How Fewer Form Fields Can Backfire

One common piece of advice for anyone working on conversion rate optimization (CRO) is this:

Fewer form fields leads to higher conversions

I’ve made this same claim. And it’s not wrong. But…

As with any other “best practice”, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. While it works in most cases, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. So the best thing you can do is test and measure.

One way this popular advice can backfire is by providing you lower quality leads.

In concept, this appears more obvious. When a person fills out a form, they are giving away valuable information. The more of this information you ask for, the less likely they will be to fill out the form. But, those who do fill out the form are that much more qualified. These are prospects that will be easier to sell.

If you improve your conversion rate by eliminating forms, thereby getting more people to fill out the form, you also eliminate that added qualification. Now your leads might be more resistant to sales efforts, costing you more money and lowering the follow up conversion rate.

Companies must be sure to measure the overall impact of any change. In this case, the best metric would be “cost per sale”, which would take into account the initial conversion rate change as well as all follow up efforts.