We often come across the same question “Can we extract sends tracking data going back # of years ago in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?”
The simple answer is yes and there are a number of ways to do it. Tracking extract, system data views, sendlogs and via APIs. Let’s discuss each of these individually.
Data Extract – Tracking Extracts.
The easiest and the most effective by far is a simple tracking extra, that allows to go back 90 days on a rolling basis, and by 30 days intervals going as far system allows. I usually point out that data over 2 years old isn’t really relevant, but in theory you can back even further than 2 years if there is a need. The limitation, however, is that if you want 36 months’ worth of data, you need to create 36 tracking extract activates.
System data views.
The quickest way to get 6 past months tracking data is to use system view, you can query the system view and in minutes have detailed tracking data that can be used for analysis. The limitation is, if you are a non-technical user, this can prove to be a bit more challenging.
The Send Log Data Extension is an ongoing record accessible to users within Marketing Cloud that stores Send-Time data specified by the Admin User, including subscriber specific Attribute data or Unique Use-Case Data Extension row data. The main benefits that sendlog can capture more than just basic tracking data, it can capture additional information that can provide additional analytical advantage. The Limitation? Well, you need to ask support to enable it and then create sendlog using template data extension.
From the data of creation of a sendlog all your tracking data is easily available to you – it is the best practice to enable it as you start enabling your marketing cloud. In a nutshell, send Logging in Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a great and effective way of capturing sends data.
The last method of getting the tracking data using API. As per official documentation: With the SOAP API, you can retrieve tracking data and use it to create reports and dashboards to see how your customers view and respond to your data. Note that you can filter tracking data based on actual data returned via the SOAP API.
It is a great and efficient method, but doesn’t suite most of the marketing cloud users because requires some advanced technical knowledge. Additionally there are certain limitations, related to volumes, as if the instance was used intensively and you want to extract millions and millions of records over the past 5 years, it can prove to be tricky.
To conclude, there are numerous ways of getting the data, each method has its own advantages and certain limitation from a technical capabilities perspective. If you are not technical user, than sendlogs and data extracts are for you, if you are technical then system data view is a great option, if you are after volumes from years back – then API will suite you best.
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