All posts by qSample

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Infographic of the Week: Dogs vs. Cats, The Great Debate

Are you a dog person or cat person? It’s a never ending debate that’s somehow manages to always turn into a heated conversation topic. Dogs and cats are certainly perceived very differently, and we all know cat people think they’re smarter than dog people, and dog lovers feel as if they are more extroverted than those “crazy cat ladies”, but what’s the data behind it all?

Freshpet created a video on the topic, making the rounds and testing which pet is better at being the cutest, being the best third wheel, and excelling at being the best hipster.

As you can see from the video, it’s more than who is smarter or more out-going. Try to answer some of these questions to better help you pick a side:

Do you like puns or impressions? Or if you consider yourself to be “fashion-conscious” or “fashion-challenged”? Take a look at our latest Infographic of the Week to find out which pet correlates to these personality characteristics – you might even be surprised at the results.

Pet Infographic Final Final (3)

So, which is it? Are you dog person or cat person? Let us know with the hashtag #catsvsdogs! And make sure to tag us on your social media!

If you want to stay with us and keep going, check out one of our Slideshares on the topic, and take a look into the amazing world of pets and their owners.

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4 Research Studies That Can Holistically Create Viral Content

Gray keyboard shot with return button in red, with "Go Viral'

It could be a cute video of your pet, a brutal fight in a crowded high school hallway, or an auto-toned simple song about the best day of the week. It could be a blog post decrying Hipster Beards. What exactly makes content go viral? That is a perplexing question that has confounded many a marketing guru. There are, however, reasonable theories that illuminate the reasons for internet contagiousness. Together, these could create a whole organism that invites the coveted virus of web traffic.

The Theory of the Heart



While conjuring an emotional response from users is a crucial element to creating viral content, it isn’t always easy. Some emotions such as anger, though, are easy to produce. One method is to publicly disagree with a recognized opinion, all to drive users to express their rage through comments and share links on their own social networking platforms. A perfect example occurred recently when Kid Rock in a Rolling Stone interview expressed astonishment at Beyoncé’s success and idolization. Her fans, also known as the Beyhive, swarmed the rapper’s social media accounts with full ire. Needless to say, Kid Rock became a high trending topic—although perhaps not as he might have wanted.

An article in Fast Company further explains:

Recent research suggests that emotions hold the secret to viral web content. Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content. The finer details tell a similar story: triggering high-arousal emotions, such as anger or humor, is a surer path to click gold than triggering low-arousal ones, such as contentment or sadness.

The Theory of the Mind



This has to do with memory-induced triggers, and is elucidated in the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On—written by Jonah Berger, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of Business. Berger argues that individuals tend to share what’s on their immediate mind, and this dovetails into the science behind word of mouth. During an interview, he explains why the GEICO’s “Hump-Day” camel ad became vastly popular. It’s not really because people relish in the idea of going around yelling “Hump Dayyy!” in their best camel impersonation (although it is a pastime of mine). He explains instead:

It’s one of the most shared ads of last year. One the question is, why. Well, if you look at the data you notice something very interesting. There’s a spike of attention, and then it goes down, and then another spike and it goes down … if you look closer, you realize that the spikes are not random, they’re seven days apart. And you look even closer, you realize that they’re every Wednesday, whereas it’s known as “Hump Day.” So, this ad is equally good or bad every day of the week, but Wednesday provides a ready reminder, what psychologists call a “trigger” to make people think about it and talk about it. When something is top of mind, we’re much more likely to share it. Just like peanut butter reminds us of jelly, Wednesday reminds us of Hump Day, which reminds us to share this ad. That’s one reason why it’s so popular.

The Theory of the Eye



Captivating content will likely not go viral unless it’s in the right place, at the right time, and in the right way.

