Magazine article Marketing

Greater Insight: The Online Dimension

Magazine article Marketing

Greater Insight: The Online Dimension

Article excerpt

The web can be a cost-effective and efficient medium for information-gathering, but researchers must take steps to ensure that consumers can interact with surveys without getting bored.

The quality debate dominates the online market research industry. Much of the focus is on the behaviour of professional or untrustworthy survey respondents, but what about our responsibilities to provide respondents with a decent survey experience?

As a panel provider, we host and offer sample for hundreds of thousands of surveys every year, as well as collecting survey satisfaction data from our panel members for each of the surveys they complete. Through reviewing this data, we have been able to identify the survey design features that drive satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and to assess the long-term impact on panel retention.

Once the survey is in the field, how can we hold the respondent's interest? We found that survey length and reward alone do not determine survey satisfaction, but the design of the survey can have a positive or negative impact on the panellist's survey experience and their continued active involvement in the panel.

So what makes a survey experience negative? Panellists wish to give an honest opinion and dislike it when they are unable to because they have to choose an answer that does not accurately reflect their opinion. It's very important to provide options such as 'Other', 'Neither agree nor disagree' and 'Don't know' so that the respondent is not forced into providing a false opinion.

Another issue, which is a frequent complaint, is repetitive question sets, where the same questions are asked repeatedly for different products or services. This makes it difficult for the panellist to maintain interest in the topic.

Understandably, these questions need to be asked, so how do we ask them without the panellist losing interest? We have had great success by making the questions interactive using Flash and rich media. A progress bar informing the respondent of their progress through the survey also creates a positive experience (as long as the survey isn't too long), so that the respondent can track their progress and have an expectation of how long it will take to complete the study.

Clarity is another common complaint. …

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