If you want to understand what someone is thinking, feeling, or doing, chances are you’ll ask them a question.
- How are you?
- What do you think of this?
- Why did you do that?
Expressing how we feel and sharing our likes and dislikes is human. We do it every day in conversation and on social media. The how and why questions give us the answers we need to get to the bottom of what people think.
Open-ended questions are an essential way to uncover hidden truths that closed questions can’t. That’s why they are such an important part of market research.
It’s easy to get answers to open-ended questions through video surveys. People use video all the time already. To Facetime their friends and family. For selfie videos on Instagram. Slo-mo shots of their daughter playing softball.
Most of us now have smartphones in our pockets or our hands nonstop. So why not use video surveys to get feedback from your customers in a way that is easy for them and meaningful to you.
“Instead of answering checkbox questions, respondents can answer on their phone or desktop and really tell their stories,” said Jenn Vogel, senior vice president of marketing at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.” “They can add additional context to their stories.”
Jenn discussed video surveys on The CX Leader Podcast.
The power of showing versus telling
Video surveys can also uncover product preferences that a text-based survey may not do as well. Take this example from Annie Pettit, chief research officer at E2E Research. In a nutshell, why ask consumers to recall what household products they bought, she said. Just ask them to show you on camera.
- explains how video surveys work to understand customers
- shares how companies can implement video surveys
- discusses how video surveys can be integrated into other platforms
- gives examples from brands like Subway, DISH, and more and shares how they use video surveys
- unveils how augmented reality and video surveys can give you a deeper understanding of customers
- shares examples of open-ends to use in video surveys
What are video surveys in market research?
Video surveys allow you to gather market research from your customers, consumers, users – anyone! Brands can ask questions directly to the people they care about most, and respondents leave their thoughts and feedback via video.
Video surveys are easy for brands as they are hearing directly from people. The software analyzes:
Consumers do video surveys asynchronous, meaning they answer your brand’s questions on their own time, and the brand can see the results as they come in.
“There’s no need to have a moderator on the other side, which helps get consistent questions to the respondents and eliminates biases,” Jenn said.
Video open-ends are just like text-based open-ends. But instead of writing down responses, respondents simply record a video. Videos are often more authentic than edited written copy.
It’s a win-win for everyone:
- Consumers love it because they can express their opinions
- Researchers love it because it delivers rich insights
- Decision-makers love it as they get to identify actual customer stories
Video makes it easier for respondents to express themselves. It’s also much more personal, adding more of a human aspect to communication. They can portray emotion through body language and facial expressions. It’s an experience that’s simple and easy to use. It delivers spontaneous and honest answers.
How video surveys work
Video open-ends can be added to any survey. Video surveys are added by inserting a block of code to whatever platform you’re using for surveys.
For quantitative researchers, video open-ends can be integrated directly into survey platforms such as
Video surveys can also be added into communities like FuelCycle. Just imagine the power of your NPS, Brand Tracker, and CSAT scores, for example, with real customer stories to enhance them. The ease of end-to-end video research means you could also capture video feedback pre or post-survey by recruiting an audience from on-demand video feedback communities or panel providers.
So whether you want to utilize video in a new or existing study or collect your videos alongside or after a survey, in just a few clicks, it’s possible. That means you can capture, analyze and share compelling customer stories across an array of quant and qual studies so you can boost the impact of your results without changing your existing program.
“I’m an evangelist for video,” said Kristin Luck, a serial marketing measurement entrepreneur. “The closer we can get to customers and potential buyers the better. And I think there’s no more powerful way than hearing it from them in their own words. I think it just resonates more deeply.”
What companies should do video surveys for their market research?
Video surveys can be used in all kinds of industries and verticals, Jenn said. From large brands to smaller businesses, video surveys are a way to understand their customers and hear from them directly.
“The real power comes in where it works alongside traditional methods,” Jenn said. “Adding a video layer to the quantitative data can help you understand your customers better.”
All generations of consumers use video surveys – including younger consumers like Gen Z.
Video surveys success stories
Here are some examples of how companies use video surveys to understand their customers better.
