Tag Archives: respondent fatigue

5 Ways to Keep Survey Respondents Engaged

survey respondents

Surveys are powerful tools that businesses rely on to learn the motivations of consumers and gain insight into their feelings towards brands. However, if the participants are responding arbitrarily, the survey instrument may need some attention in order to get the actionable data necessary to make accurate decisions. It is important to keep survey respondents engaged in order to ensure a positive experience for both parties involved. It can be difficult to predict the level of participation you will receive, but by following these simple tips below, you should see improved response rates, with more relevant data and better ROI on your project.

KEEP IT SHORT One of the most common reasons for respondent drop-out is survey fatigue.  We conducted numerous research studies on this topic and found that close to 50% of survey respondents are okay spending an average of 5 minutes on a survey. However, only one-third did not show any sign of significant fatigue for completing surveys that are 10 minutes or longer.  Make sure every question you’re asking has a purpose, so you don’t waste your respondents’ time.

COMMUNICATE Set clear expectations of your survey respondents. Progress bars can help the survey respondent to understand where they are in the survey and motivate them to complete it. If you do have to conduct a longer survey, communicate the details, such as why this research is important to you and your organization and how long it will take them.

TEST Ensure the survey is tested over and over again to make sure it is free of programming errors. Good programming that eliminates redundant questions can help the respondent in completing the survey faster and ultimately result in better data quality for your research.

BE ENGAGING Keep the survey interesting—this will keep your survey respondents from wandering while completing your survey. Add variety to keep the survey appealing and engaging to your participants. The use of sliders, emojis and other attractive visuals can make the survey taking experience more enjoyable. Rather than the single select yes or no survey question, which also does not gain as much information from your respondent, consider asking “how”. For example, instead of “Did you like our service?” ask “How did you find our services?”. Phrasing the question this way will provide you detailed data, and allow the respondent to have a voice.

Are you ready for your next survey project? We can help! Contact us at sales@questionpro.com.

QuestionPro Audience is the leader in online and offline data collection with access to millions of pre-qualified respondents who participate in thousands of surveys daily. We provide our clients the necessary tools and expertise to conduct 360 degree survey solutions.

More Overused Marketing Terms that Need to Go

Lady on building screaming at annoying marketing words flying in stormy sky

The reaction was loud and extreme to my recent article 20 Overused Marketing Terms that Need to Go. Some marketers reached out to me with kind agreement, enjoying the self-deprecation in guilty pleasure, and even providing their own terms. On the other side, some marketers were rather caustic, basically telling me to “leverage this!”

The latter reaction is a bit strange, I feel. After all, marketing is about showmanship, that razzle dazzle. It’s intrinsic to marketing as it is to politics, law, and even banking. The American consumer—more educated than ever—expects some smoke and mirrors, some doublespeak, just to even look at what we have to offer. Here we are, entertain us, the song goes.

Many, including myself, consider Seth Godin a main luminary of marketing. His signature book is titled All Marketers All Liars (in the sense they are authentic but audacious storytellers, more than semi-creative statisticians).

Godin also writes in his book that marketers should just be as transparent as possible. Why? Because that’s the last thing consumers would expect from them (as with politicians and lawyers), and that’s what will truly and positively impresses them. So why not be transparent by giving away the industry lexicon and having a little fun with it?

In market research, however, I’ve come to learn, there is no razzle dazzle. People in this industry say what they mean and mean what they say, stick to their true and tried terms. Market research is as dry as a California landscape or a Maggie Smith quip.

With all this in mind, I thought I’d both mention ten more annoying marketing buzzwords, and as well craft some new market research euphemisms that might spice up the industry.

Overused Marketing Terms



1. Any additional labels to “Marketing.” This happens periodically in overeager circles (LinkedIn is a repeat offender). Even Godin did it with his term “Permission Marketing.” Other esoteric lexes include “Hybrid Marketing,” “Sophisticated Marketing” and “Conversation Marketing.” Lipstick on a pig, boys. Lipstick on a pig.

