Online sign-up/application completion rates

14 Jun 2006 - 4:18pm
8 years ago
3 replies
6432 reads
Greg Gentschev
2006

Hi everyone,

I'm working with a pretty big client reassessing the effectiveness of
their consumer Website and the business model behind it. As we're
getting into the analysis, we're finding that one of the big leakage
points is account sign-up. Of users who start the registration
process, only 40-50% successfully finish. I suspect that this could be
a quick usability win for the client, but I don't have a good sense
for what the range of sign-up conversions might be. I wonder whether
consumers' innate fickleness, privacy concerns, and short attention
span could mean that 50% will drop out regardless of usability and
other factors that the client can influence.

So, a colleague suggested that I try tapping the collective expertise
of the Interaction Design Association. Any perspectives on this issue
or the drivers for conversion rates? Any rules of thumb on what the
range of best to worst conversion rates might be? Ballpark benchmarks
for major consumer portals or commerce sites would be particularly
helpful - the client likes to hear name-brand comparisons. The most
relevant comparisons would be free, relatively low commitment services
like MyYahoo, Amazon, Gmail, etc.

Hope everyone's doing well and enjoying the nice economy.

Take care,
Greg

Senior Manager, Kaiser Associates

Comments

14 Jun 2006 - 11:45pm
Steve Baty
2009

Greg,

By way of needing some more information to potentially assist, is the
account sign-up process single, or multi-step? If multi-step, can you
summarise what each step entails for the user (just generally - e.g. account
type selection & pricing options; step 2 - customer details; step 3 -
confirmation of order & payment etc)? Anecdotally I believe the drop-out
rates will differ depending on the nature of the process, and this
information may assist (others) provide a more meaningful response to your
question.

Best Regards,

Steve Baty

On 15/06/06, Greg Gentschev <gentschev at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I'm working with a pretty big client reassessing the effectiveness of
> their consumer Website and the business model behind it. As we're
> getting into the analysis, we're finding that one of the big leakage
> points is account sign-up. Of users who start the registration
> process, only 40-50% successfully finish. I suspect that this could be
> a quick usability win for the client, but I don't have a good sense
> for what the range of sign-up conversions might be. I wonder whether
> consumers' innate fickleness, privacy concerns, and short attention
> span could mean that 50% will drop out regardless of usability and
> other factors that the client can influence.
>

----------------------------------------------
Steve 'Doc' Baty B.Sc (Maths), M.EC, MBA
Director, User Experience Strategy
Red Square
P: +612 8289 4930
M: +61 417 061 292

Member, UPA - www.upassoc.org
Member, IxDA - www.ixda.org
Member, Web Standards Group - www.webstandardsgroup.org

15 Jun 2006 - 5:17am
Janna Cameron
2004

Hey there,

This doesn't directly answer your question.. but I think the tealeaf
software (http://www.tealeaf.com/) could help your client see where people
are abandoning the sign-up process. I saw a demo for this a while ago..
IMHO it's pretty cool.

Basically, it tracks usage of your website and can be used to drill down to
specific events. It goes way beyond browser stats - you can actually play
back specific experiences. One of their demos was shopping cart
abandonment, if I recall correctly.

This runs without anything being installed on the customer side. It is
smart about sensitive fields like credit card numbers, passwords and such.

Janna

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Greg
Gentschev
Sent: June 14, 2006 5:19 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Online sign-up/application completion rates

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Hi everyone,

I'm working with a pretty big client reassessing the effectiveness of
their consumer Website and the business model behind it. As we're
getting into the analysis, we're finding that one of the big leakage
points is account sign-up. Of users who start the registration
process, only 40-50% successfully finish. I suspect that this could be
a quick usability win for the client, but I don't have a good sense
for what the range of sign-up conversions might be. I wonder whether
consumers' innate fickleness, privacy concerns, and short attention
span could mean that 50% will drop out regardless of usability and
other factors that the client can influence.

So, a colleague suggested that I try tapping the collective expertise
of the Interaction Design Association. Any perspectives on this issue
or the drivers for conversion rates? Any rules of thumb on what the
range of best to worst conversion rates might be? Ballpark benchmarks
for major consumer portals or commerce sites would be particularly
helpful - the client likes to hear name-brand comparisons. The most
relevant comparisons would be free, relatively low commitment services
like MyYahoo, Amazon, Gmail, etc.

Hope everyone's doing well and enjoying the nice economy.

Take care,
Greg

Senior Manager, Kaiser Associates
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15 Jun 2006 - 7:01am
Todd Warfel
2003

Greg,

I'd need to know more about the site (e.g. content-based, ecommerce,
web-based app) - context, context, context. But he's what we've
found, which might help out.

One of the subscription service sites we worked on this past year
(financial services, investment site), we found that less than 20% of
new site visitors were signing up for an account. Of those, less than
half were signing up for the free account. The client had tried a
number of things to entice new visitors to signup. They had tried
placing the promo in different spots, using different product
incentives, changing the size, colour and shape of the promo.

In this case, we found a few things.
1. The incentive wasn't valuable to the potential customer.
2. The sign-up wasn't placed in a prominent and predictable area
(we've found the top right corner, just below the nav to be most
effective)
3. The potential customer had a hard time distinguishing between the
sign-up promo and ads from the client's ad network (they have banner
ads and ads for their subscription products on the site)
4. The sign-up landing screen didn't let potential customers know
that the client wouldn't sell their email address (a landing screen
was required by the business to push another ad)

In most of the web-based applications we've worked on, we've found
that the following impacted abandonment during sign-up
1. Making sign-up span more than 2-3 screens
2. Not telling the visitor that we're not going to sell their email
address
3. Requiring more than an email address, username and password for
sign-up.

A pretty much sure thing sign-up process:
1. Sign-up is a tile on every page when the customer isn't signed in
2. Only require the minimum info for sign-up - email address as your
username, password
3. Make the sign-up process one step and bring the customer to a
first time orientation screen post success
4. Let the customer fill out profile info if they want

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

On Jun 14, 2006, at 5:18 PM, Greg Gentschev wrote:

> I wonder whether consumers' innate fickleness, privacy concerns,
> and short attention span could mean that 50% will drop out
> regardless of usability and other factors that the client can
> influence.

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