It seems I have been wrong. I’ve said that in all probability, the fewer the number of questions in a form the higher the completion rate. You will, of course, want as much detail as possible and it is the eternal balance between completion rates and information. The obvious answer has been to limit the number of questions in a form. In my defence I can quote research which convinced me. However, times have changed it seems.
Recent research has shown that multi-page forms have a higher completion rate than those where all the questions appear on one sheet. The difference is not just statistically significant but, the evidence shows, the completion rates are three times higher for multi page forms.
The research surprised me to a considerable extent. However, it shows an eternal truth; the old dependable certainties are today’s discarded tactics. It means that those who do not bother to keep up will fall behind.
There has to be a reason for such a turnaround and it would seem that the cause is the change to the predominant use of mobile devices for reading emails and viewing websites. It was some time ago that the rate went over 50% and it has been increasing steadily ever since.
It was easy to put multiple questions on a one page form when it was expected to be read on a laptop or desktop and most people would accept half a dozen or so. On a mobile it would seem like a challenge to one’s commitment. Most of us would have abandoned them, or so the research proved.
A way to lower the rate on mobile devices is to spread the questions over multiple pages, with two or three questions on each page.
There is the other variable that must be taken into consideration. The return on each subscriber you have on your email marketing list will vary. You still have to calculate whether the lower completion rate with higher number of questions is balanced by the greater returns from subscribers whom your are able to target from the beginning.
But one truth remains; test everything.