How to track sends in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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Author: Daria Kulikova
tracking isends n marketing cloud

In this post I’m going to cover the options you have at hand to track send data in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. I’ve prepared a table to compare these options to help you choose the best solution for your use cases, whether it’s data export to external storage / database, or consuming and processing the data inside your Salesforce Marketing Cloud org.

The following channels are taken into consideration: email, sms and push notifications.

With the new spring ‘21 release, Salesforce has introduced WhatsApp as the new Marketing Cloud communication channel, but I’m not going to cover it in this article for now.

Date Views vs. Send Log vs. Tracking Extract: Cheat Sheet

FeatureData ViewSend LogTracking Extract
Accessed through:SQL
(Not possible to access in a form of data extension unless queried)
Data extensionDelivered to SFTP, available for further processing
Configuration Not needed
Data extension to be createdData extract to created
Depending on the requirements, other such such as file transfer and import might be relevant
Historical dataUp to 6 monthNo historical data before send log is set upRolling range: 3 month
Specific range: 30 days
AvailabilityBy defaultRequest to support might be neededRequest to support might be needed
Channels coveredEmail
Push (to be enabled separately)
Add custom attributes to the outputNot possible

(as you only access Data Views records through SQL, you can join custom data
Sources of custom attributes:
1. Sendable data extension
2. AMPScript variables
Not possible
Messaging prepping Not action needed1. Make sure your sendable data extension fields match the field names in the Send Log
2. On Configure delivery tab, check the box “Retain send log data”
No action needed

Which SFMC tracking option works best for me?

There is no strict general rule on which Marketing Cloud tracking option you should use and it greatly depends on your preferences, working habits and functionality limitations. In the table below I’m sharing some best practice recommendations on the topic to help you make a decision if you are in doubt.

Use Case Data ViewsSend LogTracking Extract
Get journey-context data Best choiceNot availableNot available
Get SMS send dataBest choiceNot availableNot available
Get Not Sent email dataNot availableNot availableBest choice
Get Push notification send dataNot availableNot availableBest choice
Get 6 month old dataBest choiceNot availableNot available
Get Spam Complaints dataNot availableNot availableBest choice
Get impression tracking dataNot availableNot availableBest choice
Get data for further processing in SFMC, e.g. incorporate in your segmentation queriesBest choice (easiest one!)Technically possible, but the amount of data is limitedMight also be a solution if a data point is not available in Data View, e.g. Not Sent information
Export data to external databaseAlso possibleAlso possibleBest choice (unless all the data points are available)

About the author: Daria Kulikova, CEO of LeverUP Consulting and a Senior Solution Architect with the domain expertise in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and extensive hands-on implementation experience in some of the most challenging and large-scale SFMC projects in EU

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