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In the article: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000339842&type=1&mode=1

Image URLs require their own certificate. If you're looking to fully secure all content on a landing page or within your Marketing Cloud account, you will need to purchase 2 SSL SKUs from your Account Executive. One SSL SKU to cover the landing page URL and the second SSL SKU to cover the image URLs that are used on the landing page.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud does not support Wildcard certificates. We only accept customer supplied certificates that are either single domain or SAN certificates. An SSL SKU is still required.

there is used acronym: SSL SKU. What does this SKU mean?

Another thing: is it possible to use free (eg let's encrypt) certificate to handle this certificate requirement?

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A SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is that Salesforce refers to as a "line Item" or product/service/feature in your contract.

SSL Certificates:

When you first implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud (including 1x Sender Authentication Package), none of your emails, images, links or cloud pages are secured using HTTPS. To secure these URLs/Features, you need to purchase SSL Certificates.

At the time of writing - you need to contact your Account Executive to purchase SSLs; however Salesforce is planning to release a Self-Service SSL feature shortly.

To fully secure your Marketing Cloud's Images/Links/Pages - you will need to purchase 2x SSLs - 1 for Pages/Clicks/Links/Views, and 1 for your Portfolio URL (images) (Reference). If you have purchased private/custom domains - you will need a SSL for each of those too. (Reference)

For all sales related enquiries, it's always best to chat with your Account Executive, as they will know how your instance is setup.

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SKU means Stock Keeping Unit. Every service you purchase from Salesforce will have it's own identifier in your contract, or SKU.

To expand on Cameron's answer, even when the self-service SSL feature is released (currently it has been delayed) you will still need to purchase the SSL SKU from SFMC. This is detailed in the considerations section of the Secure a Custom Domain page:

If you can’t secure a domain, your enterprise account has a limit of the number of domains that can be secured based on the quantity of SSL SKU purchased. You receive two certificates for each SSL SKU purchased. To purchase more, contact your Marketing Cloud account representative.

You will not be able to use free certificates. On the same Secure a Custom Domain page, they state:

You can only secure domains with Salesforce-owned certificates.

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