Marketers

10 Rules of AMPSEA: Pardot Allow Multiple Prospects with the Same Email Address

By Lucy Mazalon

Allow Multiple Prospects with Same Email Address (AMPSEA) is an Account Engagement (Pardot) setting that’s enabled by default, where prospects records use CRM ID as the unique identifier (versus email address).

What this means is that each Lead/Contact/Person Account in Salesforce is eligible for its own prospect record because each Salesforce record has its own CRM ID. If you have two Lead records with the same email address, still, their CRM IDs are different.

Since AMPSEA was rolled out, then made default for new Account Engagement (Pardot) accounts, it has pleased some admins but frustrated others. Personally, I am pro-AMPSEA, as I see the benefits and have worked with organizations that needed this model. There are both pros and cons to AMPSEA, and on the flip side, pros and cons to no AMPSEA – we’ll aim to get to the bottom of these in this guide.

First, let’s walk through 10 ‘rules’ of AMPSEA – its behavior in a ‘what happens when’ manner. By the end, you should be clued up on how AMPSEA will affect your marketing automation when put into action.

1. Prospect Unique Identifier

The unique identifier is what identifies one prospect from another in your Account Engagement (Pardot) database. Account Engagement (Pardot) Prospect records use CRM ID as the unique identifier, as opposed to email address, which other tools on the market use.

Think of CRM ID as a code that each Lead/Contact/Person Account in Salesforce (and prospects in Pardot) use. Even if field data is updated on their record, the ID will stay the same, therefore, they can always be identified by the system during data import, and more.

As prospects in Account Engagement are associated with Lead/Contact/Person Account records, that Salesforce record ID becomes the prospect’s ID, too.

What happens when two Lead records with the same email address sync to Pardot?

Using the diagram above, the answer is that two prospect records will be created, one with Lead A’s CRM ID, and the other taking Lead B’s CRM ID.

In other words, each Lead/Contact/Person Account can exist in Pardot as a prospect regardless of whether two Salesforce records have the same email address.

This is how the risk of duplicate prospect records increases; have duplicate records in Salesforce, and they will sync down to Pardot, creating multiple prospect records in the process.

READ MORE: Merge Prospects in Pardot (Account Engagement)

We can flip that on its head to how other marketing automation platforms function. The unique identifier is typically an email address; each email address has one record in the system, and any marketing activities made by the owner of the email address are assumed to belong to that single record in the system. The system effectively deduplicates on your behalf, regardless of whether there was a legitimate reason for two records – and you have no control over which of the records in your Salesforce database are synced with the marketing automation database.

There’s the concept of deliberate duplicates, if there is a business case for having two records for the same individual.

Contact record access could be highly segregated in your Salesforce org, for example, if sales users can only access Contacts for their region/business unit. This is often the case in company mergers and acquisitions, where two previously separate companies will still operate independently.

Another use case could be unconventional lead lifecycles, for example, where each time a prospective customer interacts with your organization, they have to be requalified by the sales team. As Pardot prospects can be either Leads/Contacts/Person Accounts, Pardot doesn’t distinguish between what record the prospect is on the Salesforce side.

READ MORE: Only Create Salesforce Leads From Pardot (Existing Customers as New Leads)

Check if AMPSEA is Enabled

Allow Multiple Prospects With Same Email Address (AMPSEA) was enabled by default if you purchased Account Engagement (Pardot) after June 2016. If you have an older account, haven’t ever enabled AMPSEA, you are in a small minority.

Check if AMPSEA is enabled by navigating to: Pardot Settings → Account Settings → scroll down to find Allow Multiple Prospects with the Same Email Address. It’s likely you will see Permanently Enabled.

How Do I Disable Allow Multiple Prospects With Same Email Address? Answer: Truth is, you can’t. Once enabled, the change is irreversible. In the background, Pardot has done a huge amount of processing to reforge the Salesforce-Pardot record associations, and so switching back is impossible.

Check if an Email Address is Unique

“Email Uniqueness” is a field that states whether this is the only prospect record using that email address.

Note: Unique identifier is the core AMPSEA principle, and is the easiest to grasp. CRM ID is a clear instruction when data syncs between Salesforce and Pardot. The remainder of the AMPSEA rules will dig into scenarios where you won’t have the benefit of a known CRM ID, and have to fall back on email address instead. Let’s look at the ‘what happens when’ for the following scenarios.

2. Prospect Import

When using prospect import, you have two options for how you would like to match records in your import file with records in Pardot:

  • CRM ID
  • Email address
READ MORE: Import Data Into Pardot or Salesforce First?

Golden rule: Use CRM ID whenever you have it. Using CRM ID removes any ambiguity over which prospect record you are looking to update – like hitting the bullseye.

However, there are times where you don’t have the benefit of CRM ID:

  • When importing new records (e.g. Leads from a trade show list).
  • A colleague deleted the CRM ID column, or other related reasons.

This means you will need to use the email address to match by.

Let’s take the example where you have received a list from a trade show. This list could contain new prospects, existing prospects, and customers – you can’t be sure (unless you want to do a VLOOKUP on the whole of your CRM database).

