Build that Wall! The Survey Wall

Have any of these situations ever happened to you?

  • You’re reading an article and are just getting interested when – BAM! – you’re asked to pay to finish the article.
  • You’re playing a free online game, and you’re so close to unlocking the next level when – POP! – you’re asked to pay for a clue or information to proceed in the game.
  • You’re reading an article and finding it very valuable when -POW! – you asked to take a one question survey to finish reading.

If so, you encountered a monetization strategy being used by any number of web publishers, from media to apps. And if you were asked to take a short survey, you ran into a Survey Wall. (If they ask for money they may be referred to as micropayment walls.)

Colleen Butler published an article in LinkedIn, “Survey walls: What are they and why do they matter?”, “Considering the massive amount of free content available to online users today, monetization remains a clear challenge for publishers across mediums. Consider the world of mobile applications, for example. According to VentureBeat, people downloaded 60 percent more apps in January 2015 than they did in January 2014, which was the most downloads from the iOS app store ever. As the mobile app, games, and online content markets become more saturated, publishers and developers struggle to earn revenue and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

While there are a number of app and website monetization strategies for both online and mobile experiences, including native advertising, paid video and in-app purchases, creating organic, personalized experiences is likely to be a more successful strategy for earning money.”

And that is what survey walls deliver: a more personalized experience which engages consumers and encourages them to pay a small amount to continue that experience.

How Survey Walls Work

Survey walls are an effective monetization strategy that adds to the user experience. Any marketing research firm or brand can work with a monetization partner or platform which then works with publishers to implement the survey wall. Once the potential respondents share anonymous information, such as age, gender, and other relevant demographics, with the platform, they are then matched with surveys. Finally, publishers are paid for each completed survey, and users are given rewards (for example, access to premium articles on a news site or in-game currency for a gaming app).

A similar monetization strategy is offer walls, which are for marketing and not surveys or engagement. Unlike survey walls, consumers must give their personal information to access offer wall content. That could, of course, lead to additional future marketing content. Moreover, offer walls only provide users access to branded content like coupons and discounts, and therefore do not necessarily enhance in-game or on-site experiences.

Survey walls reward users to increase long-term user engagement in addition to driving revenue. This is because as users gain access to enhanced experiences or additional and advanced information, they are more likely to return to the site. Further, survey walls themselves are fun and addictive, so people will look forward to interacting with these sites and apps.

Most importantly for marketing researchers, survey walls give access to a fresh, new pool of respondents through targeted search criteria. Individuals who would never join a panel or who simply don’t take surveys will participate in the survey wall because they want the reward and the benefit is commensurate with the effort expended in responding.

When sample procurement is a major headache for marketing researchers, survey walls are another option to consider over traditional and panel samples. While survey wall projects have their limitations (they must be short and highly interactive), this presents a promising solution to our industry’s on-going sampling challenges.

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