Pardot Campaigns vs. Pardot Lists

Pardot campaigns and lists function differently in Pardot. Pardot lists send out marketing campaigns while Pardot campaigns track the first marketing campaign a prospect touches.

Pardot Campaigns

Pardot campaigns are thematic touchpoints (similar to “source” in other systems). Pardot campaigns are used to track a prospect’s first touch.

A prospect’s Pardot campaign is set when a prospect first hits a Pardot tracked link or Pardot tracking code. Once a prospect becomes associated with a campaign, they remain associated with that campaign. Each prospect is associated with only one Pardot campaign. You can change prospects’ Pardot campaign. Note: Changing prospects’ Pardot campaigns will alter reporting.

Often a prospect’s Pardot campaign is similar to their lead source. Here is more information about the differences between using Pardot campaigns vs. Lead source.

Pardot Lists

Pardot lists resemble the more traditional definition (or CRM definition) of a marketing campaign. These groups are prospects that you wish to contact with marketing or sales information.

  • Pardot lists are used to send bulk emails or drip program emails to prospects.
  • Prospects can be added to an unlimited number of lists.
  • Once a list is created, you can add prospects to the lists.
  • You can also create a dynamic list to automatically manage your list’s prospects.
  • Any list can used as a suppression list during an email send or when building a drip program.
  • Lists can also be used to segment your prospects to create more granular views of your prospects. You can export those lists to view and analyze the prospects’ data in a .CSV file.

Examples of When to Use Campaigns vs. Lists

Using a campaign:
You are creating a new series of pay per click ads and want to track where a prospect originates when they arrive at your website. In this scenario, you are tracking new visitors and you want to record the first marketing campaign they interact with — this is when you will create a Pardot campaign.

You can create a custom redirect for each pay per click ad. You will select a Pardot campaign for each custom redirect (using a different campaign for each redirect, or several campaigns across many redirects). If a new visitor arrives at your site by clicking the custom redirect link, they will be associated with the campaign that you selected for the redirect. Later, when the visitor completes a form and identifies themselves, we create a Pardot record for them and add their record to the custom redirect’s campaign — all because their first tracked activity was associated with that marketing campaign.

You can also auto-set campaigns through tracking code or when prospects complete forms or landing pages.

Using a list:
You want to send out a monthly webinar email invitation to your prospects. It does not matter where the prospects originated, you want everyone who is interested in that webinar topic to receive the webinar invitation. In this scenario, you will create a new Pardot list of the interested prospects. You do not need to take the prospect’s campaign into account when creating this list. Once the list is created you can add prospects to the list via automation rules, segmentation rules or manually through any prospect table.

Please note that when you send an email to your prospects, your email will need to be tagged with a Pardot campaign. This doesn’t affect the recipients’ campaigns, nor does it filter your recipient lists and only send to recipients with that campaign. Selecting a campaign for an email is for reporting purposes. This allows you to group together emails by  campaign and filter your reports to see all emails sent from a specific campaign. So although there is no need to create a special campaign for the recipient prospects of the list email, you could create a campaign for your email or set of emails. By associating all of your webinar invitation emails with a “Webinar” campaign, all of the emails could be found easily in reports to compare opens, click throughs, etc.

A campaign and a list:
You just returned from a trade show. You have 100 new leads that you met at the show and you want to enter them into Pardot and send them a follow up list email. In this scenario, you will want to create both a Pardot campaign and a Pardot list for these prospects. The prospects originated at the show (so you need a Pardot campaign) and you need to send an email (so you have to create a Pardot list). During the import process you can both create and add the prospects to a new campaign (step 3) and a new list (step 4). Now you have the prospects segmented by their original campaign called “Trade Show” and they are on a list called “Trade Show Follow up” that will be used to send them a follow up email.

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