Pardot (Account Engagement) External Actions: What’s The Big Deal?

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Welcome, Pardot External Actions. We finally have, in our marketer hands, a feature that extends the reach of Pardot, integrating with our wider marketing tech stack, and as a result, streamline the whole experience.

Take actions on prospects outside of Pardot (Account Engagement) with external actions, and also open the door to many use cases on the Salesforce side, too.

What Are External Actions?

External actions allow you to take actions on prospects outside of Pardot (Account Engagement). For example, from Engagement Studio, you can register prospects for a webinar or events, send an SMS or survey, and other third-party platforms. External actions allow us to interact with these systems via Engagement Studio and post data out to them.

External actions also open the door to many Salesforce use cases, to hook Engagement Studio into various objects or automations on the Salesforce side (e.g. LogCase).

We’ve been limited in third party systems we can interact with in Pardot to the connectors that come out of the box. In cases where we need to interact with other systems, a tool like Zapier has been able to plug some gaps – but not everyone has access to this tool and it comes with its own limitations.

How Pardot External Actions Work

  • External actions are related to a Marketing App Extension. These connect Pardot to external platforms, using the Pardot API.
  • External actions can be used independently, i.e. you just want the action to be applied to a prospect, tapping into a third-party platform’s functionality.
  • External actions can also be used in combination with external activities. This combination will both apply the action to a prospect and log a prospect activity on the prospect’s record (Engagement History).

1. Create the connected app

For each third party app that you wish to connect with, you would need to create a Connected App in the first instance (assuming you haven’t done so already prior to this feature being released) that allows the app to authenticate with Salesforce.

2. Invocable actions

Work with a developer to create an invocable action.

Invocable actions “allow developers to package useful code functionality into declarative building blocks that can be used in other Salesforce tools, including Flow, and Engagement Studio”.

Through code, set the parameters for input (to Flow or Engagement Studio) which then use these values for the output, such as your webinar platform.

Information for developers:

  • MarketingAppExtAction metadata type: Define and submit external actions to third-party apps.
  • MarketingAppExtAction object: Define and submit external actions to third-party apps.
  • Package External Actions using the existing MarketingAppExtension metadata type and the new MarketingAppExtAction subtype.

3. Set up a Marketing App Extension

Cool, now that’s in place, you can set up an external action by going to the same place as you would to set up an external activity, by setting up a Marketing App Extension.

  • Click the cog in the top right of your screen and select Marketing Setup.
  • On the left hand side, you will see Marketing App Extensions. Click on that.
  • You can add an action to an existing extension but, if you’re creating from scratch, select New.
  • Fill out the properties of your extension and hit Save.
  • On the related lists tab of the extension, click New next to Action Types.
  • Here, give your Action Type a name and select the invocable action that you’ve built.
  • Click Active in Automations and hit Save.

You will return back to the app extension screen and you should now see it available.

4. Head to Engagement Studio

Now that the action is created, and you have made it “Active” in automations, you can now see that you have a new option within the actions category of Engagement Studio, called Custom Action.

Within this screen, you can now use the parameters built within the action to input values into Account Engagement.

What’s even more powerful is you can then use external activities to listen for events through triggers. A good use case of this would be to register somebody for a webinar from a Pardot form submission. Then you can use the external activity within the app extension to listen for whether they attended the webinar or not.

Pardot External Action Example

A type of third-party application that will be popular for external actions will be webinar platforms. Let’s take Zoom as an example – using an external action, you can add an action step into your Engagement Studio program to ‘Add to Webinar’. Search for the specific webinar, and you’ll be on your way.

External Action Errors and Usage

External Actions come with an exciting range of potential use cases – if everything goes to plan! If hiccups arise, Admins will be able to monitor and troubleshoot these low-code integrations using:

  • The External Actions Usage table to review all third-party app usage Navigate to: Pardot Settings → Account Settings → Usage and Limits sub-tab.
  • The External Action Errors table to identify issues with External Action automations, steps, and actions. Navigate to: Pardot Settings → External Action Errors.


Marketing is no longer confined to getting into our prospects’ inbox but spreads the interactions to other channels, such as SMS, social, and webinar platforms.

Finally, we have a way for Account Engagement to interact with third party systems! Teams are now trying to use a wide ranging set of channels and tools in a coherent way to enhance the end user experience. Thanks to external actions, we can now connect the dots between disparate systems.

External actions join the API V5, third-party content components, custom pre-built content, and external activities in the Account Engagement Development Suite:

We would love to hear about your potential use cases and how we can help you connect Account Engagement into your wider MarTech stack. If you want to get the most from this feature, then reach out to us.

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