The Marketing Cloud Account Engagement1 API allows outside systems to connect with the B2B marketing automation platform formerly known as Pardot. The API extends the capabilities of the tool and enables data integration between business systems.
External Access to Account Engagement Data
An Application Programming Interface (API) is the means by which different applications can communicate with one another. Therefore, the Account Engagement API is what allows external applications to access and interact with data that lives in Account Engagement. This integration service is enabled via a Salesforce connected app. While Account Engagement has a native connector to Salesforce, the API would be used to connect it to any other platform or system.
Common Account Engagement API operations are:
- Create: create an object record
- Read: get the information about the object
- Query: get all object records that match specific criteria
- Update: make changes to an existing object record
- Upsert: update existing object record, or if one doesn’t exist, create a new record
Extending the Account Engagement Interface
In short, leveraging the API to integrate directly with other platforms can increase marketing ops maturity.
The API can enable teams to have more targeted, personalized messaging. This is achieved through unified data from multiple business systems as well as third-party enrichment vendors to develop rich customer profiles and precise audiences.
Recurring data transformation, such as manipulating and standardizing values, can be simplified by using the API rather than manual record edits to save time and effort. Teams can expand reporting capabilities by automated data extraction using the API to send data points to analytics tools on a regular cadence. Manual data downloads from the user interface may not even be available for certain objects, and volume would be a deterrent in other cases.
In each of these situations, automating the exchange of data will increase data availability – making it readily accessible and usable across systems. This might take the form of regularly scheduled API requests so the data transfer doesn’t rely on any manual team member action.
Removing Blockers with the API
API solutions should be explored when the organization feels limited by the Account Engagement user interface. One common use case is for advanced reporting on activity tracking such as emails and web visits. While there are some standard reports available in Account Engagement, the team might benefit from more sophisticated dashboards in a BI tool that they can manipulate to form the precise insights that would allow them to take meaningful action.
Tasks that require a lot of manual work can also serve as a prompt to leverage the API. In addition to data cleanup, this might include the bulk creation or update of objects. The transfer of records to a data warehouse typically requires an API due to the volume. Account Engagement migrations or consolidations, which will also involve significant volumes of data, also call for API use.
Using the Account Engagement API
First, review the most dominant use cases that your organization has for the API. Consider how you’d like to interact with Account Engagement data in a way that can’t be done or is tedious in the Account Engagement user interface. Start with the application use case that would offer the best return for the team.
Create a connected app in SFDC Setup and add “Access Pardot services” under the Selected OAuth Scopes. Create a unique API user for each individual integration to aid in future troubleshooting. Lastly, bring all this together by implementing authorization using one of the Salesforce OAuth flows.
To perform API requests, use Apex code or an external application such as Postman. Note that there are a few different API versions (currently 3, 4 and 5) with different use cases and features. To avoid errors, be mindful of the limitation of five concurrent API requests as well as the daily cap based on your Account Engagement edition. The daily limit ranges from 25,000 calls for Growth edition through 100,000 for Premium edition. For large-volume data pulls, be sure to use the Export API and follow best practices for structuring the request.
Marketing operations professionals may find themselves stretching a bit to learn APIs at first, but this is a powerful skill to have in architecting a marketing technology stack. They will need to work with a SFDC Admin to set up the connected app and API user. Involvement of a data analyst, database architect or similar role will go a long way in ensuring any data integrations have no unanticipated negative impacts.
The Account Engagement API is a tool to allow marketing operations to make the most of their instance. As a team matures, they will benefit from exploring the API for data extraction, integration and transformation use cases.
1In April 2022, Salesforce renamed Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.