CAPTCHA Images And Your Conversion Rate

22 October 2014
Published: By: Amy Honeywell



As we’ve just released our video about our Conversion Rate Optimisation services, I thought it would be fitting to look more into CRO!

Those working in the Industry of Search Engine Optimisation are often guilt of focusing on certain things, usually: either Links and/or Ranking. And that’s good! But obviously, SEO is only one stage of Digital Marketing – After all, ranking on Google is all well and good, but what good is it to rank, if you’re not selling as well as you could be?

Conversion Rate Optimisation is all about UE (User Experience), and how the customer interacts with a website; their behaviours, mouse tracking, the links their click on and at what point they abort. There are, of course different sections of the User Experience that play their own part in CRO.

For the sake of this blog post, I’m focusing on CAPTCHA images and the part they play in the downfall of UE.

So what is CAPTCHA? CAPTCHA is a computer program that distinguishes human users from robot machine inputs in an effort to thwart SPAM from entering data into websites. So effectively, it keeps internet robots at bay by requesting users to input the text value displayed in a picture as part of a verification process. It sounds averagely simple, and I’m sure that we’ve all encountered at least one in our lives online, but more often than not, they’re harder to use than some may think. Images vary from letters and numbers, to shorter (and often easier to read) Google Map Street View crops of house numbers.

It’s been said that when CAPTCHA isn’t used, a typical website’s conversion rate would increase by up to 4%; quite a healthy figure with great potential for a lot of companies. But that isn’t at all to say that they aren’t a ‘problem’. It’s entirely possible that users try so many times, but the CAPTCHA image is so difficult to understand – even for humans!! – that users give up and abandon the process altogether.
Let’s not dismiss the thought that CAPTCHAs are supposed to be easy for humans to understand, but nigh-impossible for machines. Studies have shown that Visual CAPTCHAs take an average of 10 seconds to complete, Audio CAPTCHAs almost 30 seconds to hear and interpret, both of which have a shocking 50% abandonment rate.

So is it time for you to ditch CAPTCHA?

Well I think we really need to think about User Experience, here. Ask yourself: –
• “Is the amount of spam traffic I’m knowingly receiving worth the loss of conversions?”
o If ‘Yes’, is your set of CAPTCHA images friendly to all of your users, including the visually impaired?
• “Have I just dumped my SPAM problem onto my customers/potential conversions?”

At the end of the day, CAPTCHAs are leading to a negative User Experience on websites. They cause constant frustration, harm our conversion rates, and don’t always really work for the visually impaired users.

The most important thing here is that by trying to prevent SPAM, we’re inadvertently harming our user’s experience, and that isn’t right. We should, as companies and Marketers alike, be looking to give the customer the best experience, ensuring repeat business and customer loyalty. Whatever you decide to do, put the customer first! Not only will it improve Customer Experience, but will improve your website and Conversion Rates!




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