Our own research reveals:

As any marketer knows, the content isn’t the only key factor. How it’s presented is just as important. Compelling content simply won’t go viral unless it is positioned in the right place, at the right time, and in the right way. Location on webpages, attachments, and readability are all important factors. Studies show that users only actually read about 20% of a typical webpage, and of that 20%, very little is actually absorbed. This means that viral content must be friendly to skimmers. Viral content must be presented in a way that highlights verbal and visual hooks which will catch the viewer’s interest and convince them to stop and pay attention.

According to white paper by Cisco, by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost tripled. This clearly means that visual will be king of content, so pleasing the eye will be the queen-wearing-the-pants.

The Theory of the Body



Many are familiar with list-articles on BuzzFeed and other similar sites. They are vastly popular, often producing infectious content.

The appeal of list-articles stories is from the value of practicality, belonging, and, in a way, civic duty. In an interview with The New Yorker, Berger said list-articles are successful because they “allow people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” By sharing a piece of “useful information,” individuals may appear to others as smart and helpful, as well as feel part of a larger, beneficial organism.

The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study on what makes content go viral. It found that informative, educational, practical, interesting, and surprising articles are more likely to make the most e-mailed list of the New York Times.

The study further states:

People might be more likely to share positive stories on overcast days, for example, to make others feel happier. Other cues in the environment might also shape social transmission by making certain topics more accessible. When the World Series is going on, for example, people may be more likely to share a sports story because that topic has been primed.

Finally, the study states that leadership or expert articles have a smaller chance of becoming viral, contrary to the tenets of buzz marketing. This points to the conclusion that people want to belong and at the same time want to share information that benefits the whole of the community.

Following these four theories will not guarantee that your next blog post will go viral. If that were the case, many would need to upgrade their internet bandwidth to Kid Rock levels. While we cannot infer too much from these theories and studies, it does highlight an opportunity for further research (and opportunity). In the meantime, keep sharing those videos and pictures of cute cats. One doesn’t need science or studies to know the internet loves cats.

Image Credit Tom Fishburne

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Infographic of the Week: Social Media Is Ruling Our Lives

It’s 2015 and we’ve been familiar with social media for over 20 years.

While it started out gradually, we now live in a world where we are always connected. Smartphones, tablets, even wearable technology helps us stay connected with friends, family, even the celebrities you’re obsessed with.

There are social networks, apps, and digital devices for everything these days, with new ones being added to the market daily. It is truly leading our lives. In the newest installment of qSample‘s Infographic of The Week, we break it all down for you. We let you know which sites are being used the most, who has been sent to the graveyard, what times of the day we’re plugged in, and so much more. We live in a hyper-connected, always-plugged-into-social-network reality of status updating and photo sharing.

Psychology Today quoted a tenth grader as part of an assignment to answer the question, “How has online social networking influence your relationships with friends and family?” He responded,

“Our technology has come to the point where it is ruling our lives; however, without it we would be lost.”

Spend a few minutes and check out our Infographic of the Week:

Social Media Infographic Final (1)


We’ve also added one of our latest YouTube videos for you to enjoy. It’s not another technical survey on how-to, it’s a funny feel good that will have you saying ooh la la. Enjoy!

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5 Veterinarian & Pet Health Trends Taking Over

Veterinarian taking sample from kitten's mouth with qtip

What does the future hold? For the veterinarian industry, it means Marmaduke strides in pet healthcare. Everyone wants to be able to keep their furry friends healthy, and with the new trends of the future it is becoming easier and more manageable.

With that in mind, here are five trends that are creating a vast impact in the veterinarian industry:

Holistic Medicine



The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association defines holistic medicine as “treatment that is minimally invasive.” This means the techniques and products used to treat the animal cause less physical stress and typically produce fewer side effects than with traditional drugs.

According to statistic from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 40% of Americans in 2007 utilized holistic medicine (also referred to as integrative/complementary/alternative medicine).

Holistic medicine’s popularity has sprung from the fact that many pet owners have personal experience with alternative medicine themselves (herbology, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, etc.). In turn, they are searching for less invasive ways to treat their pets. Holistic medicine is traditionally a natural, nonintrusive, and often affordable alternative that focuses on preventative treatments—as well as the emotional wellbeing of the patient. For more information on the topic, visit our article Is Holistic Medicine for Pet Care the Next Big Trend?

