Aaron Mandelbaum

Published: Aug 22, 2019 5:31:16 PM

Author: Aaron Mandelbaum

HubSpot vs. Pardot: Which Marketing Automation Platform Suits Your Marketing Goals?

HubSpot vs. Pardot- A Comprehensive Comparison [2019]There are two comprehensive marketing automation tools that rise above the rest: HubSpot and Pardot. Both platforms have seen industry-wide success and praise. There are few other marketing automation tools out there that boast the extensive range of features, integrations, and user-friendly interface.

However, even though they have many functions in common, they still differ in important areas. If you're looking for an automation solution that can help you meet your marketing goals, make sure to compare them carefully to see which one will suit your specific needs best. 

Shared Functionality of Both Platforms

In this article we breakdown the functionality that HubSpot and Pardot share as well as compare their differences.

Lead Management

Both HubSpot and Pardot have extensive lead management functionality, making it easy to identify leads, track leads, engage with leads, and nurture leads. For example, both tools provide the ability to score leads so that you can use the data leads provide to assign scores that help your sales team identify the highest quality leads as well as which leads are ready to be engaged. Both tools also have segmentation features that allow you to organize your leads based on a variety of factors (determined by the data you've collected on each lead). This segmentation makes it easier to personalize your interactions, making your nurturing efforts more effective. 

How Do They Differ?

Both platforms have comprehensive lead nurturing and management capabilities; however, it's their approach to lead management that differs slightly. HubSpot has a more holistic approach to lead management integration with content marketing tools, including smart content, blogging, forms, and email. Their focus is to create content that will attract and convert leads so that you can nurture them through the buyer's journey. Their lead management tools are also easy to use.

While Pardot has plenty of lead management tools, their lead management functionality is more focused on automation than on integration with content strategies. For example, one of the features Pardot offers that HubSpot does not is the lead assignment tool (which allows you to automatically assign leads to sales personnel based on specific parameters). But HubSpot's form and landing page creation capabilities are more intuitive and user-friendly. 

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) software provides the ability to track all of your customer interactions and data in one centralized location. Although HubSpot does offer its own CRM (which is free to use), it can be integrated with Salesforce, which is considered the best CRM platform out there. Pardot happens to be owned by Salesforce, which means that it too can be easily integrated with the Salesforce CRM platform.

Whether you use HubSpot's own CRM or the Salesforce CRM, you'll be able to automatically track interactions and deals, which will be displayed on a dashboard for easy, real-time viewing. You can search through all of your customer interactions by name, amount, owner, stage, or using custom filters. Both CRM solutions can sync with Gmail and Outlook as well, which means that you can automatically capture calls, emails, and meetings in your CRM. You will also be able to implement numerous live chat, team email, and chatbot features.

How Do They Differ?

While HubSpot's CRM tool is no slouch, it's not nearly as customizable or as robust as the Salesforce CRM, and doesn’t have quite as many integrations available. You might assume there's no real difference between them since you can integrate HubSpot with the Salesforce CRM instead of using HubSpot's own CRM. While this is possible, the integration process may not go as smoothly as it will with Pardot, which is owned by Salesforce.

For example, HubSpot and Salesforce use different terminology for their property types, which can cause issues when it comes to syncing. This can result in misaligned contact property types or missing values. There may also be property duplication if the CRM in HubSpot has been turned on, which can affect the integration. Another potential problem is that information can pass between Salesforce and HubSpot incorrectly if the update rules were incorrectly set.

However, these potential challenges are easily avoidable as long as you are aware of them and take steps to circumvent them. Once you've done that, you'll realize that Salesforce integrates just as effectively with the HubSpot platform as it does with its own Pardot.

Social Media Management

Social media management is vital to any inbound marketing campaign. Both Pardot and HubSpot make it easy to track your social media marketing efforts with a variety of different features that can work in conjunction with major social channels, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Some of these features include the ability to create posts, repost ads and content, and schedule posts. Both platforms also let you create and edit your social media campaigns from one spot and to track and monitor the performance of your campaigns.

How Do They Differ?

Although both solutions allow you to create and manage social media campaigns, it's worth noting that HubSpot does boast an Instagram scheduling feature that is unique to their platform. They also have more social media tool integration capabilities than Pardot. 

File and Content Management

Keeping your images and documents organized is extremely important for running inbound marketing campaigns. Both HubSpot and Pardot have file management and content management systems that do the job. You'll also be able to create folders and preview images using both tools. It is worth noting that Pardot's system isn't as intuitive--it lists your data and requires you to click on files to preview images. HubSpot, on the other hand, uses a file manager that allows you to create a folder structure, preview thumbnails, and upload files from a single interface.

Forms and Landing Pages

Pardot has a slight advantage over HubSpot when it comes to form creation. Pardot allows you to customize the form's source code and change the markup surrounding it. But HubSpot offers the ability to create unlimited forms in the basic plan, whereas in Pardot's standard plan, you can only create up to 50. 

