20 Things You Should Know About Salesforce Campaigns

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Salesforce Campaigns are an essential object for Marketers, but many don’t use Campaigns to their full potential. I wanted to write this post based on what I’ve picked up as a Salesforce and Pardot Consultant over the past few years – during a period where an increasing focus has been deflected from Pardot’s first-touch, individualistic tracking, to multi-touch attribution with Salesforce Campaigns, and advanced strategies such as Account-based Marketing (ABM).

I hope you find some best practice in this post that you didn’t know before, that will enhance your use of Salesforce Campaigns for better tracking and reporting.

1. Standard Object, Many Use Cases

What are Salesforce Campaigns? This is a good question to start with. Simply put, Salesforce Campaigns are a standard Salesforce object, that is included for every Salesforce customer. Campaigns are typically used by the Marketing Team, however, Sales Development Teams (BDRs/SDRs/lead generation agencies) can also leverage Campaigns.

Campaigns are ideal for tracking return on investment (ROI), so one rule of thumb is to use a campaign whenever there is budget spend tied to an initiative. Campaigns tie together a Lead or a Contact’s interaction with the initiative, and the outcomes of Opportunities that resulted from said initiative.

Here are some use cases for campaigns:

  • Conference / Trade Shows / Events
  • Email campaigns
  • Webinars
  • Direct Mail
  • Advertisement
  • Banner Ads
  • Telemarketing / Calling Campaigns
  • Public Relations
  • Partner Co-marketing / Affiliate Marketing
  • Referral Program

2. ‘Active’ Checkbox

The ‘Active’ checkbox field on Salesforce Campaigns comes out-of-the-box with Salesforce. Many marketers take its existence for granted, as we get more efficient at setting campaigns up, almost on auto-pilot. It may not seem to have much use to you, because after all, the ‘Status’ field tells you whether a Campaign is Planned, In Progress, Completed, or Aborted.

So, what’s so special about this field anyway? The ‘Active’ checkbox controls which campaigns are considered ‘influential’ towards the opportunity revenue that Leads/Contacts are added to. When a campaign is not active, new Contacts and Leads are prevented from being added to the campaign, and therefore excluded from being counted in the Campaign Influence reports. Plus, keep Lead/Contact Campaign History filtered search views clean, so users can only select Active campaigns when inputting data.

3. Campaign Custom Fields – Recommendations

The Campaign object comes with a number of fields out-of-the-box, which you can choose to add or remove to your Campaign page layout. In addition, you are able to add custom Campaign fields.

Before you go wild adding fields, pause and think. A good reason to add a custom field is to hold some information that you do not want contained in the ‘Campaign Name’ field (I will cover this field in more detail later on). For example, if you run industry-specific campaigns, adding a ‘Target Industry’ field can make it more straight forward to filter reports.

One custom field I recommend adding is a ‘Campaign Level’ field. This is a simple picklist field with values ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, etc. that will to help organise and report on your campaigns.

4. Campaign Hierarchies – Parent vs. Child Campaigns

It’s about time we spoke about Campaign Hierarchies! Campaigns can be organised in a hierarchy structure, which groups different tactics involved in a campaign (child campaigns), rolled-up to one umbrella campaign (the ‘Parent’ campaign).

You could think of Campaign Hierarchies as a tree; the roots grow into branches, that split off into many leaves.

Deciding how to organise your Campaign Hierarchy starts with figuring out how the structure will cascade, top-down. It’s often a decision that takes time to discuss (often with some healthy debate) because there is no right answer! One thing I am sure of, however, is that once you’ve planted your tree, you can’t suddenly uproot it, or swap the branches for the leaves! (Without great effort, of course).

This is how a typical Campaign Hierarchy looks in Salesforce:

Read more on Campaign Hierarchies: 5 Tips for Organising Your Salesforce Campaign Hierarchy

5. Campaign Hierarchy Reporting – ‘In Hierarchy’ Fields

Salesforce Campaigns come with standard fields that summarise the figures from all child campaigns attached to a parent. Let’s walk through an example.