PepsiCo video surveys
“With COVID, the lives of our consumers have been impacted in so many ways,” said Megan Kehr, analytics insights associate manager at PepsiCo, adding that includes how they do daily tasks differently and even how they consume beverages. “Our brands need to be aware of that and be prepared for the future. Our partnership with Voxpopme was super instrumental in us being able to keep our ear to the ground to see what our consumers were dealing with and how they are navigating this new world. I’m super excited to get this recognition.”
In PepsiCo’s “Humanize” initiative the company was trying to get marketers closer to customers and understand them better.
“In the past, we’ve done one-on-one immersions with consumers where myself and somebody from the brand marketing team would speak directly to the consumer to gather learnings,” she said. With COVID upending so many lives, the team didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask consumers to join meetings.”
It was decided to try video surveys to allow customers to answer questions on their own time.
Understanding the customer deeper
Understanding the customer goes beyond “what flavor they pick up at the store and why,” Megan said on an episode of Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show. “But there’s also so much more behind the people who are drinking our products and what’s going on in their lives. And then figure out how our brands can help them ease the tensions they are dealing with. How we can fit better into their lives and what they are facing on a day-to-day basis.”
With Voxpopme’s video surveys “they could just do it on their mobile phones, pick it up whenever they feel like it. They are not put on the spot or speaking to somebody that they don’t know.”
Megan said that she was getting “more authentic responses because we met them where they were.”
Subway video surveys
Subway used video surveys to get quick feedback from its 2021 Super Bowl campaign.
“Literally, we had like a 12-hour turnaround,” said Wendy Semrau of Subway. “It was just amazing how many responses we were able to generate in that short amount of time. We went through the results right away on Friday and shared them right away with the team. There’s no other tool that we can do that with. Honestly, a lifesaver for us.”
Global video surveys in the London Underground
Global used video surveys to understand brand recall and sentiment for Old Spice.
A new Old Spice campaign in the London Underground put the Old Spice scent into the posters in the subway system, Emma Brett of Global shared on the Facetime call.
“That was something new. Something we didn’t know would work,” she said. “We didn’t know if the posters would smell, what people would think. We used Voxpopme to get a few opinions around the posters. If the scent was strong enough, etc. It was really good feedback for the client. It proved that the campaign was a success.”
Maher Beltaifa shared how Faurecia wanted to find out how people want to communicate in the future in their cars. Do they want to move beyond touching screens and buttons? What does that look like?
“We were looking at the future of communications,” Maher, who is now an insights manager at Coca-Cola, told Dave on their Facetime call. “Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe the day after tomorrow.”
They wanted to find out the future of voice and “maybe there will be something different even,” Maher said. That could be gestures to communicate with the devices in our cars.
Read next: More about the project
“Amazing to see how you are pushing the boundaries of the automotive experience,” Dave said.
Maher said on an episode of “Reel Talk” that the project started with a gut feeling.
“They knew there was just too much happening and wanted to make it more seamless,” Maher said.
Ideas were discussed on allowing people to communicate with their hands and maybe even gesture with their eyes. The video surveys helped the team stay grounded and find out what people were saying about the ideas.
In this clip, he discusses how the team decided to use qual and video surveys.
Reckitt video surveys
“We’ve had so much success inside the walls of RB,” said Elisabeth Trawinski.
Video surveys can help your brand understand your customers and make decisions to improve the customer experience. And as Jenn and Megan discussed on the podcast: Video surveys allow customers to answer your questions on their time.
“Just give people space to kind of talk about what’s important to them and what their lives look like,” Jenn said. “That’s where you can get answers to those questions that you didn’t know you needed to ask.”
“It’s about bringing that external lens inside the company,” Elisabeth said about her “Outside In” program on an episode of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show“. “In essence, it’s an empathy program.”
Reckitt used video surveys to understand how customer behaviors and rituals change.
DISH Network video surveys
Ashley Shelley, then senior manager, consumer insights at DISH Network, said on an episode of “Reel Talk” that DISH uses video surveys in a variety of ways.
Ashley said her team at DISH used video surveys for a variety of projects, from a few questions to ad testing to asking customers about new concepts.
Creating highlight reels from the video responses is “pure gold and so much better than pasting open ends into a deck,” she said.
DISH made the move to video surveys at first with a project where they needed respondents to pronounce the topic. Answers would be most beneficial when researchers could hear and see the respondents give them.