Both solutions allow the creation of landing pages. Both also allow you to customize the visual look of your landing pages; however, HubSpot's editor provides pre-built modules that can be used to create more complex landing pages, including the use of features like sliders and image galleries, which Pardot does not have. Additionally, Pardot cannot render third-party hosted CSS as well as HubSpot's editor can, which shows the landing pages you create in a true form.

A/B Testing Capability

A/B testing capabilities are important since they allow you to constantly make improvements to your content, forms, and landing pages. Both HubSpot and Pardot have resident A/B testing tools. However, HubSpot's A/B testing tool is easier to use. HubSpot can create an A/B variant test from the main landing page dashboard for any of your landing pages, whereas with Pardot, you have to create your landing pages first, then create an A/B test in another section and choose your already built landing pages.

Contact Management

The contact management systems used by HubSpot and Pardot are very similar. Both systems use easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to browse through your contacts and view whatever information you have for each one.

How Do They Differ?

Neither contact management system is superior to the other; they are just set up differently. HubSpot lists your contact information on the same page using cards for each section. It also has a toggle feature that allows you to turn on and off the contact information you don't need to see. On the other hand, Pardot uses a tabbed interface for its different sections.

Integrations with Third Party Programs

Integrations allow you to connect your HubSpot or Pardot platform to other software solutions so that you can transfer data between them. The more integration capabilities, the better. HubSpot has far more integration capabilities with third-party tools than Pardot (roughly 230 to Pardot's 32). 

User Interfaces of the Two Platforms

Considering the comprehensive feature list of both platforms and the reputation that both HubSpot and Pardot have as two of the best marketing automation solutions in the industry, it should come as no surprise that both have put noticeable effort into creating intuitive and easy-to-use user interfaces.

Ease in Navigation

Because HubSpot targets businesses of all sizes, they have focused their  efforts into making a user-friendly interface so that navigating the platform and all of its features is relatively straightforward. Pardot's interface isn't difficult to use either, just not quite as good. The only drawback with HubSpot's interface is that they are constantly adding new tools (hardly a drawback in itself) so that existing tools may be moved to new places, making navigation a little bit of a hassle on occasion (HubSpot typically informs users when this happens, however).

Variety of Templates Available

Pardot has more than 40 pre-made email templates available to choose from. Once you make a selection, Pardot automatically populates the code in the HTML tab for your email before allowing you to design the email's visual look. You can also build custom templates from scratch. HubSpot also has countless templates to choose from along with a drag-and-drop system that makes it easy to use. 

HubSpot is the clear winner for landing page template excellence. Pardot's landing page templates are not responsive by default and require some HTML and CSS knowledge. Additionally, externally linked CSS styles don't populate inside of Pardot's landing page editor, which means it may not appear correctly within the editor (requiring you to use the preview link).

Dashboard Reporting Attributes

HubSpot's dashboards are customizable for both individual users and teams. They also make use of a drag-and-drop interface, which adds a lot of functionality. Comparatively, Pardot's dashboard is a bit lacking due to the fact that it's simply not as easy to read as HubSpot's, nor is it customizable. However, the actual reporting features (in terms of analytics) that Pardot offers in all plans are quite extensive, especially when it comes to their ROI reporting (which is only available on HubSpot in their Enterprise plan). 

Flexibility in the Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is the ability to alter content for users based on specific user data. For example, you can automatically change certain details in your content for users based on whether they are prospects or for customers. Both HubSpot and Pardot allow the use of dynamic content; however, Pardot has a bit more flexibility when it comes to creating dynamic content for email as it lets you choose from all of your customer attributes, while HubSpot only lets you choose from life cycle stages and list membership options. 

Unique Features to HubSpot

HubSpot has a handful of unique features that few other marketing automation platforms have. Here are a few of the beneficial features that are unique to the HubSpot platform:

HubSpot’s Call-to-Action Section

Because of HubSpot's focus on inbound marketing, it should come as no surprise that they have a dedicated call-to-action section. Here, you can customize your own CTAs using custom styles and sizes, embed CTAs to external sites, add CTAs to your HubSpot content, A/B test CTAs, analyze the performance of your CTAs, and export CTA performance data. 

Blogging Platform

Content plays a vital role in generating, nurturing, and capturing leads, which is why HubSpot has its own blogging platform. Using their blogging platform, you can write, format, and edit blog content, insert images, and add links. You can even schedule posts, connect your blog to social channels to automatically share your new content, and automatically send subscribers notification emails when you publish new blog posts. 

Contact Databases (crm view)

Adding and managing contacts is easy with HubSpot. You can manually add new contacts using prospect email addresses or import them from your inbox of form submissions. HubSpot will then automatically create an associated company record and details that include industry, contact details, and revenue from its own contact database, which includes over 20 million businesses. 