There are 3 child campaigns that are linked to the same parent campaign. They each have some campaign members that have ‘responded’ to the campaign, eg:

Child Campaign A = 10 “Responses in Campaign”

Child Campaign B = 40 “Responses in Campaign”

Child Campaign C = 20 “Responses in Campaign”

The field ’Num Responses in Hierarchy’, on the parent campaign would, therefore, be 70.

Take a look at some of these fields available to use:

6. Customise Your Campaign Hierarchy View

As hierarchies are essential to using Salesforce Campaigns effectively, this makes the Campaign Hierarchy View indispensable. This view allows you to visually see how multiple child campaigns are related to parent campaigns, with collapsible sections that aid navigating (what frequently become) monster hierarchies.

You’re not stuck with the default fields. Read more on how you can customise your Campaign Hierarchy View.

7. Connected Campaigns

Are you a Pardot customer? If so, keep reading.

With Connected Campaigns, Salesforce Campaigns and Pardot Campaigns have a one-to-one (1:1) relationship. Marketers only need to create and manage campaigns in Salesforce, which sync to Pardot as campaigns and are, therefore, available to link with campaign assets created in Pardot, eg. emails, forms, etc.

Not only is this more efficient, but it also manoeuvres teams into best practice campaign management, using Campaign Hierarchies, Campaign Influence, and ‘Multi-touch Attribution’, a term you may have heard being thrown around.

Check your org has Connected Campaigns enabled.

8. Campaign Engagement History Metrics

This section also applies to Pardot customers – but there’s no reason to skip if you are not (yet)!

With Salesforce Connected Campaigns, Pardot customers can sync all activities happening on Pardot marketing assets (emails, forms, landing pages etc.) into Salesforce campaigns. These are displayed in a Lightning Component called ‘Engagement Metrics’, see this tutorial to add the component to your Campaign Lightning Record Pages.

A special switch means you can ‘Include Child Campaigns’, and instantly view the Email Click-Through Rate, Marketing Form Submission Rate, etc. for the whole hierarchy.

9. Related Objects & Related Lists

You will be aware that a CRM is a collection of objects that are related to each other in different ways. The Campaign object has the following related objects:

  • Campaign Members (see point #10)
  • Landing Pages
  • Marketing Forms
  • Marketing Links
  • Snippets
  • List Emails

In other words, a Campaign may (or may not) have related members, forms or landing pages. To illustrate what records are related to a specific campaign, view these in the ‘related lists’ for each related object (these can be added to your campaign page layouts).

If in doubt, you can reference the data schema, which maps out how objects are related to each other (I keep this bookmarked on my browser).

10. Campaign Members

Campaign Members are Leads and Contacts related to a Salesforce Campaign. In a nutshell, there is no direct relationship between a Salesforce Campaign and a Lead/Contact; this is why Salesforce is designed to use Campaign Members instead. When you want to add someone to a Salesforce Campaign, a new Campaign Member record is created.

Any seasoned Salesforce user has come up against the disparities between Leads and Contacts, sadly a long-standing trouble when it comes to reporting. Campaign Members are one way you, as a marketer, can bring Leads and Contacts closer together for a full picture in reports and dashboards. Nevertheless, Campaign Members are an underappreciated object, and there are tricks to get the most out of Campaign Members.

Pardot user? Be aware that a Prospect must first be a Lead or a Contact before you can add them to a Campaign, and create a Campaign Member – so don’t forget to assign Prospects to allow the connector sync!

11. Campaign Member Statuses

Campaign Members have a ‘Member Status’, which describes the level they have engaged with a Campaign.

The default statuses, with are pre-populated on each new Salesforce Campaign are:

  • ‘Sent’
  • ‘Responded’

You can modify and add statuses that best match your campaign touchpoints – for example, you might have a status for ‘Downloaded PDF’, or ‘To be contacted’ if they submitted a contact form.

There are some things to bear in mind before diving in to customise Campaign Member Statuses that can save you headaches down the line, so give my recommendations a read!

