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How not to do a "How did you hear about us" selector

A frequent request we get when creating a checkout process or contact us form is to include a "How did you hear about us" select list. They generally end up looking like this one I screenshot from MoonPig:


We usually recommend against adding a "How did you hear about us" select list not only because there are more reliable ways of tracking this sort of information but because when someone is presented with a list like this we've found that the information (when completed) is usually a guess. Think about it, you go to a website, start ordering and then you're asked to remember where you first heard about them. Although you may have come from Google, you may have heard about them on TV first -which do you select (probably Google because that's the last thing you can remember but the advertising department would need to know it was TV that triggered it...).

The example from MoonPig above in my eyes is even worse as it doesn't keep it top level "TV" they try and break it down to channel. How many people are paying *that* much attention to the channel they're watching the advert on?

So what's the alternative?

The first thing to understand is that although there are better ways of finding out how people found you but there are far more inclusive. The two that we tend to recommend clients use are:

  • Discount Codes
  • Custom Landing Pages/Domain Names

By using these, you can track the sale/interaction back to the original source (it will of course include the odd user who's been referred but that's not an issue as you'd still want to attribute the sale to that original source).

So the next time you're thinking about adding a "How did you hear about us" select list to your site, have a think if there's a better route you can use.

Author: Tim on

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