Im currently researching how to handle lead generation forms.

I came across a website which has 3 slightly different forms for downloading a white paper, downloading an ebook, and downloading the trial.The trial download form is the shortes.

Trial Download fields:

  • name
  • company
  • phone
  • email

White paper form fields are the same but have 2 more fields:

  • job positon
  • country

The ebook form has trials form fields + state field.

I can not wrap my head around this.

Why would they have those differences in forms? Does this strategy have a name?

Also, i want to add on this particular site, if you fill out a form once, the info you already entered is auto filed on the next form you would fill out.

So, if you get a trial first, you would only need to fill out 2 more fields for the white paper.

But who is to say that most people would first get the trial, and later a whitepaper? Does this even make sense?

3 Answers 3


Assuming there is a good reason for this (which we will never know):

If they have a different expected audience for each product, it may be that their business logic has dictated that they need to know the additional information for whitepapers - for marketing or sales reasons. This actually makes sense if they want to be able to say "349 companies have used our whitepapers to inform them of X".

It may also be that each item is handled by a different department, and so the information requirements have simply been given to the developers to include.

From a UX perspective, it is best to ask for as little information as possible, but UX needs have to always be balanced against other business needs.

  • well I assume they have good reason since they are a serious company and are using "clicktale". Maybe they assume, or know that everybody downloads the trial firs, then downloads white papers. Feb 13, 2013 at 15:03
  • @user1721135 Not all business decisions have a good reason. I wish that weren't the case though.
    – JohnGB
    Feb 13, 2013 at 15:10
  • that is true ofc even in big companies. however since the website im speaking of usually knows its shit, and as i said uses advanced user monitoring, i assume there must be a reason for this. granted it probably wouldnt make a huge difference if they had the same fields on each form. Feb 13, 2013 at 20:12

For anyone interested I found out what this is all about. Turns out this is called progressive profiling in marketing and it's a way to ask a prospect lots of questions without the need to stick them all on a single form.




Edit: Does going through all this just to have 1-2 less fields even make sense?

It seems so:


This study suggests 1 less field = 1% more conversions.

  • This is a really interesting concept, I'm not sure if it's smart and user friendly, or devious and cunning!
    – JonW
    Feb 14, 2013 at 0:01
  • Yeah its pretty cool. I just wonder if it makes any sense doing all this just so your forms can be 1-2 fields shorter. Have to do some more research, maybe there is data on it. Feb 14, 2013 at 0:06

This strategy looks like a reverse-common-sense implementation. The most guarded of my personal information is my phone number, followed by email, and then anything else from the list.

If I had to do this, I'd tag the most valuable asset with direct contact information of the person downloading it, not the other way around.

  • all forms have phone number and email. the ebook has one more field in addition, the white paper download 2 more. Feb 13, 2013 at 11:18
  • @user1721135, thanks for coming back to tell us what was going on. Seems like a good lead gen method, to be used with care.
    – Adnan Khan
    Feb 14, 2013 at 1:42

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