Is it time to reconsider AMPSEA in Pardot?

Allow Multiple Prospects with Same Email Address (AMPSEA) has pleased some, frustrated others, and alluded many Pardot customers, since it was rolled out late 2016. AMPSEA does what it says on the tin: it means you can have multiple Prospect records that have the same email address. By switching the Prospect record’s unique identifier from email address to CRM ID, Pardot is able to respect each record individually instead of treating them as duplicates.

With the ever-increasing number of AMPSEA-enabled accounts, confidence in AMPSEA has improved; yet, many still hesitate. There have been plenty of criticisms regarding AMPSEA over time, many of which are valid and imperative to consider, such as the ones covered by Paul in this post. I won’t be surprised if this post raises a few eyebrows. This was a tricky post to write, because I appreciate the concerns AMPSEA brought with it; however, now having worked with AMPSEA-enabled accounts, I believe that the benefits of AMPSEA can outweigh the frustrations when paired with the right approach and level of preparation. This post will talk through why AMPSEA should be reconsidered in the current and future context of Pardot.
Read the Disclaimer.

Why People Hesitate

If you purchased Pardot after June 2016, then AMPSEA has been enabled by default. If your account is older, you had the choice to enable; however, many Pardot admins deliberately chose not to enable the feature, because it:

  • Complicates Prospect activity association
  • Requires extra caution with data management, eg. importing
  • Creates a mess when duplicate Lead/Contact records exist
  • Is irreversible – that is, it cannot be disabled once enabled.

As you can imagine, plenty of question marks arise. With the potential to disrupt, in organisations that have multiple marketing initiatives and a dirty database, the answer on whether to enable AMPSEA is a persistent ‘no’. Some prefer the simplicity and predictability of Non-AMPSEA, but is this way future-proof?

Reconsidering AMPSEA

Pardot went to the effort to develop AMPSEA functionality not just to keep up with other market leaders – they were armed with greater motivations. This section covers a number of reasons why it could be time to reconsider AMPSEA.

Future Pardot tighter to Salesforce Sales Cloud

The transformation that Pardot will undergo in the next few years means it’s time that we should shift our attention from Pardot in its current form, to a future Pardot far tighter to Salesforce Sales Cloud. It’s a good time to make headway with establishing new Salesforce-focused marketing operations, which will be spurred on by product enhancements such as Connected Campaigns, which is currently in Beta.

In my opinion, we should pay more attention to the processes and functionality Salesforce houses. As Salesforce should be considered the new hub, it makes sense to use CRM ID as the unique identifier for Prospects. To me, it’s clearer which Salesforce Lead/Contact record is syncing with which Prospect record when CRM ID is involved, rather than hunting within all CRM records with that email address.

Enforces Clean Data (De-duplication)

AMPSEA works (relatively) stress-free when an organisation has a clean database and a logically organised Salesforce data model. A positive impact AMPSEA has indirectly, is enforcing better data management best practices, especially de-duplication. As I mentioned earlier, duplicate records cause havoc with AMPSEA; this is because each record (duplicate or not duplicate) will be treated as a legitimate records, and a Prospect record created for each Contact/Lead record. Duplicate-ridden organisations find their Pardot prospect record limit rapidly exhausted.

De-duplication is a mammoth tasks that so many businesses continue to put off. Help is here to get started on tackling duplicate records, by using the Salesforce Potential Duplicates component on Accounts, Contacts & Leads. If your org is new (Summer ’17 and beyond), you will see this already, if not, find instructions here.

The key takeaway is to get ‘in-tune’ with your data. What I mean by this, is knowing the difference between what should be treated as two Prospect records, and what is duplicate. This is a clean up that needs to happen, and AMPSEA could be the push that your team needs. When push comes to shove.

Consolidates Data Entry Points

Concerns over imported Prospect data not catching the correct CRM record (in cases where the import file does not contain CRM ID) can be alleviated by only importing to Salesforce instead. As well as bringing consistency and control over incoming data, I suspect that reducing the number of data entry points will be welcomed in an era of stricter data protection and compliance.

Of course, import is not the only way marketing data enters your system. Data captured through marketing forms will continue to pass through Pardot first; with AMPSEA, increased importance is placed on cookies to determine the correct Prospect to associate the submission to. However, when data is submitted from an uncookied individual, with an email address that matches more than one prospect, in this instance the activity is saved to the prospect that has the most recent activity.

Scalable Marketing

Marketing strategies never follow a ‘one size fits all’, and audience varies immensely from business to business. Many companies find their audience is unconventional, and therefore impossible to fit to a non-AMPSEA marketing tool. Good use cases include:

  • Agents working on behalf of someone eg. Accountant, Solicitor
  • Agencies affiliated with multiple clients
  • Family members

In one large insurance organisation I worked for, I saw how non-AMPSEA became a blockage to expanding their business to their indirect customer (their customer’s Accountants). Another story for another time, but good to consider these use cases that exist.


AMPSEA is a new reality that Pardot admins and users will inevitably have to come to terms with. Instead of focusing on the caveats and potential disorder, we should consider how AMPSEA can enforce data management best practice and expand the marketing use cases that Pardot can now cater for.

Once again, I can appreciate the concerns AMPSEA brings, and I too have experienced my fair share of headaches. However, I am beginning to see how AMPSEA can when paired with the right approach and level of preparation – which I’ve outlined in this post.

Of course, enabling AMPSEA has greater implications for some companies than others (take for instance, an SMBs database vs. a long-established multinational), but I strongly advise reading Paul’s great tips for mitigating AMPSEA-related risks, which you can find here.
DISCLAIMER: do not enable AMPSEA unless you have checked the caveats and consequences in detail, cleaned your Salesforce data and most importantly, have consulted a certified Pardot professional.