4 Clever Web Form Hacks to Unlock Hidden Customer Data

Are you maximizing the information you can gather from your customers?  With a little help, you can increase the amount of data you discover when visitors submit forms on your website. In this article, we will reveal hidden customer data that will help you:

  1. Detect Secret Spammers
  2. Discover Visitor Location
  3. Keep Private Notes
  4. Reveal What Works

Let’s get started!

Note: The tips in this tutorial assume you’ve already got your form created, and are familiar with the WPForms interface. If you’re just getting started with WPForms, here’s a tutorial on creating a simple contact form first.

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1. Detect Secret Spammers

Preventing spam and safeguarding your site’s security is very important when accepting form entries on your website.

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You can keep your site safer by recording a little bit of extra data about your users.

Did you know that each computer on the internet contains a unique address, referred to as an IP Address? When you discover which IP Address is sending spam to your site, you can block that address from accessing your site entirely.

To track the IP Addresses that are using your form, go to Settings » Notifications within the form editor.

Next to the Message field, click Show Smart Tags and click on User IP Address to add the Smart Tag {user_ip} to the message.

user ip address smart tag

When you receive your email notification, you’ll see what the user’s IP Address is.

Want to block that IP address from accessing your site?

One way to do this is to go to your webhost company and ask for support in blocking that offending address from accessing your site. Another way to block an address is to use a security plugin such as Sucuri to blacklist an IP Address. Here’s more information about how Sucuri blocks WordPress attacks.

Still collecting data using Google Forms? You don’t have to! Check out this list of the best Google Forms alternatives.

2. Discover Visitor Location

To see where your visitors were located when they submitted their form entry, go to WPForms » Entries and select View.

Smart Tag Entries

Then scroll down to the end of the form entry to view the user’s geolocation.

WPForms Geolocation

Knowing where customers are located can be useful for providing relevant support.

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3. Keep Private Notes

If you’ve ever wanted to make a personal note to help you remember important details later about your customers, we’ve got you covered.

Go to WPForms » Entries and view a specific form entry. Scroll halfway down the page and select Add Note.

add a note in WPForms

These notes can include details of your meetings, reminders for birthdays, and any other key details of your customer relationship.

Throwing a party for someone? Be sure to read our post on the how to make an online RSVP for a birthday party on your WordPress website.

4. Reveal What Works

Have you ever wanted to know how a person reached your site and submitted a form?  With a smart tag, you can easily track which link a user clicked on to get to your site.

For example, if a user visited your website by clicking on a special tracking link such as yoursite.com/page/?source=facebook, you know that they clicked on a link you shared on Facebook.

To set this up, you can add a hidden field to your form.

how to add a hidden field to a form

In our example, we named the form field source. Click on the field from the right-hand preview panel to access the field options, as seen in the screenshot below.

Then in the default value area, choose the smart tag “Query String Variable”.

Next, you’ll need to add the name of the form field that you want to display.

query string variable

After this, you’ll want to include the information from this field in your notification email. Go to Settings » Notifications.  From there, select the message body on the right side preview panel.

Click on Show Smart Tags in the top right of the message box.  Since we named the hidden field “source earlier, that is the label that you are looking for.  It will add some code to your notification that looks like {field_id=" "} with a different number depending upon other fields in your form.

Add hidden field source smart tag

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Next, publish the form on a post / page so visitors can find it.

The final step for this is to share the link to the page that contains this form. For each platform you share the link on (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you’ll want to add the source to the end of the link, so WPForms can recognize it.

Here’s how you would create each link when shared to different places:

  • Facebook: yoursite.com/page/?source=facebook
  • Twitter: yoursite.com/page/?source=twitter
  • Email Newsletter: yoursite.com/page/?source=newsletter

You can change the source (facebook, twitter, newsletter) to whatever text you want.

When the user visits your website, the hidden field will not display in the form.  Here’s how it looks in our example form:

Hidden field doesn't display

The resulting email will look like this:

smart tag form email notification

Want to add an icon with extra info to a form field? Head over to our tutorial on how to add Tooltips in WordPress forms.

Other Available Smart Tags

Want to try out more advanced features? Use any of these available smart tags in your forms:

  • {admin_email}
  • {author_id}
  • {author_display}
  • {author_email}
  • {entry_id}
  • {form_id}
  • {form_name}
  • {page_title}
  • {page_url}
  • {page_id}
  • {date format=”m/d/Y”}
  • {query_var key=””}
  • {user_ip}
  • {entry_geolocation}
  • {user_id}
  • {user_display}
  • {user_email}
  • {url_referer}
  • {url_login}
  • {url_logout}
  • {url_register}
  • {url_lost_password}

In Conclusion

We hope this article helped you unlock hidden customer data that will give you the insights you need to grow your business.

Looking for more ways to expand what your WordPress form can do? You might also want to check out our guide on How to Auto-Populate Fields in WordPress Forms.

What are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms plugin today.

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  1. How can I view entries from WPforms on my web site before Zaping them to QB?
    We usually call the applicant before approving.
    Can we do this without an upgrade. We are a micro business.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Patrice,

      We don’t currently have an approval option before an entry is accepted. However, it may be possible to achieve something similar if you’re willing to consider an alternate approach (for example, possibly you could first ask users to register to your site and then, if approved, allow them to view content/additional form(s) only viewable for logged in users).

      If you’d like help brainstorming possible ideas, please get in touch with our team and we’d be happy to discuss this further to see if WPForms could be a good fit.

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. WP Forms stopped working less than a month after installing. I’ve tried everything and still issue after issue….endless abandoned forms which may or may not be a result of non-stop captcha loops I discovered when I filled out a form myself, not receiving notifications…in fact, not receiving ANYTHING at all. I emailed support and haven’t heard a word from anyone. I’ll be deleting this form as soon as I can find a replacement.

    1. Hi Bruce,

      I’m sorry that you didn’t receive our support reply! I took a look, and our team replied 11 minutes after your ticket came in. I just asked our support team to resend that email, so hopefully that one gets to you successfully!

      If it doesn’t come through, though, could you please try emailing us (support@wpforms.com) through a different email address? It’s possible that this email address is filtering out our replies for some reason.


  3. If a form is available to registered and logged-in wordpress users/members, is there a way to automatically capture information of the user? Such as email or username for the account?

    Thanks for any help!

    1. Hey Juan,

      Thanks for reaching out. By default forms are typically viewable to all users. However, with our handy Form Locker addon you can restrict forms to only be available to logged in users (and a bunch of other neat permission controls as well).

      As far as capturing user information, you can use our Smart Tags to prefill fields if the user filling out the field is logged in. For example, you may have an email and name field that you could have pre-populate with the user’s information if they are logged in when they fill out the form. We have a great doc that outlines all the cool stuff you can do with Smart Tags here https://wpforms.com/docs/how-to-use-smart-tags-in-wpforms/

      Hope that helps 🙂

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