Pet Insurance



Treatment for pets isn’t cheap, and pet owners don’t mind putting down the money. According to a recent survey by Kroger Co., 61% of pet owners say they’d spend between $100 and $1,000 for life saving medical treatment. Another 15% would be willing to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for treatment. 10% of owners said they would be willing to pay $3,000 or more for medical care if their pet required it.

Beyond the heroic sentiment, animal health insurance has become increasingly popular in a world of unexpected veterinarian costs and tightening budgets. Several years ago, few companies existed that offer animal health insurance. Now the market is booming. Our internal research found that 97% of pet owners surveyed had personal health insurance, and 60% of those employed animal health insurance for their pets. Pets Best and Petplan were the most popular choices.

Women Veterinarians



Women have come a long way from what once a male-dominated field. The Houston Chronicle reported: “As of 2010, the veterinary profession was about 50% men and 50% women, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

Fast forward two years, the percentage of female veterinarian students grew immensely in 2012. Dvm360 noticed this trend when more than 75% of graduates were women, with Tufts University leading the pack with almost 88% of its graduating class represented by female students. The current enrollment in veterinarian medical colleges is approximately 80% female.

Move over boys, the girls are taking over.

Mobile Technology



Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone and access to mobile apps, and this is spreading into the animal kingdom.

Mobile technology has facilitated the communication between pet owners and veterinarians. Through numerous mobile apps and automated SMS messages, facilities can transmit patient test results, appointment reminders, and notifications pertaining to new services and/or medications. Clinic techs are even able to perform an x-ray on pets and send it to the veterinarian for a review within just a few minutes.

Other apps that assist pet owners are real-time webcams to ensure the safety of animals (and slippers, too!), pet training programs, and (yes) social media platforms exclusively for pets.

Exotic Pets



There are no sightings of a Baby Groot as of yet, but exotic pets is certainly a trend. For example, in the UK alone:

“The number of monkeys and other primates being kept as pets has soared to an estimated 9,000 animals in England and Wales as rising interest in exotic creatures fuels demand while the internet makes them easier to trade.”

According to the American Pet Products Association, cats and dogs were still king in the pet world in 2013, but already 19.4 million U.S. households owned exotic animals. The term “exotic” is loosely defined, but it commonly refers to reptiles, amphibians, birds, and small mammals. The reasons for owning exotic animals go beyond just being provocative and unusual; they can include being suitable for people with allergies (as with reptiles) or that they require less space than dogs or cats (as with hamsters).

In other words, it’s not just hipster monkey business.

We are still waiting for that flying car and commercial trip to the moon. Yet it’s wonderful to know we are close to a future where a large percentage and variety of animals are treated well and with the best possible care. With the continued support of a maturing and hard-working veterinarian profession, all dogs might possibly be in heaven while on earth.

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Infographic of the Week: The Power of Consumer Control

Every week we like to break away from the craziness that is life for a minute and take a deep breath. Why don’t you try it with us? Ready?


Great! Now that you’re relaxed, how about checking out our Infographic of The Week. Are you an Avengers fan? Obsessed with Thor? So are we, and today he’s helping us take a look into the idea of free will and the Psychology of The American Consumer with his all mighty hammer. We’ve got some great data presented in our infographic that we know you’ll enjoy. Are you aware subtle modifications in brand marketing can sway decision making? Content writing, labeling, and standing for something are all very important techniques your brand needs to control, but don’t worry, we break it down for you. Get all the tips you need to take over and rule the consumer world with our Infographic of the Week.

Power of Consumer Influence (Final) - Copy

Want more? We thought we’d share our qSample team so you see we are human beings, not some well-oiled data gathering robots. Cartoon renderings are brought to you by qSample’s Senior Account Executive Maryana Stepanova – enjoy!

