Form Conversion Rates: What’s Working?

Formstack-Online-Form-Conversion-Rates-by-Type-Mar2015Form conversion rates continue to depend more on the type of form being used than the number of fields in the form, reports Formstack [download page] in its second annual “Form Conversion” study. This year’s study adds lead generation forms (such as those used for gated content downloads) to the list of analyses, finding that these forms have an average conversion rate of 17% and average 11 fields.

While lead generation forms sported one of the higher conversion rates of the different types analyzed, they couldn’t hold a candle to contest forms, which had by far the highest conversion rate (34%) for the second consecutive year despite having a similar number (10) of fields on average.

Contact forms – which have the lowest number of form fields (4) on average – continue to have the lowest conversion rates, averaging out this year at just 1%. In other words, just 1 in every 100 visitors to a contact form successful completed it. It’s worth noting that in last year’s study, the analysts theorized that visitors to “Contact Us” pages might be looking for addresses rather than to complete a form, contributing to the low conversion rate.

Interestingly, the study reveals that form conversions were significantly higher on multi-page (13.85%) than single page (4.53%) online forms. The study’s authors attribute this counter-intuitive result to: longer forms’ use of page breaks making them easier to digest; multi-page forms’ regular use of progress bars adding to their convenience; and bigger fonts and larger head images making forms less intimidating. It may also be – though it’s not addressed in the study – that lower-converting forms (such as contact forms and donations) are over-represented in single-page forms, while higher-converting ones (such as contests) are more likely to be spread over multiple pages.

Another potential influence on conversion rates is the language of the submit button. For example, “Next” converts at almost twice the rate of “Continue” (43.6% vs. 24.6%), while “Submit Registration” has a slightly higher rate than “Register Now” (15.6% vs. 13.3%). There doesn’t appear to be much separation between “Checkout” (10%) and “Place Order” (9.25%).

Of note, cultural linguistics could also have an impact: the button “Send” averaged a 21.1% conversion rate when in German on German web forms, but just a 7.6% rate in Spanish on Spanish forms.

Meanwhile, the study offers some industry-specific form conversion benchmarks, a selection of which follow:

  • Media (17%);
  • Technology (17%);
  • Non-profit (14%);
  • Marketing/consulting (13%);
  • Retail/E-commerce (11%); and
  • Healthcare (9%).

(For three industries — government, religious, and technology — outliers with disproportionately high traffic volumes were removed to reveal more realistic benchmarks.)

Finally, the analysis – based on more than 650,000 anonymized Formstack form users – reveals that peak submission times are different by form type:

  • Order/Payment forms: Tuesday between 11AM and 12PM (ET);
  • Contact forms: Tuesday, 12-1PM;
  • Event Registration forms: Wednesday between 11AM and 12PM;
  • Donation forms: Wednesday, 2-3PM;
  • Lead Gen forms: Thursday, 4-5PM;
  • Contest forms: Thursday, 8-9PM; and
  • Surveys: Friday between 11AM and 12PM.

About the Data: The analysis is based on 665,000 user account contributions spread over 18,703 accounts and 117,577 form types collected in January 2015. The research includes mobile-responsive forms only – benchmarks included in the report apply to web forms that are designed to be filled out easily on smartphones and tablets.