Form Analytics: Measuring Field Abandonment

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Measuring form abandonment at field level is extremely useful for conversion rate optimisation. Not only can form analysis give you data on conversions and drop offs but you’ll have information on user behaviour in each field of the form.

By measuring field abandonment you get a greater depth of insight into exactly why users are leaving your form. And there-in lies the power of field-level form analytics.

Increase your conversions

Making changes that reduce friction in your form will stem drop offs caused by technical issues and a frustrating user experience. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to reduce data entry and ease tasks for your users. Your reward will be increased conversions and happier users.

Drilling down to field level

With better analytics you can connect the dots between time spent in a field, the number of times users made changes to their entries and the tendency to drop off at that point.

Starting a form shows intent so it’s important to know how many people saw your form, started filling it out, and completed it. Without any one of these three metrics we lose a piece of the puzzle.

Overview report showing starters and conversions

Formisimo overview report

Then you can start examining user behaviour in each field e.g. which fields do users spend the most time in and which fields have the most drop offs.

Formisimo report on form fields and drop off percentages

Drop off percentage of form fields

Find our why are visitors leaving your form

Your reports are unique to your form so you need to look carefully at your own form to give context to field abandonment aka drop offs. The reason for drop offs at the phone number field in your form could be quite different to the reason in another web form.

Measuring field abandonment in a signup form

Let’s look at an example of a form. This isn’t real data but illustrates the type of dropoffs that occur. Imagine 400 people viewed the form in a day and 160 engaged with it.

A sign up form with drop offs marked at different form fields

Drop offs in a sign up form

In total, 73 people completed the form, giving a conversion rate of 5.4%. The reasons for field abandonment could be:

  • The length of the form, backed up by the number of users who dropped off before even starting the form. Users suffer easily from ‘form fatigue’, dropping off throughout the form when they get tired of answering a lot of questions.
  • Password fields take additional effort for the user. First they have to think of a new password that adheres to your restrictions, then type it in a field that masks the characters and finally retype if you ask them to. By changing the password field we increased conversions on our own form by 55%.
  • Date of birth and gender seem like marketing questions. Users are becoming savvy to this and are more reluctant to share personal details. Get more advice on how to gather marketing information without creating a negative user experience in 5 Ways to Optimise Data Collection and User Experience.
  • Users don’t want to give their phone number unless they see the benefit to them. In the form above it says ‘Your phone number helps us keep your account secure’ which seems like a good reason. However, they don’t promise not to use it for marketing purposes, which could cause some users to abandon the form.
  • CAPTCHA is a common cause of hesitation and drop offs. CAPTCHA are often incompatible with assistive technology, are hard for people with low vision to read and are generally a pain for all users. Do more work on your end and save your users the hassle of completing a CAPTCHA.
  • Drop offs at the end of the form can occur due to lack of instant validation in the form i.e. data isn’t validated as it’s input, only once the user tries to submit it. Rather than correct errors in the form lots of users will just leave.
  • You should also look at the field directly above your submit button. Be critical, it could be the reason for abandoning so close to completing the form. Be critical of your call to action and the wording of your terms and conditions message- could they be better?

The context around form fields will help you understand why users behave the way they do in your form.

Ecommerce checkout forms

Checkout forms have many more elements to them such as payment processes, delivery addresses and local store lookup. They also tend to be laid out over multiple pages or in multiple sections on a single page.

Shopping cart abandonment rate statistics show that unexpected costs and being forced to create an account cause the highest number of drop offs.

Trouble entering card details

A report by VWO revealed card security worries account for an average of 16% of all abandoned shopping carts. The process of entering card details can cause stress and anxiety for users. It’s common to see long ‘time in field’ reports for card payment forms, which could indicate users haven’t got their card out and ready to copy. Shoppers on the move are under additional time pressures and are likely to feel less secure in public places and over mobile networks.

The report below shows fields in the form with the most number of corrections, many of which are related to card payments e.g. cardholder’s name (19%), card number (13%) and the first line of the cardholder’s address (10%).

Circular chart showing percentage of corrections by fields

Formisimo Total number of corrections report

This could indicate that the form field labels are causing confusion for users. To reduce friction at this point learn more in our blog post Card Payment Forms: User Friendly Design.

Voucher codes lead shoppers away

Voucher code fields act like an alert to shoppers that there might be a voucher code available somewhere, which isn’t always the case. While they search for a code there’s a great risk of drop off; shoppers can get distracted, cause the checkout to time out or find an alternative product at a lower cost.

VWO’s report on cart abandonment says 8% of shoppers abandon their baskets if they can’t find a voucher code.

Look out for hesitation and/or drop offs around this field if you have one in your checkout. Find out about alternative ways to introduce discounts in The Perils of Voucher Codes.

Visit the blog for teardowns of real ecommerce checkouts.

Tracking form events with Google Analytics

Do a Google search for ‘form tracking’ or ‘field abandonment’ and you’ll find a lot of articles on how to track your forms with Google Analytics (GA). Depending on how much hacking you do, these techniques can go some way to revealing more about what’s happening in your web forms.

In most cases, you can manipulate GA to track form interactions down to the level of field name and number of ‘events’, i.e. the number of times the cursor leaves that field. Pretty limited for the amount of work required on your part.

Simo Ahava has an extensive guide to form tracking with google tag manager. The long guide includes instructions for setting up event listening for different types of form elements. What it doesn’t cover is how to get insight into dropoffs.

One reason for the limited amount of information you get out of GA is that Google is a huge resource. The other reason is “tracking forms is pretty darn difficult” and so analytics of that depth is hard to achieve in GA. Dedicated form analytics are easier to set up and tell you more about form abandonment.

Find out more about the differences between Google Analytics and Formisimo.

Informed decision-making

Data is the foundation of informed decision making.

Craig Sullivan, "If you don't know the  lost opportunity you won't know how to shift the metric."

“If you don’t know what the lost opportunity is then you won’t know how to shift that metric or consumer behaviour”, Craig Sullivan, Optimal Visit.

Field abandonment reports can be backed by session replays tools like Inspectlet. If you see one field experiencing a high number of drop offs but you’re not sure why watching a handful of users as they fill out your form could clarify the issue.

Our clients have confirmed they see the same problems in user testing that are highlighted in their form analytics. Armed with the evidence of problems with the form they’re able to fix them and prevent a leaky funnel.

See what measuring your form will reveal with a free trial of Formisimo.

image representing average form conversion rate uplift from using Formisimo From 0% to 24% Form Conversion Uplift Get the insight that increased form conversions by 24% (and rising)
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