Pardot Knowledge Base

Inserting URLs in Emails with Variable Tags

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2017 | Print this Article

To make email sending even faster and more secure, we have changed the way we populate variable tags and track links in emails. This change will help prevent malicious content from being included in emails (example: if someone tries to pass a link to malicious content through a form with someone else’s email submitted). This change also helps make email sending even faster!

Your list emails, autoresponder, and nurturing emails will be queued and sent much quicker.

Full versus Partial URLs

Note: You need to use a modifier with your variable tags. See Do I need to use a modifier with my variable tag? for more information.

Full URLs inserted via variable tag are not tracked. This is because Pardot rewrites only links that begin with http:// to make them trackable. If your full URL is being populated in your email using a variable tag, the ‘http://’ portion is not visible when the email is sent, so the link will not be rewritten and tracked.

Example: If you are using the variable tag %%whitepaper_url{raw}%% to populate the full URL in an email dynamically (based on the value for the prospect field "whitepaper_url"), the link will still work for recipients, but it will no longer be tracked by Pardot.

If you want to track URLs inserted with variable tags, you'll need to include the partial URL, and populate only the last portion of the URL with a variable tag. The next section provides instructions for doing this.

Tracking URLs Inserted with Variable Tags

To make sure your links inserted with variable tags are trackable, follow these steps:

  1. Update your prospect fields that include a full URL to only include the latter part of the link.  Example: Use “whitepaper_url” rather than Make sure you are only passing the latter part of the URL through your forms if you’re capturing the data with hidden fields.
  2. Update your emails to add the first part of the URL (i.e. in front of variable tags that should be URLs. Example:
white paper url

Note: The field value should include only the very last part of the URL (e.g. file location). Example: if is the final URL you want to pull into your email you would put into your email and populate the field with just the file name whitepaper.pdf

Additionally, variable tags can be used to pass parameters to URLs that will be rewritten when your email is sent. For example, the final URL you want to be in your email is, you'd put and populate the custom field with just the parameter whitepaper.  

Need more? Start a conversation with other Pardot users in the Trailblazer Community