What is Form Analytics?

The comprehensive guide to using a Form Analytics platform

Created by Al Mackin
Online forms are the end-point in the majority of online processes, from buying a product to searching for a job, to applying for a mortgage. This prevalence means that the average user engages with forms on an hourly basis.

A typical online form requires more thought and interaction than the rest of the buying or interest funnel, so although the form may be classed as just a single page in a ten-page buying process the user will spend more time and register more key presses on this page.

In most cases, the highest drop-off point in a funnel is at the stage where you ask for information from the user. The majority of the value that disappears at this stage is not because the user has changed their mind, it's related to them starting and then failing to complete the form. Understanding why users start but don't complete a form is the first step in optimising a form.

The definition of Form Analytics:
Form Analytics is an analytical process that measures how website visitors engage with forms. It can consist of many elements. The aim is to find user experience issues that - when fixed - will allow more users to complete the form successfully.

What do Form Analytics platforms do?

A Form Analytics platform will measure user behaviour in your online forms. A good platform will present the insight in a clear and concise way, making it easy for you to find issues in your forms, in the same way that you can use traditional analytics platforms to find issues within your user journeys.

Form Analytics is a method of analysing user behaviour in online forms. Whereas Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics are focused on users, pages and actions, Form Analytics is focused on users, fields and metrics. A form analytics platform will measure what users do within fields and generate useful insight based on either direct data or computed data. The latter is when a useful metric is built off the back of other metrics, with one example being the computed drop-off point in a form, which is calculated by looking at the last interacted field in a non-converting session.

How do I install a Form Analytics platform?

There are two types of installation - platforms like Formisimo can be installed via a single JavaScript tag, and that can be deployed via a tag manager. This allows installation to be completed without requiring any development resource and the deployment will be completed quickly.

Other platforms ask that you make changes to the code within your page, often adding events (or similar) to each element within the form. This requires a developer and is time-consuming. If a change is made to the form in the future then more development work will be needed in order to track any additional fields.

Why does a company need to track their online forms?

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a trend that is becoming a norm for businesses. As competition online increases and the cost of acquiring a customer increases, more companies are engaging with conversion rate optimisation as a method to optimise their marketing spend and increase their online sales.

CRO has traditionally been focused on the early stages of a buying funnel, for example, the product pages or the search pages. This is understandable but there is a significant opportunity to increase conversion rates and sales by improving the end of the funnel, and that is where a form or a checkout process sites.

Forms and checkouts are often overlooked in the design and the development process, and are usually more functional and traditional rather than being focused on the user. Form conversion rate optimisation is becoming an important part of the overall CRO process.

Can my current Analytics Platform (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics) measure form performance?

It's possible to use event tracking (or similar) to get some basic form behaviour metrics, as an example you could add a JavaScript snippet to fire each time a user enters a field (on the Focus event) which would then fire an event into Google Analytics. This approach is time-consuming, requiring developers, and the insight you can gain is often basic and presented in a way that is hard to interpret.

Analytics platforms have significant strengths, whilst using a dedicated Form Analytics platform gives you deep behavioural insight that leads to change. Using both platforms, and combining the data between them, is the strongest solution.

Do I need a dedicated Form Analytics platform?

Some analytics suites contain a basic version of form analytics. This often has a limited number of reports, metrics and features. For example, Hotjar tracks just nine metrics, it doesn't allow you to view data over specific time periods and doesn't include advanced features like form funnels, field health scoring and the capability to work with complex form setups.

The Formisimo team have spent four years creating a market leading Form Analytics platform that includes all the features required to optimise your forms.

How do I action Form Analytics data?

The aim of measuring user behaviour on your forms is to find optimisation opportunities. Formisimo has been created to highlight the weak points in a form so that you can fix them. The volume of data behind our platform is significant, but the information is presented in a clear and concise way.

A typical process for taking form behaviour insight and then turning that in to actions runs like this:

  1. Consider the minimum time period or sample size required to make a strong decision
  2. Install a Form Analytics platform, and measure user behaviour for that period
  3. Review the first batch of data, determine the weaknesses and opportunities and then build a list of potential tests
  4. Use Form behaviour data to predict the potential uplift from a form change then prioritise changes based on effort and return
  5. Roll out the first batch of form changes, ideally testing the new and old versions. Segment the two variants within your form analytics platform
  6. Review performance of form changes to measure success
  7. Set out regular (weekly or monthly) review and improvement points
  8. Review your usability insight, create and prioritise changes and continue the testing process

What conversion rate increase can you see from using Form Analytics?

