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Should you tell users upfront what’s required in the sign-up process?

WhichTestWon's Analysis: (Click back to see versions A & B)

– Case Study –

By: Deborah O’Malley | Jan. 24, 2018


Australian electricity provider, Energy Australia, conducted this charged-up copy test in-house, on their site.

Test Background & Goal:

The test goal was to increase the number of applicants signing up for an Energy Australia electricity and gas plan.

After digging into the analytics data, Energy Australia’s testing team saw that many users started the application process, but dropped off at the checkout stage.

Data analysis also revealed the form fields requiring ID, as well an email, or phone number, had the highest error rates.


The team deduced the drop-off was happening because applicants didn’t have the proper ID on them at the time of registration.

They wondered if they could remove friction – and increase completed checkouts — by telling users upfront what was required to complete the application.

Test Details:

To test the effect of preparing users for the checkout process, over 5 thousand unique visitors were directed to a version either without or with a statement outlining sign-up requirements. Traffic was split 50/50. 

In the version with the sign-up requirements, applicants were told they’d need to provide ID (driver’s licence, medicare card, or passport). They were also assured the process would only take “5 minutes.

The test ran on Adobe Target for 24 days.


Winner: Version A, with the sign-up requirements upfront – had a strong impact all the way down the funnel, increasing checkout completions 15.61%, at 97% confidence.

Interestingly, adding the sign-up requirements upfront meant that less traffic clicked through the application. However, those applicants entering the funnel were more qualified leads, contributing to an overall higher completed checkout rate.


Should you tell users upfront what’s required in your sign-up process?

This test indicates that the answer is definitely: yes!

Although pre-emptively stating your qualification requirements may scare off some applicants, outlining what’s expected early on can help ensure you get the most qualified leads entering into your funnel.

In this study, providing the application requirements upfront not only helped screen for the most qualified leads. But, it also set expectations before applicants started the process. So, users could enter prepared, with the proper ID in hand.

Going in prepared likely reduced distraction. Applicants didn’t need to get up from their computer, find their wallet, rummage through it, and locate their ID — only to get distracted along the way and potentially abandon the task.

Stating application requirements upfront likely also helped alleviate any unease, or concerns, qualified applicants had about the process. The clarity may have helped build trust.

Feeling confident about the process likely kept visitors moving through the funnel — until they completed the application.

Clarifying the short 5 minute time commitment likely also helped assure uncertain applicants the process was quick and easy, contributing to higher conversions.

In fact, Energy Australia now has testimonials from applicants saying things like, “was actually surprisingly simple – literally took 5 minutes.” The company uses these testimonials as a trust element onsite to further validate their claim – and increase application conversions.

All this evidence goes to show: your visitors are more likely to complete a task if they know what’s expected before they start.


Congratulations to theEnergy Australia who won Gold in the Copy category for this test as part of the recently held Best-In-Test awards.

Actionable Takeaways

  1. Set visitor expectations early on. Before visitors start your application process, tell them exactly what’s needed and expected. Clearly state your application requirements and the time commitment involved. Doing so can increase task completion, reduce visitor uncertainty, lower anxiety, remove friction — and increase conversions.
  2. To get more qualified leads, be upfront. Although you may get fewer leads, you’re likely to get a higher number of qualified applicants if you’re upfront about your exact application requirements.
  3. Remember: visitors are more likely to complete a task if they know what’s expected before they start.

Tell Us Your Thoughts:

Why do you think the version with the explanatory sign-up text won?

Let us know by tweeting @BEHAVEdotorg.

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By: Deborah O’Malley, M.Sc.

Deborah is the Director of Digital Development at She holds a master’s of Science (M.Sc.) degree with a specialization in eye tracking technology and is Google Analytics certified. When not helping optimize websites, she’s busy in the kitchen making homemade fudge, or burning it off at the gym.



Winning Version


Reader Guesses:

Which Test Won?

  • Version A
  • Version B
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