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Update on Marketo Activities Data Retention Policy

Attention Marketers – Marketo extends the last date for implementing change in Data Retention Policy to September 30, 2018

Earlier this year, Marketo released a notification regarding the change in the Data Retention Policy that came into effect on August 16, 2018. Understanding the dynamics of this change and its wide impact, Marketo is providing a grace period until September 30, 2018 before the new policy will be enforced. All Marketers are hereby informed to make a note of this grace period and archive the marketing activities data.

Beginning September 30, 2018, Marketo will enforce the updated Activities Data Retention Policy. This new data retention policy will result in faster processing of Smart Lists, Lead Scoring, and many other activities to each customer depending on the user’s profile and usage.

Previous data retention policy The Default retention settings were the most current settings and are what most customers currently use.

  • The high volume activities are displayed in the lead’s activity log for 90 days and can be referenced in the filters and reports.
  • After 90 days these activities are moved into an archive where they are no longer accessible in smart lists or reports.
  • These archived activities can still be accessed, but only when searching each individual lead’s activity log directly.
  • No other activities have retention limits applied.

What is the new data retention policy? The new policy says – “Lead Activity and Campaign Membership data will be stored for a rolling 25 months past the activity date, and certain high-volume activity data will be retained for a rolling period of 90 days past the activity date. Beyond these retention periods, this data will not be available.” (See Reference 2 by Mike Reynolds.)

Marketo Data Retention Policy

There are two components to the data retention policy.

  1. Activities with a 90-Day Retention Period:The high-volume activities listed below will be retained for 90 days.
    • Add to List
    • Change Score
    • Change Data Value
    • Visit Webpage
    • Click Link on Webpage
    • Sync Lead to SFDC
    • Sync Lead to Microsoft
    • Sync Lead Updates to SFDC
    • Update Opportunity
    • Request Campaign

    NOTE: Change Data Value activities will be retained for 90 days, except for changes to the Lead Owner and the Company Name fields. These two Change Data Value activities will be retained for 25 months. All other Change Data Value activities will be retained for 90 days.

  2. Activities with Retention Period of 25 Months

Lead data and marketing activities related to Web, Smart Campaign, Social, Email, CRM, and Segmentation will be retained for 25 months. NOTE: The only exception is New lead activity which will always be displayed. Effect of policy on availability of data According to Louiza Verykiou (Reference 1), this policy will have a significant effect on the availability of activity data:

  • Activities will only be available via the Marketo UI or for REST API Bulk Extract for 25 months from the activity date.
  • Activity data in reports for campaigns, forms, emails, or website visits will only be available for 25 months from the activity date.
  • Activity data from decision rules in Smart Lists will only be available for 25 months from the activity date. So if you have smart lists that span older periods then you will need to review them.
  • Smart Lists and Smart Campaigns will only be able to access rolling data for 25 months.
  • Engagement programs will still not send the same email to a lead again for at least 25 months after the first email send activity date.

What are the intended benefits of this policy? Once this data retention policy goes into effect, users of the Marketo platform may see performance-related improvements, such as:

  • Smart lists can process faster. Filters for activities (such as email opens or website visits) won’t need to query multiple years of historical data, making the search time shorter.
  • Emails will send faster. Because Smart Lists will process faster, campaigns will qualify members faster and email batches will take less time to assemble.
  • Lead scoring will happen faster. Activity that contributes to lead scoring will be processed faster.
  • REST API and campaigns will execute faster. Without a large amount of historical data to process, campaigns will execute faster and REST API calls will speed up.

Premium Data Retention Option For those customers who need the low volume activity data for more than two year period, Marketo offers a premium Extended Data Retention subscription option. This option will allow activity data to be stored for 37 months instead of the standard retention period of 25 months. The high-volume activities, however, will only be retained for 90 days even with the premium option. RightWave recommends that due to this change, digital marketers should download important engagement and response data (such as form submissions, email clicks, subscription data, campaign memberships etc.) on a quarterly or semi-annual basis into a secondary database if they have data requirements that extend beyond 25 months. For more assistance, please contact RightWave.


  1. Louiza Verykiou, Marketo Activities Data Retention Policy, April 2018
  2. Mike Reynolds , Marketo Activities Data Retention Policy – Under the Hood , March 2018