You’ve probably heard of some of the major online survey providers like Google Consumer Surveys, Survata, SurveyMonkey Audience, and Qualtrics.
There are some major differences between Centiment and these players that we’ll get to in a minute. But first, let’s understand the two primary methods for collecting research on the web: survey walls and traditional online surveys.
Each of the companies listed above falls under one of these two methods and each method has a unique approach to engaging respondents. Given that your respondents are by far the most important factor in your market research efforts, it’s important that you understand the survey experience from their perspective.
Google Consumer Surveys and Survata collect responses through surveys walls that appear when people on the web are reading a piece of premium content, such as a news article. To continue reading the content, a 1-2 survey question must be answered.
- Reach – Survey walls can quickly access millions of respondents.
- Cost – Google and Survata have affordable packages available making it convenient to sanity check lightweight decisions.
- Respondent Engagement – A respondent’s intent is to read their premium content, not answer surveys that unexpectedly present themselves. Many respondents will ‘swat away’ a survey by blindly selecting responses, resulting in poor survey data.
- Inferred Profile Information – Because survey walls have a respondent’s attention for such a short period of time, they cannot ask any profile questions. Instead, profile information is inferred. This is where a user’s age, gender, etc. are estimated based on the websites they visit.
TRADITIONAL ONLINE SURVEYS
SurveyMonkey Audience and Qualtrics both collect responses from dedicated panels of respondents.
- Intent of the Panelist – Engaging respondents that have opted into taking surveys enables market researchers to access people that are willing to complete longer form surveys than those provided by survey walls.
- More Profile Information – Panelists complete a demographics questionnaire before they enter any survey. As a result, this information does not need to be inferred based on website visitor history.
- High Disqualification Rates – Targeting on unreliable profile information results in respondents being kicked out of surveys they’ve already started.
- False Reporting – Respondents misstate their profile information to decrease their odds of being disqualified
- Poor Rewards – Respondents are not adequately compensated for their time.
HOW IS CENTIMENT DIFFERENT?
We source our own respondents
Much like traditional online survey providers, Centiment solicits responses from a dedicated panel of respondents. The difference is that, unlike many providers, we recruit and manage a panel of our own respondents and provide an incentivization model that benefits a nonprofit they have a real life relationship with. If we are targeting a very specific audience, we may partner with another provider to extend our reach and blend our panels together. The key is in curation and knowing which sources are most appropriate to work with to find a particular audience.
We pamper them
Good data stems from great experiences. To provide the best respondent experience, we built our own platform from the ground up to enable end-to-end control from survey creation to response collection. To keep our respondents happy, we provide them with:
- Strong profile management to reduce disqualification
- Truly mobile compatible templates
- Fair payouts
We support great causes
Centiment enables nonprofits across the country to host fundraisers on our platform. The respondents themselves include parents, friends, and family of elementary school children. We also support animal shelters, Churches, and many more types of organizations. Each survey completed generates a donation to the nonprofit a respondent opted to support. This incentivisation model enables us to access difficult to reach, affluent respondents. The end results is a sample set that is more representative of the general population.
We offer competitive pricing
Owning our panel helps us with our costs, enabling us to send larger donations directly to our nonprofit partners. This control also allows us to keep our survey pricing very competitive.
If you feel you’ve got a good handle on this whole market research thing, great. We welcome you to return to Centiment to get started on your first survey. If you want help building your survey, please contact us regarding our survey programming and hosting services.
As you sit down to begin building out your survey, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind. Follow these tips as you take your initial list of questions and mold them into your survey creation form. The central theme here is ensuring you are presenting your survey to your respondent in the clearest, most concise way possible.
1. Focus on one research goal
Reiterating a point from our last lesson, each survey you create should focus on one research goal. Everything you ask should be related to acquiring knowledge related to that one topic. Avoid unrelated ‘nice to have’ questions. If you are inquiring about consumers preferences related to an iPhone case, don’t lob in a question about a charging stand concept.
2. Ask straightforward questions
Vague questions lead to vague responses. Write in plain English and be pointed about what information you want to collect. Avoid things like double negatives and difficult concepts. If respondents clearly understand your questions, you are more likely to clearly understand their responses.
3. Ask one question at time
Asking for feedback on two variables in one question is a recipe for bad data. Example: Which brand of running shoes provides the best comfort AND support? In this example, a respondent may feel one brand has great comfort but mediocre support.
4. Keep it short
Time magazine claims a human has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Keep your surveys short and your respondents engaged. The longer the survey, the more likely respondents are to speed and provide less than thoughtful responses.
5. Use closed-ended questions
Respondents have an easier time comprehending questions that have a stated response. While open text (free response) questions are necessary at times, they make it harder to quantify the results. They can also wear a respondent out. Try to limit your survey to two open text questions max.
6. Avoid the Yes bias
Decades of research tells us people are uncomfortable telling you no. In the context of a survey, this is referred to as the acquiescence response bias. Presenting too many yes/no questions can severely compromise your data. If you want to know if someone is likely to purchase a new suitcase in the next 12 months, use a “Probably Not / Definitely Will” 1-5 scale rather than a binary yes/no format. A scaled question also has the added benefit of conveying the intensity of your respondent’s opinion, providing richer data.
7. Use Neutral Language
An online survey is constructed to assess what other people think, not to confirm your preconceived notions. Abstain from language that is likely to persuade your respondent in any way.
8. Provide a “Not Applicable” response
Certain questions may not apply to a respondent. Provide an “N/A” option to avoid forcing a respondent to falsely report on a question that does not apply to them.
