Introduction to Pardot Tracker Domains and Vanity URLs

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Tracker domains in Pardot enable you to create vanity URLs that disguise your Pardot landing pages and files as your own brand. Every marketer’s goal is to create a seamless transition between assets, which applying up vanity URLs to Pardot landing pages and files will help you to achieve. Tracker Domains are often an unfamiliar concept for those entering the world of marketing automation and the source of many questions on the Trailblazer Community groups.

With enhanced features now available, I thought it would be a prime opportunity to talk a little about what Tracker Domains are, what purpose they serve and how they relate to Vanity URLs. If you have no clue about these Domain Management features, don’t worry – this is how I broke down the topic to learn the foundational knowledge.

“Conga"

What is a Tracker Domain?

A tracker domain is basically a variation of your own website domain – an alias.

If Fearless Marketing wanted to set up a Tracker Domain for any Pardot-hosted content we had, we would consider using one of the popular formats below:

  • go.fearlessmarketing.tech
  • www2.fearlessmarketing.tech
  • info.fearlessmarketing.tech

What’s their purpose?

Picture all the content that’s on your website. In this context, ‘content’ refers to forms, landing pages, emails, files, etc.  Some of the content will be hosted by you, via your CMS (Content Management System); but, some will be hosted through Pardot, eg. Pardot forms.

When an asset such as a Pardot form is created, it will take the ‘go.pardot’ domain like in the screenshot below:

This is the default for all accounts unless a different tracker domain has been specified. This is the view from the ‘Domain Management’ page inside the Pardot Lightning App:

A zoomed-in view here for closer inspection:

So instead of your form URL being ‘go.pardot…’, you can use something similar to the bulleted suggestions in the first section.

You could think of it as white labelling. As URLs for Pardot-hosted content are rewritten to appear that they are hosted by your company for:

  • Credibility ie. a trustworthy page.
  • ‘Seamless transition’ from your hosted pages to Pardot-hosted assets.
  • Able to use Vanity URLs (we’ll get to that later!)
  • Avoids interfering negatively with your website’s SEO ranking

What’s the Setup Process?

This is an advanced topic, so I’m not going to go into deep details in this post.

To access Domain Management, go to ‘Pardot Settings’ in the Pardot Lightning App, then ‘Domain Management’.

Then you can follow the step-by-step guide available on the official Pardot documentation (it goes without saying, it’s essential you this additional documentation before attempting to configure your account domains).

What are Vanity URLs?

…and then there are Vanity URLs, which I think of as an extension of Tracker Domains. This enables you to write URLs to your liking, that is, the piece of the URL at the end after the ‘/’

eg: go.fearlessmarketing.tech/contactus

NB: you must have done the technical CNAME configuration before you can use these.

Use Multiple Vanity URLs for Pardot Assets

UPDATE! With the August ’19 release, marketers can now select from any of the validated tracker domains in their Pardot Domain Management. Previously, all marketing assets such as email links, forms, landing pages, custom redirects, all had to use the tracker domain set as ‘primary’. This was a nightmare for marketers managing multiple brands in one Pardot account.

Now the selector means you can choose per asset, and clearly shows which is in use on the overview screen:

Summary

To briefly sum up (brain overload!), I hope I was able to break down the topic in a way that makes building the foundational knowledge less daunting. In around 400 words, you have been able to discover what Tracker Domains are, what purpose they serve and how they relate to Vanity URLs. Good luck getting set up with Pardot!

6 thoughts on “Introduction to Pardot Tracker Domains and Vanity URLs

  1. Avatar

    What about custom URLs to track opens to a landing page? In Hubspot we could create custom tracking URLs. I have a landing page in Pardot that I want to use for multiple sources, but I want to be able to know how many came from an email, 3rd party paid, etc. Suggestions?

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      I think the equivalent feature you’re looking for are Custom redirects (aka. Marketing Links). Hav you recently moved over from Hubspot?

  2. Avatar

    Our company will stop using Pardot soon in favor of Sales Force Marketing Cloud. Couldn’t we take over hosting and set up directs from Pardot URLs to SFMC URLs?

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