By Edan Portaro, EVP, Global Business Development & Mobile Innovation
How do you attract and engage mobile market research participants? While people are spending more time connected to their devices than ever before, there’s also more content competing for their attention. Users are reading books, streaming music and movies, surfing the web, checking email and live chatting with their family and friends from a single device. A boring, static survey is going to have a hard time capturing and holding their attention—unless it’s ultra-short, ultra-relevant or has a great incentive. Increasingly, researchers are looking at dynamic question elements as a way to increase mobile research participation. Here’s a closer look at what researchers need to know about integrating dynamic questions into their research.
Attention Spans: How Research Ranks
With all the potential diversions available in the online world, pressure exists for research to compete. For many researchers, this can be disheartening—after all, it could potentially take away from the core research mission. But respondent standards are rising for participating. Many of today’s mobile users want a level of engagement and interactivity with whatever they’re doing online. Taking the time to incorporate dynamic elements into your work, where appropriate, can help attract mobile market research participants and help guide them to successful survey completion. A dynamic element can be as basic as an interactive button or as complex as a fully-developed and visual research game.
Dynamic Content: Building on Visual Cues
Responsive and dynamic design in surveys can be extremely complex or fairly straightforward. It may involve the development of a game-based research initiative or may be as simple as how buttons are presented. For example, when a respondent clicks on a button does it visually provide feedback that it’s been clicked? Users respond positively to visual signals that their actions have influenced the environment. Visual cues and other small dynamic programming decisions can create a more interactive environment in any survey or research study. This level of dynamic content is possible without completely moving away from surveys or multimedia content gathering.
Reimagining How Questions Are Designed
Dynamic questions can completely change the user experience and drive researchers to rethink how they design questions. For example, consider how shopper research typically happens. Users might rank brands in order to preference, select brands that they recognize from a list or answer open-ended brand recognition questions. But a dynamic shopper intelligence study might actually mirror a retail shelving unit and ask people to organize the shelves according to how they viewed the brands, etc. At a certain level, the dynamic research process can mirror a video game in complexity and interactivity.
Another element that’s adding a dynamic factor to research is multimedia content. Users are expecting video and audio as part of the survey process; they may be shown video to explain how a product is used or the survey intro might be a verbal introduction. Survey respondents are also proactively gathering and sharing information with their mobile devices including video, audio and sound. By incorporating multimedia elements into research in different ways, respondents are engaged and experience information in multiple ways.
Avoid Gamification That’s Not Intrinsically Motivated
A number of different brands have launched and shuttered gamification efforts. For example, users might be asked to shoot virtual darts at balloons that contain their answers or move objects around the screen before a clock times out. When the goal of dynamic questions is simply to “make research fun,” it can create more roadblocks than anything else. Users may be confused when the animated scenario or gamification doesn’t tie in a meaningful way to the research being done. Complex research games may also use too many system resources on mobile devices or simply require too much thought from users—when they should be putting that brain power and time behind thoughtful answers to your questions.
Balancing Dynamic Questions with Other Research Considerations
Attracting and retaining mobile market research respondents requires careful forethought. Researchers need to determine what their research objectives are, and what research agenda choices will best serve those research objectives. For example, could a very brief survey that takes just a minute to respond and is minimally intrusive gather the information that you need and be easy to deploy? Or would gamification help capture the interest of harder to reach populations, such as a specific segment of Generation Z? Dynamic questions can help improve recruitment and the user experience, but it’s important to consider them as a single weapon in your arsenal that’s deployed with great care.
When you’re integrating dynamic elements into your survey, start with being very clear about how they connect to the research. What benefit will your audience garner from choosing a dynamic approach? Will it increase participation and data quality? Is there any chance that it will degrade the final research result? By carefully thinking through your research agendas and strategically using dynamic elements, they can become an important addition to your mobile market research initiatives.