|Making Surveys More Fun|
|Written by Mario Herger|
|Wednesday, 16 November 2011 22:58|
A question asked by Linsey Willaford in the Linkedin group Games for Brands – Intelligent Gamification has stirred some conversation, and made me think of how I would gamify surveys. So here are my thoughts:
My approach at looking at (online-)surveys is from the perspectives of two involved parties and what their benefits are:
Ad 2) What's the benefit for the survey taker? Typically nothing, the chance to win a prize that is given to a random person amongst the participants (and that equals to most of us to as well as nothing), or a discount at your next shopping.
Game mechanics that many surveys today use are typically a progress bar ("You have completed 25% of the survey!"), a chance to enter a prize drawing ("Take the survey and have a chance to win an iPad!"), or a double-edged sword, like you get something when you take the survey, but only when you shop again with us (("Complete this online survey and get 5% off your next shopping with us!").
But with these techniques used today, the benefit for the survey creator is far higher than for the survey taker. After all, former one has all the data and can use that to better sell stuff, build better products, sell this data to other parties etc. The survey taker's benefit is usually close to zero. In most cases they are doing that to do you a favor.The benefit or surveys is heavily loop-sided.
SolutionThat gives us a clue of how to approach that: make the survey something that benefits all survey participants. This does not mean to give everyone an iPad after survey completion, but here are some suggestions of how taking a survey can be made of value and fun for the the survey taker as well.
Share comparable information
People compare themselves all the time to others. What car they drive, where they go on vacation, what school they went, what food they like. Whatever survey you have, try sharing with the participants, while they are taking the survey, some results that let them compare themselves to other participants, or even participants that are similar to them, or if possible – how they are doing in comparison to their friends. If the survey data is showing some surprising insights that you can share with each participants (like: "Did you know that the average age of a video is 37 years, and not 14 as we had thought?"), you might have a strong hook to get them going to the next questions.
Sharing information on such a base is something that in gamification we call the feedback loop. How I am doing? And let me know that right now, so that I can get better and learn.
The drawback of this approach can be that you share too much information, which influences the survey taking of the remaining questions or lets the participants go back to change submitted answered and see the changed – and now less earnest - results.
Take them at their prideIf your surveys typically tend to have high defection rates after certain percentage markers (and you've made sure that this is not due to a problem with the way you are asking the questions, or a technical problem), give positive reinforcement: "Well done! You’ve already answered more questions than 15% of our overall survey takes", followed by "Good Job! You're in the top 10% of all people taking this survey! Can you make it to the end and be the 1%?"
Another technique that we call bragging rights. Let them earn bragging rights with their peers and talk about that.
Tie the survey completion to solving a mysteryEach question answered will give them an additional clue to solve a mystery (think Agatha Christie stories, where over the course of the story one clue to the other is dropped and the reader is kept attentive and until the end to figure out, who the murder is). Or another puzzle piece to finish a puzzle image, ideally with only the last piece making the whole puzzle understandable. Or instead of the progress bar make the indicator a pirate boat, and the 100% mark the treasure island that is in fog at the beginning, but clears up more and more the closer the boat comes. Add some fun images at the 25, 50 and 75% mark, and you have a happy participant.
A technique or game mechanic that we call mystery or easter egg. Give them a fun surprise that they didn't expect.
A great and totally fun example of how this can be done comes from an ad campaign for the French bottled water brand Contrex (link to video):
Make it a social experienceWhile a survey is most often taken alone, just turn it into a social experience. The Contrex example before didn't only help to solve a mystery, but made the solution only possible, because people had to work together. One person alone would have not been able to even start the experience. Another example comes from Bunchball who made the experience for Chiquita sweepstakes social, which normally is totally a-social: you wouldn't want to have more people enter the sweepstakes, as your chances to win decrease with each new participant. By tying unlocking a new level to overall points reached to more necessary players, they started to share and invite their friends and family to participate, making this more fun for everyone.
By giving a survey taker certain clues for solving an engaging mystery or puzzle only when a certain number of friends participate, brings even more participants in. That means you may want to create surveys that are integrated with Facebook, Linkedin or other social networks to have the survey go viral.
A drawback could be that participants brought in this way may not be diverse enough for a statistically representative sample for the survey data.
SummaryBy giving people a tangible benefit that doesn't cost anything from your side like information sharing or a mystery solving, and making the lonely work of taking a survey a social experience can be turned into fun for the survey taker, engage them more and make the survey data more valuable for the survey creator.
And a final note to all of us: make sure your survey is well designed from the beginning and not violating minimum standards of how a good survey should look like. Such a survey will not become better nor yield better results by just gamifying it.