When the import starts, Pardot begins matching the rows of data in the import file to the prospect records in Pardot.

What happens when Pardot comes across an email address in the import file that two prospect records use? Which does it choose? Answer: The prospect record with the most recent activity.

Note: When exporting prospect data to CSV, there’s something quirky to watch out for. Pardot will produce a file with Lead and Contact IDs in two separate columns. You will need to combine these two columns into one before you can reimport.

3. Form Submissions

When it comes to Pardot forms, it all depends on whether the prospect has been cookied already. If a cookie association exists between the individual’s browser and their prospect record, that association will win. The activity is related to that prospect record – simple.

What happens when there’s no cookie, and there are more than prospect records that use that email address? Which does it choose? Answer: Email address is a required field on all forms, so Pardot will use email address to match to existing Prospects. When there are more than one possible match, Pardot chooses the prospect record with the most recent activity.

4. Recycle Bin

The story from the previous point continues. What happens when there are no active (existing) prospect records? Answer: Pardot searches the recycle bin. If it finds a match, it undeletes the prospect record. If it finds more than one match, it undeletes the Prospect record with the most recent activity before they had been sent to the recycle bin.

Note: Activity tracking ceases as soon as a prospect is sent to the recycle bin.

5. Engagement Studio

Prospects enter an Engagement Studio program based on list membership; Engagement Studio programs start with a list, and so, if the prospect is on the list, they enter the program’s automated steps.

What happens when an Engagement Studio list contains more than one prospect with the same email address?Answer: Engagement Studio programs only allow one prospect per email address, per program.

What happens when there are multiple Engagement Studio lists containing more than one prospect with the same email address? Again, Engagement Studio programs only allow one prospect per email address, per program, regardless of whether the prospects are being sent to the Engagement Studio program by multiple lists.

6. Email Send Lists

Now let’s turn our attention to list emails, which is a concern for marketers knowing that more than one record, per individual, could exist in their Pardot database.

What happens when there are two prospects with the same email address on an email send list? Answer: Pardot sends one email to the prospect with the most recent activity. The email send activity will only be recorded on that prospect record.

In other words, Pardot deduplicates the send list before the email is sent, using most recent activity as the criteria for selecting the primary record.

7. Email Suppression Lists

Suppression lists are “do not send to” lists of prospects (you add this list in the “Suppression Lists” box in the Lightning email builder, and the “Do not send to” box on the “Sending” tab in the Classic email builder).

READ MORE: How to Send an Email in Pardot: A Recipe

What happens when there is a prospect with the same email address on a send list, and also on a suppression list?Answer: The prospect record on the send list will still receive the email, whereas the prospect record on the suppression list will not.

Note: If the same prospect Record is on both the send list and the suppression list, the prospect will not receive the email.

8. Recency and Frequency (Temporary Suppression)

Rule exception alert! Recency and frequency are controls you can put in place to start alleviating marketing fatigue with Account Engagement (Pardot). You can create dynamic lists to use as suppression lists if they have been emailed too many times (frequency) in a given time frame (recency).

READ MORE: Recency and Frequency: Avoid Email Fatigue With Account Engagement (Pardot)

What happens when there is a prospect with the same email address as a prospect on a recency and frequency suppression list? Answer: The prospect on the send list will not receive the email. In other words, dynamic suppression lists do respect email address across all records using that specific email address.

9. Opt-outs

Pardot stays on the safer side when it comes to email preferences. Opt-out behavior aims to respect the strictest preference.

What happens when a prospect opts out (unsubscribes)?

Prospects can use the unsubscribe link embedded in emails or from the email preference center.

If a prospect opts out (or a user changes the opted out field from the prospect record), all prospects with the same email address will also be opted out, and therefore will have the mailability status ‘Transactional Emails Only’.

When a Pardot user updates the mailability fields manually, a warning will appear if there is more than one prospect that shares the same email address:

What happens when a prospect unsubscribes from a single list (public list opt-out)? Answer: All prospects with the same email address are opted out of the public list.

10. Hard and Soft Bounces

A hard bounce suggests that a prospect is permanently unmailable for a number of reasons, typically that their email address has been disabled. A soft bounce indicates that the prospect is temporarily unmailable; in Pardot, five soft bounces equals a hard bounce.

READ MORE: What is a Mailable Prospect in Pardot? Do Not Email vs. Email Opt-Out

What happens when a prospect hard bounces (or causes five soft bounces)? Answer: All prospects with the same email address are marked as “Undeliverable”.

Bonus: Pardot Connectors

Connectors are ‘plug-in-and-play’ integrations between Pardot and third-party tools, such as Eventbrite and Google Ads.

When it comes to matching prospect activity on the third-party platform with prospect records in Pardot, connectors have to work with the email address as the unique identifier. In this way, they are similar to how form submissions work, except they don’t have the additional benefit of the Pardot cookie to direct the data update to a specific prospect.

What happens when a third-party connector wants to sync prospect activity to Pardot, and there are more than prospect records that use that email address? Which does it choose? Answer: When there are more than one possible match, Pardot chooses the Prospect record with the most recent activity.

