Last week Instagram launched its new “Polls” feature for stories and my nerd-heart skipped a beat. Instagram is my social-media drug-of-choice, and I love market research, so I just had to try it out. IMG_0694

Of course I was disappointed at the lack of functionality– I had a hard time even finding my data after a poll. You can only ask one question with two answer choices, and polls are only visible to your story’s audience. It’s obvious that Instagram’s Polls are more geared towards social interaction than research.

At first I was annoyed– then I began taking polls myself. I found it to be a fun and seamless way to engage with friends, corporations, and even celebrities. I started looking at Instagram polls from the respondent’s perspective, and I realized that this feature’s true value to market researchers isn’t the what– it’s the why.

Why have all of the major social media platforms (like twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram) all added polling functionality– and what can their features teach us about the future of online research?

Here are 5 Lessons for Market Researchers from my experience with Instagram Polls:

Lesson 1: Let Your Hair Down, Research Can Be fun

The social media giants know that people love sharing their opinions and letting their voice be heard. That’s the why. Instagram and other companies have added polls because taking them is fun.

Researchers can learn a lot from this idea.

Most people are naturally inclined to be great respondents, and it’s our job to tap into that. That’s why polls are a great way to engage an audience–they keep it easy, fast, and stress free.

Why does research have to be stuffy? Your surveys and the process your respondents go through should be fun. Think like a respondent, and put yourself in their shoes.

Lesson 2: Go Mobile

Instagram polls are engaging because they are so accessible, thanks to Instagram’s mobile platform. They are a free time distraction that comes with you wherever you go. You can participate on your work break, while waiting for a bus, or in-between text messages.

Mobile phones allow researchers to access respondents anywhere, anytime. That’s why you should harness the power of mobile– take a lesson from Instagram and put your research in the world’s hands.

Lesson 3: Seamless Integration

It is just so easy to take a poll on Instagram, because they are seamlessly integrated into the native app environment. You don’t have to go to your home screen, login, or commit for a long time period– you can engage instantly, in the same place you play.

Research companies like TapResearch understand how powerful this seamless integration is. When respondents enter a survey from their favorite app they are more naturally engaged.

Like Instagram, you should choose a sample source that allows your respondents to flow into your survey without distraction or a drawn-out process– from the same apps they are already using.

Lesson 4: Simple Design

Instagram Polls are so simple– it doesn’t feel like work to contribute. As a researcher, you can’t always keep it so minimal. But, you should try to cut the fluff when you can. New technologies are driving the cost-per-respondent down enough that it’s now cost effective to split your research into smaller more manageable projects.

You can harness the addictive quality of social media polls by keeping your surveys simple and fast (when possible).

Pro Tip: You can use our DIY Self Service Tool to launch as many projects as you want with no project minimums— so it’s easy to split up your large and complex surveys into shorter and simpler research.

Lesson 5: Access to Average Joe and Jane

What is so intriguing about social media polls is their access to the hard-to-reach average person (Instagram only polls those who view your story, but you get the idea). For so long, research has relied on panels of people who know they are in a survey sample pool. This process adds a layer disconnectionand can make the whole experience feel artificial. There are also some panelists that abuse the system to get a reward– something none of us wants.

That’s why you should serve your research to a dynamic group of respondents who are normal people, not professional survey takers. TapResearch can put your survey in front of more than 30 million real people with real opinions– recruited from the apps they use everyday.



Now, pry your fingers away from those addicting Instagram polls and get to work.

As always, you can reach out to our project management team for more insight and help setting up your TapResearch project today.




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