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Three Ways to Spice Up Your Surveys with Multimedia

Posted by George Haranis on Fri, Jun 24, 2011

x-men first class posterGone are the days of using using your phone modem to dial-up and connect to the internet (you remember that crazy noise!), today it has been replaced with high-speed broadband internet connections. Websites now support Flash games, full-speed video and interactive menus. Just the other day I was visiting one of my favorite websites, IGN.com, and the entire website “shattered” in front of me and became a full screen advertisement and trailer for X-Men First Class. It was one of the coolest advertisements I have seen on the web.

When’s the last time you saw a survey do something that cool? Everyone knows the technology is out there, but how often is it deployed as a “go-to” solution?  Simple text based questions with radio or click-boxes are king in our industry. Many surveys look like they are stuck in the days of MS-DOS.

Why are text and click boxes the norm? Why can’t surveys be as cool and interactive as the rest of the web?
To spice up your survey and move it from the Stone Age to modern multimedia age, try some of the following the next time you conduct a survey:

  1. Use Flash-Based Questions: Rather than ask respondents to rank their top three advertisements by putting numbers next to each screenshot in a text-box, try using a flash-based question.  That way, respondents will be able to click on a screenshot of the advertisement in rank order. The screenshot shrinks and a number is placed next to each concept after a click.  This is a straight-forward solution that keeps respondents engaged by changing things up for them. Flash questions can also be used to test brand awareness, familiarity, or even satisfaction.

  2. Generate Heat Maps with Your Questions: In one of our recent online studies, we asked respondents to rate a number of possible print advertisements. While overall appeal was a necessity, our client was also interested in learning specific likes and dislikes. We decided on using a series of questions that allowed participants to place textboxes directly on the print advertisement itself. They were then able to decide whether the comment was either positive or negative and select which part of the advertisement deserved a comment.  Heat maps were created to illustrate which “parts” of the advertisement were commented on the most often. By looking at the heat maps in concert with open-ended responses, our client was able to identify pieces of the advertisement that needed updating before hitting the market.

  3. Test Videos in New and Different Ways: As with print ads or screenshots, video advertisements are usually tested by probing around overall appeal. But how can we gather feedback on specific parts of the video? Asking open-ends at the conclusion may give you some answers, but why not change the way you ask the question? I like to program a question that gives respondents an opportunity to pause the ad and place open-end comments wherever the mood strikes them. You can also have respondents rate the ad in real-time, clicking on thumbs up or thumbs down icons while the video is playing.

By including questions that engage the audience, you will get better results and more importantly, your client can show their colleagues the cool survey they are conducting!


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Our recent Consumer Pulse report: A Consumer Perspective on Mobile Banking looks at how smartphone and tablet owners are conducting mobile banking and transactions on their mobile device.

For more information on consumer use of smartphones for mobile banking download our free report.


Posted by George Haranis.  George is a project manager on the financial services team, enjoys watching HBO Go on his iPhone to kill the time on his commute (yay multimedia!), and loves comic book movies.

Topics: research design