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Why Having Less Form Fields Drives Conversions

When it comes to driving conversions, the design and structure of forms on websites play a critical role. Forms are essential for capturing information, but it’s widely known that web users have a strong aversion to filling them out. Therefore, optimizing form length and design is paramount in improving user experience and increasing conversion rates.

Research from Formstack shows that the optimal number of fields in a form depends on the context. For instance, a study revealed that forms with 15 fields are almost as frequently abandoned as those with 11 fields. However, reducing the number of fields to between three and five can increase conversions significantly. Forms with three fields have been found to boost conversions by up to 160% compared to those with ten or more fields.

This suggests a clear correlation: as the number of fields decreases, the rate of form completion increases. For example, forms with a single field see a completion rate of 50%, while this rate drops as more fields are added. It’s crucial to note that this doesn’t mean forms should only have a few fields; rather, they should only include the essential information necessary to move users through the sales funnel. Additional data can always be collected later once a relationship with the user has been established.

Some industries have taken this data to heart. Many websites now allow visitors to log in using their social media credentials, streamlining the login process by cutting down the number of fields required. This approach simplifies the process and utilizes a trusted source, which can further encourage conversions.

For transactions that require more complexity, like online purchases, it’s understood that more information is needed. However, even in these scenarios, form fields should be limited to the essential details required to process the transaction, such as name, shipping address, and payment information.

The design of the form itself is also a crucial factor. An ideal form has an attractive, simple, and eye-catching design that facilitates easy input. Clarity is key, so the form’s purpose should be instantly recognizable, and fields should adopt a natural or logical flow. Large form fields are often better received than smaller ones, as they’re easier to interact with, especially on mobile devices.

Error handling is another aspect that can significantly impact user experience. Forms should provide clear error messages and guide users through the correction process without them having to start from scratch. Device optimization is also essential; with multiple touch points such as the mouse, fingertip, and stylus, ensuring that the form layout suits all devices is crucial to prevent frustrating users.

The key to increasing conversions through forms is to find the sweet spot between collecting essential information and not overwhelming the user. By focusing on simplicity, clarity, and user experience, businesses can create forms that are more likely to be completed, thereby improving their conversion rates and, ultimately, their sales performance.

Formstack Fields Conversion Infographic
Source: Formstack

Jenn Lisak Golding

Jenn Lisak Golding is President and CEO of Sapphire Strategy, a digital agency that blends rich data with experienced-back intuition to help B2B brands win more customers and multiply their marketing ROI. An award-winning strategist, Jenn developed the Sapphire Lifecycle Model: an evidence-based audit tool and blueprint for high-performing marketing investments.

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