Product Notice: Eloqua Blind Form Submit URL Shortening [Jan 2022]
REMINDER: Starting January 24th, 2022, this feature will be enabled for all customers. See below for additional details. Previous updates at the bottom of this document.
Starting June 15, 2021, the implementation of shortening blind form submit (BFS) URLs and embedding that URL in emails will be rolled out to help mask any PII (personally identifiable information) that might be contained in the URL. While this functionality is generally available for all clients, you must request to have it enabled for your specific Eloqua environment(s).
With the new functionality, when saving an email with a blind form submit (BFS) link, a BFS entry can now be created in the database and the URL will be shortened help mask any PII that might be contained in the URL. While this functionality is generally available, you must request to have it enabled for your Eloqua environment if you’d like to take advantage of it.
Oracle recommends that you consider where/how you currently use BFS URL links elsewhere in your instance and test any workflows you have setup currently (i.e. re-direct links) prior to requesting to have the new BFS URL shortening functionality enabled.
To have it enabled, please contact Oracle Cloud Support. Once enabled, you can choose to either:
- Manually resave your emails to have the BFS URL shortened, or
- Request to have Oracle programmatically to shorten existing URLs on your behalf.
Note: If you choose to have the programmatic re-saving done behind the scenes, you may notice emails with BFS URLs showing up as "Recently Modified".
Without the new BFS URL enhancement, when a blind form submit is embedded in an email, the URL specified the F2 endpoint which required an enumeration of all form parameters and their values. The new implementation of a blind form submit endpoint (BFS), replaces this enumeration/listing of all parameters with a URL shortened approach, where a unique key is added instead. Using this unique key prevents the possibility of PII information being disclosed through enumeration of parameter values.
- Starting June 29, 2021, you can request to the BFS URL shortening changes enabled for your Eloqua environment.
- Starting January 24th, 2022, this feature will be enabled for all customers. Once enabled, the URL shortening feature will be applied to all new BFS links created and to any existing links contained in an email, after re-saving the email. We recommend that you enable this feature at your earliest convenience, to help mask any PII contained in BFS URLs and test any workflows that you currently have setup (i.e. redirect links. If you are relying on the query string parameter to construct the final redirect URL, with the BFS shortening removing PII, some of those parameters will not be available anymore).
Although this functionality is optionally available, Oracle highly recommends that all customers adopt this functionality at the earliest possible opportunity, even if you do not currently use blind form submit (BFS) URLs.
If you currently use blind form submit (BFS) URLs and embed those URLs and are concerned that there might be PII (personally identifiable information) contained in the URL, Oracle recommends that you consider where/how you currently use BFS URL links elsewhere in your instance and test any workflows you have setup currently (i.e. re-direct links) prior to requesting to have the new BFS URL shortening functionality enabled.
- You can learn more about blind form submits in Eloqua's Help Center and Support Knowledge Base
If you have questions, please feel free to reply to this post, or contact our Oracle Cloud Support team.
Q: If I choose to have my emails automatically re-saved, how can I see what emails were updated as part of this process?
A: Emails that were re-saved can be viewed in ‘Recently Modified’ or ‘All files’ in Emails. In ‘All Files’ you can open the search filters and select ‘Modified’ and ‘After’ and select a date (i.e. the date of the release that applies to your pod), emails that were re-saved will display Mgr[SiteName] in the ‘Last Modified By’ column.
Update - June 29, 2021: While we had communicated that starting June 15, 2021, existing emails with BFS links would be resaved programmatically to shorten existing URLs, we are now making this functionality optionally available and as such are not automatically resaving emails. The product notice below has been updated to reflect these changes.
Group Product Manager, CX - Marketing: Eloqua
Hi @JodyMooney-Oracle , we were actually caught by surprise with this functionality release yesterday. We thought, initialy, there was something(s) wrong with our blind form configuration. Has this change been announced somewhere up front?
Related to the change, I was wondering if the 'redirect to web page' processing step - 'use a picklist to select URL' is still working as expected? We are facing issues ending up on a blank page. We have had no issues with this before yesterday. If I just point to a eloqua landing page it works, If I point to an external page (let say www.google.com) it does not work. Eloqua automatically adds 'https://' to the external URL. This leads to a default form redirect error page. If I omit that part of the url and start with www. the form works, but again a blank page shows (and not www.google.com). The URL's we are testing with are allowlisted within the Form Processing security settings.
MikePost edited by Mike de Wildt on
@Mike de Wildt , this functionality was put into place only to help our customers with masking any PII (personally identifiable information) contained in the URL within emails only. There will be no impact to current URLs, even prior to Eloqua re-saving the existing URLs. We are re-saving the existing URLs to prevent our customers from having to do this manually, new URLs created will be supported by this functionality upon saving of the email. If you are experiencing any issues with the redirect to web page processing step, please open an SR so support and look into it further.
Oracle Eloqua Product Management
Thanks Scott, will do so. Best
@JodyMooney-Oracle @Scott R. Lang -Oracle We've noted that UTMs do not appear on our shortened links when we inspect the link URL in the sent email, nor do they appear on the link. UTMs appear on all other on 'regular' links within our emails.
Is there a chance that the back-end 'find, shorten and replace' process is occurring independently of whatever process inserts UTMs and they are clashing / conflicting?
Is this is a system issue, or does it mean that we now have to code UTMs into the blind form URLs?
@Greg_W , can you share more about your use case? I'm curious the reason for adding these UTM parameters to a link for external tracking of a form submission endpoint.
Eloqua does not support automatically injecting urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters (for 3rd party tracking) into URLs during email send time. These parameters can be added manually to the URL within the email editors.
Manually added parameters will not be visible in the URL, as part of the URL shortening approach to mask PII. These parameters are stored in the database at email save time and referenced with the unique key when an end user clicks on the URL.
It's all about attribution - we attribute a form submission to the email via the UTM. We have external tracking enabled as per: https://docs.oracle.com/en/cloud/saas/marketing/eloqua-user/Help/Emails/Tasks/AddingTrackingCode.htm which appends utm_campaign=AssetName&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua to our links.
If this was a 'tradition' link to a page that hosted a form the UTMs would be appended to the link in Eloqua, and when clicked appear in the destination browser address bar as part of that URL, then be captured and passed back in the form submission to Eloqua.
However - as we are skipping the 'page' bit there are no UTMs 'present' to capture and insert into the form submission. Result - a form submisson that we cannot track back to the email / campaign.
It sounds like the link shortning process therefor is not capturing and storing these UTMs - but should as we have enabled third party tracking?
@Greg_W , appreciate the additional information. the parameters are added to 'regular' links as you mentioned, they are not added to BFS links. As mentioned you could add them manually to the URL, they would not appear in the URL (since these are shortened to mask PII), but they are are stored in the database at email save time and referenced with the unique key when an end user clicks on the URL.
If you would like to investigate this further, can you please open an SR with Support and provide some example assets (e.g. links) so the team can provide any additional details.
@Scott R. Lang -Oracle Thanks, we'll do a little testing with manual inclusion and 'see what happens'. Will open an SR based on our findings from there.