How to use smart fields and progressive profiling

Last updated: September 13, 2017

Available For:

Marketing: Pro, Enterprise
Sales: N/A

All editions of HubSpot provide the use of smart fields for your forms. This feature removes form fields from requesting data that has already been captured, allowing longer forms to not request as much information, as it has already been captured. If you have the Marketing Professional or Enterprise edition of the HubSpot software, you can take advantage of progressive profiling. This feature allows you to replace previously captured fields with a new set of fields when the user encounters another form on your site. Over time, you get to learn more about your leads without asking them the same questions or asking for too much prior to building the trust needed for them to provide that information.

For example, your form asks for first name, last name, email, and company name but you want to find out more about your leads such as their revenue, how many employees they have, what they do in their leisure time, etc. You also don't want to turn prospects away by asking too many questions or deter them by having a really long form. Smart fields allow you to accomplish shorter forms by removing already-known data. Shorter forms can lead to higher conversion rates because not as much information is being requested. Progressive profiling takes it one step further. Over time your leads are willing to provide a little more about themselves each time they visit your site looking for information about how you can help them achieve their goals. If HubSpot recognizes the user's cookie, previously captured fields are replaced by new more qualifying questions. Returning visitors don't feel like their privacy is being invaded and thus they will turn back to you because you are building that trust with them.

Why are smart fields useful for marketers?

Smart fields allow marketers to:

  • Adjust in length based on whether a visitor has already completed a form in the past.
  • Asks only for the critical information.
  • Makes your forms cleaner and faster to fill out.

Why is progressive profiling useful for marketers?

Progressive profiling offers a range of marketing benefits such as:

  • Increasing the conversion rates by controlling form length.
  • Qualify contacts as they reconvert on your landing pages.
  • Reuse the same forms across different landing pages.
  • Collect insights to better target your contacts.
  • Shorten your sales cycles.

How smart fields work

Each time a visitor comes to your site, they get a cookie set in their browser. The visitor's history is logged against that cookie, recording pages they've seen and other lead intelligence, so you can learn what they are finding more valuable. This cookie stays stored in the browser, even after they leave your site. When they come back, it picks up right where it left off.

When your lead fills out a form asking for his or her email, first name, and last name, that information gets logged to the contact's record, and his or her cookie is stored as well. Any of those previously captured smart fields will be hidden, if that visitor's cookie is recognized. If those fields are not set to smart on the form, they will continue to appear (whether or not the values are pre-filled depends on your settings for that form).

It is generally recommended to not make the email field smart. Always including an email address field allows users to update their email with a preferred address and creates a more consistent user experience.

How progressive profiling works

Continuing from the above, progressive profiling takes smart fields one step further. With progressive profiling, your smart fields are replaced with queued questions. So for example, since you already received their first and last name, those two fields get replaced the next time that user encounters a form with those previous answered questions. This time, you could ask them about their company name and their biggest marketing challenge. They happily provide that information because it is two simple questions on a short form.

Progressive profiling allows you to keep your forms short and simple and helps build trust with your leads by asking little bits of information each time they visit.

This feature is available for Professional and Enterprise subscriptions.


Follow these instructions to set up progressive profiling fields on your form.

1. Open form

Navigate in HubSpot Marketing to Contacts > Forms and either open an existing form or create a new form.

2. Make properties smart

First make sure that your form includes all your desired fields. Email needs to be a default, required field in order to create a contact, but this can be a smart field used with progressive profiling. To make properties smart, click the smart icon of two boxes with rotating arrows.

Note that rows containing multiple fields mark the row as smart (in this case, first name and last name). All fields in the row must receive data in order to remove the row from the form. In this example, both first name and last name fields would need to be filled out in order to function as a smart field. Company Name alone would need to be filled in to no longer display.

If you only have smart fields, skip to step 4 to save your form. If you have progressive profiling (Marketing Professional and Enterprise accounts), continue to set up progressive profiling for your form.

3. Add fields to queued questions

Drag your fields in the order in which you wish for them to appear in the queued questions area (below the black bar). The number of queued questions that will appear are contingent on how much data has been received in the default questions. In this example, both row 1 and row 3 would need to receive data in order to replace these questions with Number of Employees and What is your biggest marketing challenge? fields.

You can make these queued fields smart, so that when they are filled out, they are also removed from the form and possibly replaced by more queued fields. You can queue up as many fields as you want, as long as you continue to make your fields smart. Please note that the form has to be submitted on in order for the next queued field(s) to show the next time the form submitter returns to the form. 

4. Save form

Once you've set up your form with smart fields and progressive profiling (if applicable), save your form. If it lives elsewhere, this updated form will automatically push to your live pages.

5. Preview form

Once your form is saved, you can preview the way the form will appear, and preview the form's behavior with smart fields and progressive profiling enabled.

Check the various questions to view how the form will appear if those contact property values have been previously captured.

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