Explore Synchronized Data Sources

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Recall the definition of a data source.
  • Describe how Synchronized Data Sources and Marketing Cloud Connect work together.

Data Sources

Contact Builder stores and locates contact attributes in your account’s data sources. Within your Marketing Cloud account, Contact Builder uses system and custom data sources, such as system-defined or user-created data extensions. Contact Builder can also bring in data from other Salesforce platforms, such as Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, by using Synchronized Data Sources. Data synchronized into Contact Builder also includes the data schema and relationships previously established in those other platforms.

Contact Builder and Marketing Cloud Connect

You can select and synchronize objects from Salesforce CRM and pull the information into Marketing Cloud using Marketing Cloud Connect. For example, the Northern Trail Outfitters  account uses Marketing Cloud Connect and is integrated with a Salesforce Service Cloud account. Marketing Cloud uses Marketing Cloud Connect and Synchronized Data Sources to pull over records from particular objects and put them into a data extension. Once you select the objects, you can select which fields to pull over. You can also set your web records. You can do all records for a time period through a poll schedule, which defines how often Marketing Cloud checks for updates. Remember that syncing objects is important, especially people objects. Every contact or lead synchronized counts as a contact in Contact Builder, even if you’ve never sent them a message.

If you want to synchronize a contact object, you can:

  • Select the fields to synchronize.
  • Choose which records to pull and use to segment contacts.
    • All records
    • Records since a certain date
    • Records with a particular field type of true or false.
  • Set how often the data synchronizes (in minutes or hours).

The order in which you set up objects is important. When you set up synchronized objects, the system starts to create a data model for you. This model ensures the relationships between objects don’t conflict as you integrate additional data sources.

Data sources available for synchronization appear after you integrate your account using Marketing Cloud Connect. After you start a sync, you cannot delete it. You can only pause the sync, but the data extension remains in your account. The synchronized data source appears in your Data Sources when complete.

Data syncing using Marketing Cloud Connect creates a single data extension within your Marketing Cloud account with one column for each field you choose to synchronize. The synchronized data extension uses the name of the synchronized object and adds the suffix Salesforce_n, where n indicates the number of the copy when used in a multi-org environment. For example, if you synchronized the Contact data source, that data source would appear in your Marketing Cloud account as Contact_Salesforce_1.

Access Synchronized Data Sources

Each data source displays both a name and the external API key for the object. Use these names to locate your information and manage your synchronized data extensions. Synchronized Data Sources displays row counts during the initial synchronization and refreshes every 30 seconds.

The Data Extensions page in Contact Builder with the Synchronized Data Extension folder highlighted.

Segment Synced Data Extensions Across Business Units

Most data extensions need to be segmented to create other audiences for sends. For example, Northern Trail Outfitters shares contact information with a business unit, but their security team doesn’t want the business unit to see all of the contact data. The system segments the data, stores it in a shared folder, then shares it with other business units.

By default, data extensions containing synchronized data exist at the top level of an Enterprise tenant. These data extensions cannot be moved into a shared folder. To segment the data extension, you need to use a query or filter activity that populates the information from a synchronized data source and moves the information into a shared data extension.

You can then share the information with business units in the tenant. You can set permissions on what a business unit is able to see in the data extension. You can also set the sharing rules for the folder itself. 

Best Practices

  • Use Marketing Cloud Connect to synchronize your Sales Cloud and Service Cloud data with Marketing Cloud.
  • Use a query or filter activity to segment synchronized data extensions.

What’s Next?

When you’re ready to begin building data models, look further into the Marketing Cloud resources on the Marketing Cloud Developer Center. Join our huge community of admins and developers through that site to share ideas, join groups, read success stories, and more.


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