Quick Question: Is there a difference between a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Reference Block versus an ampscript code like "ContentBlockbyID"? And if you make an update to the source content block, will they both update the content on a cloudpage the next time the page is loaded or update the email before the it is deployed either manually or in a triggersend? I thought they both work the same and that the Reference Block was for non-developers.

1 Answer 1


The Reference block is nearly 100% identical to the AMPscript ContentBlockByID. This can be verified because if you look at a preview of the email outside the editor (properties tab), it shows %%=CONTENTBLOCKBYID('12345')=%% in the Reference Block position.

The main differences are:

  1. You do not get control over the other optional parameters ContentBlockByID() has
  2. An impression region is automatically created using the name of the content block (I believe) without the option to not include it.
  3. You are able to use the UI to browse through to find the content block instead of having to have the ID handy when writing the AMPscript.
  4. You will need to use the UI when replacing the content block association.
  5. You cannot easily replicate the dynamic capabilities that AMPscript offers.

Otherwise, to my knowledge, they function exactly the same.

  • 1
    Thank @gortonington for confirming. I noticed the reference block was just adding the ampscript code and it only pulled the required parameters. Plus, it runs the code on the server before deploying the content in both instances, so there shouldn't be a difference besides what you stated above.
    – HHF21
    Mar 23, 2021 at 13:00

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