What Cookies Does Pardot Use? Compliant Web Activity Tracking Setup

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Pardot comes with a tracking code you can place on your website. This is will track website visitor behaviour using something called a cookie, and ultimately, display as reports inside Pardot.

Before you place the Pardot tracking code on your website, first, you should take care of the formalities. This post will share some advice on documenting what Pardot cookies are in use and their purpose so that you can complete a compliant setup.

Why You Should Add the Pardot Tracking Code?

Want to know why you should add the Pardot Tracking Code? What Pardot Visitor Reporting can you gain? Or, do you want to check the Pardot Tracking Code has been added to your website? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered:

Why Add the Pardot Tracking Code to Your Website? Overview of Pardot Visitor Reporting

How Can I Check the Pardot Tracking Code Has Been Added to My Website?

What Cookies Does Pardot Use?

You may have been asked by your Compliance, or Information Security team about what cookies Pardot is using to track visitors to your website.

There are two cookies Pardot uses:

  • visitor_id
  • pi_opt_in

visitor_id

AKA the visitor cookie, set by the tracking code on website visitors..

This is shown as “visitor_id” followed by the unique identifier for that visitor, eg. “visitor_i6780”. You can see an example below. No personally identifiable information is stored in the cookie, and the visitor remains anonymous until they convert (when website visitors convert, a prospect record is created in Pardot, and the visitor_id and prospect record are fused together).

pi_opt_in

Your Pardot account comes with a Tracking Preferences Opt-in banner, which you can choose to enable. If this is enabled, and:

  • The prospect clicks ‘yes’: they will be tracked
  • The prospect clicks ‘no’: they won’t be tracked
  • The prospect does nothing: they won’t be tracked

This cookie is used to stay in compliance with the ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT) initiative.

“DNT is a web browser setting that requests that a web application disable its tracking of an individual user. When you choose to turn on the DNT setting in your browser, your browser sends a special signal to websites, analytics companies…to stop tracking your activity.”

Source: Future of Privacy Forum

If a prospect does not have this cookie, it means that they did not opt into your tracking, or have enabled Do Not Track on their browser, which suppresses all web tracking. Again, this cookie does not store any personally identifiable information, therefore, the visitor remains anonymous until they convert in a prospect.

How Long Does the Pardot Cookie Track Prospects for?

The answer is, it depends – which is good news! The cookie duration (the amount of time it stays on the visitor’s browser) is configurable to your organisations needs, which may be stated in legal documentation such as your safe data handling policies.

The default Cookie tracking period is 3650 days (10 years).

You will find this in your Pardot Settings:

The Final Step to Compliance

When implementing Pardot, you should add the cookie information as an item on your Privacy Policy/Cookie Policy. It’s an important step to ‘cover your back’ that can easily be overlooked in the excitement of getting started with Pardot.

You can see which tracking codes are in use on the Pardot Campaigns tab. Note: it may not be only your website/s that have tracking campaigns, but portals are also a great use case for prospect tracking.

Summary

This post will share some advice on documenting what Pardot cookies are in use and their purpose, so that you can complete a compliant setup. With GDPR in place, and more data protection laws springing up globally, this should be top of mind.

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