Pardot Knowledge Base

Using Lead Source or Pardot Campaign -- when to use which?

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2017 | Print this Article
Many marketing departments are used to tracking a lead's source but what is a Pardot campaign and how does it factor into your lead reporting?

Pardot Campaigns

Pardot campaigns are typically thematic touchpoints (similar to “source” in other systems) and are used to track the first touch you have with a prospect.
  • You have the option of setting a Pardot campaign when a prospect first hits a Pardot tracked link or Pardot tracking code.
  • Each prospect can currently be associated with only one Pardot campaign.
  • You can manually change a prospect's Pardot campaign. However, your change will alter reporting.
  • Lists are available for more granular segmentation and adding prospects to multiple email and drip marketing campaigns.

Lead Source

Many companies track lead source through manual updates to CRM records or through Google Analytics UTM parameters.
  • The lead source field is also in Pardot as a default field, which can sync to your CRM.
  • The Pardot campaign field does not update or change values in the source field.
  • The source field functions separately and is set usually by UTM parameters or manually through users updating your CRM records.
  • By adding Google Analytics UTM parameters to links that drive prospects to your website, you can look in your Analytics reporting and tell which campaigns generated more prospects.
    • These UTM parameters are also tracked in Pardot and are recorded on prospect's records (See Google Analytics connector).
    • If a prospect's first touch point is a link with a UTM parameter and the link drives the prospect to a page with Pardot tracking code then Pardot will also be able to capture the UTM parameter and record it in a special Google Analytics table on the prospect's record.
    • You can report on the UTM Source, medium, content, term and keyword parameters from inside of Pardot.
    • When a prospect's UTM Analytics Source field is set then the source value is also added to the Pardot's default Source field.
Note: UTM is updated for the first touchpoint only. 

Pardot Auto-populates source in certain cases

In some circumstances Pardot can auto-populate the default Source field. For example, if the first touch a visitor has with you is from a Google Paid Search, Google Natural Search, Yahoo or Bing Natural Search, Twitter or Facebook, then Pardot will fill in the source field with the corresponding value. Here is a complete list of values that Pardot could use to auto populate your default Source field.

When to use Pardot campaigns vs. source

Using the source field in Pardot has its advantages.
  • You have more flexibility in populating the field automatically through the UTM Source parameter.
  • UTM parameters can be added to Pay Per Click links or links on partner websites that drive prospects to your site.
  • You can use Pardot Custom Redirects and the UTM source parameter to set a prospect's source.
  • Lead source can also be updated from the CRM side.
  • Reports can be run in Pardot filtering prospects by their specific source values (i.e. a segmentation rule finding all prospects whose source is "Google AdWords" and adding them to a list) and analyzing the data in a .CSV export file. Or focus your GoodData reports to pull prospects with a specific source value.
Using Pardot campaigns allows you to easily track campaigns created in Pardot.
  • You can see how many prospects were associated with your marketing campaigns.
  • When you create Pardot landing pages, Pardot automatically adds tracking code specific for that campaign to the page. Pardot will know exactly which Pardot campaign the prospect should be associated with.
  • Pardot marketing elements are also associated with Pardot campaigns. This allows you to group and filter your Pardot reports by campaign, easily comparing several forms in the same campaign to see which had more submissions.

Other notes about Pardot campaigns

How many Pardot campaigns do I need to create?
  • There is no silver bullet answer for this question.
  • It usually depends on how granular you want your reporting.
  • Do you want to have one campaign called "Pay Per Click" where all prospects who complete a landing page in the "Pay Per Click" campaign are associated with that campaign? This will lump together all of your Pay Per click initiatives into one report.
  • Or would you prefer to create three different "Pay Per Click" campaigns, one for each of these initiatives: Bing ads, Yahoo ads, and links where Partners refer prospects to your website? This method creates three reports, a specific report for each initiative.
  • Take a moment to review your company's different marketing initiatives.
  • Decide if you want to create broad, overarching Pardot campaigns, or more granular, initiative specific campaigns.
You have the option to associate a prospect with a Pardot campaign any time that you create or import a prospect into Pardot. Since the prospect might not organically come through a Pardot form or form handler where their tracking cookie told us where they originated, you can manually tell the system where they originated.
  • If prospects are pre-Pardot then you could create a "Pre-Pardot prospects" or "Existing Prospects" campaign.
  • If the prospects were generated through a trade show, associate the prospects with your "Q1 Trade show" campaign.
  • Pardot reporting allows you to be able to see the ROI of different campaigns--how many of those prospects ended with a won opportunity.
By leveraging both the Pardot campaign and source field data you will have detailed reports on where prospects originated and which campaigns prompted the prospect creation.

Referring URLs

Pardot tracks one other origin point for prospects. Often we are able to capture and record the referring URL for a prospect--the full URL of the page the visitor visited just prior to accessing a Pardot-tracked page (a page on your website, a landing page, etc) for the first time. The referring URL is stored in a Pardot custom field (prospect referrer). This field can also be synced to your CRM. For a complete list of the referrer icons used within Pardot, see the Referrers/Vendors table on the bottom right in our Icon Glossary article. Sometimes the prospect's referring URL includes Google Analytics UTM parameters.
  • If this is the prospect's first touch with a Pardot tracked page and their referring URL includes Google Anlaytics UTM parameters then Pardot will record those UTM parameters in the Google Analytics table on the prospect's record where they can be used in Pardot segmentation.
  • For Pardot to record the UTM parameters, the Google Analytics connector must be enabled.
  • Here is more information about our Google Analytics Connector.

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