The expected increase from an on-going form optimisation process will be based on the current performance of the form and how perfect or imperfect it is for your market. In my experience every form can be improved, therefore uplift is highly likely. You can read an example of how we helped increase form conversion rates by 9.8% for Capital One. Across all our Enterprise clients we've seen an average increase of 25% on conversion rates.

What KPIs should I measure to improve my form?

Using a Form Analytics platform will expose you to a significant amount of new data. Included in this are metrics that you won't have used before. Here are the critical metrics that should be measured continuously.

  • Core Form KPIs

    Form Views
    Form Starters and Starter Rate
    Conversions and Conversion Rate
    Abandonment Rate

  • Usability KPIs

    Average Correction Rate
    Failure Rate By Device
    Average Form Interaction Time
    Top Converting/Abandoning Paths

  • Field KPIs

    Field Health Score
    Field Drop Off Rate
    Field Interaction Time
    Field Refocuses

In total Formisimo gives you 59 new form behaviour metrics

What does the data look like in a Form Analytics platform?

Formisimo shows you insight in a similar way to Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics. You can see screenshots and explanations of our form analytics reports. Insight can be analysed any time period (from a single day to multiple years) and segmented by device type (mobile, tablet or desktop).

Can I export my Form Analytics data?

In the same way that you can export data from Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics, you should be able to export data from your Form Analytics platform. Formisimo allows you to export in three ways:

What process should I run for optimising my forms?

  • Learning Phase: Your first batch of data

    Measure form performance over a sensible period of time. The suggestion is two months which will normally cover two business cycles. It's important to cover regular dips and spikes in traffic so that you have a strong dataset.

    It's also critical to remove some website visitors from your data, for example, your marketing team and development teams. This ensures that your insight is built from real customers.

  • Improve and Measure Phase

    When the learning phase is completed you'll be able to isolate the challenges that users have in your form. Building a list of issues is the first step, prioritising them is the critical part of the optimisation process.

    Using the data in Formisimo, or with the support of your account manager, you'll be able to understand the potential optimisation opportunity with each change. This allows you to prioritise the changes that will result in the highest uplift first.

  • Continual Optimisation Phase

    Measuring performance, rolling out changes regularly and then testing them, should be a continual process. It doesn't have to take significant resources each month.

    What's important is that the performance of your forms is reviewed regularly and changes are made based on the data. As the marketing for a website changes so does the demographics of the site visitors, meaning that it's vital to measure performance continually.

Will a Form Analytics platform slow down my site?

A good form analytics platform will be delivered via a fast CDN (Content Delivery Network). As an example, Formisimo is delivered via Amazon's CDN, which has seventy hosted locations around the World. A benefit from delivering via a CDN is that they are not only fast but the user is delivered the JavaScript from a geographical location close to their own.

To maintain a fast loading website it helps to use a Tag Manager to defer tags so that they load just after the page loads. This reduces the risk that a slow-loading solution will slow down page load.

A Form Analytics platform will be delivering a significant amount of data from the browser back to the solution, and in the case of Formisimo, this is an average of 1,600 pieces of data per individual who engages with a form. A good Form Analytics platform will also deal with this data in a timely and efficient manner, delivering the data in chunks, reducing any latency to virtually zero.

If speed is important to your business then make that a part of the selection process when you engage with Form Analytics providers.

Will my customers data be kept private?

A common challenge with using Session Replay software when optimising forms is the capturing of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This could include the name, email address or payment details of a customer, and in regulated industries, this could be a significant security challenge.

Form Analytics is focused on the user behaviour rather than the information that a user enters. Formisimo would capture that a user has pressed a key within a field, but not the actual key pressed - the platform stores whether it was a letter, number or a special key (e.g. delete, backspace or cursor keys). No PII is tracked, transmitted or stored.

Dependent upon your industry you may class an IP address as PII. Formisimo does not store the IP address of a user who visits a form that Formisimo is installed on.

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