The Difference Between Pre-Populating Fields and Social Autofill

Written by Abby Nieten on July 1, 2015

Posted in Form Hacks

Wouldn’t it be great if you could slice the time it takes users to fill out your form but still capture important data? After all, it’s no secret forms convert at higher rates when there are fewer fields for users to complete.

Formstack offers two features that help reduce field bottlenecks: Pre-Populating Fields and Social Autofill. Both features enable autocompletion of fields, making it easier than ever for users to fill out your form.

But what’s the difference between Pre-Populating Fields and Social Autofill? And how can you determine which feature is right for your form?

Let’s take a closer look.

Pre-Populating Fields at a Glance

The Basics

The Pre-Populating Fields feature allows you to manipulate your form’s URL to autofill various fields with pre-determined data. You can pre-set the populating data, or you can pull it from another form the user has completed. Either way, the fields you designate will be filled out automatically when the user clicks the manipulated form link.

The Good

Since a number of fields can be filled out with no effort from the user, this feature allows for quick completion of the form. And we all know what that means: more conversions!

Additionally, using Pre-Populating Fields can cut down on the number of forms your company has to maintain. You can append your form URL to automatically insert a domain name into a website field, which means you can use one contact form across many websites and still know where each user originated.

The Bad

Setting up Pre-Populating Fields can be a bit involved (especially if you want to pre-populate several fields). If phrases like “appending a URL” or “building a query string” sound like a foreign language to you, you might run into some problems here.

The Forms

What types of forms are best supported by Pre-Populating Fields? Forms that are visited by repeat customers can benefit from having past information pre-filled. For instance, you can save customers time on an order form by autofilling their contact and billing information. And you have a better chance of garnering new information on a lead gen form if users can skip all the basic biographical fields.

Social Autofill at a Glance

The Basics

The Social Autofill feature allows you to capture important identifying information via users’ social profiles. With just one click, users can fill out multiple form fields using information form their Facebook or Google+ accounts.

The Good

Allowing users to complete several form fields with a simple click saves valuable time and helps you gather valuable data. As with Pre-Populating fields, anything that makes your form easier to fill out will help lift conversion rates. In fact, Formstack’s 2015 Form Conversion Report found that conversion rates increase 189% with use of Social Autofill.

The simplicity of Social Autofill also helps keeps mobile visitors engaged with your forms. Since more than 50% of Internet usage occurs on mobile devices, it’s important to keep mobile users in mind. Filling out forms via a tiny mobile touchpad can be quite cumbersome, so allowing users to complete several fields via social media is bound to keep them interested longer.

Additionally, the Social Autofill feature is easy to set up via form plugins for Facebook and Google+.

The Bad

Using the Social Autofill feature could work against you if your form data doesn’t match up with information available in a user’s social media profile. Users will likely get frustrated if they click a Social Autofill button and only one field gets populated. Take care to use this feature only where it makes sense.

Also, Social Autofill availability is limited to users on a Gold Plan or higher. If you aren’t on one of these plans, you won’t be able to add this premium feature to your forms.

The Forms

What types of forms are best supported by Social Autofill? Forms that require a lot of basic biographical information can make good use of this feature. For instance, contact forms and event registration forms that have fields for name, email, and birthday are great candidates for Social Autofill.

Reduce Form Friction with Formstack Features

Adding Pre-Populating Fields or Social Autofill to your forms can really help a user out. And making form completion as quick and easy as possible is what it’s all about. If you don’t have at least a Gold Plan with Formstack, you’re missing a great opportunity to move users through your form with Social Autofill. To get access to this feature, sign up for a free trial today!