Market research has had an interesting decade. New technologies and techniques have given everyone the opportunity to capture more data with explicit and implicit questions. This has opened a door of possibilities for survey tool owners. But to take advantage of the benefits that mobile market research offers, researchers need to take a mobile-first approach to survey design.
Below are four ways market researchers can optimize survey design to maximize their output.
1) THINK OF THE METHOD BEFORE WRITING YOUR QUESTIONS IN INK
Writing the questionnaire should be your last step. You have to choose the survey method as soon as you have clarified the purpose of the study and formulated the goals of the research. It is just as important as securing the team who will work on this questionnaire.
So draw the layout of your questionnaire in pencil and then ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my target population? What is their literacy level, language, geographic location?
- What types of questions are you considering? Open-ended? Close-ended?
- Is there any bias issues related to this research?
- How long is the survey?
Answering these questions will help you find the right method. And only after you have your method secured can you ink your questionnaire.
2) WEIGH THE INCENTIVE TO THE LENGTH OF YOUR SURVEY
You can’t expect people to participate in a 45 minute survey in exchange for $1. Since we all know that incentivizing panelists is not the easiest part of the research equation, I suggest you lower the effort required to complete the questionnaire. For instance, you can reduce the number of questions per survey and invite your panelists to take more surveys.
To make your survey more fun, you could consider gamifying your survey. Studies have shown that people are more likely to participate in activities that have a social element. Though gamification and incentives work, sometimes very simple things like showing a summary of activities back to the panelist could be of more value than the incentive you had in mind.
3) PUT YOURSELF IN THE PANELIST’S SHOES
It is easy to assume that a survey is doable, but did you try it in the context it will be answered? Get out of your office and try it in the real-world scenario, whether that is on a phone while walking in a shopping mall or on a tablet in the evening when you’re getting ready to have dinner. How does it feel? Were you interested in completing the survey? Was the length of the survey reasonable?
Putting yourself in the mind of your panelists will make it easier to design surveys that get completed.
4) DEFINE THE PURPOSE OF EVERY TECHNOLOGY YOU USE IN YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE
With the number of features that market research technology providers have on the table, it is easy to get greedy and try to use them all. But it is your responsibility toonly select what makes sense for your questionnaire.
For example, there are benefits to utilizing geo-fencing technology to run location-based research, but your questions must match the nature of such research. You cannot expect people to stop at the corner mall to answer a 10 minute survey with open-ended questions. Define the purpose of your research and use the tools that help you achieve your research goals.