Pardot AMPSEA: Pros and Cons

Since AMPSEA was rolled out, then made default for new Account Engagement (Pardot) accounts, it has received split reception from admins. There are both pros and cons to AMPSEA, and on the flip side, pros and cons to no AMPSEA. Here is a comparison of AMPSEA benefits vs drawbacks:

AMPSEA ProsAMPSEA Cons
DatabaseAllows for prospects to exist where Salesforce records have been deliberately duplicated, e.g. Contact record access could be highly segregated in your Salesforce org, or you follow an unconventional lead lifecycle. Exacerbates the problem of accidental duplication in your Salesforce org, as these will sync to your Pardot database.
Prospect importWhen importing prospect records, using CRM ID removes any ambiguity over which prospect record you are looking to update - like hitting the bullseye.In cases where CRM ID is unavailable (e.g. importing new data), there is no control over which prospect record the updates will end up.
Forms-When there are more than one possible match, Pardot chooses the prospect record with the most recent activity (email address is a required field on all forms, so Pardot will use email address to match to existing prospects).
Engagement StudioEngagement Studio programs only allow one prospect per email address per program, therefore, duplicate messages/actions won’t occur.Prospects are added on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, which can be hard to determine if you are not specific with your segmentation (i.e. you have accidental duplicates in your starting list).
Email list sendsIf there are two prospects with the same email address on a send list, Pardot sends one email per email address, therefore, duplicate messages/actions won’t occur. The prospect record on the send list will still receive the email, whereas the prospect record on the suppression list will not.The primary prospect is determined by most recent activity, which can be hard to determine if you are not specific with your segmentation (i.e. you have accidental duplicates in your send list).
Opt-outs, hard and soft bouncesPardot stays on the safer side when it comes to email preferences. Opt-out behavior aims to respect the strictest preference. If a prospect opts out (or a user changes the opted out field from the prospect record), all prospects with the same email address also be opted out. The same applies for bounces.While this enables you to stay in line with the strictest preference, deliberate duplicates will also be opted out (i.e. although prospects exist to represent individuals in separate contexts). The same applies for bounces.

Summary

Allow Multiple Prospects with Same Email Address (AMPSEA) is an Account Engagement (Pardot) setting that’s enabled by default, where prospects records use CRM ID as the unique identifier (versus email address).

What this means is that each Lead/Contact/Person Account in Salesforce is eligible for its own prospect record because each Salesforce record has its own CRM ID. If you have two Lead records with the same email address, still, their CRM IDs are different.

This guide has walked through 10 ‘rules’ of AMPSEA – its behavior in a ‘what happens when’ manner. Now, you should be clued up on how AMPSEA will affect your marketing automation when put into action – here’s a summary table to refresh your memory:

What happens when...Answer
Prospect importWhat happens when Pardot comes across an email address in the import file that two existing prospect records use? The existing prospect record with the most recent activity.
Form activitiesWhat happens when there’s no cookie association, and there are more than one existing prospect records that use that email address? Pardot chooses the prospect record with the most recent activity.
Recycle binWhat happens when there are no active (i.e. not deleted) prospect records?Pardot searches the recycle bin next. If it finds a one than one match, the prospect record with the most recent activity is undeleted. Note: Activity tracking ceases as soon as a prospect is sent to the recycle bin.
Engagement Studio (one list)What happens when an Engagement Studio list contains more than one prospect with the same email address?Engagement Studio programs only allow one prospect per email address per program. This operates on a ‘first come, first served’ basis as ES processes the prospects in the list.
Engagement Studio (multiple lists)What happens when there are multiple Engagement Studio lists containing more than one prospect with the same email address?Again, Engagement Studio programs only allow one prospect per email address per program, regardless whether the prospects are being sent to the Engagement Studio program from multiple lists.
Email sendWhat happens when there are two prospects with the same email address on an email send list?Pardot sends one email to the prospect with the most recent activity. The email send activity will only be recorded on that prospect record.
Email suppression listWhat happens when there is a prospect record on a send list, with the same email address as another prospect record on a suppression list?The prospect record on the send list will still receive the email. If the same prospect record is on both the send list and suppression list, they will not receive the email.
Recency and frequency (temporary suppression)What happens when there is a prospect record with the same email address as a prospect record on a recency and frequency suppression list?The prospect on the send list will not receive the email.
Opt-outs (global)What happens when a prospect unsubscribes (global opt-out)?If a prospect clicks to unsubscribe, all prospect records with the same email address are also opted out.
Opt-outs (list)What happens when a prospect unsubscribes from a single list (public list opt-out)?All prospect records with the same email address are also opted out of the list.
Hard and soft bouncesWhat happens when a prospect hard bounces (or causes 5 soft bounces)?All prospect records with the same email address are marked as ‘Undeliverable’.
Pardot connectorsWhat happens when a third-party connector wants to sync prospect activity to Pardot, and there are more than prospect records that use that email address?Pardot chooses the prospect record with the most recent activity.

Finally, here is the official Salesforce documentation for further reading/alternative explanation.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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