12. Adding Campaign Members to Campaigns

There are multiple ways to add Leads or Contacts to a Salesforce Campaign. Sometimes you will need to add Campaign Members in mass (eg. a list upload), but there will be other times where team members will prefer to add records one by one – think personal dinner invites or close relationships salespeople often have with key stakeholders in their accounts (subjective, and cannot be automated).

  • Directly on each Lead/Contact record, via the ‘Campaign History’ list (manual selection)
  • Lead/Contact list views (manual/mass selection, depending on how you look at it!)
  • Campaign Member Related List on Campaigns (same as above)
  • Salesforce Reports (mass selection)
  • Data Import (mass selection)

(Note: if you are a Pardot customer, there are other ways to add Leads/Contacts to campaigns by using Completion Actions or Automation Rules on Prospects).

13. Campaign Influence – Primary Campaign Source

Now we come on to the ‘meatier’ content, how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of a campaign.

You may remember that I said there’s a rule of thumb for when you should definitely use a campaign? Use a campaign whenever there is budget spend tied to an initiative, so you can evaluate money spent, versus money gained (won revenue).

The ‘Primary Campaign Source’ field on Opportunities is the start of tracking ROI on Campaigns. This is a ‘lookup’ field, where a Campaign can be linked in the field. Crediting Campaigns to Opportunities is kept simple – the Campaign in the Opportunity ‘Primary Campaign Source’ field will receive 100% of the credit – which helps me to term it ‘all-or-nothing’ attribution.

14. Campaign Influence – Attribution Models

The ‘Primary Campaign Source’ field is the very tip of the Campaign Influence iceberg. There are more advanced ways to track the ROI of Campaigns when you are ready to graduate from ‘all-or-nothing’ attribution.

Let’s dive into Attribution Models, a fancy way to describe how much each Campaign should weigh – how much Opportunity revenue a Campaign should be credited.

It’s best shown with 3 popular Attribution Models, which Pardot customers get out-of-the-box:

  • First touch: where the prospect’s first campaign receives 100% of the credit. Good for evaluating which campaigns are attracting prospects inbound, effective in the awareness stage.
  • Last touch: where the most recent campaign at the time the opportunity is ‘Closed Won’ receives 100% of the credit.
  • Even distribution: where all campaigns receive an equal each share of the opportunity amount.

This is how each can paint different pictures of your Campaign Influence:

If your organisation does not have Pardot license, you would need to build custom models from Setup, and automate attribution using Apex or Process Builder.

15. Campaign Report Types – Standard

Salesforce is loved for its powerful reporting capabilities. A number of reports are available out-of-the-box:

  • Campaigns
  • Campaigns with Campaign Members
  • Campaigns with Leads
  • Campaigns with Leads and Converted Lead Information
  • Campaigns with Contacts
  • Opportunities with Campaign History
  • Campaigns with Influenced Opportunities (Customizable Campaign Influence)

These should cover the majority of your Campaign reporting needs.

16. Campaign Report Types – Custom

When the standard report types do not cover all your Campaign reporting needs, you can create Custom Report Types. A good example would be if you want to report on campaigns with a custom object you use heavily in your org.

Note: If you’re a Pardot customer, you will need to set up Custom Report Types for Engagement History Reports. Remember, Engagement History is the term for the activities that Prospects make, eg. email opens, form successes (submissions), landing page views etc. These are synced to Salesforce (see #9), which can be used in Salesforce reports!

See this tutorial where I build a Custom Report Type for Landing Page performance.

17. Use a Campaign Calendar

There are many handy features in Salesforce that people often don’t know about. The ability to turn any object into a calendar view is one of these hidden gems*. Fed up of cross-referencing campaigns in Salesforce with your spreadsheet? Then this one is for you!

*you must be on Professional Edition or higher to enjoy this feature.

By navigating to the ‘Calendar’ tab, you can create a calendar using any object in Salesforce. Set the date fields you want to be reflected on the calendar (typically ‘start date’ and ‘end date’), then filter by any list view you have set up (eg. My Active Campaigns, All Manufacturing Campaigns etc.).

