Add Progressive Profiling to Forms

  • Updated

If you need to improve your form conversion rates, but you are hesitant to ask fewer questions to generate sales-qualified leads, progressive profiling is a powerful solution.

The number of fields in your form can directly impact your form conversion rates - less is more. Most web users do not like to fill out long forms. You have a much higher likelihood that your form will be completed if it has fewer questions.

Displaying fewer fields in your form will help improve your form conversion rates. When you do this with progressive profiling, you can use the less-is-more strategy on your form while gradually collecting additional profile information about your prospects.

When you enable progressive profiling on your form, your leads will only see a few fields on their first visit. Each time that person re-visits your form, they will see a few new form fields, and provide you with more profile information over time.

Read on to learn more about progressive profiling strategies and how to add it to your Act-On forms. 

Note: For information on progressive profiling in Classic forms, see Progressive Profiling in Classic Forms.

When to use Progressive Profiling

The most common way to use progressive profiling is in combination with gated content, such as whitepapers or e-books, to attract leads and gradually build prospects' profiles. When you offer a series of gated marketing content to your prospects, you incentivize them to fill out your form each time they want to access new content. When you do this in combination with progressive profiling, your prospects will answer new questions any time they return to your form to access new content. This allows you to gradually build their persona over time, using shorter forms, while keeping them engaged with your brand.

You can also apply progressive profiling across multiple forms. This allows you to continue building a contact's profile when they submit forms for different purposes, such as webinar registrations.

How it works

Here's how progressive profiling works to dynamically update your contact's profile each time they visit your form:

  1. An anonymous prospect visits your form for the first time and submits the form to receive a piece of content. When they submit the form, their information is captured and they are converted from anonymous to a known lead.
  2. Your prospect visits the form again to access a new piece of content. Each time they visit your form, they see new progressive profiling questions. You gradually build your contact's profile with this new information.
  3. Over 2 or more visits, your form will ask questions that qualify your prospect as a sales lead.
  4. Once your lead is sales qualified based on their engagement with your brand and their profile criteria, you can use a combination of Lead Scoring, Marketing Funnels, or an automated program to send this lead to your sales team to engage.

Example Scenario

Visit #

What happens

Form fields

Visit 1: Convert Anonymous to Known

A visitor arrives on your landing page and fills in your form to receive a valuable piece of content. The short form is easy to fill out and converts this anonymous visitor to a known lead.

  • Name
  • Email Address

Visit 2: Gather Additional Profile Data

The prospect returns to the landing page to access another piece of content. Your form dynamically replaces the original progressive profiling questions with new ones. Your prospect submits the form again, answering these new questions to receive content. You continue to build your contact profile.

  • Company Name
  • Job Title
  • Industry

Visit 3: Ask Sales Qualifying Questions

On the third visit, the form displays a new set of progressive profiling questions. By now, you have a complete picture of your contact. A contact that has filled out your form three times has demonstrated interest in your product with their behavior.

  • Phone number
  • Time frame in mind for purchasing your product

End Result

You have effectively gathered enough information to funnel a Marketing Qualified Lead from your web marketing to your sales team using progressive profiling and gated content.

Next, you can use an automated program, for example, to identify and send qualified leads to your sales team.


How to add Progressive Profiling to a Form

Before you enable progressive profiling in your form, decide which information to collect for your contact's profile and how you want to stage your forms for each visit.

Add a Progressive Profiling block

  1. Go to Content > Forms
  2. Open an existing form or create a new form
  3. Go to Properties > List and uncheck Always Append
  4. Go to the Design tab in Form Composer

  5. Drag and drop a Progressive Profiling section into your form


Form blocks placed inside of Progressive Profiling sections will appear or disappear depending on the behavior of repeat visitors. Blocks placed outside of these sections will appear on every visit.

You need at least one visible input field or form block outside your Progressive Profiling section. Without this, your form will appear blank to visitors who've already filled out all your progressive profiling questions. Visible blocks include Rich Text, Image, Text Box, Paragraph, Combo Box, and Date.

Customize Your Progressive Profiling Fields

  1. In the Edit Progressive Profiling Section Settings panel, select the number of Empty Fields you'd like to display with each form visit


    An Empty Field is a progressive profiling question that your prospect has not answered yet. By default, a visitor will see one Empty Field each time they visit and submit your form.

  2. Change the Background Color or Padding if desired, then click OK to create a Progressive Profiling section

  3. Drag new or existing form input fields into your Progressive Profiling sectionput them in the order that you want them to appear
  4. When you're done, your Progressive Profiling section should resemble this:


Preview the Form Behavior

Once you've finished editing your progressive profiling questions, you'll want to test how your form fields will behave each time a visitor fills them out. To do this:

  1. Go to the Review tab in the Forms Composer
  2. In the left-side panel, click on the Progressive Profiling section

  3. Test how your prospects will see form fields based on how many times they've visited the form and the profiling questions they've answered:
    • The default view shows what your prospect will see on their first visit.
    • Check the box next to a progressive profiling field to show what prospects will see when they've answered that question and visit the form again:

    • Check all progressive profiling boxes to see what your form will look like when your prospect has answered all profiling questions:

What happens when my prospect skips a progressive profiling question?
Visitors who skip a progressive profiling field will be shown that field on subsequent visits until they provide a value. To avoid this, make each field required with Form Field Validation.

Progression Across Multiple Forms

You can use progressive profiling to track a contact's submissions across different forms. To build a contact's profile with progressive profiling on multiple forms, you'll need to meet the following form requirements.


  • Every form in your account that uses progressive profiling must have identical fields
  • Progressive forms must use the same Form Submission List, and "always append" must not be checked in the form settings.
    • The _FORM and _CAMPAIGN values for any contact in this list will always update to the most recent form submitted.

If you need multiple forms to share progressive profiling, contact Act-On Support to enable this feature.

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