Tag Archives: online panel

Why Is Your Company Not Conducting Market Research

The continuous flow of information has rapidly changed today’s digital environment and ideation exchange between businesses. This, in turn, has altered economies and technologies, as well as driven companies to expand their research horizons. While market research has proven to be an effective tool, not all businesses are convinced about the accuracy and value that it provides. Companies large and small all require accurate and timely information in order to meet market demands and stay ahead of the game.

The goal of market research is to equip companies with the information needed to conduct business decisions ranging from product development, to product placement, and everything in between. Why, then, is market research not at the forefront of their strategies?

Predicting outcomes is a strong part of any business decision; however, without the right information a company can’t properly prepare nor decide the next step for the business. The biggest misconception in the market research sector is that marketing activities should stay within the marketing department, consequently creating a narrow view and limiting the capabilities of research. Strictly speaking, marketing strategies should be used for marketing decision however, these processes are not solely for marketing activities. Instead, they contribute in the decision-making process company wide.

Market research takes a variety of forms and is generally divided into two categories: primary and secondary research. Primary research answers specific questions whereas secondary research provides broad information. Unfortunately, because some companies question the value and benefits of conducting research, as well as the validity of the information, it fails to meet full potential. In other instances, companies do not have the necessary budget to conduct market research. Because of this, these circumstances have triggered a negative and complicated conception of research.

Looking into specifics, we have primary research tactics, which involve the design and implementation of original research where data is collected to answer specific questions. Why is this so important? The advantage that this creates for business entities is a game changer. It allows them to gather information directly correlated with their operations not general information that applies to the industry or other businesses. An effective way to conduct primary research is by using an online panel provider, which provides a sample of respondents.  The respondents used for panels are pre-screened and double opted-in to participate in a wide range of research studies. Surveys are the main tool used to collect the data of a specific sample. Online panels provide accessibility and efficiency when trying to reach specific audiences. The ability to tailor research to a company’s specific needs maximizes the advantages of using online panels. Understanding the impact of the data collection process for business decisions will change the misconception of market research as a secondary tool in the decision-making process.

From developing a strong new product to determining employee satisfaction, market research can be used to obtain a deeper understanding of operational and day-to-day business activities; making it a must have for strong industry players. Integrating market research relies heavily on details such as organizational culture, financial implications and the urgency with which data is required. While these tend to diminish the number of companies implementing market research, businesses must remember that market research is made to accommodate businesses from diverse backgrounds and sizes; it’s tiers working as a well structured unit made to improve companies throughout.

Refusing to use market research as a decision-making tool leads to misconceptions, misleading outcomes and erroneous business transactions that can greatly impact capital. In order to ensure that your business is successful and stay at the forefront of today’s fast paced environment, market research needs to be your go-to tool and you won’t be left behind.

Whether or not is used depends on the culture of the organization, the financial implications and the speed with which a result is required; however, market research has several tiers that are able to accommodate the needs of a business. Neglecting the use of market research as a decision-making tool leads to possible misleading outcomes and erroneous business decisions that can greatly impact a business’s capital. In order for business to be successful and stay current in today’s fast paced environment market research needs to be conducted to aid in the business decision process.

Market research has a myriad of applications. From product development, to determining employee satisfaction, it can be used to obtain a deeper understanding of operational and day-to-day business activities.

 

Infographic of the Week: Preventing Data Theft From Hackers

Hooded hacker attempting to break screen of data

As a research and data collection company, qSample takes data security very seriously. We handle private information of more than a million respondents that comprise our various panels. Many of these panels consist of physicians, academics and government officials who themselves hold sensitive information.

We simply live in a world where cyber security is paramount. After all, it’s estimated that in 2014 approximately 47% of adult Americans had their personal information exposed by hackers. At the same time, businesses are continuously being raided for data by Mr Robots, from Target to Ashley Madison, from Domino’s Pizza to Apple. Even the federal government gets hacked, and it’s a scary as General Jack D. Ripper taking over nuclear weapons in Dr. Stranglove.

No one is safe.

That is why we decided to focus on data security in this week’s infographic, presenting two pieces from our articles How to Prevent Data Theft and How Can Businesses Recover Consumer Trust After A Data Breach?

Whether personally or in your work, we hope our data assists you in keeping your data a more secure.

