The average human's attention span has fallen to 8 seconds - that's shorter than a goldfish. This statistic alone should be enough to convince you of the benefits of shorter market research surveys.
Long surveys that take upwards of 20 minutes to complete are becoming a thing of the past. Or at least they should be. Here's talking to you, market research industry.
Have an hour to answer a 100 question survey? Probably not - and neither do your target respondents.
From the experience of our market research team, short surveys generate higher response rates and more quality results. Here's why.
Why Shorter Surveys are Superior
Did you know online surveys that take less than 3 to 5 minutes to complete are our new standard and best practice for market research?
Shorter surveys are trending in market research because they keep respondents engaged and collect higher quality data.
Market research companies like Drive Research can help organizations fine-tune surveys to ensure the research objectives are being met.
What is the best survey length?
As a rule of thumb, a 5-minute survey can include up to 15 to 20 questions.
However, depending on the type of study, market research companies may suggest condensing the survey down to 15 or even 10 questions.
Learn more about how many questions should be asked in a market research survey.
Check out these three benefits of shorter surveys below!
Benefit #1: Clearly defined research objectives
Oftentimes, surveys get too long if the market research objectives are not clearly defined.
Challenge this by stating the primary objective of the research followed by any secondary objectives (if applicable) early in the process. This would be at the time of a kickoff meeting, or at least during the outline of the survey questions.
Once the market research objectives are written out, it might be realized that more than one market research study needs to be conducted in order to reach the objectives.
This is far superior to squeezing everything into one survey.
Your market research partner may suggest different options such as:
- Developing two separate surveys to meet unique objectives for different audiences.
- Conducting a follow-up study rather than conducting one study with various misaligned objectives.
Far too often, market research surveys get taken over by the thought of, "Since we have this person taking our survey we should add this question to meet an additional objective."
Key Takeaway: Have clearly defined market research objectives to avoid falling into this trap.
Benefit #2: Higher respondent engagement
Now that the market research objectives are clearly defined, the survey developed will also be clear and succinct to respondents.
Trust us, respondents will be able to tell if a survey was well thought out or not.
Let's face it, attention spans are getting shorter and the demand for quick and mobile-friendly surveys is becoming a must-have for respondents.
Rather than seeking respondents who are not part of this majority, develop a survey that fits respondents' needs.
Limiting the number of questions to fit respondents' attention spans will decrease respondent fatigue and increase respondent engagement.
We often hear from prospective clients, "No one wants to take surveys." This is not true.
What is true is no one wants to take a survey and offer feedback if it takes 20 minutes.
Most are willing to offer snippets of feedback if the experience is short.
Think of online customer reviews...
Think about why consumer reviews do so well and there are so many of them.
They are usually short 1 to 5-star rating scales with an open-ended comment box for additional information. It cannot get much shorter than this.
Benefit #3: Higher quality data
Clearly defined research objectives coupled with higher respondent engagement means higher quality data!
High-quality data is what all market research companies are after in every research study.
Long drawn-out surveys mean more opportunities for respondent fatigue and drop-out. Respondent fatigue leads to errors and poor data quality.
Wondering if errors are lurking in your data? Here are 4 basic market research study quality checks.
Also! Watch this short video on survey data cleaning.
**Editor's note: This blog post was originally posted in June 2018 but has since been updated for readability.
Drive Research is a full-service market research company specializing in online surveys. Our team of experts helps organizations from across the country with survey design, data collection, and analysis.
Interested in partnering with our market research firm? Contact our team today!
- Message us on our website
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.
Learn more about George, here.