Top Winter ‘23 Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) Updates

By Lucy Mazalon

While we’re still basking in the hot summer weather, the Salesforce Winter ‘23 release notes have arrived (all 581 pages)!

We could call this the “Account Engagement Developer Experience (DX)” release, where (with a little help from developers) we can hook Account Engagement to external platforms and Salesforce objects in limitless ways. Plus, you’ll find other updates around prospect activity tracking, prospect database sync, and easier non-Salesforce user licensing.

Depending on your Salesforce instance, Winter ‘23 will arrive for you either early September/early October 2022. Check your own release dates below:

READ MORE: Salesforce Winter ‘23 Release Date + Preview Information

Here are some of the most exciting new features for Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot):

1. Account Engagement External Actions

Take actions on prospects outside of 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 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). Very cool!

Key facts:

  • 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).
Above: External actions are related to a Marketing App Extension.

Above: External actions can be used for Salesforce use cases, therefore hooking Engagement Studio into more Salesforce objects and automations.

High-level external action setup steps:

  1. Create a Marketing App Extension for each third-party platform you use to interact with prospects.
  2. 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, among others.
  3. Add an action type to your marketing app extension.

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

External action overview 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.

2. Pause Prospect Activity Tracking

We’ve all experienced this – prospect records that rack up activity relentlessly – even when we dive into investigation work. Of course, prospect activities = score increases = unintentional automated actions (automation rules, Engagement Studio actions/emails all have the potential to fire based on score thresholds).

This bot-like activity is challenging to control once it starts. Now, you can pause activity tracking for prospects with an excessive amount of activity (activities in the thousands).

  • Ensure that Account Engagement’s tracking code is not placed on website pages that receive a lot of traffic, i.e. any that could cause prospects to accumulate thousands of pageview activities.
  • Paused prospects who are opted in can still receive marketing emails.
  • An icon appears on the prospect list view and an error appears on the prospect record.

This issue marketers face reminds me of the solution that Carl Mortimer shared so that you can confidently say clicks weren’t made by the human prospect:

READ MORE: Identify Email Bot Clicks with Pardot Custom Redirects

3. Prospect Database Full Sync

Pardot admins can run a full sync on your prospect database. This will be possible every 7 days when there are less than 500,000 prospects (by business unit).

You’ll find a new connector setting called “Sync All Prospects”:

While the frequency and number of records are limited, this is still a big win for Pardot admins. If you’ve been working with Pardot extensively, you will know that the ways to currently trigger a mass prospect sync are not ideal – either by adding new prospect fields (I’m guilty of adding dummy fields in order to kick-start a sync), or by exporting existing prospect records with their IDs, and then mass importing the same file (with IDs mapped!).

4. Control Prospect Opt-out Field Sync Behavior

When Salesforce is connected to Pardot, and a field is updated, a battle commences – which is the ‘source of truth’, Salesforce or Pardot?

All Account Engagement fields mapped to Salesforce need a field sync behavior set – “Use Pardot’s value”, “Use Salesforce’s value”, or “Use the most recently updated record” as the value of truth.

READ MORE: Ultimate Guide: Pardot Field Sync Behavior & Null Value Sync

For something as serious as prospect opt-out, you don’t want the sync reverting the prospect’s choice back to its previous state. For example, if a prospect opts out using the email unsubscribe link, and a Salesforce user updates their associated Lead/Contact record before the connector sync completes, the prospect would unintentionally be opted back in.

Now with a designated system of record, you must choose either “Use Pardot’s value”, “Use Salesforce’s value”. “Use the most recently updated record” is no longer an option for this field.

5. Licensing for Users (Who Don’t Need Full Salesforce Access)

Pardot-only logins were retired back in 2021. From that date onwards, if users didn’t have a full CRM license, they would need to be assigned a Salesforce Identity License. These special licenses had the sole purpose of enabling single sign-on (SSO) so users could still access Account Engagement.

READ MORE: Changes to Pardot Login and Salesforce Identity Licenses

The new dedicated Permission Set License and Permission Set allows you to grant users access to:

  • Most of the marketing tools available in the Account Engagement Lightning app (as opposed to the standalone Pardot app).
  • Doesn’t allow full access to campaigns in Salesforce.

Misc. Updates

  • Form Security Features (now enforced): The security enhancement that became effective on April 22, 2022 to protect customer data, would impact customers who are using the default domain for their marketing assets. Certain types of forms have the potential to stop functioning. The alternative (now imperative) method is to set up a custom tracker domain.
READ MORE: Pardot Security Update: Content Using
  • Update your WordPress Plug-In for Account Engagement: After the security update, coming August 12, 2022, you will need to clear the cache in the WordPress plug-in settings to benefit from the latest updates.
  • Account Engagement API V5 – new and updated: Added Lifecycle History, Account (represents a business unit), as well as support for prospect queries based on prospect email address and CRM FID.
  • The Pardot Classic App is scheduled for retirement in all Salesforce orgs by October 17, 2022. This is referring to the iframed version of Pardot that used to be the only option to view Pardot within the Salesforce UI (pre-Account Engagement Lightning App). You will be able to continue accessing the standalone legacy application at

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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