Like any new toy, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform is exciting and, as digital marketers, we can’t wait to get our hands on it. We want to push all the buttons, try out all the bells and whistles, and see how it lives up to the promise of making our lives better, faster and more efficient.

But as with any new platform, you don’t know what you don’t know. Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) can be complex and even after almost a decade using the platform, I’m still learning new things. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has expanded over the years to become this conglomerate of cool bells and whistles, many of which are buried under other super cool bells and whistles. It’s hard to know everything Salesforce Marketing Cloud is capable of, which is why I decided to list out some of these hidden treasures.

If some of these features aren’t provisioned for your account, go to Salesforce Help & Training Portal and raise a case asking for feature activation, or contact your relationship manager.

1) Impression region: Have you ever created an email where you have six different products in separate dynamic content blocks and wondered how you would report back the click data from the blocks? Well, I have news for you! Impression region allows you to do just that.

Impression Region Using AMPscript is designed for listing all possible combinations of content shown to a user. You wrap all “a href” tags in a specific AMPscript code and give each link/region a unique name. (AMPscript is a scripting language that you can embed within emails, landing pages, SMS messages, and mobile push notifications to render content dynamically).

Impression Region Using Dynamic Content adds the impression region AMPscript code for you in the dynamic content block. It will help you tremendously with tracking individual links rather than entire content areas that may have several links grouped under one name.


2) Impression tracking: After you declare the impression regions and tag them with unique identifiers, impression tracking allows you to track links built with AMPscript. You can view the information in reports or through data extracts. Impression region reporting is not enabled by default. You will need to open a support request to enable this. Once this is done, you will see the following reports in your report catalog:

  • Region performance over time
  • Impression tracking by job report
  • Impression tracking for triggered sends report
  • Region performance for triggered sends over time

3) Domain Exclusion: From time to time have you seen domains that no longer exist in your lists or data extensions or domains you want to block all together from your sends? Are there certain domains you want to block from your email sends? While your sending IP address reputation may be good, you still want to exclude these domains. Domain exclusion to the rescue. You need to create the Data Extension with a DomainExclusion Template. Once this is created, the option will show in the Audience section of your Send Definition. Populate your data extension with the domains you want excluded (e.g. mycompetitor.com). Voila!

4) Exclusion Script: What if you wanted to dynamically exclude subscribers in a data extension from receiving an email at the time of send? Using an AMPscript statement, you can write an exclusion script to prevent an email from being sent. If the statement is true, Marketing Cloud will not send an email to the subscriber. Exclusion scripts can be used in Journey Builder, Automation Studio, Triggered Sends and Content Builder.

5) Custom List Detective: Don’t you hate it when you see common typos and known bad domains in your imported subscriber list data? Are you looking for a way to have your lists “scrubbed” whenever they’re imported or at time of send? You’ll thank me for this nugget. The custom list detective can be setup to reject all email addresses with a certain domain. Salesforce support is the only one that can setup and modify this feature. List Detective cannot be accessed via the UI. It cannot be turned off. Updates can be applied at the business unit level, which means making changes to one business unit won’t impact another.

6) Send Logging: Do you want to get more out of your data or want to check failed sends?The Sendlog within marketing cloud is a data extension that stores, at an individual subscriber level, metadata about emails sent from the account. By default, it logs several fields related to a send including the JobID, SubscriberID, ListID, BatchID and ErrorCode. In addition to the default values, you can also track custom fields and the values of any AMPscript variables. If you define a custom field and there is data populating that field at send time, the field will be added to the Send Log. You can create a send log for both email and SMS.

Sendlogs are also a way around an issue that can arise for “view as a web page” links when the online view cannot access the data in the Sendable Data Extension you originally sent to – usually because the Data Extension has been cleared, overwritten or deleted. When you click the view_email_url, the hosted page will try to render the email on the fly based on the data extension it was sent to. If the data is gone, an error is shown. The solution is to use the _SendContext variable to pull the fields from the Sendlog instead of the Sendable DE.

IMPORTANT! If you are using Send Logging and your company sends massive amounts of email, consider using Data Retention to keep the Sendlog from getting too large.

7) Safehouse: The Safehouse is a Salesforce Marketing Cloud secure file transfer location where you can import or transfer decrypted and zipped files into or out of the Marketing Cloud without them being exposed in the Enhanced FTP Site Import directory. The system retains data for up to 21 days, and only authenticated users can access the Safehouse.

8) Analytics Builder: Analytics Builder helps marketers be better communicators. It parses customer data to identify trends, generate insights and predict behaviors across four key engagement actions: click, open, unsubscribe or convert. In addition, it offers reporting capabilities that enable users to configure dashboard views to visualize data in flexible tables, charts, and graphs. You can create a targeted audience based on predictive behavior models. There are 34 email-specific reports at your disposal.

9) Discover Reporting: I’m a huge advocate of this feature. Discover is a drag-and-drop tool for creating reports to assess marketing cloud email campaign performance. Discover Reports offers drag-and-drop metrics and attributes for customized reporting from the email sending performance data package. You can add customized calculations. You can export data as a CSV, XLS, or PDF file and schedule reports to email to multiple people or to save in application. If send logging is enabled, you can add up to 15 custom attributes in the fields pane. Contact Salesforce Support to enable this.

Think I’ve missed something here? Do tell! I’d love to hear what else you think should be on this list.