Why Micro-Surveys Might Be the Next Hot Market Research Trend

By the Editors

Everything in today’s online world is trending toward the micro. The shorter and more focused the better. Who has time to watch a 5 minute video on YouTube, we reason? Instead, stories are being told in six second Vines. Images disappear in a flash thanks to the technology platforms like SnapChat. The proliferation of mobile devices has dramatically impacted how researchers conceptualize and execute surveys. Today, there’s been an increasing focus on in-the-moment research. Practically, this is translating to the micro-survey format.

What is a micro-survey?

On the surface, a micro-survey is nothing new. It’s simply a brief survey with just a few questions that a respondent can answer in three to five minutes. These smaller surveys have been part of the broader research agenda for market research time immemorial. But there’s more of an emphasis today on agile research agendas that connect with consumers at the moment a transaction happens or when they’re making a decision. Combined with best practices for mobile research, which recommends more focused and targeted questions, shorter surveys are a natural evolution.

Targeted insights let you go deeper

At first, it’s easy to assume that shorter surveys are going to yield less information. In reality, they open the door for more frequent information exchanges and the kind of tightly crafted, demandingly-revised surveys that yield information on which you can take action. Consider an example of a micro-survey that you give to people who purchase a product on your website. A one question micro-survey might ask, “What one factor made you decide to purchase today?” You’ll get instant, targeted feedback on what’s effectively driving your conversions. Think about the difference in insights you’re gathering

Best practices for micro-surveys

If you’re ready to explore how the insights from a micro-survey could help improve your business, there are a few best practices that you can follow to help make the effort a success:

  • Have a clear agenda. Develop a statement that says explicitly, “This survey will help me determine X by answering these questions.” The insights you glean from a micro-survey should be anchored around a very specific issue. If you’ve got more than one theme emerging, you need to narrow down your focus.
  • Hinge your survey on an action. Articulate the specific action you’ll be able to take with the data collected, such as finalize your logo design or price a product. One specific, focused action is a great outcome from a micro-survey.
  • Keep it short. Micro-surveys should be under three questions, suggests experts at Google. If your survey is running longer, ask yourself whether you can divide them into more than one micro-survey or whether you’re trying to compress too much into one initiative.
  • Ask very specific questions. The more specific your questions are and the more clearly they’re tied to your desired action outcome, the more effective the survey will be overall.
  • Invite respondents to continue the dialogue. If a customer or prospective customer is willing to give you feedback, they may have more in-depth impressions they’re willing to share. Don’t be afraid to end your survey with an invitation to continue the conversation, such as by offering an email address for them to send additional thoughts.

Micro-surveys are a hot trend in the market research world right now, and they’re giving researchers a mobile-friendly format to explore. They’re best used to help companies gather information and insights to solve targeted problems. Identifying specific areas for improvement