As a leading technology consulting firm, LaunchPad Lab often navigates the complex landscape of digital transformation for our clients. A frequent discussion point is the choice between two flagship Salesforce products: Experience Cloud and Heroku.

Understanding the nuances of Experience Cloud vs. Heroku is crucial for business leaders leveraging the Salesforce ecosystem for growth and customer engagement. This comparison draws upon LaunchPad Lab’s extensive experience with both platforms, outlining their distinct capabilities and use cases.

What Is Experience Cloud?

Experience Cloud is a Salesforce product designed for creating engaging digital experiences for customers, employees, and partners. It offers a blend of powerful, out-of-the-box components with a custom development framework, making it ideal for companies looking to build templated portals or web apps. Experience Cloud comes with a variety of templates for common use cases, including Customer Portals and Help Centers, facilitating the creation of digital experiences with direct access to Salesforce APIs to streamline development.

What Is Heroku?

Heroku is a cloud platform supporting a broad spectrum of programming languages and frameworks, allowing for the creation of bespoke applications. It is particularly suited for custom, complex application development and features, with a design that encourages 100% bespoke software development for a pixel-perfect UI. Heroku’s Performance Analytics tool further empowers developers with insights into application performance, optimizing development for speed and efficiency.

Key Differences

Although both products offer a variety of impressive features, there are a few distinct differences between the two.

Heroku vs Experience Cloud

Speed to Market 

Heroku can generally bring a product to market within 2-6 months, tapping into the open-source world for faster development, albeit with more upfront setup work compared to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions.

Experience Cloud enables a product launch in as little as two weeks using standard Salesforce components, though custom elements may extend this timeline.

User Experience, Features, and Branding  

Heroku excels in creating completely bespoke software, offering limitless opportunities in UI design and user experience with access to open-source libraries.

Experience Cloud provides various templates for faster deployment but may require workarounds for complex custom UI needs.

The Mobile Experience  

Heroku offers unlimited opportunities for mobile app development, acting as the backend infrastructure and API, with support for leading mobile UI technologies, such as Ionic, React Native, or Swift. 

Experience Cloud enables access to users via a mobile browser or app store download. From a development standpoint, Experience Cloud containerizes the code and compiles it to native mobile. There is often reduced access to hardware or API integrations and interactions with other apps on mobile devices.

Integrating Your App 

Heroku features a database-level bidirectional integration with Salesforce through Heroku Connect, requiring validation rules and relationship setup. 

Experience Cloud offers seamless native integration with Salesforce CRM, enabling direct queries without web services and integrating CRM configurations automatically.

Scaling Your App 

Heroku stands out for scalability, ideally supporting rapid growth, volume, and mission-critical applications. In most cases, Heroku can scale without directly impacting costs and can handle many concurrent users. With Heroku, it’s also possible to create a streamlined UX to reduce friction and minimize support requests. 

Experience Cloud is great for core use cases like Case Management, Knowledge Hub, etc. If your digital experience involves significant data storage, such as videos or attachments, scalability can be impacted. Additionally, initial design considerations can have long-term cost implications when scaling on Experience Cloud.

Cost Structure 

Heroku pricing is based on computing resources rather than usage, which makes it suitable for applications requiring scalability, such as high-intake forms or SaaS applications. It can, however, be on the pricier side for small projects with relatively low usage rates. The cost of Heroku ranges from $70k to $500k+.

Experience Cloud pricing is based on user logins or licenses, potentially becoming expensive with high traffic and a growing user base. If you have a predictable and repeatable number of external customers or partners that require access to self-help features, Experience Cloud can be a suitable option. The cost of Experience Cloud ranges from $70k to $150k.

​​Intellectual Property (IP) Ownership

Heroku allows for solution IP compatibility with other cloud infrastructures, providing flexibility in application development and open-source library integration.

Experience Cloud limits IP to the Salesforce platform, requiring code to be written in Salesforce-specific languages.

The LaunchPad Accelerator

Having extensive experience on both platforms, we created the LaunchPad Lab Accelerator Add-On to help speed up implementation time and handle ongoing maintenance concerns with Heroku. Our Accelerator uses an existing Salesforce organization to generate a foundational codebase based on the data needed for the application. 

The generated codebase incorporates best practices in application development, drawing from over 300 Heroku applications developed by LaunchPad Lab. With this Accelerator, we’re able to help companies go to market with a fully-fledged solution twice as fast as other solutions.


Choosing between Experience Cloud and Heroku hinges on your specific digital experience goals and technical requirements. Experience Cloud offers speed and simplicity for Salesforce-centric digital experiences, while Heroku provides flexibility and scalability for custom app development

At LaunchPad Lab, we guide our clients through a detailed analysis, leveraging real-world examples to align platform selection with their strategic goals, ensuring choices are well-informed and tailored to their unique needs.

The LaunchPad Lab Team

Our team is a collective of curious minds, problem solvers, and tech enthusiasts. Beyond our dedication to building innovative digital products that drive business results, we're passionate about sharing our knowledge and insights through engaging content — offering articles on the latest tech trends, practical advice on product development, and strategies to harness technology for competitive advantage.

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