Using Instant Messaging for Keynote Surveys

We recently wrapped up a keynote presentation for one of our clients at the NABShow (National Association of Broadcasters) and tested some new technology for conducting an audience survey. 

One of our ongoing challenges is collecting data about how the audience responds to the messages in the content we’ve developed.  Ideally, we like to survey the audience both before and after a keynote so that we can more accurately measure the shift in opinion.  Unfortunately, access to the audience is often outside of our control.  Many times we are producing individual keynotes that are part of larger events produced by outside media or industry groups and the ability to survey the audience is limited.

In this case, we were limited to polling the audience very briefly at the end of our keynote.  But, we still managed to generate a response rate approaching 10%!

We achieved this in two ways.  First, we provided an incentive for completing the survey: a chance to win a valuable software package.  Second, we made it easy to complete the survey. 

We used an SMS-based instant messaging survey for the first time, in addition to a traditional HTML-based survey.

By texting the word “keynote” to a short IM address, anybody in the audience with a mobile phone was able to take part in a brief, interactive, 4 question survey.  More than half the completed surveys were returned via SMS (vs. the traditional Web-based survey), effectively doubling our response rate.

There were some tradeoffs by using SMS based surveys, but we came up with some good workarounds.  I’m very encouraged by the initial results and I think this will continue to be a valuable tool in our audience research arsenal — especially for younger and text savvy audiences who are used to texting.

~ by Mike on June 1, 2009.

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