The State of Form Abandonment: Mitigating the Major Causes of Unfulfilled Forms

Web form abandonment is an issue that affects multiple industries and sectors—and it still happens.

Team Responser
August 11, 2021
Last Updated
December 13, 2021
Abandoned Forms

Web form abandonment is an issue that affects multiple industries and sectors—and it still happens far more frequently than it should. 

In a 2018 survey by The Manifest, 81% of people indicated that they had recently abandoned at least one web form. It also revealed over 67% of people will, upon abandoning a form, never return. 

Worse still is the fact that on average only 2.35% of leads convert after clicking through to a landing page, and the highest-performing pages only have a conversion rate of 11.45%.

What does that mean for you? Simply put: only a fraction of your audience is accessing your web forms. 

But in industries where web forms are a key part of your lead generation strategy, you want those forms to convert as many leads as possible—which means drilling down to the core reasons people abandon web forms in the first place.

Read on to learn more about web form abandonment, how you can optimize it, and other relevant tips that can transform the way you approach lead generation.

What Causes Web Form Abandonment? 

The reasons for abandoning a form are as varied as the reasons for sending out forms in the first place. For instance, respondents to The Manifest's survey gave the following reasons for abandoning online forms: 

  • Security concerns (29%) 
  • Length (27%) 
  • Advertising/upselling (11%)
  • Unnecessary questions (10%)

A 2020 study conducted by European digital identity solutions provider Signicat further validates the above. In a survey of 4000 consumers across the United Kingdom and European Union, it found that on average, 63% of people abandoned their digital banking applications. Although many did so because they changed their mind, the other leading reasons were length, confusing language, lack of digital-only options, or requiring too much personal data. 

Performance is another likely candidate for form abandonment. A load time delay of only a few seconds, for instance, can result in a page abandonment rate of up to 87%—it follows that this figure applies equally to forms. Even the most dedicated lead is likely to abandon your form if they encounter a usability issue that interrupts the process in some way. 

Statistics on cart abandonment—an issue often discussed in the same breath as form abandonment—can provide us with one final insight. 87% of shoppers will abandon their cart if the checkout process is too complicated. It makes sense to assume, then, that an overly-complex form completion process could have a similar impact on conversions.  

Reducing Web Form Abandonment For Your Business: A Step-By-Step Guide

So, to recap, the core causes of form abandonment are as follows: 

  • A lack of trust (security issues, information requests).
  • A lack of functionality (performance, complexity). 
  • Failure to respect the user's time (length, unnecessary upselling). 

Armed with this knowledge, we can now focus on what needs to be done in order to cut down on abandonment. 

Re-Optimize Your Forms

First and most importantly, shorten your forms as much as possible. Eliminate unnecessary verbiage, and ensure you should only request information that is absolutely necessary for your campaign. If possible, avoid asking leads for their phone number, in particular—58% of people prefer not to provide that information, and requiring it can increase form abandonment by as much as 37%

You'll also want to test your forms extensively, across multiple devices and operating environments. At the minimum, you need to ensure that your forms work seamlessly on both mobile and desktop, with full support for all market-leading web browsers (Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox). Finally, invest in a form analytics tool that will allow you to identify potential bottlenecks and performance issues your testing may have missed, and leverage that tool extensively.  

Rework Your Messaging

You can spend countless hours optimizing your web forms, but none of that effort will matter if people simply don't trust you. 

The problem is that especially in today's landscape, trust is in short supply.  Only 21% of people trust established global brands to keep their personal information safe, for instance. And the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust in both business and business leaders is at an all-time low

If a lead has made it to your web form, it implies that there is at least some degree of trust present, however fragile. Your job is to ensure you don't violate that trust. First and most importantly, remove any upsell attempts from your form.

There will be plenty of time for upselling later, once a lead has expressed that they are open to such. For now, focus on clarity and transparency. Choose your words carefully, but explain in as concise a manner as possible why you're collecting this information. 

Focus on the end goal as you do. But don't just hammer home your goals. Make sure there's something in it for your audience, as well—access to some resource they desire, a free trial, a free tool, and so on. 

Incentives work wonders for survey response rates, so it follows that they could be a valuable means of reducing form abandonment rates as well (as well as sweetening the pot when retargeting). 

To ensure your form is as intuitive as possible, you may also consider highlighting critical elements. And though it may seem counterintuitive, it's worthwhile to split your form into multiple pages or views, something which has been found to improve conversion rates by as much as 87%. Adding a progress bar to said form has the potential to even further ramp up your conversion rate, motivating your leads to follow the form through to completion.

Finally, use HTTPS, and add trust badges where relevant. Show your audience that your website is secure, but don't tell them.  

Save Partially Completed Forms

If a user fails to fill out part of your form, what happens when they try to progress to the next step? 

  • They're gently reminded to fill in the necessary information, which is helpfully highlighted for them. 
  • The form 'reloads' itself, erasing all their progress, and informs them that they need to fill out the missing field. 
  • The form 're-loads,' but their information is saved. 

In case you were wondering, the first option is the best one, the second is the worst. There are few things more frustrating than losing all of one's progress on a form, whether due to accidentally closing a window or failing to complete part of a multi-step process. By ensuring your forms save the data your leads input, you avoid this frustration, while also opening the door for retargeting in the event of form abandonment. 

Draft Compelling Retargeting Emails

By tracking your abandoned forms, you can form a notion of which users are likely to respond to retargeting. From there, you can reach out to them via email. Focus on the benefits of form completion from their perspective, and consider offering an incentive to bring them 'back into the fold.' 

Consider, for instance, that 47% of consumers are willing to sacrifice privacy for a better deal, and the conversion rate for a properly-written retargeted email can be as high as 41%

Why Responser Is the Right Response to Form Abandonment

Whether you need better tracking, user analytics, a retargeting solution, or partial form saving, Responser can help. 

Our all-in-one solution spans the entire sales journey, from lead collection to form optimization. You know what you need to do in order to reduce form abandonment; our remarketing toolkit will help you achieve that through one powerful tool.

Are you interested in exploring how our solution helps companies overcome form abandonment? Book your demo today and start saving your lost leads with Responser.

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