Before diving into whether or not you should pursue Content Builder, let’s first cover what it is and its purpose. From Salesforce Marketing Cloud:

More from Kelly: How to use AMPscript to improve email personalization.

Content Builder is the cross-channel content management tool that allows you to consolidate images, documents, and other content in one location for use in the Marketing Cloud. With an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface, Content Builder is more efficient than previous creating tools. Content Builder is currently integrated with Email Studio. You will still have access to your classic content for creating and editing emails until Content Builder reaches parity.

With the new editor, you can:

  • Save time with the easy-to-use interface
  • Create professional emails without knowing HTML
  • View changes to email content in real time with always-present preview
  • Use intelligent HTML Paste tools such as color coding and line numbers
  • Insert code snippets for common links such as Forward to a Friend, Open Tracking, and more

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Content Builder was fully rolled out into Salesforce Marketing Cloud accounts mid-2016. Since then, there have been a handful of updates in the monthly releases. At any time, users can switch between it and Classic Content. Emails built within Classic Content can also be “imported” into Content Builder.

Here is a list of considerations and common questions regarding whether clients should move toward the new tool.

What have you heard about Content Builder?

Content Builder’s out-of-the-box templates don’t always render on mobile or in some ESPs the way you’d expect.

In our opinion, the bullet above from SFMC about creating professional emails without knowing HTML is a bit misleading. It comes with 20 out-of-the-box templates, more than 20 content layouts, and content blocks that can be utilized for email builds. However, in our experience, these out-of-the-box options don’t always render on mobile or in some email providers, such as Outlook, the way you may want or expect. These two Litmus tests show one of the out-of-the-box templates (1-3-1 Column) with no content and with content. We see inconsistent rendering on a variety of email clients, including image sizes, button placement, and even how the fonts render.

Stroda_Content Builder_is Content Builder right_2 Stroda_Content Builder_is Content Builder right_3
via Litmus

If you’ve heard that using Content Builder will allow you to build emails themselves with little to no help from an agency, it likely depends on how complex your email builds and creative are. It seems some of the rendering issues we saw with templates and layouts have improved after recent updates, but the out-of-the-box templates, layouts, and content blocks have not been fully vetted by DEG, so we cannot say there will not be rendering issues that arise when using these options.

Do you build your own emails?

If your company currently builds its own emails within SFMC (rather than an agency), you may be perfectly happy with your understanding of Classic Content. While Content Builder does have a slick, drag-and-drop interface, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using the tool.

If you’re new to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, it’s probably best to start out in Content Builder unless you’ll need one of the features that is not yet compatible with the new tool (see below). As far as we know, there is no current timeline for when SFMC will sunset the Classic Content tool and force users into using Content Builder.

Are the emails responsive?

It does have advantages over Classic Content when it comes to building and maintaining responsive emails.

Content Builder has some distinct advantages over Classic Content when it comes to building and maintaining responsive emails. Within the WYSIWIG, users can set images to have a width of 100% and a height of auto (Within Classic Content, if images were updated with the WYSIWIG, the height and width of the image would be hard-coded into the HTML, causing rendering issues on many email clients.). Therefore, if you will be building emails yourself using a responsive template created by DEG, Content Builder is likely the way to go.

How familiar are you with HTML?

If you are familiar with editing HTML (rather than making all updates within the WYSIWIG), moving to Content Builder may make your life a bit easier. The tool’s HTML view does have some improvements over Classic Content, including line numbers, color-coded elements, and auto-completion. Of course, when making the decision to switch tools, it may depend on whether you feel you have time/bandwidth to learn a new tool.

So, yeah – does your team feel it has time/bandwidth to learn a new tool?

Not sure you have time to learn Content Builder? Users can switch between the tools at any time.

If you want to get into Content Builder and take a look around, you can. Users can switch between the two tools at any time. An overview video about the product can be found on Marketing Cloud’s wiki. There is also a lot of information about the new tool at the same link, including a FAQ, considerations list, and more information about switching between Content Builder and Classic Content. Finally, DEG can also set up consultation meetings to provide an overview, talk about key differences, and discuss if Content Builder is right for your team.

Does your team need to use any of the features that are not yet supported?

Since it is a new tool, there are still some features that are not fully compatible. The tool is being improved in every SFMC release, so we expect this won’t be the case forever. Right now, we know that the following items are not yet compatible with Content Builder. If your team needs to use one of these or is currently relying on them, you’ll want to stick with Classic Content for now. In general, if your use any special or custom SFMC features, you’ll need to verify it works in Content Builder before proceeding.

  • Server-side JavaScript content functions do not work with Content Builder emails and content.
  • The SOAP API is not currently available for Content Builder objects.
  • Distributed sending, burst sending, and delayed delivery are not available for Content Builder emails.
  • Live Offers are not currently compatible with Content Builder.
  • Content Builder emails cannot currently be sent via the Sales Cloud or Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This information about feature compatibility can also be found here.

Next week, check back for part two in our Content Builder series discussing key differences between Content Builder and Classic Content.

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