Data Theft

Data Theft Businesses

Hard to reach audience button

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5 Remodeling Projects You’ll Want To Avoid

Home remodeling projects can be a great way to get more enjoyment out of your home. After all, this is a place you’ll be spending years and years in: why not make your home exactly the way you want it? Makes sense. However, while it’s certainly worthwhile to invest in the improvements that you’ll truly love, if you’re looking for a return on your investment or hassle-free upgrades, there are definitely a few projects you’ll want to avoid.

 

  1. The Opulent Home Office

If you work out of your home, then a cozy home office may seem like a great idea. The problem is when this project gets a little too out of hand it actually turns the room into an office copycat, with big built-ins, major tech equipment, and other very specific, single-use purchases. When selling your home, having a home office that can’t be easily converted into another type of room will likely detour potential buyers, and it certainly won’t add to your space’s overall value. So, while you should go ahead and invest in a nice desk and an ergonomic chair, keep the major construction to a minimum and make sure all of your additions can be easily undone.

 

  1. Pinching Pennies on the Basics

Over the years you’ll need to replace appliances, fix up the water heater, or make other basic improvements. Because these aren’t glamorous remodels, you may think about going with the cheapest, easiest upgrades, rather than energy-efficient options that have higher up-front costs.

 

This is a huge mistake. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in your home are extremely attractive to potential buyers, and you can often get tax credits to help defray the initial costs. Plus, not only can energy-efficient upgrades like Energy Star appliances, solar water heaters, low-flush toilets, and fiberglass windows help save you money on your energy bills, energy-efficient upgrades tend to have longer lifespans, so you shouldn’t have to replace your investments for a long, long time.

 

  1. The Luxe Garage

This one might be a surprise to some people. After all, won’t turning your garage into a recreation room, craft space, or other area increase the value of your home by increasing the livable space? Well, not really. For one, potential buyers would rather have a place to put their car than a playroom or another entertainment area. Plus, turning the garage into a very specific, single-purpose room can be a downright deterrent, because what may be a useful upgrade to you might very well be useless to most buyers. Plus, garage remodels can be extremely expensive and require major construction and contracting work, which can often become logistical nightmares. Save yourself the trouble and keep the garage a garage.

 

  1. Too Much Space

If you have a very small home, building an extra bedroom and bathroom might be a great investment. However, if your house is an average size for your area, then adding extra space can actually be a costly mistake. While few people want a home that feels too small, many people also don’t want a home that’s too big, as this leads to higher bills and higher overall living costs. Before you decide to make this major change, take stock of your neighborhood and get a sense for how your home fits in. If you’re on the smaller side, make the leap. If you’re already in line with the standard, then we suggest staying put.

 

  1. The Oversized Kitchen

While palatial kitchens used to be en vogue, this upgrade can be lost on potential buyers who don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as you do. If a kitchen upgrade is truly important to you, pick one feature you really want — like a professional stove, oversized island, or fancy appliances — and just focus on that rather than doing a total overhaul. If you go whole-hog, be prepared to see very little money back for this investment.

 

Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.

General Contractor case study

7 Hellish Ways You’re Burning Your Online Survey Respondents

Hell background with surveys burning in the sky

It is said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In market research, I would say the road to hell is paved with mediocre online surveys. Sure, all surveys from researchers are loaded with good intentions, but many quickly end up in an inferno of faulty data.

I see this often enough, and much of it has to do with continual mistakes that keep respondents away from a heavenly state of mind—whether this occurs with enterprise software or contracting third-party survey providers. No amount of technology can save essential presentation and execution practices that fall squarely on the halos of researchers.

Let’s take a look at these mistakes with online surveys and how they block that stairway to market research heaven.

 

1.   Not Making the Survey Convenient

 

By convenient, we mean offer online surveys in all platforms:

Desktop/laptop
Mobile
Offline (optional but it really depends on the audience)

We’ve explained in depth the advantages of mobile research, including how smartphones and tables are surpassing desktops and laptops when it comes to time spent online as well as searches. In any event, what is key is that you test our survey in all platforms because a survey being functional on a laptop doesn’t mean it will be functional on a smartphone.

 

2.   Not Keeping the Survey Short

 

As an article in Research Access suggests:

Write your survey. Cut it in half. Then cut it in half again. Then maybe, just maybe, you can add a few questions back in.

