Website visitors typically arrive with the intent to research, compare, purchase or make contact with the brand for one reason or another. For many, the end result will be completing a web form. With forms playing such an important role in the user experience (and website business goals), it’s vital you spend ample time studying form performance and running optimization tests. 

By studying a form analytics report, you’ll be able to see a quantitative representation of user behavior and, ultimately, be set up to efficiently decrease cart abandonment, improve the user experience and drive more revenue.

Defined: Form Analytics 

Form analytics go beyond the traditional metric of form conversion rate to create a clearer picture of what’s actually happening on the page. This collection of data allows you to more quickly diagnose issues and improve form performance.

Key form metrics

As is with any sort of performance measurement, setting a benchmark and getting ample data is necessary before making decisions. With forms, some trends reverse over time because of variables like new traffic sources or business seasonality.

Remember, everything you do in the customer experience is leading up to the moment of form conversion. The goal is creating a form that is intuitive, approachable and that delivers on the promise given by surrounding content (more on that later). 

1. Use field order to see how visitors complete your forms. 

Are your form’s fields in a particular order? Did you put what you believe to be the most difficult field last? No matter how you’ve approached field order, your visitors may prefer a different setup. Field Order, as the name implies, is a report that shows you which order the fields are completed.

With this metric, you’ll know if visitors prefer giving you their email address before other pieces of information, or if they follow along with your setup.

2. Track which field causes the most abandonment. 

High levels of form abandonment, just like overall cart abandonment, can cause massive issues for online businesses. An abandonment report shows you which field the visitor was last completing prior to leaving the page. 

Many times, this will highlight a difficult field (information they need to look up or something they’re unclear on), something they’re not ready to provide (too personal, not sure of their options) or simply form fatigue. With form fatigue, a user reaches a point where the benefit of completing the form is outweighed by the remaining effort.

3. See how long it takes visitors to finish your forms. 

No matter how exciting your product or service is, the process of filling out a form is not something the average visitor loves doing. A form submission time report shows two things. First, it will show you how long visitors are on your page prior to starting the form. Second, it will show how long the average visitor takes to complete each field.

Ideally, a visitor takes the time to read surrounding content and is fully prepared and educated to complete your form. With this report, you’re looking to see any outliers across different forms and pages. A field that takes too long to complete will lead to increased abandonment.

Form optimization strategies

Is it possible for a form to be enjoyable to complete? That’s the goal. With each optimization effort, you make the customer experience slightly better and, hopefully, make incremental gains in conversion rate. Try out these six proven strategies to optimize your forms and drive more revenue.

1. Test placeholder and description copy. 

The words inside your form fields help visitors understand what they should input. While some are obvious like, “first name” or “email address”, others are not. If you’re asking for a more complex input like “average revenue” or “reason for contacting us”, you may want to test placeholder copy variations.

Depending on your form layout, you may also have titles on top of each form field. This is another area to test. Be sure your field titles align with the placeholder copy so as to create the most intuitive experience possible.

2. Align surrounding content with the form’s value proposition. 

Does your form make sense for the page it’s on? Have you properly described the benefit the visitor will see after they complete the form? A key to increasing form conversions is providing great supporting content. Depending on which type of page you’re using, this could include everything from the page title and body copy to graphics and beyond. It could also be as simple as deploying a form header with a concise and accurate call to action that works well with the button call-to-action.

3. Move your forms above the effective fold. 

The effective fold measures the average scroll depth of visitors on a specific page. This is an important metric to understand because this means 50% of your visitors are not seeing the content below the effective fold. 

Keeping high-priority elements like primary messaging and forms above the effective fold gives you the best chance of increasing conversions. You can also test adding a secondary form below the effective fold. Even if it’s duplicating the first form, you’re adding another potential conversion point on the page. 

4. Consider a multi-step form layout. 

Sometimes forms should be broken into more than one step. This may be helpful for forms with several unique fields including some that require longer responses. 

If your form is performing lead generation duties, you may consider grabbing an easy piece of information like zip code and the rest in a second step. This simple move can increase the visitor’s connection to the process and increase the likelihood of converting the rest of the form.

5. Move difficult fields later in the process. 

As just mentioned, you can break apart your form’s fields into more than one step. Alternatively, you can remove a field altogether. In doing this, you recognize that field’s data as either unnecessary or something you can obtain later in the process. 

An example of this is annual company revenue. Removing this field from an initial sales form and adding it to a sales conversation or later qualification email may make the visitor more likely to complete the form. The goal here is to remove barriers to conversion when they’re not completely necessary.

6. Watch session recordings to see visitors engaging with your forms. 

If you’ve gone through the full list of form analytics and have a hunch or are still unsure of what’s happening, check out session recordings to see visitors on your site. Session recordings act like a DVR and show you the entirety of a site visit. See a visitor go from their initial landing page, use your navigation and site search, add items to cart and either abandon or successfully check out. 

By pairing session recordings with form analytics, you’re able to confidently make decisions with your website’s most important conversion points.

Conclusion 

Imagine if you could convert even 3% more visitors to customers--how much more revenue would you have? Form analytics help you unlock the invaluable data living in the experience surrounding your forms. 

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