In evaluating the platforms, Pardot's acquisition by Salesforce is not enough to overcome HubSpot's longstanding—and growing—superiority in functionality and ease of use.
In what was once a fragmented market, HubSpot and Pardot have emerged as the clear leaders in marketing automation software. They are the Coke and Pepsi of the space.
The products have some things in common. Both hit the market in 2006. Both can be used on Android, Apple, and Windows smartphones, and both are compatible with Apple, Microsoft, and Linux computers. Both do lead scoring, web activity tracking, and bi-directional CRM syncing.
However, HubSpot is the clear choice for both functionality and ease of use. Pardot's primary selling point is that it was purchased by Salesforce in 2013, and the CRM giant has leveraged its sales channels to push Pardot heavily. HubSpot, meanwhile, offers its own (free) CRM in addition to integrating with Salesforce.
In a recent comparison test, PC Magazine named HubSpot the better choice.
HubSpot is easier to use, especially with workflows, and typically costs less than Pardot. It comes with HubSpot Academy, which offers extensive online courses so you can learn how to get the most from your investment. Better intuitiveness plus better training is a winning combination.
HubSpot's primary packages are Basic, Pro, and Enterprise. Basic is $200 per month for 100 contacts plus $100 per 1,000 extra, with content marketing, email marketing, and social media. Pro is $800 per month for 1,000 contacts plus $50 per 1,000 extra, with everything in Basic, along with Salesforce integration, marketing automation, and smart content. Enterprise has everything the previous tiers have, with 10,000 contacts plus 10 per 1,000 extra, along with A/B testing, predictive lead scoring, and advanced reporting. It starts at $2,400 per month. View a full feature comparison.
Pardot offers Growth, Plus, and Advanced. Growth starts at $1,250 per month, Plus starts at $2,500 per month, and Advanced starts at $4,000 per month. All versions feature in-depth prospect tracking, lead nurturing and email marketing, and ROI reporting. View a full feature comparison.
HubSpot also offers Free and Starter levels, while Pardot does not offer a free version.
HubSpot Basic on its own gives you plenty. If you own a small business and have little or no experience with coding, HubSpot is the one to go with. It’s a solution many business owners gravitate toward in to get started, while being robust enough to scale easily.
“Pardot’s setup process requires more technical knowledge,” says Megan Chesterson, Idea Grove's art director, who has experience with both platforms.
“For example, forms use ‘form layouts’ for styling and if you need to embed them this is done through iframe. Iframes cannot be styled through the website and instead have to styled within Pardot itself. Mixed content issues cause forms to not show.”
Global content management is also easier with HubSpot. With Pardot, there is no easy way to edit the head globally for tracking codes. If you want to add something as basic as Google Analytics to your template, you have to edit each template individually in Pardot.
Content editing in HubSpot is easier, thanks to dragging and dropping, as is readily available HubSpot support for any questions or concerns.
HubSpot also offers campaign tools that make it easy to tie together assets like emails, landing pages and social posts, and then to see comprehensive analytics and tracking in one place.
In addition to providing superior training resources, HubSpot also offers superior customer support with a quick-turnaround ticket system that ensures your questions are answered.
Finally, HubSpot has an extensive agency network with HubSpot-certified employees who can provide hands-on help. Idea Grove is a Platinum Agency Partner with HubSpot experts on staff.
Here are some side-by-side comparisons from a number of third-party sources. HubSpot typically gets higher marks when balancing features, usability and cost.