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Everything Pardot Admins Should Know About Apple Privacy Updates

In September 2021, Apple privacy changes will start having a big impact on Pardot email marketing reporting metrics. Are you ready to pivot your reporting strategy in response to the changes?

Apple announced some big, new privacy changes in June, and that’s what sparked the changes in email marketing reporting metrics. These changes are included with the Apple software update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and iCloud.com. 

One of these changes, Apple Mail Privacy Protection, is getting lots of attention in the marketing operations community. That’s because of the expected impact to the email open rate metric — a key performance indicator for most marketers. However, there are multiple new changes coming with the iOS update every Pardot professional should be aware of. 

In this article, we’ll cover all three: 

  • Apple Mail Privacy Protection
  • iCloud Private Relay
  • Hide My Email

For each of these changes, we’ll share key features to be aware of plus how to get your org, team, and stakeholders ready. We know how hard these changes can be for your already-swamped team, so we’re here to help you through this. 

Respecting Apple User Privacy 

Before we get started, I want to point something out. These changes are a huge win from the perspective of Apple and their users. By using this new software version, users can decrease the amount of data companies are collecting about their behavior and interests. This gives them more control over what information they share and when. 

Our job as ethical marketing professionals is to do three things:

  1. Respect our users.
  2. Treat their data with integrity.
  3. Adapt to the ever-changing technology and regulatory landscape.

So, we’ll do our best to focus on the positive aspects of the changes by providing solutions to the challenges they present.

Apple Mail Privacy Protection

Marketers using Pardot set automations based on email opens because, typically, opening an email indicates that a prospect is interested in a product or service. But, the new Apple privacy changes will skew email open rates and make it more difficult to know when Apple users actually open an email.

Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) has two key features: 

  1. Open tracking prevention
  2. IP protection

Essentially, Apple iOS 15 opens the email and downloads the content when an email hits a prospect’s inbox. This prevents accurate open tracking because all emails going to Apple devices will appear to be opened in reporting metrics. 

Apple also downloads the content through a series of proxy servers. This feature is obscuring the IP address of the email subscriber. As a result, Pardot can’t report on the user’s device and behavior accurately. 

How to adjust your marketing strategy

The first thing you need to do is answer the question, “What proportion of your database uses an Apple email client?” 

Here’s how to do that:

  • Review some of your recent email sends. 
    1. Go to Pardot Reports > List Emails > Email Clients (in Pardot Lightning)
  • Add up the percentages in the “Popularity” column. This will give you a ballpark estimate of the potential impact.

Is it 10%, 25%, or 50%+ of your audience? The greater the proportion of your audience using an Apple email client, the less reliable your email open rate metrics will be after the iOS 15 update.

Conversely, the non-Apple portion of your audience provides a reliable segment for email open stats and future testing (personalization, A/B, etc.)

Now that you understand the severity with which your data could be impacted, consider the following questions: 

  • Do you have any reports that include email open rate? 
  • Who views these reports? 
  • How can you proactively adjust these reports to decrease the importance of this metric? 
  • How can you communicate with your stakeholders so that they know that the open rate is no longer reliable?

Next, do a thorough review of your Pardot automations. This includes automation rules, engagement studio programs, completion actions, dynamic lists, scoring, etc. Do any of these run based on open rate? If so, develop a plan to leverage an alternative trigger like email click* or form submission.  

*I put a big asterisk next to “email click,” as this metric has been endangered for a while. Email clicks can be caused by spam filters, so be cautious when using email click as a trigger on your automations or as a key metric in your reporting. 

Ultimately, this change is a step in the right direction for marketing teams. There’s never been a better time to shift your focus from vanity metrics like open rate and click through rate to more meaningful campaign performance metrics like conversions and return on investment (ROI).

Apple iCloud Private Relay

The new iCloud Private Relay feature will be baked into iCloud. Launching as a “public beta,” this feature functions similar to a VPN, encrypting all traffic leaving a user’s device when browsing with Safari. Private Relay leverages data encryption and anonymous IP addresses that hide a user’s location and web browsing activity. 

By hiding your specific IP address, Private Relay inhibits websites from building a profile based on your activity across multiple websites and selling your data to advertisers and data brokers. 

This feature is limited to paid iCloud account users who browse with Safari and turn on the Private Relay feature. (All paid iCloud accounts will be automatically upgraded to iCloud+ as part of the update.)

iCloud Private Relay disconnects your IP address from your DNS request (website that you’re visiting), which is great news to those seeking ultimate privacy and not wanting their activity information to be sold to advertisers. Unfortunately, it also disconnects website tracking that Pardot users have in place. With temporary IP addresses assigned, website activity will be difficult to associate to a known prospect. 

This capability does not hide the prospect’s geography. That means you can still track prospect regions, and IP addresses can be identified as proxy servers.

