Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation Guide

Note: Salesforce Audience Studio was formerly known as Salesforce DMP.

Salesforce, as a company, consists of several different clouds, each with it's own suite of products. To list a few, there is the Sales Cloud, with Salesforce's flagship CRM platform, the Commerce Cloud, it's enterprise ecommerce platform, and the Service Cloud, for outstanding customer service support. There is also the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), the digital marketing platform. This guide focuses on how Salesforce Audience Studio is integrated with the Marketing Cloud.


Data from Marketing Cloud can be delivered to Salesforce Audience Studio in a variety of ways. No matter which method, for the data flow to happen, both platforms need to share how they identify a consumer. This is done through user matching, which we'll talk about next. Then we will discuss how to collect data from email campaigns in Email Studio, how to send Advertising Audiences data to Audience Studio.

User Matching

User matching lets Audience Studio understand how another platform, in this case the Marketing Cloud, identifies a person/browser. It's done by having the Marketing Cloud send Audience Studio the subscriber information through user matching pixels in your email campaigns. The format for a single pixel is:

<img src='' width=0 height=0 style=’display:none’ />

The xxxxxx string will be the name Audience Studio has assigned to your Marketing Cloud account (or MID) with the ID type. If you have multiple Marketing Cloud accounts, you will need to give the Audience Studio Client Team all of the relevant MIDs. The yyyyyy portion needs to be the value the Marketing Cloud has assigned to the user for that particular ID type. With the Marketing Cloud, Audience Studio typically asks that two ID types are captured: the hashed email address of the subscriber and their Marketing Cloud Subscriber ID.

Your Marketing Cloud account can be configured to streamline the insertion of these user match pixels, as well as the Audience Studio campaign impression pixel.  For more details on how that is set up, please see this help article

To manually include the pixels, your Salesforce Audience Studio Solutions Team will need to set them up and give them to you. If they have a placeholder for the partner_uid (the yyyyyy string in our example code), then you need to replace them with the correct Marketing Cloud Personalization Strings for the specific ID type. These strings will then be replaced with the appropriate values by the Marketing Cloud platform when an email campaign is sent out. The Personalization Strings are:

Hashed Email Address: %%=SHA256(LOWERCASE(TRIM(emailaddr)))=%% This uses the AMPscript SHA256, LOWERCASE, and TRIM functions to remove any whitespace from the subscriber's email address, convert it to all lower case characters, and then hash the resulting email address. When added to our example user match pixel, it would look like:

<img src='' width=0 height=0 style=’display:none’ />

Subscriber ID: %%subscriberid%%
This is the Personalization String for the Subscriber ID. When added to our example user match pixel, it would look like:

<img src='' width=0 height=0 style=’display:none’ />

The examples above all use the HTTP protocol, but HTTPS is also a supported protocol for all Salesforce Audience Studio URLs.

Important Note: Match rates for audiences sent from Audience Studio to Marketing Cloud are improved when there is a larger amount of SHA256 formatted attribute values collected via pixel.gif (such as from the Control Tag or HTTP API), and when targeting and reidentification consent is high. It is advised to collect a SHA256 value onsite via a dataLayer or the HTTP API. We recommend naming the attribute "email_sha256" if possible.

Inserting Pixels into Email Content

The user matching pixels are added to your emails to allow Audience Studio and the Marketing Cloud to coordinate on how subscribers are identified. To collect the data from your email campaigns, you need to either include Audience Studio Campaign Trackers or Audience Studio Event Trackers. The Email Campaign Implementation Guide outlines which trackers you should use, depending on how you would like to use the data in the Salesforce Audience Studio platform. Marketing Cloud does now offer a configuration option for including the Audience Studio user match pixels as well as a Campaign Impression pixel.  For more information on that option, please see the SFMC Configuration Option for Audience Studio Pixels.  For the purposes of this guide, we will assume that you want to manually add the trackers for more control, and that you have the tags that you need to add to your email campaigns.

Your trackers may have placeholder strings in them, like REPLACE_WITH_ADVERTISER_ID. If so, you need to replace those strings with the values you want to collect into Audience Studio. The Audience Studio Impression Trackers have a series of standard fields that you would normally see associated with a media campaign, such as Advertiser ID, Campaign ID, or Placement ID. You need to map these fields to the email campaign data that you would like to collect. You can either hard-code values in, or use the Marketing Cloud's Personalization Strings to have Email Studio dynamically populate the values when an email is sent. In either case, you need to make sure that the values inserted into the Audience Studio Trackers only include characters that are accepted for those fields (typically alphanumeric characters with underscores and dashes).

You do not need to include every field in the Audience Studio Campaign Trackers, but you must always include the Salesforce Audience Studio Conf ID (that was supplied in the tags), as well as an Advertiser ID and Campaign ID. For an Advertiser ID, you can use the MID for your Salesforce Marketing Cloud account. If you don't want to hard-code it, you can use the %%memberid%% personalization string for it. For a campaign ID, you can hard-code a value in, or you might want to use the URL encoded Email Studio campaign name (%%=URLEncode(emailname_,1,1)=%%) or Job ID (%%jobid%%). Exactly what data you should collect depends on how you want to be able to analyze and view the data in the Audience Studio platform. Your Salesforce Audience Studio Solutions Team can help advise you, if you have any questions.

