Twitter’ as this was their first interaction, even though it happened before they became a Prospect.


Pardot tracks the Source Campaign

Pardot Campaigns are used to track Activities and use Pardot’s first-touch attribution model. Therefore, a Prospect’s Source Campaign will remain constant throughout their life in your database (unless it’s deliberately changed). If they subsequently become a customer, any revenue will be attributed back to their Source Campaign. This can be seen in the Pardot Campaigns Report:


Pardot Campaign Reporting shows Source Campaign Performance

Salesforce Campaigns

The first thing to learn about Salesforce Campaigns is that they are completely separate and different from Pardot Campaigns. In almost every way. There is no direct relationship between them and they are used to track and report on different aspects.

Now I’ve told you what Salesforce Campaigns aren’t, let’s look at what they are. Salesforce Leads and Contacts can be added directly to multiple Salesforce Campaigns to track all the different touchpoints or interactions they have with your brand. They act more like a Pardot List in this respect, being a group of individuals who are all linked by their participation in a certain marketing activity. So, this allows you to build more complex attribution reporting within Salesforce. Again, this is much easier to comprehend with an example.

A Salesforce Contact attends the ‘Winter Webinar’ and also responds to a ‘Customer Referral’ campaign. In Salesforce, the Contact is added to both Salesforce Campaigns with different statuses. When reporting on any Opportunities that this Contact has in Salesforce, Sales can use the Campaign Influence Reporting to assign how much influence both of these campaigns have had on that deal. So if the webinar triggered the initial discussion but the referral campaign was the final push to close the deal, the salesperson might choose to allocate 40% of the revenue to the ‘Winter Webinar Series’ and 60% to the ‘Customer Referral’ Campaign.


Salesforce Campaigns attribute revenue to multiple touchpoints

How do Salesforce Campaigns integrate with Pardot?

Although Salesforce Campaigns are very different to Pardot Campaigns, they are more similar to Pardot Lists in that individuals can belong to many different Salesforce Campaigns over their lifetime. Pardot integrates with Salesforce Campaigns in two ways:

  1. Pardot Prospects can be added into Salesforce Campaigns using Completion Actions and Automation Rules
  2. Salesforce Campaign Members can be pulled into Dynamic Lists using the ‘Prospect CRM Campaign’ criteria

Let’s use the example of a Breakfast Seminar. There is a Pardot Landing Page set up which individuals fill in to register for the seminar. Following this, a Completion Action on the landing page’s form can add that individual to the Salesforce Campaign for that Breakfast Seminar* with a status of ‘Registered’.

*The Salesforce Campaign needs to have already been created in Salesforce and ticked as Active.


Using Completion Actions to add Prospects to Salesforce Campaigns

Then, in Pardot, Marketing can build a Dynamic List which searches for anyone who is a member of the Breakfast Seminar Salesforce Campaign with a status of ‘Registered’. Then, any time any Lead or Contact is added to the Breakfast Seminar with a status of Registered (whether that’s via the Completion Action above or directly in Salesforce), they are also pulled into this Dynamic List which can be used to send reminder emails or suppress individuals from any further invites.

Should you be using Salesforce Campaigns or Pardot Campaigns?

The simple answer is both, because they are useful for different things. Pardot Campaigns should be used to track the initial touchpoint of a Prospect, so you can calculate a closed-loop ROI via the Pardot Campaigns Report. In contrast, Salesforce Campaigns should be used to track multiple touch-points with a prospect. This means that multi-touch campaign attribution can be reported on via Salesforce.

In Summary…

Pardot Campaign

Salesforce Campaign

Individual has only one source campaign Individual can belong to multiple campaigns
ROI is based on first-touch attribution ROI is based on multi-touch attribution
Reportable as a custom field in Salesforce Accessed via dynamic list criteria in Pardot
Prospect Source Campaign assigned automatically based on first interaction Individuals added via Completion Actions or directly in Salesforce

Download the Infographic here


For a concise guide to Pardot vs. Salesforce when it comes to Campaigns, download our handy infographic here. If you need any help with setting up your campaigns, get in touch with our experts.

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