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Marketo Is Changing How Email Data Will Be Retained


On August 31, 2020, Marketo will be implementing a change on how sent and delivered email data is retained.  With the change, these two activity types will be stored for 90 days, after which they will no longer be accessible at the lead level.

This means that this information will not be available for use in smart lists. For example: If using the “Was Delivered Email” filter in a smart list, the maximum date range will be 90 days and any time frame beyond that will not return results. You will also no longer see this data in individual lead activity panels beyond the 90-day rolling window.

How is this different?

Prior to this date, Marketo retained this information for 25 months, so this is a significant reduction in the timeframe.

What does this affect?

  • Smart Lists – You will not be able to pull lists of leads using the “Was Delivered Email” or “Was Sent Email” smart list filters for activity past 90 days. Any list with criteria over 90 days will not return any results (this also includes “NOT Was Delivered Email” and “NOT Was Sent Email”)
  • Lead Activity – You will no longer see activity information for sent and delivered emails in a lead’s activity tab after the 90 day period

What this doesn’t affect?

  • Other Email Activity Data – Open, click, bounce, unsubscribe and other email data retention periods will remain at 25 months
  • Aggregated Data Assets – Reports, Dashboards, and Analytics that deal with this information at an aggregate level (not the individual leads) will not be affected. The exception is if they reference a smart list with these activities.

Why are these changes being made?

Marketo has stated that these changes are being made as a part of an infrastructure improvement to Smart Campaigns. The goal is to improve batch processing and have shorter processing times for large sends.

How does this affect your instance?

Existing Assets

If you are using smart lists for any purpose to pull sent and delivered data past 90 days, you will need to adjust your list criteria. Depending on the purpose of those lists, you may also need to adjust your business processes.

A common use case for this is for pruning non-marketable leads. A list that includes “Not Email Was Delivered” in one year, for example, will no longer pull accurately.

Marketo Sales Insights

If an email sent through MSI is neither opened or clicked, the record will be pruned from the system after 90 days.

Steps that you can take:

Identify Sent and Delivery Activity in Other Ways

Consider as part of your process to add leads to a static list upon sending an email and again when that email is delivered. You can capture data such as “Last Delivered Email Date” and “Last Sent Email Date” by using custom fields that are populated using automated smart campaigns. This will, of course, add more load to your system.

Export Information Before the Retention Period Passes

Consider passing the data to an external Data Warehouse or Analytics tool. You may already be doing this, or have the tools to do so. We recommend reviewing your tech stack to see if you are already storing this data elsewhere and if you need to supplement it with additional tools.

Not sure how to process? Contact us and we can help you create a custom solution.

Want to learn more? Read Marketo’s statement on the changes.

Matt Tonkin

Matt is a strategic marketer with a knack for building marketing systems. As a Marketo Certified Expert he loves to be challenged, taking complex problems, and solving them in a way that makes everyone’s job easier.

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