The “Motivation Trajectory” of Survey Respondents

By jessicabroome on December 5, 2016 in Quantitative Research, Respondent Experience
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william-iven-22449It’s been a few weeks since my talk at CASRO, and I’ve been too busy with client work (that’s a good thing!) and current events to really focus on delving deeper into some of the areas we touched on in the presentation. But the REX project is moving full steam ahead, with data just in from 11 countries, and I’m finally able to focus on writing up a few thoughts.
The main issue I’m interested in is how to engage respondents—with the assumption that being engaged means they’ll 1) think more about their answers and so 2) give us more useful data, and 3) they’ll tell their equally-engaged friends to participate in research as well.
 
I was struck by this difference in the US respondents:
Less than a Year 1 to 2 Years 3 or More Years

For the money

71%

65%

75%

It’s a good way to spend my free time

52%

45%

41%

It makes me feel “in the know”

23%

30%

21%

Let’s break this down.
First, money is always an important motivator to get people to take surveys—we can’t deny that, but I’d love to see people motivated by something else as well, especially since they’re not making much per survey, so many people are doing TONS of surveys in order to get any kind of significant payout. Doing tons of surveys = less engagement and attention.
Look at the survey “newbies” – people who have been taking surveys for less than a year. Over half of them think it’s a good way to spend their free time! Someone who thinks this way is probably going to put a bit of thought into their responses.
After a year or so, we see a drop in “good way to spend my free time,” but an uptick in “makes me feel in the know.” Also a great motivator—if people feel like they are part of a bigger picture, and that they are learning about products and services, they’ll feel like their responses are important and have meaning.
But after a few years, we see sizable drops in both “good use of time” and “makes me feel in the know.” And what spikes here? MONEY.  This says to me that people who stick around and keep taking surveys after the thrill has worn off are a bit jaded, mostly in it for the payoff—and if this is their priority, how many surveys are they taking in a week to make it worth their while?
How can we keep “good use of time” and “feeling in the know” as key drivers to survey participation?? Next week I’ll come back with a few ideas…

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All material copyright 2014-2016 | Jessica Broome Research | Portrait photo by Sarah Hodzic, Blink Photography