3 Tips on how to consider Behavioural Economics in your Online Surveys.

What, you may ask, is behavioural economics? And how does it relate to online surveys?

Behavioural economics (BE), in its most simple form, is the study of irrationality in decision-making. Classical economics pre-supposes that people will behave in a rational way when making purchasing or other financial decisions. In the real world, though, we know that this isn’t really true. Everyone is subject to conscious or unconscious biases that affect their decisions, and this can extend to responses to online surveys.

It really is an enormous subject, and there’s no way it could all be covered in a blog post (at least, not one that anyone would want to read), but let’s take a look at some of the most well-understood effects and how SmartSurvey’s features can work to mitigate them.

Use Question Order Randomisation to reduce the effect of Priming

Every line of text or image in a survey can have a small effect on the mood and frame of mind of a respondent, without the respondent or survey creator realising it. Exposure to brands and imagery, and the associations they create, can have a lasting effect on later questions.

A group of young people using mobile devices.
Applying BE techniques can’t account for all the variations in people’s biases, so maximising respondents will always be important.

By randomising the order of questions on a page, you can reduce the effect of questions and responses affecting the responses given to questions that come later on the page. This effect is called “Priming” and it can skew responses notably.

Use Question Selection Randomisation instead of direct comparisons

Often, respondents will shy away from comparisons, especially where it relates to things where someone might believe they will always react rationally, such as making purchase decisions (this is to do with economics, after all). They may not want to admit that one advert or another is more likely to influence them into making a purchase (Because they are rational beings who are above such things).

So, in the case of comparing ad creative (as an example) instead of asking a question like “Which of these is more likely to cause you to purchase a product”, consider instead creating a page with two questions, one for each ad creative (as an example) asking a more neutral question such as whether they simply “like” the creative, and then setting the page to only show one question of the two at random. You can then compare the responses to the two questions to make your comparison.

person using a laptop and a smartphone
Exposure to different brands prior to a survey or question (and even the devices they use) can also lead to variations in responses.

Use Question Selection Randomisation to check the effect of question wording.

Would you like something that works 99% of the time? Or would you prefer something that breaks 1% of the time? You may, quite rightly, say that these are the same thing. However, the study of BE has discovered that people will answer those questions differently. While there’s a general rule that people react more favourably to questions framed positively, it can sometimes be tricky, when dealing with wording such as the above to know which is the more “positive” reading, so to account for this bias you can create a page with multiple versions of the same question, and then choose one at random to show to the respondent. Comparing the results will reveal if there’s a bias caused by question wording.

We have a guide on how to do question set randomisation on the knowledgebase.

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New Features for Summer 2018

Now the GDPR era is well and truly upon us, we wanted to highlight some of the new features we’ve recently added to SmartSurvey and give you a quick run-down of what they are, why we’ve added them, and how they’ve been implemented.

Two-Factor Authentication

It’s likely you’re familiar with this method of adding an extra layer of security to accounts because more and more companies and services are offering (and in some cases insisting on) it. It requires users wishing to log in to confirm their identity by providing a code supplied by a second, pre-defined device in addition to the usual username and password.
We wanted to ensure that our users were offered this as part of our ongoing commitment to account security, and so this feature is now available to all SmartSurvey users. We’re supporting the popular third-party authorisation apps Google Authenticator and Authy, so any user with a smartphone can make use of this feature, and certainly if your surveys contain personal data, then we recommend that you do.

Users with Enterprise accounts can also set up authentication via SMS text messaging.

For more information on setting up, check out the knowledgebase.

Password Policies

Another feature to improve account security is that Master users of enterprise accounts can now define policies that all the passwords created by users to access that SmartSurvey account need to comply with. While, naturally, we’d like to think that we trust our co-workers not to be creating easily-guessed passwords, it’s good to be able to say to your managers that you know for a fact that they can’t.

To give this feature maximum flexibility, in addition to a simple setup where the master user can simply define that the password must contain at least one special character, number, uppercase or lowercase character, the rules can alternately be defined via regex (short for “Regular Expressions”) patterns. This means that organisations that insist on highly complex passwords can extend that policy to their SmartSurvey account.

In addition to rules on complexity, you can create rules for expiration as well.

Again, you can find a detailed guide on how to use this feature on the knowledgebase.

Dynamic Preview

The surveys that our users create on SmartSurvey has always been dynamic and able to display properly on a variety of devices, but a wise survey creator should always double check that everything is displaying correctly. Previously, doing this meant having a selection of testing devices to hand.
The new preview feature makes such measures unnecessary as you can now instantly switch the survey between PC, tablet, and phone formats, so you can check them all from the comfort of the device where you’re creating the survey.

Looking Forward

We’re constantly working on new features and you shouldn’t have to wait too long before our next release, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas for new features.

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Popup Surveys made simple

Popup surveys are a powerful feature available to our Enterprise users. As an organisation, you are the experts on what your customers are looking for and the service they expect to receive. But, it’s always useful to dig a bit deeper to find out a little more, and what’s better than getting opinion straight from the horse’s mouth? Popup surveys can help you find the answers that you are looking for! Read on to learn more about the benefits and how to set them up…


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Zapier and SmartSurvey Partner Up

SmartSurvey just got a lot more connected – find out how we have updated our Zapier integration!

SmartSurvey connects with 1,000+ apps on Zapier, including Salesforce, Office 365, Google Sheets, and Hubspot allowing you to automatically send information from survey responses to your other favourite business tools. With the Zapier and SmartSurvey integration, you can gain more insights and make the most of the information you collect.


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