In this article, We will try to understand different types of Data Extensions and deep dive into each type of data extension. Data extensions are a placeholder to hold data with various columns and it is more similar to Excel sheet/Table with different columns that can hold data in rows.
Different types of Data extensions:
1. Data Extension(Standard/Filtered/Random)
2. Synchronized Data Extension
3. Salesforce Data Extension
Data Extension: As discussed earlier data extension is like a table with different columns that can hold data in rows. You could use this data extension to store Subscriber information or related information that will be used for sending emails. You have to mark it as Sendable in order to send emails from Data extensions. There are broadly three other data extensions that could be used on a scenario basis.
a. Standard Data Extension – A standard data extension allows you to create custom fields to store data. This can act as a standalone data extension with desired fields either to capture the data or use it to as a sendable data extension.
b. Filtered Data Extension – A filtered data extension is generated by filtering fields, measures, and filters for sendable data extension from a Source data extension. This is mostly used when we want to have a different sendable data extension populated with final data that is used for sending emails.
c. Random Data Extension – A random data extension allows you to randomly select subscribers from a Source data extension. This data extension is mostly used to have a separate sendable data extension that is used for sending emails to random subscribers.
Navigation: Email Studio –> Email –> Subscribers –> Data Extensions
Synchronized Data Extension: This data extension is mainly used to populate Salesforce Standard/custom object data from Sales cloud/service cloud into Marketing cloud. We should integrate Salescloud with Marketing cloud using Marketing cloud connect (https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/modules/marketing-cloud-connect/get-started-with-mc-connect) before creating Syncrhonized Data extension. You can add desired columns to Syncrhonized Data extension in Marketing cloud to sync only desired data from Sales/service cloud to Marketing cloud. You could filter out data based on the boolean field before Syncing data from Sales/Service cloud to Marketing Cloud. You cannot manually add records to Synchronized data extension. Synchronized data extensions are automatically added to your data model in the contact builder. Currently, Marketing cloud doesn’t allow this data extension to be sendable and we have to build a separate data extension(sendable) in order to send emails to customers/prospects/Subscribers. We cannot use Synchronized data extensions to write back from Marketing cloud to Sales cloud. This is used for unidirectional sync(Sales cloud to Marketing cloud).
Navigation: Marketing Cloud–>Audience builder –>Contact Builder –> Data Sources –> Synchronized
Salesforce Data Extension: This data extension is mainly used to send back email tracking information from email studio sends in Marketing cloud to Sales or service cloud.We should integrate Salescloud with Marketing cloud using Marketing cloud connect (https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/modules/marketing-cloud-connect/get-started-with-mc-connect) before viewing/using Salesforce Data extension.
Navigation: Email Studio–> Email –> Subscribers –> Salesforce Data Extensions