Progressive Profiling in Classic Forms

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What is Progressive Profiling?

Use progressive profiling to display dynamic content in your Classic Forms. Classic Forms enabled with progressive profiling rules display form fields to the visitor gradually. Additionally, if a visitor has already filled out a particular form field, progressive profiling will track that information and make sure that your form does not prompt the visitor for the same information twice.

Disclaimer: This article relates to Classic Forms, a legacy feature unavailable for new accounts. If you need information on using Act-On Forms, see Forms Composer User Guide.

Why should I use Progressive Profiling?

Progressive profiling allows you to build a complete profile of a visitor over time. Using simpler, dynamic forms will greatly increase the likelihood that your visitors will complete their registration forms while also allowing you to capture a wider range of data, customized to your needs. You can also use progressive profiling to gate premium content in your Media Library. This requires visitors to submit an Act-On form to gain access to your content.

How it works

Your progressive profiling section will dynamically decide which form field to display based on the available information for each visitor. For example, if an anonymous visitor clicks a link to one of your gated whitepapers, you can prompt the visitor to fill out a form with fields for their name and address. When the same visitor clicks on another link to different gated content, the form will prompt them to fill out fields for their job title or industry. Progressive profiling sections are self-contained, so you can use them generously without affecting the look of your form's standard fields and branding elements.

Example Scenario

Visit 1 - Convert Anonymous to Known

An anonymous visitor arrives on your landing page for the first time. They decide to fill in your form for a valuable piece of content. The form asks for their Name and Email Address. The visitor submits your form, converting them to a known lead and granting access to your gated content.

Visit 2 - Gather Additional Profile Data

The prospect returns to your landing page. Now that they've provided their name and email, the form dynamically replaces its progressive profiling fields and asks for their Company Name. It may also pre-populate their name and email address, which creates confidence and familiarity. The prospect submits the form, this time providing their company name, to gain access to another piece of content. You continue to build their contact profile.

Visit 3 - Ask Sales Qualifying Questions

The prospect returns to your landing page a third time. Once again, the form dynamically refreshes progressive profiling fields based on what this contact has already answered in the past. This time, it will ask for the contact's Phone Number and whether they have a time frame for purchasing your product. By this point, the prospect's behavior (they've filled out your form multiple times!) and a complete contact profile indicate that this prospect is a Marketing Qualified Lead. You or your automated program can send this lead directly to your sales team.


Before you set up a form with progressive profiling, consider the types of information you want to collect for your contact's profile and how you want to stage your forms for each visit.

To learn more about building Classic Forms, visit our Classic Forms User Guide.

Create Progressive Profiling Rules for your Classic Forms

  1. Go to Content > Progressive Profiling in your Act-On account
  2. Click New to create a new progressive profiling series
    • You may only need one series of rules. However, you have the option to create additional rule sets if, for example, you have different rules you want to apply to another website. 
  3. Name your new progressive profiling series
  4. Click on Visitor Profiles List and select the Signup List where you'll store profile information collected in your form
  5. Click Add Rule to set your progressive profiling form fields and select which form will display these fields at each stage
    •  Under If any of the following selected fields are missing, select the form fields where you'd like to capture profile information
    • Under Display this data capture form, select the form you'll use to display the above progressive fields 
    • For example: Set the first rule for the first time an anonymous visit opens your form (or a known visitor is missing information for your fields). Select a form and the progressive profiling fields you'd like them to fill out on their first visit. These fields could include Name and Email Address.
  6. Click Submit
  7. Click Add Rule again and select the next set of progressive fields you want to capture to continue building your contacts' profiles.
  8. Repeat this process until you've set all of your desired progressive profiling rules.

Note: Make sure to select the same Signup List in Step 4 of each form. This ensures that you'll store all collected profile data in one location.


Disable Always Append

Disable Always Append in your progressive profiling forms to ensure that they capture your contacts' profile data and dynamically move them forward to new sets of form fields. Leaving this enabled can result in your progressive profiling form looping back and forth between the first and second set of form rules.

To disable Always Append:

  1. Open your Classic Form
  2. Go to the 3. Finish tab
  3. Uncheck the Always Append box

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Create Gated Content URLs

You'll need to create and embed gated content URLs that attach your gated content to your form's progressive profiling rules. To do this:

  1. Go to Content > Media Library in your Act-On account
  2. Hover over the media link or content you'd like to gate and click the drop-down menu arrow
  3. Click Gated Content URL
  4. Click Add
  5. In the drop-down list, any existing progressive profiling rules will display at the top
  6. Select the desired set of progressive profile rules and click Create
    • The URL will appear in the Gated Content URL window
  7. Repeat these steps for each media asset associated with progressive profiling rules
  8. Embed your gated content URLs in your Act-On landing page or external website


Form Response Pages

When you use gated content URLs in your progressive profiling forms, the gated media asset will replace any response page you define in the 2. Settings tab of the Classic Forms Composer.

Other actions defined in Classic Forms Settings, such as triggering a confirmation email, syncing submissions with your CRM, or sending user alerts, will still be implemented.

Set a Grace Period

The grace period is the amount of time a contact has after filling out your form to access gated content on your site without being prompted to provide more information. Having time to browse your content before deciding whether or not they want to submit more information can lead to a more positive browsing experience for your contact.

When the grace period expires, the contact will be prompted to fill out the next form in the progressive profiling series to access gated content on your site.

To set or edit your grace period:

  1. Go to Content > Progressive Profiling
  2. Click Grace Period
  3. Set a length of time for your account's grace period
  4. Click Save

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