A hot trend in marketing research is the micro-survey. Also known as the bite-sized survey, these questionnaires are short (about three questions) with the goal of collecting focused feedback to guide specific action.
The micro-survey is a technique for overcoming what is arguably the biggest hurdle in survey assessment: Getting people to respond to your questionnaire. It is a technique that is particularly useful for populations where mobile technology use is on the rise, and where there is competition for everyone’s attention in any given moment. If we expect our respondents to answer our questionnaires, we can’t saddle them with long, matrix-like questions or require them to flip through numerous web pages. We need to simplify, or we will lose respondents before they ever get to the submit button.
The trick to micro-surveys is to keep them short, but administer multiple questionnaires over time. You can break down a traditional membership or customer questionnaire into several micro-surveys and distribute them periodically. “Survey Doctor” Matthew Champagne gives evidence to the effectiveness of this technique in his blog post about bite-sized surveys. He provides an example of a project that boasted an 86% response rate.
Of course, the length of your survey is not the only factor contributing to response rate. You should strive to follow the Dillman method, which provides time-tested guidelines for administering surveys. (Here is one researcher’s description of how to use the Dillman method.) Also, take a look at Champagne’s Nine Principles of Embedded Assessment. His website has articles and YouTube videos on how to implement these principles.
If you want to try doing a micro-survey, check out the effective practices described in this blog article from the marketing research company Instantly.