Data Says: How Long Should Web Forms Be? - RegistrationMagic  

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Data Says: How Long Should Web Forms Be?

If you’re using Registration Magic or another plugin to create custom forms for your WordPress site, you’re probably enjoying the newfound power to add any custom fields you want to your WordPress forms.

For example, the default WordPress register form only has two fields, but now you can add infinite fields! It’s time to get crazy, right? Should you collect birthdays? Favorite colors? Preferences for cats or dogs?

Ok, maybe I got a bit hyperbolic. But the point remains, you can add as many fields as you want to your WordPress forms. Now, the question becomes: should you?

In this post, I’ll take a look at what the data says about form length. By following the data, you can create a form that maximizes the number of signups or form submissions your site gets and makes your digital efforts more successful.

Data Point #1: 4-field Form Outperforms 11-field Form by 120%

Though the data is a bit old at this point, one of the most famous form length case studies comes from Imaginary Landscape. In it, they compared a lengthy 11-field form against a shorter 4-field form.

Imaginary Landscape managed these field reductions primarily by eliminating fields asking for the submitters’ addresses. After analyzing the data, Imaginary Landscape noticed a whopping 120.4% increase in the form’s conversion rate (AKA the number of users submitting the form out of the users who viewed the form).

How long should forms be?

Data Point #2: Expedia Saves $12 Million by Eliminating One Field

In example #2, Expedia managed to save $12 million per year in lost revenue by eliminating one tiny field from their forms. After testing, they found that the optional “Company” field on their form was confusing their users and leading to massive inefficiencies.

Removing that one field eliminated the issue and greatly improved their form’s success rate.

Data Point #3: 5, 7, and 9-field Forms Compared

In a three variant test, Marketo pitted 5, 7, and 9-field forms against each other. Each form kept the same basic 5 fields, but the longer forms added additional fields.

As the first two data points suggest, each set of added fields decreased the conversion rate for the form. The 5-field form converted at 13.4%, the 7-field form at 12%, and the 9-field form at 10%.

form-length2

While the results weren’t as dramatic as the Imaginary Landscape case study, once again it seems that shorter forms outperform longer forms when put to the test.

Form Length – Is Shorter Always Better?

While the weight of the data lands on the side of shorter forms, you shouldn’t go cutting form fields willy-nilly. The goal should be to eliminate form fields that aren’t truly necessary, not to arbitrarily make every form 4-5 fields long.

If you absolutely need 7 form fields to collect all the needed information, then you need a 7-field form.

Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot, a company not known for short forms, highlights that “a shorter form usually means more people will be willing to fill it out…But the quality of the leads will be higher when visitors are willing to complete more forms fields and provide you with more information about themselves and what they’re looking for”

So, here’s the golden rule:

Cut unnecessary fields ruthlessly, but keep your forms as long as they need to be to collect all the needed information.

A plugin like Registration Magic allows you to customize every aspect of your WordPress forms. Just make sure you use this newfound power with respect. That way, you’ll create awesome forms that get you the information you need AND that your visitors are willing to, you know, actually fill out.

About Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.

1 Comment

  1. […] As we touched on in a previous post, more form fields normally means lower conversion rates. […]

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