The BreadCrumb Technique: The What, Why, and How

March 14, 2019

This is a guest post from Johnathan Dane, Founder and CEO of KlientBoost.

Wondering why you’re being plagued with low conversion rates and high first-page bounce rates?

As marketers—we’ve all been there.

If you stop to reflect on your audience’s user experience once they land on your page, you might notice that it’s not so inviting after all.

The reality is, that first-page form field might be dissuading your visitors without you even knowing it.

The Breadcrumb Technique helps address the issue of aggressive single-page form fields and gives you the tools to create a much more effective landing page user experience.

What is the Breadcrumb Technique?

The Breadcrumb Technique refers to the use of multi-step landing page forms in order to get visitors to micro-convert all the way to the desired conversion action. Just like Hansel and Gretel who left themselves breadcrumbs in order to find their way back home, the technique uses the same principle in guiding a potential converter with low-threat questions until the very end.

There is a common misconception that having fewer forms means a greater chance that a visitor will convert. It’s understandable. After all, “less is more,” right?

While there are certainly cases where this is true, quite the opposite has also been proven to happen. If you know how to leverage them, adding more low-threat questions in progression can actually reduce conversion anxiety, thus leading to higher conversion rates.

Why Reduce Conversion Anxiety?

Unbounce describes conversion anxiety as:

“What your prospect feels when confronted with friction on your landing page or website. Anxiety occurs when your page poorly communicates your value proposition or creates doubt in the user’s mind.”

Stirring up conversion anxiety can bring issues like fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) into play. And when you’re a marketer trying to get a visitor to leave his/her name, email, and phone number, FUD is the last thing you want.

So what is it about single-page form fields that causes user anxiety?

What Causes User Anxiety?

If we try to channel some user empathy, we can get a good idea of why visitors might be feeling anxious when converting.

Let’s say you’re thinking about replacing the carpet in your house:

  • You enter “carpet installers” in Google Search.
  • You click an ad that tells you that they have the lowest prices of all the other companies.
  • Once you land on the first page, you’re hit with a long form that requests all your personal contact information.

At this point, the form has already come on too strong. While you wanted to start looking for the best prices on carpet installers, you probably weren’t ready to share your information and be contacted by a salesperson.

They’ll most likely give you an aggressive sales pitch that you just aren't ready for.

  • Fear...of being contacted when you aren’t ready.
  • Uncertainty...about whether or not it’s the right company to hire.
  • Doubt….of whether to leave your information in the first place.

These are all things the Breadcrumb Technique solves.

How Does the BreadCrumb Technique Work?

To answer this question, first understand two forms of user psychology. We’ll focus on the “yes” ladder and compliance psychology.

The “Yes” Ladder

This is a type of persuasion method focused on getting your visitors to say “yes” to small, less aggressive questions in order to gain their trust. From there, you slowly start asking slightly more aggressive questions until the “ultimate ask” or goal is reached.

Here’s an example of a three-step form - image source

You can see that the first step asks very low-threat questions, staying away from personal information. The second step’s questions are a tad more aggressive, qualifying questions. And the last page asks for the actually valuable, desired, contact information.

Take note that these questions don’t have to be pointless. Figure out what qualifying questions would constitute a high-quality lead for your business and implement them on separate pages.

Now, you may be asking, “Why would they continue answering if they started seeing multiple pages anyway? They might not even give me their info once they reach the end.”

All valid questions. That’s where compliance psychology comes in.

Compliance Psychology

This is the idea that a marketer can put their “foot-in-the-door” with a potential converter using small, low-threat questions, thus leading to a better chance that they’ll answer the next question in the sequence.

In simplest terms, they’ve already committed to the first set of questions, so they might as well answer the next ones until they’ve finished what they started.

Here’s an example of a two-step form - image source

Whether you should be using a two-step, three-step, or even five-step form is all based on testing. Try A/B testing each length until you find the number of pages that show you an increase in conversions. If you notice conversion rates decreasing as a result of too many form field pages, you'll know you’ve gone too far.

It’s also a good idea to test the qualifying questions that you use in the intermediary steps of your forms. They could just as well lead to improved conversion rates if people identify effortlessly.


That was a lot of emotions to take in for a landing page optimization topic! But it’s added a lot of understanding on how your visitors feel about their user experience.

Remember: the main goal of conversion rate optimization is always to increase conversion rates. So although this method is about user psychology, the technique still follows any business's main objective—to increase revenue.

Johnathan Dane

Klient Boost
By submitting this form, I am agreeing to Marin’s privacy policy.

See why brands have relied on Marin to manage over $48 billion in spend

No items found.