Is your website getting traffic, but no leads? clicks, but no conversions? You are not alone: average form abandonment is estimated to be nearly 76+%.

Form abandonment is less documented than its infamous cousin, cart abandonment, but the concept is much the same: 

What is form abandonment?

Simply put, when someone starts filling out an online form, but doesn’t finish.

For many service companies, forms drive leads for sales teams. Missing a potential lead to form abandonment translates to lost business, which is why form abandonment is a critical component of conversion rate optimization.

For example, “Request Demo” forms for software companies or “Work With Us” forms for service providers are often the source of the hottest leads online for these respective businesses.

Form abandonment is most likely the leading driver of lost revenue online for your company — esp. considering studies suggest, on average, over 2 in 3 form visitors leave before completion. 

This is what makes form abandonment so important: it directly translates to dollars left on the table for your business. So, what can you do about it?

How to prevent form abandonment

Here, we’ve attempted to cover various approaches to prevent & combat form abandonment. Before we dive into, here’s an infographic summary we created for those who’d prefer a visual overview:

Form Abandonment Infographic (+ How to Recover Lost Leads) | Insiteful

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So, let’s dive right in — first up, strategies to prevent form abandonment:

Optimize your form experience

Length

Form Length is a tricky subject and there have been multiple studies done on Form Length and Conversion rate; usually shorter form means higher conversation. But is this the absolute truth and the only formula you need to know? No! Reducing form fields can actually bring your conversation rate down if you eliminate fields that people want to interact with. Research from Unbounce conversion optimiser Michael Aagaard is a good example. 

From a user’s perspective, some fields are essential. For example, if a student is applying to a school, they might expect to choose the subjects and campus location among other things. An admission form consisting of only Name and Email might feel inadequate. 

From a business’ perspective, longer forms can result in fewer but higher quality leads. Having said that, the data shows that shorter forms often do better than longer forms and there isn’t a simple rule you can follow when it comes to the Form Length. However, one thing that you should follow is to have optimal UX. 

Improved UX

If you can’t afford to trim down a few form fields, an (often equally-effective) alternative is to streamline your form user experience (UX). In this scenario, perhaps a GIF would serve best to illustrate what we mean by this—

In the brief 8 years since their inception, the team at Typeform has undeniably established themselves as thought leaders when it comes to engaging form UX: 

TypeForm UX Example - Form Abandonment | Insiteful

The hallmark of the TypeForm methodology, however, is quite easily replicable (with or without their software). Simply put, they make forms less intimidating by only showing the relevant fields & text, while hiding and/or overlaying the rest.  This approach is proven to increase completion rates on longer forms.

Multi-Page Form Example - Form Abandonment | Insiteful

Creating such “multi-page” or “step-by-step” forms is usually easily accomplished within the default functionality with most all form builders & software (e.g. see Gravity Forms example above). 

This is a deceivingly simple approach guaranteed to increase conversions: break up your forms into easily-digestible sections — usu. with some progress indicator (either numbered questions, or a percentage bar).

Show key notices

Always be sure to prominently highlight key offers & features that remove barriers-to-entry, such as…

  • No credit card required, 
  • No risk / obligation 
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • No contract / month-to-month

Simply reiterating such perks — even if they’ve been mentioned before, will help encourage users to progress through your form. Furthermore, incorporating interactive form data to personalize the experience (e.g. questions that address users by first name) has been shown to help further increase conversion.

Remove unclear copy

Be precise with labels and call-to-actions (CTAs)! Too often, forms have the generic “Submit” or “Send” button at the conclusion. 

When coming up with your CTA copy, try to address these two key questions (formulated by Michael Aagard):

  • What is my prospect’s motivation for clicking this button?
  • What is my prospect going to get when they click this button?

To help your brainstorming, we’ve classified some examples in a table; although all of the below are an improvement from something generic, we’d recommend aiming for the “Inspired” category:

TIRED CTA’s WIRED CTA’s INSPIRED CTA’s
Request demo Get A Quote / Pricing Try It Free
Get started See It In Action Shop {Brand}
Buy / Download now Confirm Subscription Click to {Action}
Apply Now Join Now Plan / Start Your {Product}
Contact Us Get Free / The {Lead Magnet}
(e.g. Proposal, eBook)
For {Customer Group 1} | For {Customer Group 2}
(e.g. Advertisers, Publishers)

Optimize load times

The Internet age has become synonymous with impatience — according to a recent study by Microsoft, the average attention span today is 8 sec: less than that of a goldfish. As people grapple with a barrage of information daily (est. over 35G per day), long lead forms and slow web pages are being left in the dust.

Surveys showed 52% of people buying goods & services online stated that pages loading quickly is important to their site loyalty. The first step to a fast, seamless online customer experience is auditing your website to ensure industry best practices (e.g. minified resources, image compression) for page speed & load time are in place.

