Solutions to abandonment problems don’t just fall from the sky. Businesses have to gather intel to discover what the patterns are, why abandonment is occurring, and what can be done to remedy it.
To that end, let’s talk about the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to form analytics and the tools and methodologies that help measure them.
KPIs For Form Optimization
Responser's funnel analytics shown above.
Key performance indicators is a measurable variable that determines whether a company is achieving its business objectives.
Exposure KPIs show how new potential clients are reaching your forms to begin with. Knowing where visitors come from goes a long way to tailoring the experience to their needs.
- Traffic. How many people are viewing the form initially, whether they choose to interact with it or not? Businesses boost this figure by advertising the form over email, social media, or on the company website.
- Sources of visitors. Visitors reach your form from a variety of places, including Facebook posts and Google searches. Knowing this KPI helps you allocate more resources to the channels that give you the most results.
- Devices used. Just as important as where traffic is coming from is what devices are being used to access your site and forms. If one category (say, the iPad) is performing badly, then there’s your sign to start focusing on it.
Form Engagement Rates
You have the people on your site at this point. Now it’s your form’s turn to keep them there and have them provide the information you want. Whether it’s a form completion or an abandon, it’s important to track how the interaction goes to find out how you can improve the experience.
- Form Completions. What percentage of those people end up finishing the form? You should never expect the completion rate to be perfect ever, as people have their own reasons as to why they choose to abandon. However, completed forms represent leads who are far into the sales funnel. They were willing to put in the effort to fill out the form and are likely to complete a transaction with you.
- Form Abandons. Anybody who partially completed or stopped finishing a form can be considered an abandonment. Incomplete forms are known as “entries.”
- Form Interactions. How long does it take to fill out your form, and how long do visitors stay on the page before clicking off? Hesitation time also plays a role here: how long does it take for a user to type the first character in a field on average? Long hesitation times mean that a certain question may be confusing or require complicated information to fetch.
Every form aims to encourage a user to do a certain action, whether it’s buying a new product or subscribing to a newsletter. Checking the performance of these objectives is part of form analytics.
- Subscription opt-in. Whether it’s the main objective of your form or a secondary option on top of an order, email opt-in rates should be tracked to see whether your newsletter and customer communication goals are being met.
- Referrals. Use the form as an opportunity to ask for referrals and monitor how many you receive as a result. SoftwareAdvice.com released a survey where 78% of marketers thought that referrals generated “good” or “excellent” leads.
- New sales. One KPI not to be missed is the average order value (AOV), the usual amount of spending for each order through your form. Knowing this information can help you plan out shipping costs, pricing, volume discounts, and cross-selling opportunities.
Form Performance KPIs matter most at the end of the day. Are your forms performing up to par?
- Problematic fields. Which questions or prompts are getting ignored the most? Which ones require a lot of correcting and editing before a successful submission? Gather KPIs based on each field to find out which ones need optimization.
- Return on investment. Optimization isn’t a single task on a “to do” list. It’s a project or program that takes quite a bit of your attention as a manager or web designer. You want to ensure that the resources you’re putting in are giving you a proper return.
- How you look in context. How does your form compare to those of other businesses in your field? Abandonment rates vary immensely based on industry; insurance, for example, requires a lot of legal agreements and personal information that can drive up friction in the customer journey. Give yourself a realistic benchmark to work with.
To give some examples of how form type and industry impact conversion rates, consider that recruitment, education, healthcare, and legal and municipal services have considerably higher conversion rates than those of the telecom, travel, property, or eCommerce industries.
Also, application forms and order enquiries typically have higher conversion rates than a purchase, contact, or registration form.
Tools and Methodologies For Form Optimization
You know which key performance indicators to look at, but what specific tools give you intel on them?
Heatmaps and Clickmaps
Heatmaps and clickmaps are known as “qualitative analytical tools” since they don’t report exact numbers per se as another metric like bounce rate would. Heatmaps visually represent where a visitor’s cursor is going on the page. The longer the cursor stays in a location, the more attention the user is giving to that area.
Heatmaps will tell you whether certain call-to-action buttons and attention-grabbing elements are doing their jobs. It will also let you know if certain portions are also distracting to the audience and bringing attention away from where you want it.
Clickmaps similarly provide real-time data into where users are clicking, and they give you the same type of information for buttons and links.
A more advanced version of these maps is actual session recordings, where the cursor movement and actions are recorded in real time. You won’t always have access to this information, but, if you do, it can be invaluable in showing off how the customer journey works on your form.