“They had to be answered with somebody actually giving us the response,” Ashley said. “We couldn’t do it in a quant survey.”
Video surveys also help DISH reach harder to reach consumers such as:
- in rural areas
- the elderly
- Spanish speakers
“Voxpopme has a great panel of older consumers as well,” Ashley said. “A lot of times somebody will come to me with a research question and I can say ‘I can get you some video feedback on that and it’s your target consumer.'”
And the process is quick. You can decide on a question in the morning, launch it that day and get answers by the following day.
“I thought I would have to sacrifice the integrity or the depth of the research,” Ashley said, about the perception when something can be done quickly. “How could it be so quick? For me, Voxpopme changed my mind about that. I feel like with video surveys we aren’t sacrificing anything.”
The speed also helps with influencing decisions, Ashley said.
“And my team is very passionate about that.”
In addition to making quick decisions, getting the quick video survey research also can inform further quant studies, Ashley said.
Video surveys help us hear directly from consumers
Priscilla McKinney of Little Bird Marketing said video surveys just connect consumers intimately to companies.
“Oh, I get to tell the company what I feel and what I think?” she said. “That specialness that they are being valued is really at the core of the kind of relationships that we want.”
Jenn said she’s even seen feedback videos from consumers where they open with:
“I’ve been waiting to talk to you for thirty years.”
Added Jenn: “She feels like she’s talking directly to a brand that she feels really close to anyways and that was the opportunity to talk directly to that brand.”
Augmented reality and video surveys
Talking about new concepts. Video surveys also can be used in conjunction with augmented reality, something The Olinger Group has done with the Voxpopme platform. Jude Olinger shared on “Reel Talk” how his team allowed consumers to view a new type of leaf blower with AR and then share their feedback via video surveys.
Using open-ended questions in video surveys
Open-ended questions open the doors to understanding what our customers are telling us. We can learn so much from asking open-ended questions. Responding to open-ended questions, customers can express emotions, likes and dislikes, and everything about us. It’s human nature. Open-ended questions have been a major part of market research and, more specifically, surveys for many years. They are an essential method to unearthing hidden truths that closed-ended questions could otherwise miss.
As market researchers, we are all aware of the benefits of open-ended questions, allowing respondents the flexibility to answer questions freely, without limits, could be the deciding factor between unlocking key customer insight and not.
What are video open-ends?
As the name suggests, video open-ends are just like text-based open-ends but instead require the respondent to record a video response as opposed to them typing/writing out their answer.
What are the benefits of video vs. text open-ends?
Video provides all the advantages of text-based open-ends, plus more.
Consumers love video because it allows them to easily portray their emotions, which in turn is valued highly by researchers for content richness and ability to drive action in the boardroom. After all, nothing is more powerful than seeing your customers face to face (digitally via video), sharing insight into their thoughts about your product, service or brand.
Consumers love giving feedback. Hear it from them directly…
Examples of types of open-ends to ask
At Voxpopme, we’ve tried and tested thousands of open video questions while collecting over a million consumer recorded video responses. So, we wanted to share our knowledge by offering some starter questions that have proven to deliver valuable, visual insights. We’ve put together a collection of simple, but effective open-ended questions you can use when you’re crafting your next video research project. These short-format templates will need adapting, combining, or expanding to suit your specific needs but are here to get those creative juices flowing again.
We’ve segmented the question examples based on the various areas of a business to make them relevant to your particular research goals.
- What would you change/improve about product X?
- Why do you choose product X over Y?
- What do you think of the taste/look/feel of new product X?
- Any other products compare to this and how do they compare?
- How does or doesn’t this product solve problem X for you?
- What did you like most about product X?
- Imagine and explain life without product X? (ethnography study)
- Show us how you use product X? (ethnography study)
- What are your expectations/requirements of service X?
- Any changes you would most improve to the service of brand X?
- How likely are you to recommend service X and why?
- Where did you come across this service?
- What was your primary reason for using/purchasing this service?
- Any steps you took in your decision to use service X?
- What did you think of advertisement X?
- Your favorite part of ad X?
- What emotions did the ad elicit?
- Which ad was your favorite and why?
- Are the claims made in the ad believable?
- How does this ad fit with what you know about brand X?