Avoid personal details

Depending on the purpose of the form(s), asking for certain personal details can put-off users & make them quit before completing. For instance, including an Address or Birthday field would be entirely expected (and therefore, have little impact on drop-offs) on the application form for a private lender, but would certainly cause some drop-offs in the bookings contact form for a boxing studio.

Experiment to find what’s best for your users

At the end of the day, these are all just suggestions based on what has worked for other companies. As you can imagine from the prior example, it will be down to A/B testing to identify exactly what works best for your business & offering in terms of length, style, and fields.

Incentivize completion

Encouraging users to complete forms with an upfront value-add is one proven method to help users overcome their fear of commitment and complete signing up for your service. 

This is a great opportunity to add value, and demonstrate the depth of your service / offering.Some example incentives that may work for your business: 

  • Free Consultation or Quote
  • Lead Magnet (e.g. eBook, Research)
  • x% OFF or complimentary add-on (first month FREE)
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Track your forms

Tracking in Google Analytics

Form tracking in Google Analytics isn’t impossible, but it can be really, really confusing if you aren’t trained in analytics tracking and Google Analytics. We will look into some ways Google Analytics can be used to track forms below:

One method of Form tracking is through Form triggers and built-in Form variables in Google Tag Manager; you can enable them and create a Form Submission trigger, hence turning on Google Tag Manager Form auto-event listener. The issue, however, is that form auto-event listener listens for a standard submit browser event and the developer could be using any technology (e.g. jQuery’s $.ajax) for sending Form data. This will cause Google Tag Manager to not register any form submission. This method also fails when it comes to tracking form abandonment. 

If you want to use Google Analytics to track when the user left the form, you can use the “beforeUnload” event and the transport field in Universal Analytics. beforeUnload event captures the interaction data when the user leaves or closes the web page. With this information you can use an Advanced Segment to only view interaction data for sessions where the form was not submitted. However, this only works when best practices are followed and without going into too much complex details, let’s just say things can go wrong and this method might not work for you unless you know your JavaScript.

Form Tracking & Analytics 

There are other methods to track From Abandonment through Google Analytics but as mentioned earlier, you need to have substantial knowledge and understanding of GA. Alternatively, you may prefer a specialized solution intended specifically for form tracking & analytics.

Read more about form tracking and other ways Insiteful can help reduce form abandonment here.

Recover lost leads from form abandonment:

Capture partial leads

The simplest & quickest way to combat form abandonment is to use a tool to capture partial entries on your lead forms.

First and foremost, get prospects email first — before any other form fields.

It’s common for visitors to bounce once you ask for their payment info, even if they won’t be charged — or any other information they regard as sensitive. Get their email addresses before this happens so you have a chance to follow-up.

As mentioned earlier, form tracking in Google Analytics (and other such generic analytics tools) isn’t impossible, but it can be really, really confusing & is by no means foolproof.

For those looking for a more straightforward & reliable solution, you may be interested in Insiteful, which is a platform specifically-built for capturing partial form data. In just two clicks, you can start collecting the information that people enter into form fields (even if they don’t hit submit). 

Provided contact information from partial form data, you’re in total control of how to re-engage this lead: whether omni-channel ad remarketing, or simply following up directly via email — manually, or automatically. 

Read more about partial lead capture and other ways Insiteful can help combat form abandonment here.

Follow-up via email

As suggested above, the natural next step is to encourage partial leads to convert. While some companies choose more complex means (e.g. exit-intent popups, retargeting ads), old fashioned email follow-up is a surefire and straightforward path to closing another deal.

E-commerce companies are able to recover nearly 1 in 3 sales via abandoned cart email; you can do the same with lead forms! As mentioned before, forms should always first ask for email, then other key details. That way, even if these warm leads drop-off, you will be able to follow-up with a special offer, helping hand, or other value-add.

Usually, such follow-up email sequences are best timed based on how long leads usually take to convert. This approach worked for Ninja Outreach: with just 2 emails, they were able to achieve a 11.6% trial conversion rate at a healthy 30%+ open rate. 

Depending on your web & marketing automation stack, you may be able to automate these email drip sequences if you’re game to put in the time to set up & configure a few integrations and have the right tools.

For those looking for a plug-n-play solution, you may be interested in Insiteful, which is a platform specifically-built for automatic follow-up.

Read more about automatic email follow-up / retargeting, and other ways Insiteful can help combat form abandonment here.

In conclusion

That wraps it up! Here we’ve attempted to provide a fairly detailed introduction to form abandonment, why it matters, and how to reduce it & increase sales.

Want to start closing more deals online? Get started with Insiteful to seal the leaks in your online lead forms today. What are you waiting for? 

People wander off your website for a variety of reasons… Insiteful™ makes sure they find their way back. Read more about how Insiteful can improve your customer journey where it matters to automatically optimize your conversion rate.

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