Miguel Conner
Marketing Director
Melanie Papandrea
Assistant Marketing Director
Rudly Raphael
Maryana Stepanova
Senior Account Executive
Connor Duffey
Director of Business Development

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Do YOU Have A Perfect March Madness Bracket?

The excitement of March Madness is upon us and hopefully you have your 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket perfected to win in your office pool. Kentucky is the number one seed to win after going 34-0 in the regular season, with Villanova being the number one seed in the East, Duke in the South, and Wisconsin as top pick in the West.

Whether it’s based on your favorites, which mascots could beat who, or going off of President Obama’s, everyone has a different strategy on who to pick for their brackets. But what are the odds of actually getting the perfect bracket and correctly predicting every game in the tournament?

1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (that’s 9.2 quintillion).

With odds being that high, it was pretty smart of Quicken Loans, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway, and Yahoo to offer a $1 billion prize to the fan who correctly picked all 64 winners in the 2014 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament last year. None of the contestants made it past the first round of 32 games without at least one mistake. They have since decide not to continue the contest this year. Sorry, guys. If it helps, the odds of becoming a billionaire without the help of Mr. Warren Buffett and Yahoo are only 1 in 7,000,000! See, there’s a silver lining in everything.

Since you’re probably not going to predict every game in the tournament correctly this year (I know, I know, but never lose hope), here’s a list of things that are more likely to happen to you than getting the perfect NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket:

  • Odds of fatally slipping in the bath or shower – 1 in 2,323
  • Odds of dating a supermodel – 1 in 88,000
  • Odds of being struck by lightning this year – 1 in 700,000
  • Odds of having identical twins –1 in 350-400
  • Odds of winning $1,000 in the McDonald’s Monopoly game — 1 in 36,950,005
  • Odds of being on plane with a drunken pilot – 117 to 1
  • Odds of tripping while texting – 1 in 10
  • Odds of getting a royal flush in poker on first five cards dealt – 649,740 to 1
  • Odds of “getting lucky” on the first date – 1 in 3
  • Odds of finding a pearl in an oyster — 1 in 12,000
  • Odds of going blind after laser eye surgery — 1 in 85,714
  • Odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery — 1 in 135,145,920

The odds of betting perfectly, or any odds for that matter, will not hamper the excitement of this or any NCAA Tournament. In sports there are those amazing, historical moments, like the Miracle on Ice and The Music City Miracle. These are once time events, though. In the NCAA Tournament, it seems that there is a yearly miracle of some sort, memorable to the entire nation. Just don’t expect one of them to be getting rich like Warren Buffet by predicting perfect bracket and correctly predicting every game in the tournament.


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Infographic of the Week: Boomers Are Embracing The Environment

100,500 words. 34 gigabytes.

That’s the amount of information we consume outside of work on an average day. From that, users only read about 28% of words per visit. Sounds exhausting, right? Well it’s the weekend, so don’t worry, this post is all about infographics.

Infographics change the way analytics are communicated, and qSample is on board. The trendy offspring of the old school PowerPoint image – infographics are the new way to share data and transform it into information by using clever and eye-catching, engaging visuals.

The below infographics are only a couple of our newest, based on proprietary research conducted by qSample. The first highlights the 4 senses of buying decisions, pulled from qSample’s own Director of Business Development, Connor Duffey’s article, How Much Control Do We Really Have Over What We Buy? How much free will do you think you really have? Take a look below.

4 Senses of Buying Decisions (3) (1)

The second is all about one of our specialty niche panels – Baby Boomers. Our research has gained insights into the values and opinions of the largest, most affluent generation in America, identifying important characteristics of the Baby Boomer generation, including their the desire to go green. The right research can make the difference between success and failure for your company in this marketplace.

Baby Boomers Go Green (1) Final

Want more? Check out one of our newest videos.
What’s it about? Just take the Red Pill and see…

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Spoiling Spot: Holiday Gifts for Pets

Considering buying a Christmas stocking for your cat/dog? No need to question your sanity, you are far from alone.

