A website exit survey is a survey that appears when a visitor is about to leave the website. There are 2 basic ways of detecting exit intent.
When a person moves the cursor above a certain line (for Survicate, it’s 20px below the top of the page), or based on mouse movements – when a person moves the mouse quickly to the top of the page they are usually about to exit.
While they are not 100% reliable, they work well enough not to disturb visitors and trigger surveys when people are really about to leave your website.
Now, why risk annoying visitors with a survey when they are about to leave? Check stats in Google Analytics – how many of people who leave your website will return? Do you know why they decided to leave your website in the first place?
I assume not. That’s why collecting feedback from leaving visitors is so important and useful. Collected information will help you discover problems with usability, value proposition, etc. Let’s begin with the pros and cons of website exit surveys.
The pros and cons of website exit surveys
- High response rates, often outperforming other kinds of website surveys
- Collected insights help research and reduce bounce and exit rates
- Provide you with crucial insights for improving conversion rates
- Can be seen as intrusive
- They might appear when a person doesn’t mean to leave the website but for example change tab or click on an element on the upper menu
- Results can be biased as some visitors see as an opportunity to express their frustration – they are more motivated to participate in a survey than those who are happy or neutral
Use cases of website exit surveys
Website exit surveys are a great source of insights on why visitors are not converting or bouncing. Where do they provide the most valuable insights? Here are the most popular use-cases of exit surveys:
Shopping cart abandonment survey
According to this research, even up to 70% of shoppers abandon carts. With exit surveys, e-commerce can quickly get a glimpse of why visitors are not completing orders and what stops them from buying.
This might be an unexpected price increase, lack of trust, too long forms or one of the hundreds of different reasons – you’ll quickly find out with an exit survey.
To make sure it shows only to people who actually added something to the cart, you can target a survey on shopping cart pages or on visitors who added a product to a cart and then leave (more advanced option).
Recommended questions: ‘What prompted you to quit shopping?’ (experience of our customers shows that this question works better than a more obvious one – ‘Why did you decide to quit shopping?’), ‘What would convince you to finish shopping?, ‘Do you need any additional information to complete the purchase?’.
Pricing abandonment survey
SaaS businesses often see that people visit pricing pages and then leave. But why? Run an exit intent survey on a pricing page to discover it.
Of course, some people will say that your tool is too expensive (even if it’s not) but you might learn that your pricing doesn’t answer all questions that visitors have or they have other doubts.
Recommended questions: ‘What prevented you from signing up?’, ‘Is our pricing clear to you?’, ‘Compared to similar solutions to know, our prices are lower, higher, or about the same?’, ‘How much would you be willing to pay for the basic plan?’.
Goal completion survey
Ask leaving visitors whether they managed to complete goals of their visit. It doesn’t matter what it was – people feel satisfied when they meet their goals, even if it is to read an article on your blog or take a look at your products or features.
Recommended questions: ‘Did you complete the goal of your visit?’ and a follow-up question: ‘How difficult was it to complete the goal? (use a scale question).
Landing page bounce research
Do you use landing pages to show content tailored to ads? If not, you should start. Landing pages with content adjusted to ads usually report higher conversion rates (for us, directing traffic to landing pages instead of the homepage roughly doubled conversion rates) and can make you a lot of money since you send there qualified traffic (from AdWords, for example).
But they also often report bounce rates higher than average. Finding out why people leave the page without signing up, downloading, leaving their contact details or taking any other action you desire on an LP, leads to improvements that can be worth a small fortune.
Maybe you oversimplified the page and people want more info? Or maybe your value proposition is not clear enough? Use exit surveys to discover it, implement changes and observe results.
Recommended questions: ‘What else would you like to see on this page?’, ‘What prevented you from signing up?’ (you can use text answers or a multiple-choice question), ‘What should we do to improve your experience?’
Exit surveys turn out to be an effective lead generation tool – many people leave your website because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. They need a boost to leave their contact details. And an exit survey is a great boost.
So ask if they want to receive a free guide or maybe they want a free consultation? One of our users, a big telecom, found this technique so effective they had to stop a survey after a couple of hours because their call center was unable to process all collected leads.
Recommended questions: ‘Do you need additional information about our offer?’, ‘Would you like a consultant to contact you with a personalized offer?’.
Typical response rate
Response rates to website exit surveys vary from 5% to almost 60%. The basic rule is similar to any other website survey – the more engaged users are when they see a survey, the higher the response rate.
It means that shopping cart abandonment surveys typically report the highest response rates, while goal completion surveys tend to report moderate response rates (5% here is considered normal).
Using the best practices described below will help you achieve high response rates and you will collect a decent number of answers even if traffic to your website is moderate.
Best practices of running exit surveys
Keep it short
Ask just one or two questions that don’t require much effort to answer. No one will answer more – after all, they decided to leave your website for some reason.
Recommended flow – multiple-choice or scale questions, follow-up with a text answer, and a ‘Thank you’ message. Also, ensure that the survey is short and contains only one or two questions.
People are more likely to participate if you do it and more likely to answer the second question when they know it’s also the last one.
Use targeting and segmentation of visitors
Create multiple surveys to adjust messages based on sites where a survey appears and the behavior of visitors. Example: don’t just ask all visitors ‘why did you decide to leave the website?’.
Instead, ask ‘What made you quit shopping?’ to visitors who are abandoning shopping carts and a different question to those who leave the blog. It will show users that you actually care, which leads to higher response rates and a better experience.
Make the survey visible
Don’t forget to set the widget to appear in the center of the screen. You can also set website fade out to grab attention.
If you place the survey widget in a corner of a website (the best place for surveys different than exit survey) people simply won’t notice it and your response rates will be low (around 1%).
One of our customers was dissatisfied with their response rates. It turned out they didn’t set the fade out, the widget appeared in a corner and its color was very similar to the page itself.
When they changed settings to make the survey visible, the response rates jumped more than five-fold.
That said, don’t be annoying – people hate it when a popup covers a whole screen and they can’t close it easily.
If you want to try using exit surveys on your website, it’s time to choose the right tool. There’s plenty of them on the market and some of them offer decent free packages.
Take a look at this guide to choosing the right survey tool and make sure the tool you choose has all useful features. Then just create your first survey according to described best practices and enjoy collected feedback!