Growth & Marketing

October 25, 2020

March 12, 2019

Why is CAPTCHA killing your conversion rate?

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Does your form still use a CAPTCHA? If your answer is yes, maybe you aren’t taking care of users the way they deserve. Actually, they are known as conversion killers: according to a study conducted by Stanford University, they reduce conversion rates by up to 40%.

Would you like to know why? Read on to know the main reasons and the best alternatives.

Forms with CAPTCHAs: No spam... and no conversions

Picture it. You’ve designed the perfect form: with the right number of fields, integrations, and an amazing user experience. You’ve thought about every single detail and you don’t want any spambot to spoil the data that you are going to collect with it. So you add it.

CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) were designed to be easy for humans and hard for machines, but the results were not exactly what was expected.

Hard both for humans and machines

CAPTCHAs' main mission is to prevent spam. So they use tests that are difficult to complete for robots, but they are actually also complicated for humans

The study carried out by Stanford University has shown that, in general, CAPTCHAS are often harder than they ought to be, but also that the difficulty depends on the type of CAPTCHA and the characteristics of the person trying to solve it. For example:

  • Image CAPTCHAS have an average solving time of 9.8 seconds and audio CAPTCHAS are even much harder, with an average solving time of 28.4 seconds.
  • They identified a number of demographic factors that have  influence. Non-native speakers of English were slower, though they were generally just as accurate unless the captcha required recognition of English words. They also found small trends indicating that older users were slower but more accurate.

Stopping bots from spamming your database is vital, but it doesn't need to be at the expense of user experience and conversions.

Many of us roll our eyes when a form asks, "Are you human?" before allowing us to submit it. Or when they ask to type a text based on a crazy image where characters are mixed. And what about audios? Don’t you think that it’s too hard to understand what they say?

So why do users really give up on CAPTCHAs? There are different reasons:

  • We hate wasting time. Visual CAPTCHAs usually take many seconds to complete. Audio CAPTCHAs take even much longer. Many people prefer to give up on the form. Anything is better than to keep on fighting to demonstrate that you are a human.
  • Too much effort. They are difficult to interpret and understand, they need translation, time to load… They require an extra effort when all we want is just to submit the form.
  • Poor accessibility. They aren’t user-friendly for people with visual or hearing disabilities. So the experience is usually even worse for them.

The reasons are so many and varied that it is hard to believe that they can really be an advantage in any case. Actually, some companies have already stated that their conversion rate had increased after turning them off.

Is it a CAPTCHA or another ad?

Some websites and companies even use CAPTCHA to push an advert to the users. They just present an image or a video and they ask to type a sentence related to it.

Other times, they proceed with a video. They usually have a specific purpose, for example, copying a descriptive sentence into a box below so that you stay with a certain message, or they must watch it for a certain amount of time before continuing.

Best alternatives to CAPTCHA

CAPTCHAs disrupt the UX and hurt your conversion rate, but you don’t want to choose between your conversion rate and spambots. So what can you do then? These are the most common solutions:

  • ReCAPTCHAs. They only require a single click. This free Google service does not interrupt the user experience and it is effective against spam robots.
  • Social media login. It has multiple advantages. They confirm the user is a human and their identity is automatically verified. Users don’t need to add this info again and, therefore, the conversion process is accelerated.
  • Honeypots. They don't disrupt the user experience at all. They consist of adding a hidden field in the form. Humans can’t see it, so they won’t fill it in, but spambots will. so that way you can easily distinguish and filter them.

Another good alternative is to inject the form in JavaScript when the page is loading instead of putting directly in the HTML code, as Arengu forms do. Most of the spambots aren’t able to process it, so this would prevent more than 95% of them and you can also combine this solution with any of the above, without harming the UX of your form.

Not sure which option to choose? Reaching the maximum conversion rate of our forms is a challenge that depends on many details. The possibility to iterate easily and quickly is the key to achieving it, and that is exactly what our editor allows you to do. 

Haven't you tried it yet? Sign up free or schedule a demo with our team.

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