We would add this: And then ask yourself whether you would you want to take your own survey on any given of your busy days.

If you don’t believe in a painfully short survey—naturally clinging to the idea of wanting to get bang out of your research buck—take a look at this breakdown chart from research on revealing the risks of longer surveys:

Study on online survey respondent fatigue
Lastly, a study found that respondent fatigue sets in at around 20 minutes. This tends to dilute data. On average, each question on a survey takes 20 seconds to complete, with ten minutes a reasonable time (especially on mobile devices because people are, well…mobile). So try to keep your questions under 30 in amount.

If you just need to have a long survey, our research reveals a potential way around this: place the most relevant questions at the beginning. Fair warning, though, as Van Halen sang…

 

3.    No Setting a Time Limit

 

The Research Access piece further states that built-in timers raise the focus of respondents during a task. It explains:

Think about it, if you are trying to finish the survey within 10 minutes, you are concentrating and working hard. You don’t want to drop out because you are in a race with yourself and you want to see if you can meet the challenge.

Here’s a common example:

Picture of an online survey timer bar
 
 
 
 

4.   Not Providing a Progress Bar

 
 
This actually may be called 3.5, but it’s an important issue to address and expand upon in various ways.

Anyway, those of us who have taken surveys know that a progress bar is often a vision of paradise, or at the very least comforting as it measures our procession. Progress bars make respondents feel they are active and goal-oriented in the study. Respondents also tend to view the researchers as transparent and honest.

Much research, including a University of Toronto study, indicates the benefits of a progress bar:

Increased survey satisfaction.
Increase respondent engagement.
An actual desire (75% more) of respondents asking some indication of progress during surveys.

In case you’re wondering:

online survey progress bar

 

 

 

 

Ahh, bet that made you feel good!

 

5.   Not Allowing Respondents to Save and Continue Later

 

Your respondent is halfway done with your questionnaire, and the phone or doorbell rings with the NSA or the ghost of Ed McMahon on the other side. He or she is going to be busy, and thus your survey either dies or it has a chance of waiting.

4

Ed, I predict you ruined that market researcher’s career when you rang the doorbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choice is yours, and this should be pretty common sense, but you’d be surprised how often surveys aren’t allowed to be continued with some third-party software or oversight of options during programming.

Marketer Ivana Taylor at QuestionPro adds some technical advice on this feature:

There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to use the Save and Continue option when creating surveys. First, a page break is necessary for Save and Continue, meaning the online survey must be more than one page. Second, the branching and skip logic tools only work during active sessions. As such, they will not function with the Save and Continue option. Finally, randomization logic may not work properly with the Save and Continue option.

For the record, QuestonPro is our sister company, but there was no exchange of souls for this information. It’s just good information!

 

6.   Not Keeping Your Questions Simple

 

Having a short survey does not mean you can get away with byzantine questions, even if they are few. I personally understand that we all have clients or superiors we want to please, or feel we need to get into the corners of every respondent’s cranium. But simple is just better with online surveys.

An example is found in the noted Harvard Business Review article: The One Number You Need to Grow. It documents that the vast majority of customer satisfaction insight comes from answers to one simple question:

How likely is it that you could recommend [X] to a friend or colleague?

In 13 of 14 case studies, this one simple question was as strong a forecaster of customer loyalty as any, more complex question.

Other than that, don’t assume the respondent knows the jargon of your industry.

I don’t have a graphic, so here is some shameless shilling of qSample:
 

advertisement
 
 
 
 

7.   Not Avoiding Yes/No Questions

 
 
This is an old test-writing technique from my days as a teacher. Yes/No questions create vagueness between academic and student. This is widely understood, but often enough it’s not applied to the world of surveys. As one researcher explains:

Yes/no questions don’t capture people who are on the fence or nuances of people’s opinions – in other words, yes/no questions can’t give you the information you need!

As another researcher states, there is a scientific reason for avoiding yes/no questions:

Decades of research in survey methodology and psychology have shown that people generally tend to avoid saying “no.” In the survey context, this is called acquiescence response bias and it is a serious threat to data quality.

Do you understand this? Yes or n…never mind…see picture…

yes no questions graphic
 
 
 
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
 
 
For a bonus and certainly agreed by the rest of the research staff at qSample, I would avoid matrices questions, if possible. Also, make sure to test and edit your survey questionnaire until close to hell freezing over. If you have any issues with progress bars of Save and Continue capabilities, contact your survey software company or online survey provider. If they can’t address these issues, then something is burning and you need to find new clouds.

