Pardot tracks visitor and prospect activities on your website and on Pardot landing pages by setting cookies on their browsers. These cookies are set in order to remember preferences (like form field values) when a visitor returns to your site. We also set a cookie for Pardot users that are logged into our app; this allows us to maintain the login session, remember table filters, and so on.
What are the names of the cookies and what are they for?
Pardot sets three cookies: visitor, opt in, and Pardot app session.
Visitor Cookie: The visitor cookie includes the name “visitor_id” plus the unique identifier for your account, which is derived from the tracking code placed on your site. The value stored is the unique ID for the visitor. For example, cookie name “visitor_id12345" stores the visitor value "123456789," where 12345 is the account identifier and 123456789 represents the visitor ID. This cookie is set by our tracking code on visitors and prospects.
Opt In Cookie: The persistent cookie named "pi_opt_in" is what we use to stay in compliance with the "Do Not Track" initiative.
Pardot App Session Cookie: The session cookie named "pardot" is only set if you're logged into our app as a user (i.e. prospects will not have this cookie set).
What does this mean for your prospects?
Visitors and prospects that have "do not track" settings enabled on their browser will not have their activities tracked while on your site. To comply with the EU privacy directive, tracking opt-in can be enabled in your Pardot account by country. Visitors to your website from the selected countries will receive a message at the top of the page on their first visit requesting permission to track their activities. More details are available in Tracking Opt-in by Country. If they click "do not track", a small cookie is placed on their browser that signals to Pardot not to record or remember any of their activities while on your site.
Do the cookies expire? The default cookie duration is set to 10 years. See Configuring Max Pardot Tracking Cookie Duration for instructions on how to adjust this.
Do the cookies store any personal information (encrypted or otherwise)? No. Pardot cookies are simply a numeric identifier that allow us to recognize repeat visitors, and have no meaning outside the Pardot system.
How would someone stop being tracked? Pardot cookies for both Pardot users and your prospects rely on cookies being set on their browsers. If cookies are disabled (generally or selectively), or if a browser extension (such as Ghostery) is enabled, Pardot cookies may not be set properly and prospect activity may not be tracked. For Pardot users' login to remain active, cookies must be enabled and any cookie-blocking extensions must be disabled for https://pi.pardot.com
Does "Do Not Track" stop us from learning about prospects' activity on our website? The "Do Not Track" initiative began in an effort to prevent third-party ad networks from gaining personal information across multiple websites without the consent of the individual whose activities are being tracked. Browsers with "Do Not Track" enabled disallow someone's activities on one site to be used to display targeted ads on another site.
Some browsers, like Internet Explorer 10, enable "Do Not Track" by default. Pardot's tracking code only tracks visitors' activities for your own site (third-party tracking cookies are not collected through Pardot's tracking code, and Pardot's tracking code does not use third parties' cookie information while visitors are on your website). In this way, Pardot's tracking code is first-party: it allows your own sales and marketing teams to gain more insight into prospects based on their activities on your website -- not their activities on other sites.
Starting in July 2013, Pardot allows account administrators to decide whether or not a prospect's "Do Not Track" setting on their browser will prevent activities on their Pardot-tracked website from being recorded. See What does Do Not Track mean for my website? for more information.
What should I check if I think our tracking code isn't working properly? First check to make sure all of the pages have tracking code on them. Second, check your tracking code for errors, such as erroneous linebreaks:
This should all be on one line. If not, the tracking code is unable to load. Also, make sure the tracking code is not commented out - the the bolded tags prevent the tracking code from working: beginning: <!-- Pardot Tracking Code --> <!-- end: --> <!-- End of Pardot Tracking Code -->