Tracking online form usage: Google Analytics vs. Formisimo

Form Optimisation

In case you hadn’t heard, Google is pretty big, and has a pretty awesome analytics tool. It gives you access to a seemingly bottomless pit of data about how visitors interact with your website, where they came from, how they find you… You probably know this already, so I’ll stop.

The reason I mentioned it is because Google Analytics also has some limitations. It’s possible to track some metrics of how visitors interact with the forms on your website but we think we can do better. Let me show you how.

In a rush? Here’s a summary
Google Analytics doesn’t track online forms and checkouts “out of the box”. If you use a developer you can get Google Analytics to track simple actions in online forms (by using GA event tracking). Formisimo is an analytics platform built to track forms, and we track form starters, corrections, conversions, drop-offs and show you real time data.Read on to find out more….
David and Goliath

Formisimo vs. Google. Ish.

Google Analytics for tracking forms

The basics

Anna Lewis from Koozai gives pointers of how you can track how many times a visitor clicks on a submit button on your website. This is the most basic version of form tracking, and this obviously only gives a very limited view on how people are using your form. You’ll have no idea how many people are starting your form, if they are struggling with it, how long they take, and where they choose to abandon your form.

The bit-more-advanced

You can track form abandonment in Google Analytics too. This will tell you which fields people give up on, and give you more data with which you can improve your forms. You may notice for instance that one field is causing a lot of users to run for the hills above all others.

Lunametrics have given a great guide into how to do this, and have provided the script required to make it work, which you have to add to the relevant page on your site. It involves firing an event whenever a users’ cursor exits a form field. Once the script is added to the relevant page, you’ll start to see information in the following format:

Google tracking

You can see the trickle down effect of people gradually stopping to fill out this form as they progress through it. If you’re wondering why total events and unique events are different, Jim Gianoglio from Lunametrics explains:

‘This is because the event is fired every time a user’s cursor exits the field. So if someone fills out their email, then password, then goes back to the email field to change it, then goes on from there, the email field would have 2 total events, but only one unique event.’

Lunametrics also gives help in the comments about how you can further manipulate this data to give you more insight, but each time it involves more dirty work from you.

Update: Google hasn’t yet added in form tracking to GA, but it has expanded it’s e-commerce tracking. It’s now easier to see how your website visitors move from sections of your checkout (for example, from Step 1 to Step 2). It doesn’t help you understand progression through the fields in your checkout

Formisimo’s form tracking

The set up process for Formisimo is similar to Google’s and simple – you get given a bit of code that you have to add to the page where your form appears, and also a small bit of code that tracks successful submissions, placed on the confirmation page. In the set up process, you choose which form you’d like to track (as there may be several on a single page) and then you’re off.

What information do you get?

Here are some of the key metrics Formisimo reports on:

Visits compared to form starters

Depending on the type of form you have on your page, this can be a useful stat to give you an indication of how prominent or eye catching your form is. Your contact form for instance may be too small, or too far down the page for visitors to see it and choose to start filling it in. For pages where the form takes up most of the page, this percentage will be high.

Form starters compared to conversions

This gives a fantastic overview of how good your form is at actually doing its job – collecting information at a cost (time, key strokes and brain usage) that visitors are willing to pay. The higher this stat, the better. For most users, this may be a lot lower than they want it to be. If it is a cliff off which visitors plummet, you’ll need to make changes.

Drop offs aka visitors who leave before completing the form

A hugely important metric, and  linked closely to comparing starters to conversions. Drop offs as a proportion of form starters will give you the clearest indication that there could be some serious issues with your form. Formisimo also gives you a breakdown of which fields are responsible for those drop offs, and gives both absolute number and percentages of starters as well as the percentage of total drop offs.

Drop offs

Completion times

How long are people taking to complete your form? Given that a form is always an obstacle to some greater good, this is an important measure of how much of an inconvenience your form is. You should always aim to decrease this figure, and Formisimo allows you to track completion times over time. You can also view the amount of time people spend in individual fields, so you can see if you have a field that you would think would be simple but is taking a disproportionate amount of time to complete.

Fields completed before submission

If you have any optional fields in your form, this will be of interest. If you have 7 fields and 2 of them are optional, how many people are bothering to complete them? If a tiny fraction complete the optional fields, you may want to question why they are there in the first place. Those fields may simply be holding people up as they think about filling it in, consider it, and decide not to fill it in.

Corrections

This measures how often users change the information they enter into a form field. If a relatively simple field is being corrected, it may be an indication that you require the information to be entered in a certain way or format that is not clear to the user.

Health Scores

These are our way of letting you know how your form is doing is comparison to your own website, as well as industry and worldwide forms. The health score, displayed using the universally useful traffic light system, lets you see instantly if there is a problem with that particular field.

Cyanide

We’re like a doctor, but for forms, and more like a medical doctor than Dr. Seuss.

Separate to these features is our reactions engine. We’ve written a blog on how it works , but in short it allows you to recognise when visitors are struggling to complete your form, and lets you interact with them and in turn reduce drop off rates.

And that’s the tour…

There are many more metrics and features, but these give you some indication of how much more information you can get from Formisimo’s tracking. Google Analytics will suffice if you only want to most basic of information, as it is not designed specifically with forms in mind. We’ve made Formisimo with forms and forms alone in mind.

P.S.

The above post was written while Formisimo was still in Beta. Two years on the tool has gotten bigger and better. To see what you could do with Formisimo, request a demo.

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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