With all of this in mind, your good intentions will actually be rewarded with good data for your survey research. It’s paradise by the dashboard light, as Meat Loaf sang.

 

Infographic of the Week: Spring & General Contractor Trends

I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again now:

There are two seasons in Chicago—winter and construction (replace “Chicago” with your preferred upper Midwest or Northeast location).

To some, though, spring in these regions might seem like this meme:

Johnny Depp holding boy who is sad about spring in Chicago

Yet for many spring is here, and so is the season of construction, where general contractors recover from Jack Frost and make hay (and fix plumbing and replace drywalls and rewire electrical systems and all the other key tasks that keep society going).

Or is it?

We’ve retooled some of our past studies, and drilled them with some newer research from our proprietary general contractor panel. We hope you find this infographic insightful, regardless of your industry. The infographic can be shared, downloaded or copied to various mediums (instructions at the bottom).

Enjoy and enjoy the weather, or if not just remember the wise words of Mark Twain: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”

Replace “New England” with your preferred upper Midwest or Northeast location, during this spring.

Contractor Survey 2015
General contractors button

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Study Reveals Consumer Resistance to Apple Watch

Apple Watch has been revealed but there is consumer resistance according to study

When it comes to making the release of a product into a cultural celebration, no company compares to Apple. This certainly translates to the release of the Apple Watch. CEO Tim Cook recently made the case on why the Apple Watch is a must-have gadget at a San Francisco event. Will this product shatter all expectations like the release of iPad, throwing cyber-egg on critic’s faces? Or will it flounder like other smart watches, perhaps going the way of the Google Glass dodo?

Data reveals that the sailing of the Apple Watch could encounter some choppy waters—as the much-touted release is still not resonating with consumers beyond Apple enthusiasts. This and more findings are highlighted in a survey qSample conducted with more than 300 panelists in the last week of February.

According to the study, the release of the Apple Watch is split between the general population:

–  41% are interested.
–  41% are not interested.
–  18% have no idea of its arrival.

Of those surveyed who prefer Apple products (31%), the interest in the Apple Watch doubles to 82%.        

The indifference from those who prefer either Android or Kindle could reflect the notion that wearable technology is not appealing, as a majority of respondents admit (39%) . Also challenging, 26% state their indifference stems from Apple Watch being too expensive (18% hold a “see and wait” attitude for the gadget).

Still, Apple’s brand will likely hold some sway. A majority of respondents (36%) believe that the Apple Watch will be superior to other smart watches, while only four percent feel the competitors produce better products. Furthermore, a majority (39%) contend that Apple is releasing this product to remain competitive in the tech industry, instead of just wanting to make a profit (26%) or exploit its loyal fan base (22%).

As for the Apple Watch itself, those who plan in purchasing it claim these reasons:

1. A new way to utilize apps and integrate with other devices (24%).
2. Wanting to be part of the latest technology (19%).
3. Other reasons  (16%).
4. I like anything Apple releases (15%).
5. Its design/fashion (9%).

(17% answered “all of the above”)

The low interest in the Apple Watch as a fashion brand could be further problematic. Apple is diverging from its “affordable luxury” marketing philosophy, offering some models at a retail of up to $10,000. In the online survey, 50% of respondents state they would not pay more than the baseline price of $350. Only 13% of respondents claim that price was not an issue, potentially leaving it in danger of becoming a niche product like Google Glass.

Adding to the seemingly indecision of consumers for the Apple Watch, a majority of those surveyed who are interested (36%) have no idea as to what type of Apple Watch they will purchase (between the Watch, Watch Sport, and Edition Watch). When it comes to the success of the actual product, the results are a bit more split with the panel: 47% believe the Apple Watch will not be a permanent staple for mobile devices, and 38% deem it will be.

In the online survey, a majority of participants were female (57%), while a majority (37%) fall in the 51-65 age group (odd since Apple as a brand is notably considered to attract a younger generation).

As mentioned, Apple certainly possesses the track record to rewrite trends and expectations. It was Steve Jobs who famously said that customers don’t know what they want; they have to be taught what they want. This attitude certainly paid dividends with such products as the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Will it work with the Apple Watch?

