So you've set up a form, collected some responses, and logged into Typeform to see the results. If so, you’ve probably seen the new ‘Drop Off Analysis’ section. Here you can identify questions you might want to tweak based on where respondents are leaving your typeform.

So by now, you’re probably thinking: This is very neat, but how can I stop people from dropping my form? Do you have insightful, bite-sized tips to help me get better results?

The answer is Yes! The Data Science team has been crunching the numbers to see what techniques you can start using now to increase your completion rate.

Here are three tips you can get started with right away.

Tip #1: Each question has a ‘cost’—and the first ones are the most expensive

With each question you add to your form you’re adding one more reason for people to drop. How expensive is each extra question? We analyzed hundreds of thousand forms to find out. Here’s what we discovered:

In case charts aren’t your thing, here’s a summary of what it says:

Imagine 100 people start your form. What this chart tells you is that:

  • On question 1: 71 of those 100 people proceed to question two. This means 29 people dropped on Q1.

  • On question 2: 60 people proceed to question three: 11 more people dropped on Q2.

  • On question 3: 56 proceed to the next question, so 4 additional respondents dropped on Q3.

And so on.

To put it in simple terms: people gradually drop off throughout the form. Most importantly, the largest drop-offs occur with the very first questions. Once people are further along the form, they’re more likely to continue to the next question.

So what does this tell us? We learn three things from this data:

  • The first questions matter. This is where most people will drop off, so make a good first impression. More on this on Tip #2.

  • Dessert before veggies. Keep the first questions simple, and ask the tougher questions at the end of the form. More on this on Tip #3.

  • Keep it short (duh). While adding one extra block to a 15-question form won’t make much of a difference, shaving one question off a four-question form could be highly beneficial.

Tip #2: Tell your audience how long the form will take

Now we know that first questions matter. So leaving the best first impression starts on the Welcome Screen. How do you do that? External research has found that survey-takers are more likely to finish a form if you tell them how long the survey will take before answering.

We tested this hypothesis by displaying the time-to-complete in all of our forms:

To generate the estimation, we relied on a machine learning model that estimates how long the form takes based on the features of the form (the number and type of questions, amount of mandatory questions, etc.)

What we found is that with time-to-complete displayed on the Welcome Screen, you should expect 1 extra submission for every 100 impressions (users viewing the Welcome Screen).

Here's the breakdown of the results:

The takeaway:

  • DO Tell your respondents how long their form will take.

  • DO shorten your form if it’s longer than 7 minutes (or DON’T tell your audience 🤫)

That’s great, but how long does my form take to complete? We have a feature that enables you to know this! Read this article to learn more about it.

Tip #3: Close-ended questions are easier to answer

The chart of Tip #1 told us that 71% of people continue to the first question after seeing the Welcome Screen. After that, what questions are related with more (or less) respondents continuing? Let’s look at the numbers:

What this chart tells us is that 64.7% of respondents who get a dropdown question after the Welcome Screen continue to the next question. This greatly contrasts with a question block like payment, where only 50% of the respondents continue!

What takeaways can we get from this information?

  • Use simple and closed-ended questions. People are more likely to answer questions like yes/no, ratings, and opinion blocks. And users tend to drop off on more open-ended or complicated questions like a long-text question, a payment field, or an upload file question.

  • When possible use images. When comparing Multiple Choice and Picture Choice, we see that the latter tends to have a higher answer rate. This suggests that images tend to encourage people to advance through their forms.

Do you know any other tips and tricks to increase submission rate? Are there other questions you’d like our data scientists to look into? Let us know about it here:

Jose is a Data Scientist at Typeform who loves uncovering patterns to help Typeform users gather more submissions. In his free time, Jose likes to improvise Lo-Fi beats to study and relax to with his guitar, drum machine, and trusty looper.

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