Why gamify? The top 4 benefits of making your online surveys fun

Why gamify? The top 4 benefits of making your online surveys fun

If you ask people to list the activities they most look forward to in life, filling out an online survey probably doesn’t make the cut. You’ve likely found that you have to “bribe” participants with cash payments or other rewards in the hopes (not always fulfilled) of getting them to complete surveys. Gamification can add a much-needed fun factor to your surveys. Take a look at four tremendous gamification benefits your research team can experience as a result.

1. Increased response rates

People are naturally more inclined to provide their input to any interactive procedure as long as it promises to be something they’ll enjoy. “Play our fun game” is much more compelling than “fill out our survey.” Most people already get enough of completing documents of various kinds, and associate this action with unpleasant situations such as loan applications and medical office paperwork.

While there will always be individuals who are motivated by the privilege of sharing their opinions or the promise of a payment, you’ll find that gamifying your survey can bring a significant number of other respondents on board. In fact, you can expect to see at least 15 percent higher response rates when you abandon that conventional MaxDiff analysis in favor of an entertaining game. A larger respondent pool conveys greater detail and authority to your results.

2. Faster responses

Getting online survey participants to agree to take a survey is a victory in itself, but getting them to complete the entire exercise can be another challenge. If there’s no time requirement for completing a survey, respondents may simply peck away at it in their spare time, unless they’re truly motivated by whatever reward you’ve promised them upon completion. The longer it takes to get those surveys finished and submitted, the more time is wasted before that data can finally be interpreted and put to use.

Gamifying your survey can provide your participants with that extra jolt of adrenaline that gets them moving and keeps them moving. The sheer sense of engagement offered by a “rankifier” card game or puzzle-style word search game will push respondents toward the finish line — or rather, it will inspire them to push themselves!

3. More accurate data

People often feel like they’re going through the motions when trying to complete a survey, but gamers are more engaged in their activity. It’s common to feel dissociated from or indifferent to online survey questions, especially if they concern themselves with activities and concepts that seem to have nothing to do with your everyday life. Respondents who can’t connect with the questions are unlikely to provide the most accurate answers, either because they don’t quite see how the questions relate to them or because they haven’t been made to care.

But what happens when you turn that survey into a game, using questions that encourage active creativity? Maybe you’re asked to picture yourself as the head of a multimillion-dollar company tasked with choosing between two new products for immediate launch. Or maybe you’re challenged to describe a product using only certain kinds or numbers of words. Suddenly you’re motivated to get more involved with the questions and challenges and think harder about your answers and solutions.

4. Greater overall enjoyability

Enjoyability can make a big difference in the success of your data-gathering programs, especially when you consider the big picture. Even if a respondent makes it all the way through a boring, by-the-numbers online survey, how fired up will that person be about responding to the next one that comes along, or the next? For that matter, how will they feel about the organization that put them through that ordeal?

Gamifying your online surveys provides a more consistently enjoyable experience for your respondents, regardless of whether they would consider themselves gamers by nature. When you make the experience enjoyable, you boost your odds of bringing some of these same respondents back for future surveys on other subjects, possibly helping you get those future surveys off the ground much more quickly.

Greater enjoyability also leaves your respondents with a favorable impression of your organization. This not only helps you maintain good PR but can even prompt word-of-mouth referrals and a fresh crop of respondents.

Why not put gamification benefits to work in your own online surveys?

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