The overwhelming majority of pet owners say they treat their dogs and cats like family. Pet owners are projected to spend more than $5.5 billion on pet related gifts this holiday season, which is close to 10 percent of the total amount consumers are projected to spend on their pets.

To gain further insight into such an astounding consumer trend, qSample conducted a survey among more than 350 participants from qSample’s own Pet Owner Panel.

According to the results, 38 percent of respondents plan to spend $21-$50 on their pet this holiday. Nearly 20 percent plan on spending more than $51 on their companion’s gift.

Retailers have certainly taken notice of the increase in spending. With each passing year, owners can choose from more and more pet products and gifts. New trends, highlighted by the American Pet Product Association, include new offerings from retailers that have been focused on human products. Companies like Ralph Lauren (now selling dog sweaters), Omaha Steaks (new steak pet treats), and Paul Mitchell (new pet hygiene products).

The majority of respondents, 37 percent planned to purchase toys and 22 percent will buy a toy that distributes food or treats.  When purchasing food or treats, 37 percent say that the number one factor in their purchasing decision is whether their pet likes the product or not, 28 percent look for organic, all-natural or grain-free options, 13 percent look at brand name as their key determinant and 12 percent consider pricing first.

Most of the survey’s respondents, 49 percent, planned to purchase these gifts at a physical pet specialty store. 19 percent plan to purchase online and 11 percent will purchase from auction sites, veterinary clinics, pet shelters/rescue groups or another venue.

by Connor Duffey




Millennials and Holiday Shopping

The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales will increase 4.1% this year or to a total of $616.9 billion. This includes in-store, direct-to-consumer, kiosk and online sales. If this number is correct, the 2014 shopping season could be the best one that retailers have seen in over a decade.

With the number of stores open on Thanksgiving Day increasing, the number of shoppers coming out early to get deals has also increased. NRF data estimates that 44.8 million consumers shopped on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. This number is up by 27% from the previous year and millennials represent more than 43% of that number. Millennials spent 13% more than the other generations over Thanksgiving weekend. 83% also shopped for themselves over Thanksgiving weekend.

A recent study from Hanover research reveals that that millennials live and shop in the moment, often making purchases and dealing with the repercussions later. The study also shows that 52% of Millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation. They prefer to purchase with digital media in hand and they don’t stop spending in a recession-only 20 percent of Millennials reported spending less on apparel during the most recent economic downturn.

Several factors which should increase spending this year include:

Weather– Last Fall and Winter, much of the US was experiencing bad weather during the shopping season. Although part of the Eastern United States currently is buried in snow, the majority of the States are experiencing mild weather.

Utility Spending– Due to a mild summer, many consumers spent less on utilities and have more money for spending.

Government Shut-Down- On October 1, 2013, a partial government shut-down was put in place. The 16-day-long shutdown was the third-longest government shutdown in the U.S. and 2.9 million people were put on job furlough.

Employment Rates– More people are employed this year and disposable income increased 4% each month this summer.

Consumer Confidence– Most surveys are showing that confidence on the part of consumers has improved.

Gasoline Prices– In the past couple of months, gasoline prices have dropped and may provide more spending money for the holidays.

Gen Xers are knowledgeable shoppers who use information to guide their decisions and Baby Boomers tend to purchase based on practicality. These generations will likely keep budget more in mind this holiday season.

Millennials & Holiday Shopping

Breed and Behavior: You Can’t Change Nature, Even With Nurture

It’s the time of the year when Christmas lists are written and many children put a puppy on their wish list. According to the ASPCA, of the 3.9 million dogs entering shelters each year, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs are returned to their owner. According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each).

With the relinquishing and euthanasia rates unacceptable to many, it’s a good idea to research as much as possible before obtaining a dog. Dogs should be a friend for life-not a temporary companion.

