Tracing Forwards

If you have a contact that filled out a form but was not on the DL of the email batch… how do you determine who forwarded that new contact the email?  Eloqua email reports have a metric called “Possible Forwards” but this does not give you who those are.  So here’s a simple trick to capture the original forwarder.

What you’ll need:

  1. An email
  2. A form with pre-population on a landing page linked from the email


What you need to do: 

  1. On the form, insert a hidden field – this is in addition to whatever other fields you have
  2. Pre-populate that hidden field with the email address.
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  3. (Optional) – Add a processing step to write the value captured in the Hidden Field onto the contact record… This will require a new contact field.


Here’s what will happen: 

  1. You send your email the usual way.
  2. Someone opens it, clicks through to the landing page, and fills out the form.
  3. You will see in the Form Submission Data that the value in the field Email Address is the email of the person who submitted the form. On the Hidden Field (which is not accessible to anyone), you will see the email address that the email was sent to.
  4. If someone forwards the email to someone else, say Joe forwards it to Paul who is not a contact in your system, and Paul fills it out – you’ll see on the submission data on the Hidden Field for Paul’s submission the email address of Joe.  This way, you know that Joe forwarded it to Paul.
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How this happened: 

  1. When an email is sent, the links in the email are merged in with a recipient ID.
  2. That recipient ID in the link does not change when Joe forwards the email to Paul.
  3. When Paul clicks on the link, the form on the landing page will be pre-populated with Joe’s information because of Joe’s recipient ID on the link.
  4. So Paul fills out the field he can see on the landing page and submits the form.
  5. However, Paul is unable to change the value in the Hidden Field because he doesn’t even know it’s there.



MikeGarcia’s Chocolate Factory … probably not the best practices – but good enough!