Pardot Archiving in Action: who, what, when & why

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Archiving can cause confusion and stress, often neglected until the last minute. Deleting prospects, automations, and marketing assets is time-consuming and not against a marketer’s nature, but here’s a heads up: no archiving strategy will cause more confusion and stress than continuing without one.

The key thing to remember is once you’ve assessed the who, what, when and why of your archiving process, then you don’t need to fear archiving. The point of this post, therefore, is to walk-through how you can establish the 4 Ws of your archiving process so that you can run it like a well-oiled machine. 


Why archive? Being well-rehearsed on the benefits and necessities of archiving will mean your team are more likely to get onboard, and support in maintaining and cleaning the account.

Short-term benefits are evident. Users will be able to work more efficiently, able to retrieve marketing assets faster. Keep below your account limits, especially mailable prospects, automations, and files – the most common culprits(refer to your Account Limits, or the Edition comparison). Then, in the longer-term, you will be able to improve your email deliverability only by sending to engaged prospects!

Remember, you can always fetch all prospects and marketing assets back from the Recycle Bin.


Now, to look at process ownership. Knowing who will own the process is important to make sure it gets done. If you don’t have a designated Pardot Admin, I suggest you divvy up the responsibility to the most organised team members. Their responsibility will be to collate lists of assets for the chop, seeking approval from the owners of those assets.

Document it. It may seem over the top at first, but I’ve found have an archiving ‘rule book’ and log to be incredibly useful.

What (+ How)

Firstly, get into the habit of setting Archive Dates when creating new marketing assets, such as Pardot Campaigns, Lists, Landing Pages, and Forms. This can alleviate some of the work.

Then, what should you focus on cleaning where the Archive Date can’t clean for you? I have already mentioned prospects, automations, and files as being targets. Now I’m going to go into how to do it easily and in a savvy way.


Check out how far you are to hitting your mailable prospects limit. 90% and above? Better start archiving!

Quick & Dirty:
Archive any prospects that are:

  • Hard bounced
  • ‘Never Active’ and were created > 1 year ago.

When looking at Inactive Prospects, bear in mind that this is not the best option if you know that you haven’t made any attempt to nurture these people. in that case, you should consider running a ‘Permission Pass’ campaign, a re-engagement tactic that aims to gain refreshed consent to market to these dormant prospects. If you can’t gain explicit consent to market to these prospects, it’s time to wave goodbye to them.

Automation Rules

I’m picking on Automation Rules because people create them, use them, then forget them. Unfortunately, these abandoned rules will stack up quickly and push you further towards your limit.

If you come across Automation Rules that are inactive, think twice before archiving. Some are required less frequently (eg. for an annual campaign), so make use of the new Description field to communicate which are exempt from archiving. If Automation Rules were created ‘some time ago’ (eg. 6 months ago) and have never matched any prospects, it’s safe to say they can go! This is an indicator that they either have never been activated or are just useless! Use the ‘Inactive Automations’ filter (shown below) to single these rules out for mass deletion.


The ‘when’ needs to be decided because archiving requires discipline.

You should include how frequently archiving should happen, and be specific. Is there one type of prospect that should be archived less often than other target groups, for example?

Leverage your account audits, and make archiving a key priority during those times. Most people choose to audit their account quarterly (minor audits), or every half a year.


This post walked through how you can establish the 4 Ws (who, what, when and why) of your archiving process so that you can run it like a well-oiled machine. Deleting prospects, automations, and marketing assets is never top of any marketer’s list, but remember: no archiving strategy will cause more confusion and stress than continuing without one.

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