Evaluating lifestyle and doing research on what type of dog breed that will fit lifestyle can be a challenge. Yes, there are online quizzes to help match a breed of dog to a specific lifestyle. The quizzes usually look at owner needs, size of dog desired, energy levels, care needs, temperament and trainability. Those quizzes and some pre-knowledge of breed types and their common behavior can greatly assist the search for a compatible match.

Dogs are available through pet stores, breeders, animal shelters, and sites including Pet Finder, Hannah the Pet Society and others that link potential pet parents to animal shelters and rescue groups. There is even an app for the iPhone called BarkBuddy that lists 250 thousand available pets from 2500 different rescue organizations.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are 339 internationally recognized dog breeds.

Purebred dogs tend to be more expensive, but it’s easier to know the characteristics and behaviors for those breeds. It is harder to determine behavior for mixed breeds (generally called mutts), but with a basic knowledge of breed characteristics and a veterinarian’s or shelter’s determination of the dominate breed within the dog, potential behavior issues may come to light.

Before purchasing or adopting, learn more about the background of the dog, if possible. Training, living conditions and parental temperaments can all affect dog behaviors beyond natural breed characteristics. Abandoned, abused, and neglected animals will behave differently than a pup raised in a loving, safe place. Purebred dog breeding in the USA is a multibillion dollar business every year and although many cities have recently cracked down on puppy mills and those who overbreed dogs, knowing a dog’s background will help with potential training or behavior issues.

Here are some top common breeds and the characteristics that they usually have in common.

Labrador Retrievers have ranked the top dog breed in the US in both 2013 and 2012 (among other years). Labs are not small, they can be 55-75 pounds, and do require regular grooming, but these gentle, devoted family dogs are easy to train and are also popular for sportsmen. Labs tend to be outgoing, loyal and good with children and other animals.

Lab hybrids are also popular breeds. One example is the Labradoodle, which is a mix of lab and poodle. Some labradoodles don’t shed as much as other dogs, which is appealing for those with allergies or with an aversion to hairy floor and furniture. Labradoodles share many of the same traits as labs and poodles, including high intelligence. Labs and hybrids tend to be high-energy dogs and require regular exercise to keep them engaged and well-behaved.

A medium sized dog, and fifth in 2013 AKC listings is the Bulldog. Bulldogs tend to be 40-50 lbs, and require minimal grooming and exercise. They are good family dogs because they are gentle, protective, and tend to form strong bonds with children. Bulldogs come in a variety of colors, and there are English, American and French bulldog types. The French Bulldog is usually smaller and can top the scale at 20 pounds or less. They all get along with other animals, and children, but bulldogs don’t generally have long lifespans. They also tend to rack up more veterinary bills than other breeds.

A small and popular breed of dogs is the dachshund. Dachshunds were ranked tenth in the 2013 dog breed statistics. These dogs can range from 16-32 pounds, and depending on the type, may require regular grooming. Despite their small size, this breed needs moderate exercise, and are stubborn, which can make them harder to train. Dachshunds can be loving, playful, and good with children. They can also be aggressive towards other animals, and strangers as well. Being a hound breed, they do tend to follow their noses and may need more supervision than other dogs.

There are many different types of dog breeds so the first thing is to determine what one’s needs are before purchasing or adopting. Going to a dog park, animal shelter, or asking others is an easy way to learn about different types. It’s easy to be captivated by a cute puppy, but puppies grow up and become dogs. Dogs do generally mature and mellow with age as well, so adopting a senior dog might be a good option if a puppy sounds overwhelming.

Having a dog can be good for health, and there are studies linking longer and healthier lifestyles with owning a pet. According to CNCA Health, a survey of more than 11,000 people found that pet owners made 15- 20 percent fewer visits to the doctor each year than non-pet owners. And numerous studies have shown that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, relieve feelings of depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety, and even boost self-esteem.

Having a dog breed that matches the needs and activity level of a family is beneficial for both owner and dog, and creates a healthier and happier home for everyone.


Visit the organizations we chatted to here:


Hannah the Pet Society


American Humane Association