2. Ecosystem. Used as a synonym for “my little corner of the internet where I hope to bag more prospects.” The word works for National Geographic or an old Jacques Cousteau rerun, but not your social media fiefdom.

3. Influencer. Talk about razzle dazzle. “Thought Leader” seems to have come and gone, replaced by this word that sounds more like a virus or Tron arena fight.

4. Brand Evangelist. Wrong on so many levels, but right when your doorbell rings on a Saturday afternoon, the source an eager group of folks wanting to share with you the Gospel of Colgate.

5. Empower. Forbes calls it “the most condescending transitive verb ever.” I empower you to agree with this…

6. Growth Hacking. It just means business development, for crying out loud. The phrase sounds like it should come from a mom nagging a smoking teen or a scene from The Walking Dead.

7. Piggy Back. This term is used in a lot of meetings. In the right context it means: “I’m going to rip off some of your own ideas, right in front of you and the boss, and add an extra unneeded five minutes to an already long meeting.”

8. Native. No one knows what it really means, but it seems to be a synonym for marketing…maybe advertising…and it’s used a lot. It’s amazing how a term can be both politically correct and insensitive at the same time.

9. Omnichannel. A word that is defined as all-encompassing: offline, online, mobile, and just everywhere, everywhere! It sounds heroic, like a new Avengers character, even though marketing in different channels at once has been done for decades.

10. Low hanging fruit. The phrase signifies either the easiest task or the less difficult customers to reach (sometimes it can refer to long-tailed keywords in the SEO domains). Beyond insulting to clients, it does have vulgar connotations.


New Market Research Euphemisms



1. Online Panel: Amazon Card Bobba Fetts

2. Online Sample: Ipaders

3. Focus Groups: Fight Clubs

4. Quantitative Research: Glorified Polls

5. Qualitative Research: Freud Couch

6. River Sample: Low hanging fruit

7. Big Data: Data

8. Mobile research: Millenial-scavenging

9. Omnibus Study: Coupon Research

10. Respondent Fatigue: ADD’ing

I have no doubt market researchers will ignore these euphemisms. They are just too busy in their ecosystems. As for marketers, the lesson is always the same: stay ahead of the game and keep being an authentic storyteller. Even if that means conjuring new terminology that will go out of style faster than Guitar Hero or the Blackberry phone.

As for me, with these articles I feel like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire—specifically that scene where his peers applaud his attempt at transparency, while saying under their breaths he’s about the get crucified.

At least, I hope to have brought you a little razzle dazzle.

6 New Technologies that are Transforming Online Research Methods

Innovative technology is being infused into various online research methods, making the industry not only advanced but an almost virtual reality rewarding to respondents and researchers alike.

I’ll get to them at once, not to appear as tedious as the last phone company provider’s questionnaire or Starbucks online survey for those extra gold stars.

Eye-tracking Technology



Woman using glasses that follow her gaze to heat spots







Already utilized in tablets and home products by such companies as Samsung, eye-tracking technology can be implemented to online surveys or focus groups, with the assistance of cameras. The technology can support market researchers with issues like respondent bias.

Gauging honesty by eye movement has been widely criticized in scientific circles. However, we reported a recent University of Buffalo research noting how eye movement could indeed measure levels of honesty in individuals:

In their study of 40 videotaped conversations, an automated system analyzing eye movements correctly identified whether subjects were lying or telling the truth 82.5 percent of the time. That’s a better accuracy rate than expert human interrogators typically achieve in lie-detection judgment experiments. (Experienced interrogators average closer to 65 percent.)

Beyond that, eye-tracking technology can capture the focus of respondents’ gazes in order to find preferences in web page design or copy location.

Online Focus Groups




It’s no secret that with the popularity of video conferences and chats—widely used with Skype or Google Hangouts—getting acquainted to a group of people in a virtual setting is almost painless. In the online research industry, such enterprise software as our QualStorm can seamlessly execute and manage an online focus group through the entire process—from incentivizing to cross referencing survey data after the research. This can also include inline polling, available chat transcripts and exchangeable audio files.

