What are the best practices for conducting a survey that lasts 20 minutes or longer?
It has become commonplace to hear that the best practice for long surveys is to stop trying to use them. Today’s public is too distracted, too diminished in its ability to pay attention to a task for more than a few minutes. Or so you’re being led to believe.
It’s an enduring truth that form should follow function. And if the research function you’re facing is to get a few quick insights, then the form should definitely be a survey that’s short and simple. But what if you’re facing a business need that requires a deep dive for detailed data? If it’s true that long surveys can’t work, you’ll have to settle for not learning what you really need to know – and what could be sadder than that -- not to mention damaging to your standing with top management?
Well, cheer up. There are, in fact, best practices for successful surveys of 20 minutes or more – and here they are.
- Don’t underestimate the staying power of an engaged human mind. If attention spans are as brief as some people claim, how do you account for the phenomenon of binge watching? More than half of Millennials – a generation that’s supposedly the epitome of Dory-like attention spans – report that they binge watch TV shows at least once a week.
- Mobile apps = engagement. The average American spends more than two hours a day accessing media through mobile apps – Facebook, for example – and that extends to more than three hours for Millennials and Gen Z. Obviously, consumers are capable of staying glued to their phones, and the smooth functionality of a well-designed smartphone app is the best attention-adhesive.
- Don’t mistake “mobile optimized” surveys for real mobile research. The MO of “Mobile Optimized" research is to connect respondents’ phones to the internet for an online survey. That’s just criminal, as anyone who’s experienced molasses-like loading times and dropped signals will attest.
- Take care of your panelists and they’ll take care of you. Make sure your research provider devotes painstaking attention to keeping panelists happy with fair cash rewards and the superb in-app survey functionality that’s a reward in its own right for today’s tech-loving consumers.
So don't be afraid to go long. No matter what you’ve heard, when you combine advanced mobile-app research technology with a reliably engaged panel of smartphone lovers, surveys lasting 20 minutes or more become completely feasible. Follow these best practices, and you can expect 25% response rates, 95% completion rates, and drop-off rates of 5% at and beyond the 20-minute mark.
So you don’t have to stay in the shallow end of the research pool, after all. If complex insights are what you need, don’t worry – dive in deep. To learn more, just contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.