Apple Hide My Email

Hide my email

The last change to know about is Hide My Email. This update allows iCloud subscribers to log into a website using a randomized email address that ties back to their iCloud account. 

If your company allows public users to generate accounts or offers free trials, you could encounter a scenario in which a user takes advantage of Hide My Email to acquire multiple free trials.  

Hide My Email is also another challenging feature for Pardot users. That’s because it is once again disconnecting essential data (a prospect’s real email address) from website activity tracking. 

This functionality will impact open rate statistics. That means you will have to shift to other metrics such as click-through rate. It will also affect marketers who use email open rates for retargeting, and those who use email open rate as a varying factor for dynamic content. So you’ll have to pivot those strategies if you’re currently using email open rates for retargeting or dynamic content variations.

Focus on Reporting Metrics that Matter Most 

It’s normal to fear what we don’t understand. And these new privacy changes may seem scary without knowing why they’re actually good news. 

All of these privacy changes will impact marketing as a whole, making it harder and harder to track email activity and then associate it with activity in other channels. It is also an opportunity for marketers to take a fresh look at current strategies and craft new ways to put prospects in control.

Here are suggestions to address the changes and adjust your marketing strategy:

  • Update your Email Preference Center to offer subscribers greater insight into the topics they already interact with and other topics that are available.
  • Seek ways to connect email clicks with omnichannel metrics that demonstrate customer engagement. This includes:
    1. Offline purchases
    2. Account activity
    3. Website visits
    4. Mobile app activity
    5. SMS engagement
  • Explore using link clicks, external activity such as webinar registrations, and other engagement signals instead of email opens as more accurate interest indicators.
  • Find ways to understand the sentiment of an email message, perhaps with a thumbs up/down action or NPS-type of question within an email.
  • Look for opportunities to link your marketing channels (email, website, social, etc.), and get the cross-connection data flowing.

iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Email — on top of third-party/first-party tracking cookie changes already afoot — necessitate creative thinking to make prospect activity connections that were once seamless.

Prospect Privacy is Paramount

These three Apple privacy changes are going to affect the way you currently work in Pardot. But that’s a good thing. Your prospects have more autonomy when interacting with your company through email and your website. All you have to do is adjust your strategy so you can focus on metrics that matter most rather than vanity ones.

Now that you’re better equipped to prepare for the Apple iOS 15 updates, it’s time to  formulate your game plan and switch up your marketing strategy to evolve with the changes.

You can always reach out to the team at Sercante for support while navigating it all. 

Thank you to Pam Carey and Joy Alphanso for contributing to this post.

The post Everything Pardot Admins Should Know About Apple Privacy Updates appeared first on The Spot For Pardot.

By |2021-09-29T10:02:23+00:00September 29th, 2021|Categories: Data Management, Email Marketing|

5 Steps to Pass the Pardot Specialist Certification Exam

Whether you’re an experienced Pardot admin or relatively new to the Pardot platform, passing the Salesforce Pardot Specialist Certification exam is a great way to demonstrate your skills and expertise. 

In this article, I share the five steps I took to pass the Pardot Specialist Certification exam – reviewing the exam resources, studying, taking practice exams, harnessing key test-taking strategies, and preparing to meet the exam requirements. In each step, you’ll find tips and strategies plus links to guide you through this process.

Ready to dive in? Let’s do this.

Step 1: Review the Pardot Specialist Exam Guide and Resources

Salesforce provides some amazing resources that outline everything you need to know to pass the Pardot Specialist Certification exam. 

Start by reviewing the Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist exam guide. This will answer all of your administrative questions about the exam like:

  • “How is the exam administered?”
  • “How many questions are there?”
  • “What score do I need to pass?” 

Then, check out the exam outline to see a high-level overview of the exam topics. I recommend reviewing this guide – either by printing out a hard copy or copy-pasting into a separate doc. Then you can highlight any areas where you know you’ll need to focus more of your studying time. It’s ok to highlight most or all of the topics in this list! Your objective here is to understand the scope of what you need to learn so you can use your time wisely.

Step 2: Start Studying

Once you’ve reviewed the exam outline, head over to the Pardot Specialist Credential Trailmix. There is a LOT of content here – it’s estimated to take over 14 hours to complete! Shit just got real. Let’s take a deep breath and tackle this strategically to make the best use of our time and attention. 

Determine what worked for you in the past

Before you dive into studying, think back to your experiences in school. What worked when you were studying for an exam?

When I was in college, my favorite approach was to type up a master document containing my notes from lectures, textbook reading, and labs. A few days before the exam, I’d print out that document and read through it, writing out in pencil or pen anything that didn’t feel like it was sticking. Then, I’d review those hand-written notes the morning of my exam to make sure the trickiest information is the freshest in my mind. This strategy works for me because I create one centralized document for all of the information I need to know and I surface the information that’s hardest for me to learn. And as a bonus, this document becomes a great reference resource after the exam!