It is too soon to tell, but the study points to Apple having some hurdles to overcome, mainly an apathy towards wearable technology and a consumer base not fully informed. This time, though, it will not have Jobs to educate the consumer. That also could be an issue—as in the study 80% of respondents think Jobs is a superior CEO than Cook.

Perhaps Cook will have to sell himself before selling the Apple Watch.

Study reveals consumer resistance to Apple Watch

 

Why Consumers Buy Green (qSample Study)

Light bulb floating in sky with tree inside it

Buying green is a rising trend with the clean sky as the limit. It has become a normative part of modern society. But exactly why do people buy green? Like so many purchasing choices, it may seem obvious:

It feels good.

However, it’s not that obvious on a closer look. That is because buying green is different than other purchasing choices, and the difference has been widely overlooked in earlier studies conducted by market researchers. A qSample study discovered the core reasons. They relate to the reality of a third-party being involved in the transaction.

When buying green, an individual is not directly rewarded by product per se. Instead, another entity collects the perceived benefits: the community, the planet, animal population, etc. The reward to the buyer ultimately comes in the form of civic aspects: community pride, social responsibility, investment in other life forms, wellbeing for future generations, etc.

This is known as the Generalized Exchange Model. It hypothesizes that four variables play a role in determining attitudes or propensity to perform behaviors. Those variables include:

–  Feeling of social responsibility.
  Feelings of social equity.
  Perceived effectiveness of the behavior (performance).
  Benefits to the community.

Put it simply: Buying green feels good because it makes others feel good (and it looks good too).

By examining the sample data of the qSample study, and employing qualifying analysis, one can detect a Generalized Exchange Model. First, the data reveals how ostensibly passionate consumers are when it comes to buying green or environmental issues:

–  64% are concerned with the environment.
–  76% consider the environment when making shopping decisions.
–  77% recycle frequently.
  32% feel global warming is the more urgent environmental cause.
  36% believe that conversing resources is the most important issue in the U.S.

On the other hand, the study revealed that the passion for green issues declines when it comes to personal sacrifice or an engaged understanding for the environment.

For example, a question in the survey asked: “If you could choose between more expensive but environmentally friendly items, or cheaper but less environmentally friendly items, which would you choose?” 56% surveyed answered that they would choose a less environmentally friendly items. In another section, more than 50% of respondents would rather increase recycling rather than adopt costlier methods of assisting the environment (stricter laws, higher taxes, expanding public transportation, etc.).

Here more statistics exposing how disconnected consumers are in actually living green:

  15% would pick a company to work at based on its green initiatives.
  41% are indifferent whether a company advertises/promote green issues.
  67% believe that companies talk more about being green that actually walk the walk.
  42% have no idea what a definition of green really is (while 33% claim there is no definition for the word).
  17% subscribe to National Geographic (all other subscriptions to environmentally-themed magazines were 5% or under; and even placing National Geographic under that label is arguable).

What all of this contradicting data reveals, again using qualifying analysis, is that respondents are interested in satisfaction under the Generalized Exchange Model, but aren’t exactly personally (directly) vested in it.

(It should be noted that the study scarcely touched on organic/non-GMO foods, as those obviously have perceived direct benefits to consumers.)

There is nothing aberrant about this type of consumer behavior. The Social Exchange Model is employed widely in society, such as in volunteering, military service, political activism, and others. What is important to understand is the third-party reason consumers buy green. As far as market research goes, study author Rudly Raphael concluded:

Green behaviors can be influenced through a variety of variables: community benefits, social responsibility, performance effectiveness of the green behaviors, attitudes, and social rewards. All of these variables can be strengthened through promotion, especially advertising. Attitudes can be changed directly by using a spokesperson who is highly regarded by the target market. Perception of social rewards can be increased by showing people being praised by others for their environmentally-friendly behaviors. Perceived community benefits can increased through informational advertising showing how the community gains from green behaviors. Perceived performance can be increased by providing information on how green products and services impact the environmental aspects people care about.

Some may see this as an exploitation of guilt paired with ignorance. Yet guilt and ignorance have never been roadblocks to market research, and often tools of it—for better or worse.

In this case, as the planet, animals, and future generations benefit from this, it seems to be for the better.