Unique Features in Pardot

While HubSpot certainly has some impressive features that are unique to its platform, Pardot isn't without its own unique features, which include the following:

Search Marketing Functionality in Pardot

HubSpot got rid of some of its search marketing functionality last year, giving Pardot a clear advantage when it comes to search tracking and optimization. Using Pardot, you can track the performance of keywords and links in major search engines as well as measure the search rankings and performance of your keywords. Pardot offers search marketing tools that will help you diagnose and improve page-level SEO performance. 

Mobile Access Through Pardot

Pardot has a mobile app that allows you to view prospect insights, including contact details, scores, and grades, on your smartphone or tablet. You'll even be able to launch new prospect emails from their profiles as well as call them with a single touch. As long as you are a subscriber to one of Pardot's plans, then their mobile app is free.

Customer Service Support

HubSpot and Pardot both offer many dynamic features, along with countless integration capabilities. Doubtless you'll want a platform that offers customer service and support. Fortunately, both provide extensive customer service and support features to take advantage of.

Types of Support Available on Both Platforms

Both HubSpot and Pardot have made a serious effort to provide their customers with the support and service that they need. Pardot offers support over the phone 24/7 from Mondays to Fridays (ending at 8:00 PM on Fridays) as well as through in-app chat and email. If you're an Ultimate plan subscriber, you can request return-call support. You can also visit their customer hub, where you can post questions, find answers to questions, find resources, connect with users, experts, and partners, take guided learning modules, watch videos and webinars, check for known issues, and more.

HubSpot has a support portal where you can reach representatives by phone, email, or live chat. Users also have access to the HubSpot knowledge base, where you can find thousands of resources and troubleshoot any issues you might be having. The Knowledge Base also offers user guides, training programs, and platform certifications. Users can engage with other users in the customer forum and learn more about HubSpot's features and how to use them in the HubSpot Academy. Additionally, Professional and Enterprise users have access to dedicated support and on-site onboarding.

How Well Do Previous Customers Review Each Platform For Support?

HubSpot has a sterling reputation when it comes to their customer service and support. Although both HubSpot and Pardot have countless resources to take advantage of in terms of training and learning, HubSpot's support ecosystem is a bit better developed. As for actually getting into contact with either when in need of assistance, HubSpot tends to have a better reputation. Customers regularly contact HubSpot for support and get assistance on the same day, whereas this is not always the case with Pardot (especially if you choose one of their lesser severity tiers when contacting them).


Comparing pricing can be a bit tricky because both HubSpot and Pardot have several different pricing tiers available. Each plan comes with different features. At first glance, Pardot's the more expensive of the two. However, Pardot focuses more on larger companies, while HubSpot built some of its lower-tier plans specifically for small businesses.

Cost and Capabilities per Plan tier

The following are HubSpot’s four marketing plans, what they cost, and what's included:

  • Free - (Free) HubSpot offers a Free plan that includes limited contact activity, limited forms, contact management, contact and company insights, team email, Facebook and Instagram ad management, one conversions inbox, one reporting dashboard, and limited conversational bots.

  • Starter - ($50/month) The Starter plan includes everything from the free version along with email marketing, lists, and mobile optimization features. All HubSpot branding is removed as well.

  • Professional - ($800/month) Includes all Starter features in addition to phone support, blog and content creation tools, SEO and content strategy, CTAs, social media management, landing pages, subdomain availability, marketing automation, video hosting and management, smart content, attribution reporting, A/B testing, teams, Salesforce integration, goal-based nurturing, custom reporting, and Google Search Console integration.

  • Enterprise - ($3,200/month) The Enterprise plan comes with everything in the professional plan along with custom event reporting, custom event triggers, predictive lead scoring, single sign-on, CMS membership, email send frequency cap, content partitioning, and YouTube integration.

The following are Pardot's plans, costs, and features:

  • Growth - ($1,250/month) The Growth plan includes in-depth prospecting, ROI reporting, lead scoring and grading, standard CRM integration, forms and landing pages, lead nurturing and email marketing, and real-time alert capabilities.

  • Plus - ($2,500/month) In addition to including all of the Growth plan's features, the Plus plan also includes chat support, integrated marketing calendar, social profiles, Google AdWords integration, Advanced email analytics, advanced dynamic content, and API access for up to 25,000 calls a day.

  • Advanced - ($4,000/month) The Advanced Plan includes all of the Plus plan's features as well as custom user roles, custom object integration, dedicated IP address, phone support, and API access for up to 100,000 calls a day.

Strengths and Weaknesses Summed Up

You can't go wrong with either HubSpot or Pardot for a robust marketing automation platform. Both are incredibly comprehensive and have a wide range of easy to use features that will no doubt benefit your marketing efforts. However, HubSpot is a better option for smaller businesses due to its more budget-friendly pricing structure and user-friendly interface. HubSpot's unique features and impressive integration capabilities also give it an advantage for creating dynamic inbound marketing campaigns. That's not to say that Pardot isn't without its advantages--Pardot does offer more extensive analytic capabilities that may be more suited to enterprise-sized businesses.

Still unsure which platform will meet your specific business needs? Speak to a consultant well versed with both platforms today.

Topics: HubSpot


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