9. Include images and video
Visuals can stimulate your respondent’s memory. Use a free online image tool like Canva to get your images sized properly. Canva also lets you easily layer in text overlays and graphics.
10. Have fresh eyes review your survey
Ask a friend to review your survey before you submit it for responses. A fresh set of eyes can help you catch any errors.
If you are interested in putting your new research skills to work, you can head over to Centiment to start creating a survey.
In this post, we’ll be covering how to brainstorm an initial list of questions to help you get your research efforts underway
Don’t force your questions
Many new researchers fall into the trap of filling their survey up with the first handful of questions that pop into their head. They figure once they get the data back, they can start to make sense of it and decide how to best glean insights from it. This is a major mistake. Rather than finding an ah-hah moment where everything about their business comes into focus, they are left with a report full of useless data.
Start by identifying your end goal
Each survey should have one research goal. For example, you may be looking to better understand the iPhone case market in order to create a new product in this category.
Write your goal out on a piece of paper. Under it, list ten questions that provide information to help reach this goal. This doesn’t need to be final, quickly brainstorm your questions and write them down.
Now reread your ten questions. Cross out the ones that don’t seem to provide new information you could act on.
For instance, it might be great to know that lots of people are enjoying the new iOS 10 operating system which bodes well for future iPhone sales and the associated iPhone case market. However, I would venture to say that anyone looking to bring an iPhone case to market already knows that the addressable market for iPhone cases is massive. There is no sense in wasting a survey question reaffirming this.
Expand your question set
Now that you’ve honed in on the types of questions you should be asking, expand your list. Shoot for 15-20 questions.
Circling back to the iPhone case, the market for iPhone cases is extremely crowded and competitive. To differentiate yourself, you decide you want to explore the idea of developing an iPhone case that includes a second e-reader screen on the back. Your list of 20 questions may look something like this (again this doesn’t need to be perfect):
- Do you prefer a second color screen or an e-reader that consumes less battery, and works better in daylight, and doesn’t emit blue light?
- How big would you like the 2nd screen to be?
- Do you prefer an extremely thin case or a slightly thicker case with better durability?
- Would including a battery in the case make the case considerably more appealing?
- The iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack, would you like a headphone jack built into the case knowing it will increase the size of the case?
- What content would you like to consume on the e-reader? e-books, email, news, calendar details?
- Are you okay with the fact that you will not be able to use a web browser on the e-reader?
- Should the marketing focus on the fact that the e-reader uses considerably less battery than the built-in iPhone screen?
- Should a backlight be included on the e-reader screen for night use?
- Would you pay a premium for wireless charging?
- Which case colors do you prefer?
- Shiny or matte colored?
- Should the case include graphics or images?
- Does including a free screen protector appeal to you?
- Would you like the case to be waterproof (this would include an overlay on the existing phone screen)?
- How long do you intend to use such a case?
- Would you participate in a pre-order offer if it included a pricing discount?
- Are you willing to pay a premium price to have a phone insurance plan included with the case?
- Would free shipping impact your decision to purchase a purchase?
- What price are you willing to pay?
Let your questions sit
Your mind needs to dwell on your questions. Let your questions sit for a day. Your patience will pay off when you return to your list with a clear mind. From here, you can refine your list down to the most critical questions.
Understand that these are not your final survey questions. This exercise is to get you to focus in on a research goal and identify some key questions that can help you realize that goal. You’ll need to take these questions and adapt them to fit the various question layouts your survey provider offers you.
Online market research is a powerful tool that enables you to better understand your business and the market for your goods or services. However, creating a survey from scratch can seem a bit daunting to first-timers.To help get you up to speed, I wanted to quickly cover the basics: what an online survey is, what they are being used for, and who is using them.Let’s jump in…
What is an online survey?
The concept of an online survey is a fairly straightforward one; it essentially enables you to put a few hundred people in a room and ask them any questions you have. Orchestrating this feedback loop online has enabled both large and small companies to substantially reduce their market research costs, as it’s far more cost-effective to ask people these questions remotely than it is to assemble them in person.
What are surveys being used for?
Now let’s look at how surveys are helping companies garner insights and drive results. There are countless applications, but some of them of the most popular use cases include:
- Consumer Behavior – Understand consumers’ activity to create an offering that best suits their needs
- Demand Assessment – Gauge the overall level of interest in your concept before pursuing it
- Product Design – Ensure you are launching your product with the most appealing design
- Feature Selection – Invest in what people want the most, discard unnecessary features
- Pricing – Understand people’s willingness to pay to set a price that maximizes profitability
- Marketing Design – Select the logo or ad design that people are most drawn to
- Video Evaluation – Get feedback on your explainer video or video advertisement
By understanding what people want, you can better develop an offering that meets the needs of your market. For instance, if you run an Italian restaurant and need to decide if you should add mushroom risotto or margarita pizza to your menu, you can provide a sample listing that includes a description and image of each and let the audience vote. Along with the results, you’ll get detailed demographic information on each respondent to help you better understand the preferences of men and women based on age, income, education, ethnicity, parental status, location, etc. This information can confirm your intuition or shed light on otherwise unknown consumer preferences.
Who is using online surveys?
Surveys are being used across a wide variety of professionals throughout many different industries:
- Academic institutions
- Advertising agencies
- Brand managers
- Consumer research firms
- CPG companies
- Food and beverage companies
- Product managers
- Small businesses
- Technology companies
If you’re wondering whether an online survey would be helpful to your business, ask yourself three questions:
- Are you uncertain about something?
- Would feedback from other people be helpful?
- Can you act on this feedback once collected?
If you answered yes to all three, conducting a survey will provide you with actionable data that will help drive your business forward.