Are you the kind of person who likes learning from an instructor, being able to ask questions, and having a group of study buddies? If so, I highly recommend taking Sercante’s Pardot Admin Bootcamp Course. This course provides an invaluable mixture of technical learning, real-world use cases, and hands-on examples. It also provides a weekly structure that can help you stick to your study schedule ahead of the exam. 

Read through the Salesforce Trailmix materials

Work your way through the Salesforce Trailmix materials from the top to the bottom. And give special attention to the sections you highlighted earlier in the exam outline. For example, if Engagement Studio isn’t your strong suit, then make sure you have a good grasp of foundational topics. These include Visitors & Prospects, Syncing Prospects, and Mapping Custom Fields before you read the Engagement Studio documentation. 

Note that it is important to read the secondary documentation. What do I mean by “secondary documentation”? Here’s an example. If you open the Prospects documentation link, make sure you read through that page plus each of the linked documents on that page like “Anonymous Visitors” and “Active Prospects”. 

For any of the trailhead modules listed, notice the phrasing of the questions in the quiz section. Salesforce has a very particular way of wording their questions, so think of these quizzes as mini practice tests. I’d recommend writing down any questions and answers you don’t feel confident on to come back to later. Keep in mind that once you submit your answers, the quiz will disappear. 

Step 3: Take Some Practice Exams

Fortunately, there are loads of practice exams and pre-made flashcard sets available online for the Pardot Specialist Certification exam. Like the quizzes at the bottom of Salesforce’s Trailheads, these practice exams can help you get used to the style of the questions you’ll encounter on the real exam. A good goal is to keep taking the practice exams until you’re consistently hitting scores in the 80s or above. 

A word of caution: you need to be careful about the answers in these practice exams. Not all of them are correct, even in the paid versions! If there are any answers that don’t feel quite right, do a quick Google search or check in your own Pardot instance until you’re 100% confident you have the right answer. 

For the answers you really do get wrong, take a few minutes to dig into the related Pardot and Salesforce documentation in the exam Trailmix and practice in your own org to make sure you understand the underlying concepts and functionality. If you notice yourself consistently getting questions wrong about Dynamic vs Static Lists, for example, then study up a bit more on that topic. 

Step 4: Harness the Power of Key Test-Taking Strategies

Your exam day is fast approaching. Now’s the time to start thinking about your approach to taking the exam itself. Here are a couple of key test-taking strategies you can use to help improve your odds on exam day.

Narrow down the possible answers

If there’s a question on the exam that’s stumping you, first try to eliminate any answers you know FOR SURE are wrong. Sometimes, the incorrect answers can be surprisingly obvious. For example, if the question asks, “Which activity can be used to trigger an increase or decrease in a Prospect’s score?” and one of the answers is, “Printing an email,” you can easily cross that answer off.

From a statistical perspective, eliminating just 1 of 4 answers can increase your odds of getting the question right from 25% to 33%. If you can eliminate 2 answers, your odds go up to 50%.

Mark questions for review

If you haven’t taken a Salesforce Certification exam in the past, it’s important to know that you’ll be able to mark specific questions for review. Before you submit your exam, you can come back to your flagged questions and double check your answers. 

The approach I like to take is to mark any questions I’m not completely confident on for review. By using the mark-for-review feature, you can save brainpower by skipping over answers you know are correct instead of having to double check every answer before hitting the “submit” button.

If you encounter any questions during your review that you STILL aren’t confident about, then leave them in “review” status. Counting up the number of questions flagged for review just before you submit your exam can give you a ballpark idea of whether or not you’re going to pass. 

Step 5: Prepare for the Exam Requirements

Alright. You’ve studied your ass off, taken a boatload of practice exams, and now your exam day is just a few days away. At this point, it’s super important to re-read the section of the exam guide about the requirements for taking an onsite or online exam thoroughly. 

For online exams, there’s a bunch of pre-work you need to complete to meet the technology requirements. It’s a good idea to get this done sooner rather than later so your exam day doesn’t become extra stressful. 

Get ready to take your Pardot Specialist exam

Once you’ve gone through all 5 steps – setting the scope for what you need to learn, studying, taking practice tests, harnessing some key test-taking strategies, and preparing for the exam requirements – you’re ready to take your Pardot Specialist Certification exam! 


Remember that if you don’t pass, IT’S OKAY. You can always retake the exam. The most important part of this journey is the work you’re doing to level up your Pardot Admin skills. 

When you’re done taking the exam, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. How did your exam go? Which steps and strategies worked best for you?

Note: This blog was written in Summer 2021.

The post 5 Steps to Pass the Pardot Specialist Certification Exam appeared first on The Spot For Pardot.

By |2021-07-14T20:06:12+00:00July 14th, 2021|Categories: Career, Pardot Specialist|