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Waste Not, Want Not: Make Online Surveys Work Hard

A lot of folks are aware of online surveys but not everyone utilizes an online survey’s full potential. At W5, we like to ensure our surveys work hard for our clients, capturing data that will address multiple research objectives while maintaining an efficient, engaging, respondent-friendly experience.

W5 understands our clients are often juggling multiple projects for several internal stakeholders with varying needs. With limited time and budget, tradeoffs are made, prioritizing which research studies kick off first, placing other important studies on hold. Oftentimes when brainstorming with our clients, we see opportunities to address multiple research objectives with a single survey. Our thought is, while we already have respondents engaged, when appropriate, ensure the survey covers as much ground as possible, always keeping the respondent experience in mind.

Online surveys are dynamic. They allow us to reach a global audience and apply screening criteria to ensure we are engaging the appropriate target audience(s) for a given study. Online surveys can be customized to not only ask standard best practices questions/metrics, but also direct custom questions to address specific needs. For example, a single survey can capture:

  • a snapshot of a brand’s health
  • reactions to stimulus (video, visuals of different arrangements, copy, etc.)
  • target audience profiling (attitudes and behaviors)
  • and much more

An online survey does not have to be pigeonholed into focusing solely on a single research objective or a very narrow set of research objectives―a survey can cover a lot of ground.

There are a variety of questions and exercises that can be included in an online survey to address research objectives. In addition to traditional closed-ended questions (lists and scales/grids), W5 frequently utilizes the following:

  • open-ended verbatim responses (uncover the “whys”)
  • highlighting and hot spotting of text (determine words and sentences that are appealing/less appealing and stand out)
  • drag-and-drop card sorts (understand how respondents prioritize or break down concepts)

There are times when it is appropriate to address a narrower set of research objectives with an online survey. However, when appropriate, we want to squeeze as much juice as possible out of a survey, ensuring we do not waste an opportunity to collect valuable data.

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