What is the difference between Pardot’s static and dynamic lists?

In Pardot, lists are one of the two main methods for segmenting prospects (the other one being tags). Lists are used for sending emails to segments (groups of subscribers/prospects). There are two types of lists in Pardot: dynamic and static. So, what is the difference between a static and a dynamic list?

Dynamic lists

Dynamic lists are based on rules that include or exclude subscribers. It is dynamic because subscribers will automatically pulled in and out of the list depending on whether or not they meet the set criteria. For example, you could have a dynamic list for people who live in a certain geographic region. If they move to a different region, they will automatically be pulled out of the list (and probably included in the list for the region they have moved to).

When should you use a dynamic list?

You should use a dynamic list if you expect the members of the list to change over time, automatically based on whether or not they met specific criteria.
For example - if you send a weekly email to those with a newsletter tag, you could have a dynamic list with the tag as one of the criteria. If the tag is removed from a subscriber's profile, they will automatically be removed from the newsletter dynamic list.

Examples of dynamic lists

  • Subscribers who are current members
  • Members who live in a certain region
  • Subscribers who have signed up for a monthly newsletter
  • Subscribers with a tag, or set of tags
  • Subscribers who are in a specific campaign

Static lists

With static lists, you cannot dynamically remove subscribers. You can import subscribers to the list either manually or via an automation rule.

When should you use a static list?

Static lists are good for cases where you need to send a one-off email to a segment that contains a set group of people. For example, let's say you want to send a follow up email to people who attended an event. This segment won’t change as the event has already happened, so you could use a static list for it.

Examples of static lists:

  • A group of subscribers from a specific source that you have manually added to your Pardot account (can be added manually on import)
  • Prospects who have filled in a 'contact us' form (can be added via an automation rule)
  • Prospects who have attended a specific event

Subscribers can be added to static lists in the following ways:

  • Manually
  • When importing them
  • Automation rules
  • Segmentation rules

I’m going to be writing up a few examples of static and dynamic lists from recent campaigns. If you jump on my newsletter, I’ll be sure to send them to you!