- How unique is this ad compared to others you have seen for similar products?
- In what ways does the ad you just watched impact your purchase consideration for brand X (if at all)?
- What makes a great ad?
- What are your initial thoughts when you hear brand X?
- In your opinion, what do you think brand X represents?
- Is your perception of brand X positive or negative and why?
- What traits are you looking for from a brand in category X?
- How and where do you come into contact with brand X most?
- What are the positive attributes of brand X?
- Any negative attributes of brand X and what are they?
- How was your last experience when visiting store X?
- What did you think of the customer support in store X?
- Why did you choose to shop in store X over its competitors?
- Do you have an alternative to brand/store X and why?
- Show us your favorite section/display in store X and tell us why it is?
- When did you last go to buy a product/service but didn’t buy your intended item and why?
- Please explain if you would return to this store and the reasons for your answer.
- How was your experience shopping with brand X online?
- Was it easy/difficult to navigate the site and find what you were looking for?
- Did you experience any difficulties when trying to buy a product from mysite.com?
- Explain your opinion of our website checkout experience?
- How did online support work?
- What don’t you like about your current service provider/product?
- How does your online experience of ‘brand X’ differ across different digital devices?
- What promotions come to mind when you think of season/event X?
- Any seasonal promotions would you like to see product/service X offer?
- What time of year do you begin looking for product or service X?
- Any promotions stand out most for you in store X?
- Please show us prominent category X promotions in store Y.
- How do you prefer to discover promotions for product/service X?
- What are your thoughts of our loyalty program?
- How does loyalty program X compare to the loyalty program of competitor Y?
- Would you say brand X provides value for your money?
- What are your thoughts on product X’s quality for the price paid?
- Does cost play a role when purchasing product/service X in category Y?
- The cost of product/service give you a particular perception of brand X?
Wider brand exploration & personification
- If Brand X was a celebrity who would they be and why?
- Which make of car is brand X most similar to?
- Brands are a party – what type of party guest would brand X be?
- How has brand X changed over time?
- Who do you think to be the leader in category X and why?
- If brand X came to life as a person, what would they be like?
- Where does brand X rank amongst its competitors and why?
- Draw what you think X means and explain why.
Understanding the market
Video surveys can also be used to understand customer feelings about a current campaign. Here’s an example from Super Bowl ads and how viewers felt about them.
For Super Bowl LIV, we set out to find out which brands won and lost in the battle of the commercials. We asked a total of 150 North American consumers to tell us which ad was the most memorable one.
They each shared their most memorable Super Bowl ad during each quarter of the game in self-recorded responses to a single open-ended video question, in real-time. The study tested the unaided recall of the commercials, and scores were calculated based on the number of mentions for each ad across all video responses in less than 4 hours thanks to automated video analytics.
And now that the results are in, we can see who scored and who fumbled in the advertising game.
See what people said about our winner in the video:
How fast is video survey market research?
Video survey projects can be completed in hours. For example, we run a weekly consumer study and launch the questions to the Market Research Online Community (MROC) late on Fridays. By Saturday morning 100 answers are usually done, ready for us to review on Monday when we return to work.
Examples of these quick-turn studies include:
- How affected are consumers by rising interest rates?
- Are consumers excited about 5G technology?
- How do consumers feel about drone delivery?
Read next: DIY market research: The how-to-guide
What do consumers like about video surveys?
Consumers in our video surveys market research online community give feedback and opinions constantly. Let me share some of the feedback that has been received.
Shubham, 25, of New York, said he “likes the fact that he gets to provide his opinions and since you are on video it makes you less shy and your voice is heard.”
Lauren, 38, of Tallahassee, said leaving a one-minute video is worth it and it’s great to see that brands get what they need out of the videos.
“Doing video surveys are more fun,” said Meagen, 33, of Forres. “It makes me happy knowing that I can make a small difference somewhere.”
Getting the most out of technology
Once you have technology in place, make sure you spend a good amount of time on making sure you are getting the most of out it, said Scott Brinker of HubSpot and creator of the mar-tech landscape map.
“It has to do with the strategy of how we are going to deploy them,” Scott said. “It has to do with how are we going to do enablement and training.” But also keep in mind that technology is updating and evolving quickly.