One consumer research specialist detailed the various advantages of online focus groups for both provider and respondent:

 Excellent in obtaining detailed feedback on copy, marketing concepts, adverts and packaging.
  Relatively easy to convene, especially if participants are engaged in an online community.
  Customers from a broad geographical region (or even different countries) can join together to share their views.
  More convenient for customers to take part – especially significant for groups such as       professionals and those with young families.
  No travelling for researchers or clients.
  Moderators can present visual, audio and video stimuli.
  A degree of anonymity disinhibits participants.
  Transcripts are readily in text format for analysis.
  It’s no surprise focus group facilities are eclipsing.

Mobile Technology



Advantages of Mobile Surveys








A huge chorus across the world clamors at the dynamic dawn of the mobile age, and the perils and opportunities of this tech sunrise include online research. The opportunities are too many too ignore, though. After all, more Americans use mobile devices to browse the internet than they do PC’s; and already 60% of cell phones are smartphones. As our research shows, the advantages of mobile technology for online surveys include:

  Ability to use GPS technology.
  Easier to administer, and with a more available audience.
  More versatile with video and audio recording endemic to mobile technology.
  Superior real-time input, as respondents are typically close to their tablets or smartphones.

Heat Map Technology



A copy of an online survey map with heat spots










In the online domains, heat map technology offers a visual representation of user activity such as clicks and eye focus on a website. Companies like Crazy Egg already utilize it for marketing. In the online research industry, understanding the focus of attention of a respondent could potentially filter respondent bias, honesty rates and even drop off rates.

A market researcher furthermore explained how heat map technology can integrate with online survey methods:

Here is a theoretical example of a print advertisement displayed through a theoretical online survey screen. A simple question can ask the respondent to click on the first item that catches their eye, second item, third item, etc. The colors show frequency of clicks (dark red represents a higher number of clicks, yellow represents a lower number of clicks, followed by green, and lastly white). Additional follow-up questions can be asked to probe as to why that item caught their eye, what they liked and what they disliked about each zone clicked. Heat maps illuminate what your customers and potential customers are looking at first and their impressions of it. In this instance, this technique helps the business optimize and re-focus the print ad so it stands the best chance of being noticed by customers to generate leads.

Sensory Analysis



People before screen testing food an inputting their results.








This is commonly use in facilities—where experimental design and statistical analysis are combined to the use of human senses, all for the purposes of evaluating consumer products. Panels are required for this research, and already companies are using sensory analysis for online panels. The products are mailed to respondents for testing, with data collected acquired via questionnaire, video or even an online focus group. On the other hand, respondents that are known to utilize certain products can be contacted by various means.

Combining sensory analysis to online focus groups, heat map technology and eye-tracking technology could be productive and even save costs in versus fielding a facility for research.




Pepsi using gamification to find user preference of soft drink.







This is a burgeoning method of data collection in online surveys. The word means what it sounds like: the application of game techniques to enhance processes that are not games. For online surveys or focus groups, these may include:

  Leader boards.
  Achievement badges or levels.
  A progress bar to show how close respondents are to completion.
  Virtual currency.
  Respondent challenges.
  Unique rewards.

As with the other technology mentioned, gamification may be a valuable online survey tool, reducing respondent fatigue by making the overall process more enjoyable. Maintaining an online sample is never easy. Gamification is one method that can assure engagement and mitigate drop offs.

These technologies are already being implemented or are in the alpha stages, and just in time. The New York Times reported that the online research industry is booming, a main data collection tool for market research, but many issues like respondent fatigue has caused “declining response rates over the last decade.”

Help is already on the way, and in some instances already here, in the form of innovative methods of data collection that can potentially benefit all sides of the marketing equation. This before or after a Starbucks and its gold stars, as it always should be.