18. Use Chatter Collaboration

Chatter is the social collaboration tool built into Salesforce, once described as Linkedin meets Twitter. Create collaboration groups with members for internal projects, start a comment thread on any Salesforce record, and see other users’ activity threads.

Chatter is especially helpful for Campaigns, taking a lot of the back-and-forth involved in organising campaigns out of email chains and into Salesforce, for visibility across the whole team, and an accurate ‘paper trail’.

  1. “Enable Feed Tracking” for Campaigns
  2. Add the Chatter component to your Lightning Record Pages.

Now you can:

  • Post comments and @mention another user
  • Search the comment feed
  • Ask a question
  • Create a poll to get your team’s opinions.

19. Campaign Approval Processes

Campaign Approval Processes are a popular request because, after all, running Campaigns can be a huge cost to your company. You want to make sure you’re getting as high an ROI as possible for every campaign you run, which means monitoring costs to control budget spend. Another great example is content approval, to ensure you have a consistent brand voice across all collateral. Both of these examples need a second, third opinion in the business in order to progress the campaign planning to the next stage.

Luckily, you can build a Campaign Approval Process in Salesforce, which can be simple or complex and multi-layer – depending on who needs to oversee what in the business. Read the full tutorial here.

20. Campaign Record Types

Record Types are a way of grouping many records for one type for that object, because these records have a lot in common. Record Types allow you to have a different page layout, with different fields, required or not, and with different picklist values.

An example for Campaigns would be to have a separate record type for a Tradeshow, vs. a BDR Calling Campaign; a BDR Calling Campaign would not have related forms and Landing Pages, and both would not share member statuses (think Registered, Attended, Visited Booth vs. To be called, Contacted).

Record Types are advanced Administration, and so should be run past a Salesforce Admin before you go down that path. To help you answer whether your need for a record type is real, we published a post that will help tease out your true requirements:

Record Type, or Not? 6 Questions to Ask When Planning Salesforce Record Types


I hope you enjoyed this bumper post, even if your head is spinning. This has been a compilation of things that I’ve picked up as a Salesforce and Pardot Consultant over the past few years. Did you find something that you didn’t know before? Now, go an enhance your use of Salesforce Campaigns for better tracking and reporting!

8 thoughts on “20 Things You Should Know About Salesforce Campaigns

  1. This is very timely for us thanks! Also, would be great if you had any other recommendations for custom reports to give an idea of interaction in marketing assets from campaign members? We use Pardot Pro and Salesforce. Thanks!

  2. this is great piece! but i have one question: is there such thing as over complicating things? i allowed “too many chefs” to give their input on reorganizing the campaign setup and structure and they want every piece of information known to man kind, my hope is the SF admin will push back but i may have to nip this in the bud before it get s to him.

    1. Thank you! Yes, there is definitely such a thing as overcomplicating things…unfortunately different people have different opinions and a hierarchy is a structure, not something that can be fluid to suit every individual’s tastes! A problem seen in many organisations.
      You should just go into the conversation (and ensure your Salesforce Admin is aware of this approach too) with the reporting structure in mind first, how statistics on campaign performance should be roll-up.

  3. Great article – thank you! Brilliant idea about the Calendar for campaigns. On the simplicity front, I’ve always appreciated when one campaign is used over multiple years so when you’re asked to compare the performance of say, social media, you can pull a report on that and use dates to group it so one chart gives you a trend over time. In the past, I’ve found it really cumbersome to report year on year where separate campaigns have been set up for individual years – after all, we have our start dates, end dates and other dates to track the time factor. This is just my perspective – and of course, there are times when you have very specific campaigns in a particular year you wouldn’t want cluttering up every year, but many can be consistently used.

    What do people tend to do to strengthen the link to Accounts? For example, if we’re using Campaigns for Events and someone attended an Event and then changed jobs to a different company it seems that the standard Campaign structure doesn’t take this into consideration – i.e. it doesn’t take a point in time ‘Account’ stamp on the attendee. Similarly someone may attend an event representing a company different from the Account they belong to and this seems to me a real weakness of the current campaign structure. I know custom work would overcome this – what is the best approach? Adding an Account lookup to the Campaign Member record?

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