Since Formisimo was founded in 2014, we've been on a mission - to help people understand user behaviour in online forms. We've tracked millions of sessions across thousands of forms for hundreds of clients, and more than ever we know that paying attention to form fill behaviour can make a huge difference to the conversion rate of your site.
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. People may complete dozens, if not hundreds of forms during the course of a year.
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 point in a multi-step buying journey, the number of interactions and amount of attention a user gives a form will be higher than any other part of the buying journey.
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 always because the user has changed their mind, it's related to the user starting and then failing to complete the form. Understand how users interact with forms and what specific areas cause them pain is the first important step in improving the conversion rate of your site.
Form analytics is the collection of data to help you understand how people interact with input boxes on a page on your website. It should help you understand behavior not just on a page level, but on a field level too, informing you of what questions and inputs users struggle with, complete easily, ignore, and take time over.
The definition of Form Analytics:
Form Analytics is an analytical process that measures how website visitors engage with forms - how they interact with each individual element and question within a form journey, the order in which they interact with fields, where they abandon the process and what inputs that have to return to multiple times. Form analytics provides you with quantitative data that builds a picture of patterns of behavior in your online forms.
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Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process by which you improve the percentage of people on your website that complete a certain goal. It is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular 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.
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 largely on users and their behaviour across different pages on your site, Form Analytics is instead focussed on micro interactions with different parts of a single pages, and in particular on how they enter data into a form on your site.
A form analytics platform will measure what users do within fields and send a string of events to the platform. The powerful part is what is done with that data - metrics and insights derived from a very noisy stream of events that gives you a concise and easy to understand view of what is actually happening when users try to hand over personal information online.
Some analytics suites contain a basic version of form analytics alongside other features such as heatmaps, surveys, session replay and funnel views. This seems like a great value way to get lots of insight under a single platform roof, but there are often a number of significant downsides to this.
The first is simply a question of whether or not the suite of products can track your form at all. Forms online are built on an almost infinite variety of technology stacks, with each customised to suit the needs of the business. This means that no two forms are ever alike, and therefore tracking them can often not be a 'one size fits all' solution. Many UX suites will struggle to track anything other than a simple, single page form on a static URL, with status fields that do not change depending on a visitors behaviour. If your form is behind a login, is a Single Page App, has fields that appear or disappear halfway through a session, many products that claim to offer form analytics will not be able to show you any metrics or insights at all.
The other downside is the lack of meaningful insight provided by tools that try to be all things to all people. You might get some overview data, and a small amount of field level insight, but you may find yourself wanting if you want to truly understand your website visitors. For example, can the error messages that mobile users saw after logging into your site and choosing a previous address? Can you see how much time abandoned users spent in your postcode field?
The Formisimo team has spent years perfecting a platform that excels when it comes to online forms, and can therefore track all types of forms, and provide you unparalleled insight. Our take is this - if forms are absolutely vital to the success of your business. If almost all of the value of your website flows through a form, and if they are even mildly complex, you should seriously consider a tool for the job that really helps you understand what's going on.
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.
In short, if forms are important to you, then you may want a main analytics tool and an additional form analytics product to provide you with the best insight across different types of user behaviour.
The aim of measuring user behaviour on your forms is to find optimisation opportunities. Zuko 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. We want you to get to answers, or at least hypothesis, quickly and efficiently, time and time again.
A typical process for taking form behaviour insight and then turning that into actions runs like this:
Learning Phase: Your first batch of data - Measure form performance over a sensible period of time. The suggestion is one month which will normally cover a business cycle. 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 Zuko, 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.
To maintain a fast loading website it helps to use a 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 Zuko, 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.
A common challenge with using 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. Zuko 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. Zuko does not store the IP address of a user who visits a form that Zuko is installed on.