Once you know what tags you want to include in your email campaigns, all you need to do is add them into your emails in Email Studio. Whenever possible, we suggest you use email templates to include the Audience Studio tags, so you don't have to remember to include them with every new email you send out (Note: if you are using a Content Builder template, the pixels are automatically added once you have completed the SFMC Configuration Option for Audience Studio Pixels). To add the user match pixels and trackers, simply open the email or template you are interested in in Email Studio:

Fig 1. Adding the Audience Studio tags to an email

Fig 2. Adding the Audience Studio tags to a template

You add the Audience Studio tags as image tags anywhere in the body of an HTML email, although Salesforce Audience Studio recommends adding them as close to the top of the email as possible. You can not add the tags to a text email. They will be visible in the text email, and would never fire for Audience Studio to collect any data anyway. You don't want to add the tags to the <head></head> section of the email content, assuming you use that, because some email clients automatically strip that content out.

In most email clients, the fact that the pixels images are set to have a height and width of zero, and the css display style set to none, will mean that there won’t be anything displayed for the pixels. However, email clients follow less standards than web browsers when it comes to how they display HTML, so Salesforce Audience Studio always recommends sending test emails to make sure there aren’t any display issues.

For the Click Trackers, you need to prepend the Click Tracker to any link in the email that you want tracked. The Click Tracker redirects people to the click-through URL, so you want the &clk= portion of the Click Tracker to come right before the http portion of your link.

Once you have added the tags to your email, click Save, and you're done!

Import Email Data from Marketing Cloud

A Multichannel Audience License or the Data Activation Email add-on feature is required. Please reach out to your Salesforce Account Representative to purchase this feature.

The Marketing Cloud Email Connector for Audience Studio automatically imports open and click data from Email Studio and Journey Builder. You can apply sophisticated segmentation for email engagement data with your other Audience Studio first-party data and send the segment back to Journey Builder as an entry source. Having this enhanced data in Audience Studio improves your campaign targeting in email, SMS, push, Facebook, Google, sales, and service.

After the connector is configured, email opens and clicks data from Email Studio and Journey Builder interactions are automatically generated and imported daily into Audience Studio. The email data is imported as a new set of hashed email addresses (as device IDs). The data is available as media attributes within segment builder to define segments from email open and click action. 

To view and build segments from email interaction data, go to Segment Builder > First Party > Media Attributes. Business Unit (MID-level) data is in the ConfID section, and individual email (campaign-level) data is in the Campaign section.

Please note that data ingested via Email Connector will count towards your Data Collection Events (DCEs) per your Audience Studio contract.

Ad Studio & Advertising Audiences

If you use Ad Studio & Advertising Audiences, you can also send those audiences to Audience Studio as well. When your Marketing Cloud account is configured to use Audience Studio as a partner, you will see the Salesforce Audience Studio listed as both an onboarding partner and a destination. To see if it's configured for your account, go to Advertising Audiences in Ad Studio.

Fig 3. The Advertising Audiences screen in Ad Studio

If you create a new audience, the Salesforce Audience should be listed in the drop down menu for the onboarding partner. The Salesforce Audience Studio should also be listed as an option for the destination.


Fig 4. The Salesforce Audience Studio listing in the onboarding partner drop down menu


Fig 5. The Salesforce Audience Studio as a destination option

To send an audience to Audience Studio, you want to select Salesforce Audience Studio as both the partner and the destination. When this happens, Audience Studio will get a list of identifiers for the people in that Advertising Audience. Audience Studio will then be able to associate that audience membership to the appropriate IDs in Audience Studio, and you'll be able to use this membership data to create segments for either activation or analytics. The way you'll see the data in Audience Studio is through the Salesforce Audience Studio segment builder. It will come in as a data attribute, that you can use to build segments. You could define an Audience Studio segment as being purely defined by a person's membership in a Marketing Cloud Advertising Audience, or you could combine it with data attributes in Audience Studio as you normally would.

If you don't see Audience Studio as a partner or destination option, then Audience Studio still needs to be configured in your Marketing Cloud account. Your Marketing Cloud account team can help you with this. When your account is configured properly, there is a partner key for Audience Studio that must be given to your Salesforce Audience Studio Solutions Team as well. This key gives Audience Studio the access it needs to the Advertising Audience API to pull in the audience data from your Marketing Cloud account. This key is listed under the Administration screen in Ad Studio, but you can also reach out to Salesforce Audience Studio or Marketing Cloud for more help.

Advertising Audiences in Salesforce Audience Studio

When you send audiences to Audience Studio, what happens is that we take all of the people that are in the audience in Marketing Cloud, match them to their identifier in Audience Studio, and then save the fact that this person was a member of a specific Advertising Audience. You can then use this data in the Salesforce Audience Studio Segment Builder to create and activate an Audience Studio audience segment.

In the Segment Builder, the Advertising Audience data will be seen as a user data attribute called marketing_cloud. When you click on it to build a segment rule, you will see the names of all of the Marketing Cloud Advertising Audiences that have been sent to Audience Studio. Click on one or more of the audience names to select them, and then memberships in those audiences will be a rule for the Audience Studio segment.


Fig 8. Advertising Audiences in the Salesforce Audience Studio Segment Builder

You can add in additional rules for the segment, or simply define it by this one rule. Once you are done with the rules, you can choose to activate it with any of your normal partners or use it for analytics purposes. It's just like any other Audience Studio segment at that point.

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