Empathy for the Devil that is Writing Survey Questionnaires

A bad dream for those crafting questionnaires for online surveys might go as follows:

Panel members take an online survey critiquing a previous online survey they participated, and that you wrote. The results are overwhelmingly negative. The panel members hate it and admit they offered slapdash information that will not assist in research.

You don’t have to wake up. It hasn’t happened…yet…but if you want to avoid this reality it’s wise to understand two concepts in order to craft the best possible questionnaire. The first one is:

Respondent fatigue

Also known as survey fatigue, respondent fatigue basically refers to the mental state when respondents become weary during an online survey, to the point their answers are rushed and even dishonest—thereby reducing statistical accuracy. Furthermore, an article in Great Brook explains that:

Fatigue means that those with extreme views are more likely to respond, leading to a serious survey bias, known as non-response bias. That is, those who don’t respond likely have different views from those who do. The survey data that winds up in the survey data base don’t properly reflect all customers’ views. The data are biased.

Respondent fatigue can be seen as more of a direct threat than just a negative aspect of online surveys. The New York Times reported that respondent fatigue has caused “declining response rates over the last decade.”

A chief reason for respondent fatigue is the length and wordiness of a survey, and science supports this. A study found survey fatigue often sets in after 20 minutes of a survey. It states: “They found survey respondents exert less effort and spend less time thinking about their answers as respondents get deeper into the survey.”

Here is a breakdown chart from research on revealing the risks of longer surveys:

Study on online survey respondent fatigue

As qSample’s own Director of Business Development, Connor Duffey, said: “Respondents will look at the scrolling bar during a survey. If it’s not moving fast enough for them, respondent fatigue becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Duffey further said that a sound way to get around respondent fatigue—even if a questionnaire has to be extensive —is by simply placing the most relevant questions at the beginning. Also, never taking incentive to respondents for granted is also important, Duffey added.

Length, clarity, and approachability are effective tools to combat respondent fatigue, but ultimately are not enough. The second notion is essential:

Empathy

Putting yourself in a respondent’s shoes goes a long way into getting into their minds and hearts. Sharing their interests is not enough, but understanding that online respondents are real people with busy lives and little time (just like you). They are just as essential as those above you seeking data, and just as part of the process.

qSample’s own president Rudly Raphael encapsulated this issue in a recent interview:

Companies need to have more empathy for the research participant. The person(s) who writes the survey instrument should ask themselves if they could sit through that survey for 25-30 minutes. Companies should make surveys fun and engaging, regardless of the topic. They should test their surveys over and over again to identify the fatigue points in the survey. This is usually the area where data integrity is compromised.

There are sensible solutions that qSample, along with other data research companies, proffer to cultivate empathy with respondents:

–  Be communicative from the beginning—as in explaining the number of questions, privacy policies, and purpose of the online survey. Communicating survey results during the survey is also an effective of holding respondent interest.
–  Use more than one panel for the same survey or even future ones to ensure they are fresh. Often, companies pass around panels to different departments, and it wears them out.
–   Ask yourself if every question is absolutely necessary—if you were to personally take it in a real-time event (on your smartphone, waiting for the train, for example)—and get rid of anything else.

In addition, there are practical techniques that can increase empathy and improve the overall architecture of a questionnaire. For example, Duffey states that minimizing matrices questions is a vital tactic to producing efficient questionnaires, as they tend to exhaust respondents and produce sloppy answers. Another expert in the online survey industry called matrices: “The laziest type of survey writing.”

An additional practical technique is including more opt-out choices, as explained by market research expert :

This is usually in the form of a “Don’t Know,” “Not Sure” or “Undecided.” Not only will adding the opt-out choice eliminate a lot of inaccurate answers from your study, but it will also provide you with valuable information. You can learn how many people have not made up their mind or are uneducated on a topic.

Of course, there are other issues that compromise online surveys—such as response acquiescence (the tendency to agree with survey questions regardless of content) and respondent bias (the inability to answer survey questions because of perceived social pressure). These issues can be moderated by various means that online survey providers should be able to recommend; they are commonly addressed by tweaking questions and providing some safeguards in the programming of the questionnaire software platform.

However, having empathy is an alpha and omega for the best possible questionnaire, certainly for decreasing respondent fatigue. This should not be surprising, in the end, as empathy is the solution to so many other problems, in both the virtual and real world.

How to write the best possible online survey

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

 

PetHolidayGiftographic