What happens to your email after you press send?
Marketers often worry once the destiny of their email is outside of their control. This is especially true with the lack of visibility into the details – all we have to go on are three words on screen: Queued, Sent, Delivered.
Salesforce (Pardot) do not provide any external SLAs on email deliverability times, but they indicate that the typical processing time is under 30 minutes (in my experience, far quicker), but they caution that some sends can take up to an hour to queue and fully process.
The most alert marketers are quick to spot a slow sending email, and often will fear the worst prematurely. I wrote this post to give Pardot marketers an idea of why certain emails may take longer to send.
First, let’s understand what’s happening behind the scenes for some context.
The Three-step Process
Every email send goes through a Three-step process:
- Pardot Validates Email
- Pardot Transfers to Outgoing Server
- Passed to Recipient’s Server
This routine explains why email sends through Pardot (or any Marketing Automation tool) don’t happen instantly. Happening around the usual routine are other forces at play that could hold up your emails.
Factor 1: Cleaning & Validation Effort
Pardot have your best interests at heart. They know that getting an email delivered to a recipient’s inbox is the first priority.
As we have seen already, the validation is the first step of the Three-step Process, necessary to increase the chance of your email getting delivered as you intended. What does this mean? How will it impact sending speed?
- Send List Clean: this ensures that records are removed – eg. Hard Bounces (‘Do not email’), or are members of a suppression list.
- Variable Tags: merging in the correct data from prospect records takes time
- Trackable Links: links in emails need to be rewritten to become unique to each prospect, so Pardot can tell which specific prospect clicked that link.
Factor 2: Time of Day
Pardot and its outgoing server can only handle a certain volume of requests at any one time. This applies at both your own account level, if you have multiple different emails going out simultaneously, and also the Pardot customer base as a whole. When full capacity is reached, your email joins a queue. Queues are likely to form at specific times of the day, noticeably between 8-9am in GMT, ET, PT (the most densely Pardot-populated zones).
Factor 3: Scheduled or Not
Emails that are scheduled get priority over those that are not. I am not sure why, but my guess is that it has something to do with queues (Factor 2), that your email would have started lining up early (camped out the night before).
Factor 4: List Size
Pardot will process large lists in batches, so some prospects may fall in the final batch to go through the three-step process.
Factor 5: Server Performance
Salesforce is known for its reliable performance – a key reason for earning its ‘World Leading’ status. However, downtime does happen, which is a factor that occasionally delays email sending. If you suspect this is the case, there are two places you can look:
- trust.salesforce.com lists the current and past status of servers, fully transparent to customers
- The Salesforce Trailblazer Community Pardot B2B Marketing Automation group. If downtime is having a significant impact, then someone will be talking about it!
This post has given Pardot marketers an idea of why certain emails may take longer to send, covering 5 factors that impact sending speed. So, now that you know more about what happens to your email after you press send, there may be reasonable explanations and no reason to panic.