Pardot Forms VS Form Handlers

Pardot (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) is well known for its wide range of helpful features and useful data insights, and this is no different in the world of forms. Pardot has two different methods of implementing forms on a website – displaying the form using an iFrame, or using a form handler.

What is a Pardot Form?

Pardot Forms are fully designed and managed in Pardot. They are designed to help turn the anonymous information collected from forms to create a ‘prospect’. One of the biggest benefits of Pardot Forms is that they have a feature called Progressive Profiling, which allows the gradual build-up of a profile through the collection of different information, coalesced into usable data over longer periods of time.

What is a Pardot Form Handler?

A Pardot Form Handler allows you to connect an existing form on your website to Pardot. You can think of a form handler as a bucket which collects the successful form submissions. Form handlers work similarly to other web-to-lead forms, in that they generate a snippet of code which then slots into the code of the existing form. This creates a link between the form and Pardot, only recording form completions – so the form handler is receiving a copy of the data, not the actual form itself.

However, many users overlook the benefits of utilising the full host of features available with Pardot Forms. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.

Comparable Features

Here’s a full list of characteristics for each form type. We’ll review the features to determine when you might choose one form type over the other, and summarise the key differences below.

comparison table
Pardot Forms VS Form Handlers Features Comparison

Benefits of Using Pardot Forms

Better Data Analysis

Whilst Pardot Form Handler reports submissions and conversions, there are limitations to the amount of data you can glean from the tool. On the other hand, Pardot Forms tracks additional statistics – views, form errors, incomplete submissions, and even how many people viewed the ‘thank you’ page. With these extra details, businesses can gain a far better understanding of how their customer base is interacting with their forms.

Customisation Options

If your form isn’t generating as many submissions as you would like, it can be time-consuming to troubleshoot issues if you don’t know exactly what’s causing them. Pardot Forms give you a better insight into form performance and which features could be improved. Increased customisation options mean users can quickly make alterations to the layout of their forms, such as changing the CTA’s, reducing the number of fields, and enabling dynamic progressive profiling features to build up customer prospect profiles over time.

Bot Protection

Bots can be used by bad actors to steal private information and carry out attacks on websites. In the case of webpage forms, they can create spam submissions which can waste time and money for businesses. Fortunately, all Pardot forms have built-in bot protection and CAPTCHA capabilities. There are also options for different levels of authenticators, giving users tailored protection options for their webpages.

Benefits of Using Pardot Forms

Implementation

In the case of Pardot Form Handler, this implementation is relatively straightforward, as the form is hosted directly on the website and data is sent only once a completion is successfully logged. The majority of the workload of styling and formatting the form is all done on the website and is usually completed by a web developer familiar with basic HTML. 

Pardot Forms on the other hand use an iFrame (inline frame), which loads another HTML element within the existing page. This means the customisation, styling and edits to the form are all handled in Pardots. This can make creating and updating new forms much quicker for marketing teams. 

Working with a Salesforce & Pardot Partner such as M4B can help your Pardot form implementation run smoothly.

Sensitive Information

Not all businesses collect the same information. Whereas it might be beneficial for one company to collect the location data of their customers, another might require confidential or sensitive information – passwords, financial information, or medical records. In cases such as these, the collection of this information by Pardot is not necessary, so using a form handler to create a link between the customer and client is a much better decision.

iFrame and Google Analytics

Although Pardot Forms collects additional data about how users interact with a form, because the form is located in a separate domain from the main website (using an iFrame), when the user fills out the form, the session and tracking data for GA4 is lost – it becomes go.pardot.com instead. This means that companies will need to set up cross-domain tracking systems for both their PPC landing pages and the embedded form for Google Analytics data to be accurate, which requires the knowledge of Google Tags. Working with a Pardot partner such as M4B can help with conversion tracking of your Pardot forms

Decision Time

For businesses looking for a hassle-free way of tracking successful form submissions whilst also keeping the same website styling and formatting, continuing with Pardot Form Handler is usually easier than setting up Pardot Forms, despite the additional analytics and protections it offers. However, for companies which prioritise a more in-depth look at their form data over customisation options, Pardot Forms is the way to go. Ultimately, it comes down to which features a business thinks it realistically needs.

If you need guidance to get to grips with Pardot, Google Analytics, or iFrames, we can help. Contact our experienced team today and find out how we can boost your business with Pardot training.

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