Eloqua Blog: Progressive Profiling and Cookie Opt-out

Aug 12, 2021

As more and more privacy laws creep in around the world you may be facing yourself with the dilemma of having to allow contacts to opt out of your Eloqua cookie getting dropped so you can track their website activity.  I was asked an interesting question the other day…  What happens with progressive profiling when you allow contacts to opt-out of having a cookie dropped on form submission.  I did not have a ready answer so away I went to find out and here is what will happen.

What is Eloqua Progressive Profiling?

Eloqua progressive profiling is used to gather incremental data on a contact as they submit different forms.

  • Shorter forms mean more conversions
  • More conversions means more leads
  • You can progressively profile as many fields as you want over time


Eloqua Progressive Profiling
Eloqua progressive profiling options

You have three main options when it comes to Eloqua progressive profiling:

Form module

Eloqua form progressive profiling

Dynamic content

Eloqua Dynamic Content Progressive Profiling

Web data lookup

Eloqua Web Data Lookup Progressive Profiling

The Eloqua form module allows you to build in progressive profiling which you can simply just add it straight into your Eloqua landing pages.  You have the option for having some always on fields such as email address, first name, company, etc.  You can then add in as many fields as you want, then set the number or group of fields that you want to have displayed when a user goes to an Eloqua landing page.

Technical skill
The technical skill required is none, you simply pick and choose your options and then drag the form on to your landing page.

With this you can only use default fonts, Eloqua form validation, font size, etc – Yes I know you can customize style sheets but you are still somewhat restricted.

Deployment time
As quick as drag and drop straight onto your page.

Dynamic content uses the stage method of displaying fields.  You can group fields into say, stage 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Stage 1 is more company details, stage 2 is more job description details, etc.  When the contact hit the Eloqua landing page you set a dynamic content rule to display progressively, the correct stage of questions until you have data against each contact field in that stage.  Next time they hit an Eloqua landing page they will get the next stage.

Technical skill
You need to know how to use the dynamic content module.  Next you will build you form out in Eloqua form builder you will then use the field names to drop into the form fields in the code.

The cool thing about this is provided you always use the same form names for each form you build you only need to build the dynamic content block once because it can be reused over and over again.

Loads, it is raw HTML so you can do whatever you want with it, it is a bit harder though than the form module way of customization.

Deployment time
It is fast however testing time takes some more time because you need to test each dynamic content block.

A web data lookup is a call back to the Eloqua database when a known visitor hits a page – this can also be on your website, not just Eloqua landing pages.  You will then get a script once you have set the fields from the form you wish to lookup.  The script fires and pulls the known values back to the web page.  From here another script would be created to decide what you wanted to do with it.

Technical skill
A fair bit, more than the average Eloqua user plus a web developer.

You can do anything you want with it – plus it is not just on Eloqua landing pages

Deployment time
Sloooow, you will probably have to also get this all scheduled in with your web team and it will be prioritized.

Setting up Eloqua progressive profiling


Step 1 – Go to the forms module in Eloqua

Step 2 – Add your mandatory fields to the form canvas

Step 3 – Click and drag Progressive Profile on the form canvas

Step 4 – Set you desired fields for progressive profiling onto the form canvas

Click progressive profiling
Eloqua progressive profiling

Option 1: List

The list option will display the number of fields you have decided will show on the form

For the fields within the blue box, the user can choose:

  • How many fields, in addition to the mandatory fields to display every time the form appears
  • By default, Eloqua will show the fields in the order they appear on the form
  • The system can randomize the order of the fields
  • The fields that are already filled in Eloqua will not be shown

Once all the fields are filled in, the customer will only see the fields that are not part of the progressive profiling.

Eloqua progressive profiling list option

Option 2: Stages

Stage group form fields together provided data is held on each field in each set:

  • The user can define which fields are shown with each stage.
  • The customer will only see the fields in each stage if they are not filled in the system.
  • Once all the fields of the first stage are filled, Eloqua will show the empty fields of the next stage.
  • Once all the fields are filled in, the customer will only see the fields that are not part of the progressive profiling.


Stage Progressive Profiling

What about cookies?

What happens with Eloqua progressive profiling when a user doesn’t accept cookies?

Eloqua Progressive Profiling

If a user has disabled cookies then email is the only medium that progressive profiling will work on provided they are being sent to an Eloqua landing page.

That means:

  • Banner ads
  • Social posts
  • 3rd Party email sends
  • Website referrals
  • Search Ads

Will only show your first set of questions.


You randomize the fields on the form, that way over time you eventually gather all the information you need on them.

Pros – Would work over time

Cons – Question repetition, illogical questions leading to poor user experience

Tier your content, ask more intimate questions on content based in propensity to purchase.

Pros – Good user experience, you get the data you need when they want to give it you

Cons – You may never get answers to everything if they only use certain tiers of content, forms may be longer

Ask enough details so that a sales lead can be sent to sales and they can contact them and add 2 progressive fields.

Pros – You will get full data for all those with cookies enabled

Cons – Only get full profile from those with cookies enabled, lead scoring will rely on sales getting the information and your CRM synch, your form if you ask lead scoring questions may be quite big.

Eloqua Feature: Eloqua form spam protection

Eloqua Feature: Eloqua form spam protection

There is hell and then there is another place below hell.  That is where those pesky little spambots live during the day coming out at night to wreak havoc on your forms filling your lead que with promises of bitcoin riches, SEO expert claims and other such nonsense....

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