Tracking site performance shouldn’t end with just one iteration of the form. As we’ve mentioned in the A/B testing discussion, you want to compare conversion statistics and engagement metrics over a period of time. As you make optimizations to the form, monitor how well each change is working in the field.
A form funnel report visualizes for you the ratio of visitors who interact with the form, abandon it prematurely, and successfully complete it while hitting the submit button. This type of graph can shed some light on specific reasons why users are dropping off at certain points.
Market segmentation is already practiced by major retailers with excellent results. McKinsey confirmed that the use of segmentation resulted in up to a 5% increase in sales for one retailer, and Epsilon shows us that the ability to personalize marketing made 80% of customers more interested in purchasing.
It’s important to look at engagement statistics in the proper context. Place your visitors into groups, such as:
- Method of access. What Internet browser is being used? If your form performs poorly on Safari, Edge, or Firefox, then looking at the analytics will tell you so. Likewise, check whether certain devices like mobile smartphones or desktops are abandoned more often.
- Location and demographic. The visitors themselves may come from different geographic locations or demographics like age, income bracket, and gender. Form analytics determine whether these factors impact your form conversion rates.
- Source of traffic. Someone getting to your form through a Google search will probably act differently than someone who came from a friend’s referral.
- Order contents. eCommerce forms made for completing transactions can also be an important source of data. You might find that adapting the customer journey to a certain product group is the way to go.
Look at whether there’s a pattern for a specific segment, and, if so, what conclusions you can draw from the findings.
Best Practices Of Form Optimization
Here are a few miscellaneous tips that can get your business’s web design tailored towards form optimization.
- Align left. Many of us are used to reading from left to right, as we’ve been taught to read this way. Align all text with the left side of the screen to help reduce fatigue when reading through the form.
- Avoid long drop-down menus. No one wants to scroll a mile to answer a single question or hunt for a tiny entry in a tower of options. Drop-downs are actually a leading cause of abandonment according to many studies. Our recommended alternatives include radio buttons, sliders for answers with a wide range of possible values, and even straight text boxes.
- Start with the easy questions. A smooth first impression is important. Once you have someone hooked on your page, then the harder questions later won’t be nearly as big a deterrent.
- Focus on accessibility. Large buttons and easy-to-read fonts should be an obvious choice, but remember that you can also check for color blindness support in your color palettes. It’s a small consideration that can significantly help someone.
You aren’t alone in your form analytics efforts. In fact, businesses today rely so heavily on online surveys, newsletters, and opt-ins that tools and software are now available on the market to help optimize these page elements.
Form Analytics: Using Tools To Your Advantage
Don’t worry. There are, in fact, business services out there that directly address form analytics. Rather than acting as just a data collection platform for generating statistics, these services go beyond by offering a holistic evaluation of your form’s performance and crafting actionable insights into what can be done to boost conversions.
For instance, you can track new leads throughout the sales cycle, from the initial visit to the completion of the form. Abandoned and recovered leads are tracked as well, giving you plenty of data to base your business decisions on.
But with so many services on the market, how do you know which one has the feature set and price that’s right for your organization and its circumstances? The factors to consider are:
- What you want to accomplish with your forms. Almost all companies ultimately want to drive sales, but some might use the form as a way to collect contacts with potential leads. Others have a form that acts as a checkout for a transaction.
- The types of forms you will use. It’s not uncommon for a company to have multiple, distinct forms on its website. If that sounds like you, choose a service that can focus on all the types you need.
- Return on investment. Any quality business tool or platform will come with a price tag, but it’s almost always worth the money. If a few small changes can have a profound impact on your conversion rates and sales, then why not?
Simplify Form Analytics With Responser’s Powerful Form Data
Responser's Lead Analytic Dashboard shown above
Google Analytics may be the most popular and well-known form analytics platform out there since it’s free and certainly an excellent resource, but don’t rely on it exclusively. GA simply gives you the facts and figures without giving you the resources to turn those reports into action.
More advanced platforms like Responser are an attractive investment for optimizing your forms and getting more from your visitors and potential clients. Not only will you have more leads interact with your business, but you can also filter out the most high quality ones to give your attention to.
Remember that generating leads is expensive. You might pay for PPC traffic through Google Ads, but if those users bounce off while filling out your form, that’s lost money. Stop trying to guess your way to victory and take advantage of the processes and practices we’ve talked about in this article through a heavy-duty form analytics platform.