Getting to the Bottom of the ‘Do Not Email’ Field in Pardot [Infographic]

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How can a prospect become unmailable in Pardot? What’s the difference between ‘Do Not Email’ and ‘Opted Out’ fields?

If you are confused and not sure how to answer these questions, then you’re not alone. Even after working with the Pardot product for years, I still need to think twice when given a specific scenario. Hopefully, you will find some answers about this key prospect field in this infographic.

‘Do Not Email’ is a field found on prospect records in Pardot. It is intended as a marketing suppression field, for admins/marketers to prevent that prospect from receiving emails.

4 Ways Prospects Become ‘Do Not Email’

The prospect will not receive marketing emails if their ‘Mailability status’ field in Pardot is set to ‘Undeliverable’ or ‘Transactional Emails Only’. These statuses appear due to one of the following reasons:

  • Do Not Email: an admin/marketer ticks this checkbox on the prospect record manually, or via an import.
  • Opted out: the prospect opts-out of your email marketing using the unsubscribe link/email preference center.
  • Spam complaints: the prospect uses the spam button built-in to their email service provider.
  • Bounces: a bounce is recorded each time an email fails to be delivered. It takes 1 hard bounce or 5 soft bounces to become unmailable.

‘Do Not Email’ vs ‘Opted Out’

These fields should be used by different parties:

  • ‘Do Not Email’: controlled by internal users.
  • ‘Opted out’: controlled by the prospect themselves (their communication preferences).

Before Summer ‘21, when prospects became unmailable, these two fields came into action; now they act independently (decoupled).

However, if either ‘Do Not Email’ or ‘Opted Out’ is true, the prospect’s mailability status will become ‘Transactional Emails Only’ (only receiving operational emails, no marketing emails):

Mailability status
Admin/marketer sets
‘Do not email’ = true
Transactional Emails Only
Prospect sets
‘Opted out’ = true
Transactional Emails Only
Prospect in the recycle bin?Archived

Prospect Resubscribe and ‘Overwrite Prospect Opted Out’

Prospects can opt back in by using the ‘prospect resubscribe’ feature or an internal user can edit the prospect record. This will set the ‘Opted out’ field from true to false.

Do Not Email FieldOpted out Field

Hard BounceWhat happens when a prospect is opted back in?
Remains as status ‘Undeliverable’.
-‘Do Not Email’ remains selected, with the status ‘Transactional Emails Only’.
-Remains as status ‘Undeliverable’.
--Prospect status changes to ‘Mailable’.

The “Overwrite Opted Out Field Sync” setting on the Salesforce-Pardot connector is now default for all Pardot accounts (you won’t even see it as a setting).

Further Information:

What is a Mailable Prospect in Pardot?

Set up Pardot Resubscribe – Let prospects opt back in


4 thoughts on “Getting to the Bottom of the ‘Do Not Email’ Field in Pardot [Infographic]

  1. Loved this breakdown, so much clearer and in detail than previous infographics. I took this info a couple of months ago and worked it into a “Mkt opt out” field that gave me the freedom to manage the Opt out fields from third party apps and their automatic unsubscribe settings (Mailchimp, Outreach, etc).
    Just to say that field mapping is a quintessential part of the Do not Email features and behaviour and something to always keep in mind when looking at reports or flows.

  2. HI, Is there an way how we can clean Hard bounce wit the new change? Our clients want to receive marketing Communication but we had issue with Spamcom, we detected the problem and fix it but now we can’t opt back rest of the clients who were affected. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Anna,

      In the Winter ’22 release (coming in October for most SF orgs), you’ll be able to go to each individual record and reset the bounce status manually.

      For a large number like this, the main route is to go through support and have them update the bounces in mass – so long as you have a valid reason, like yours (sounds like you’ve been really diligent reaching out and confirming).

      The bounce is tied to the original email address, so changing the email address won’t work.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Lucy, thanks for all the useful information like always. I have a question I don’t know you can assist me with: we synced the Pardot Do Not Email with a checkbox field in Salesforce and I got the impression after several tests that we cannot update it with an automated process like process builder or flow to bring the Salesforce checkbox from true to false. To be clearer, the field will change in Salesforce but it won’t be reflected in Pardot. Is that standard behaviour that you know of? Thank you very much!

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