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3 things you might not know about Pardot Form Handlers

Pardot Form Handers are the handoff tool inside Pardot. It's a way for you to collect form data in many different types of form tools and then hand that data off to Pardot.

There are certain use cases where handlers make a whole lot more sense than a Pardot form. One big one is if you're managing multiple site languages on the form side-- a handler allows you to submit multiple language form submits to a single form handler, instead of having a form for each language.

Today I'm going to give you three little known tips for things that a form handler can do quite easily that a Pardot form either can't do easily, or can't do at all.

Submit to the same field twice

A handler will allow a form submit to the same field more than once. The use case here is you might have multiple checkboxes that map to a single field in Pardot. To avoid having a submission map as a grouped entry (item1, item2), submitting to the form handler each option as an individual entry will allow the data to appear as single entries and not a grouped entry. This is especially important if this field is mapped to Salesforce.

Concatenate Data in the Comments (or any field)

Sometimes our form collects transient data. meaning, it's only relevant to this submission and you don't need to keep it, such as yes/no questions pertinent to the current submission only, things related to an event like lunch preference or t-shirt size, and so on. Why not combine this data in the comments and not store it in custom fields at all? You can do this using the multiple-submission method outlined above, or even combine field data into a single submit that includes data from multiple fields on your form.

You can even include comments that aren't on the field, and insert formatting to make the submission easier to read by including a carriage return character %0A to help organize the entry. You also have to make sure that if you want a space in your submission you include %20 where you want a space. Any other special characters that you can't put in a URL should be encoded in the same way according to this guide.

So, let's suppose on your web form you have three fields that are asking "are you coming to the event", "do you need a special meal" and "what's your t-shirt size". But you don't really want to store any of that data in Pardot other than in the comments, because it only pertains to this event.

On our form handler, we can pass the comments with data as part of the URL string as follows. For the sake of argument I am assuming our form system is passing field variables in this format {field}:


This would render in the pardot comments as:

Coming to the event Yes

Special Meal Vegetarian

Shirt Size Large

Pass Data that Has no Pardot Field at All

You may know that you can forward data from the form handler to another location, allowing the handler to relay data not just to Pardot, but to a second location as well. One use case for this might be to use a Pardot handler to capture a Pardot record and also submit to Salesforce web to case.

Sometimes the data that the relay location needs has no place in Pardot. There's no field for it and you don't really want that particular data in your marketing system either. Good news! You can include data fields in your URL string submitted to the Pardot handler that don't have a mapped field in Pardot. The form handler will simply ignore this information and pass it along to the next location. It doesn't matter where these unmatched variables appear in the string, if Pardot doesn't have a match, it just ignores it.



*As of April 2022, Pardot has been renamed Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, as part of Salesforce's effort to organize all the marketing products under the same platform umbrella. "MCAE" is simply the same Pardot we know and love under a new name. The product is temporarily being referred to as "Marketing Cloud Account Engagement powered by Pardot."   

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