Shopper Insights

How to Maximize the Benefits of In-Store Crowdsourced Data

There are so many advantages to using in-store crowdsourced data, but are you reaping all of the rewards? Using smartphone apps to crowdsource information has created an extensive data collection capability that is difficult to replicate. With access to smartphone users all over the country, mobile crowdsourcing has enhanced the potential reach and speed of data collection. You may be wondering; how do you maximize the potential of in-store crowdsourced data?

Gaining the most actionable insights starts from the beginning of the in-store crowdsourcing process – creating the survey. The questions you ask will determine the data (and data quality) you receive. The complexity, length, and location of a survey could increase or decrease the interest of potential shoppers from completing it. With so many different factors blended together, it can be difficult to get the most from your crowdsourced data.

With these new capabilities at our disposal, it can be easy to craft a survey but not as easy to optimize it to capture the most value. Over the years, we’ve uncovered the most common mistakes made in creating surveys. To help improve your in-store crowdsourcing strategy, we’re sharing that list with you. So, what can you do to increase the value and accuracy of the information you’re collecting?

  1. Number of Questions. The number of questions in your survey plays an important role in the willingness of shoppers to complete the survey. The “sweet spot” that we’ve found is about 20 questions in addition to 5 photo questions. Staying close to this range will ensure shoppers are more willing to complete the survey and will likely lead to better data quality. Having too many questions in a survey runs the risk of mobile mystery shoppers getting bored, resulting in imprecise data.
  2. Time Spent in Store. Keeping in mind the “sweet spot” for the number of questions, the amount of time shoppers are spending completing surveys in stores is also a potential factor in data accuracy. Shoppers don’t want to spend hours in a store taking photos and answering questions. Limiting your survey to about 15-20 minutes will maximize consumer willingness and will likely increase the quality of the crowdsourced data. Why is this? As more time passes, shoppers will become less interested in completing the survey. This can lead to answers that do not match what is actually in the store to finish faster. In addition, the longer a survey is, the more likely shoppers will abandon it (leaving the survey before they have completed all of the required questions).
  3. Location Selection. We’ve found that the retail locations your surveys are listed at are an important piece of gathering the most actionable data. Choosing retailers in highly populated (top tier) locations will give you the best chance to reach a larger audience. If there isn’t a large population near a retailer, there won’t be a large crowdsourcing population either. With fewer people available to complete a survey, collecting enough information will become a much more difficult task.
  4. Define Your Audience. Limiting who can complete your survey using demographic information will also limit the number of potential results you can get. Keeping your survey open to the general public is ideal if you’re looking to gain insights quickly from a diverse group of consumers. Using demographic targeting for your surveys is best used to gather shopper sentiment rather than in-store product and display data.
  5. Length of Campaign. How long do you want to leave your survey active for? If there isn’t enough time for shoppers to complete all of your surveys that may limit the number of results you receive. We’d recommend leaving your survey active for at least 2 weeks. Campaign timelines, however, can vary based on the number of results you’re looking for and how many locations your survey is available at.

Because every campaign is different, some of these “sweet spots” may differ slightly to fit your needs. Determining the information you need to collect, and creating a survey that will uncover that data as painlessly as possible for your shoppers will benefit you greatly.

How will this help you get more from your crowdsourced data? By creating surveys that are convenient for the shoppers, but also provide you with the information you need, you’ll be able to generate the most useful data. Your data will be more accurate, completed faster, and will give you the information you need to act and adapt quickly.


Collecting the best, crowdsourced data will put you ahead of your competition. Finding a partner that can help you create a survey that keeps these best practices in mind, will maximize shopper participation and the value of the data you collect. Finding the perfect balance between the questions you need to ask and a shopper’s threshold for answering questions is the key to crowdsourcing success. You’ll find that after creating the optimal survey, you’ll receive high-quality data that is cost-efficient and collected quickly. With a total turnaround time of 2-4 weeks, actionable data has never been more accessible.

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Better decisions can only come from better data.

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