Unexplainably Low Incidences? How Audience Customization Increases Participation Rates

March 20, 2023 Author: Zamir Lima

In the market research industry, incidence refers to the proportion of people in a population who meet the requirements to participate in a specific study. For example, if a study seeks people who have purchased a particular product in the last six months, incidence would be the percentage of people in the total population who meet this criterion.

If the incidence is too low, finding enough participants to conduct a valid and relevant study may be difficult, increasing costs and field time to complete the study. Identifying selection criteria specific enough to obtain reliable results yet broad enough to produce a representative sample is critical.

But what happens when a project experiences inexplicably low incidences despite considering broad selection criteria? When recruitment that should have been quick and easy is not.

The answer to why people are not participating in the survey may lie with how your survey is designed. Examine which survey questions are being abandoned. What trends do you see? Questionnaires must be customized to the needs of a given population if they are to resonate. Researchers can do that through audience customization, in which the language and questioning style is adapted to a specific cultural context, modifying certain terms and expressions to make them more understandable and relatable to local speakers, cultures, or specific generations.

Audience customization can be used to adapt survey questions in four areas to achieve maximum results:

Audience Customization for language

Considering language audience customization in market research is important, especially when designing surveys. Simply translating questions from one language to another is insufficient. The wording of questions and presenting response options differently matters to the overall effectiveness of the survey. Cultural context and characteristics of the target audience should always be considered when designing a survey so it’s relative to the intended audience.

Survey abandonment may also occur for other reasons, such as a configuration problem in the programming of the survey or simply because the respondents are bored. It is critical that researchers analyze where in the questionnaire respondents are either dropping out or being filtered out to better understand what’s needed to improve participation rates.

Audience Customization for demographics

Language audience customization can also include adapting a questionnaire, survey, or interview for the age of the respondents, especially if a research project involves people of different ages.

When done in relation to the ages of the respondents, audience customization may involve adjusting the language level, presentation and question wording, terminology, and tone to ensure the questions are understandable and interesting for each age group.

For instance, if you're asking young people under 18 about their consumption habits, you could simplify the wording and use more specific and contemporary examples. For adults over 30, you might use more formal language and a more complex but easy-to-understand presentation.

When adapting language based on the respondents' ages, the collected data will be more accurate, as responses may vary according to their understanding of the questions. Furthermore, language audience customization may also contribute to respondent satisfaction, as easy-to-understand questions make respondents more comfortable answering them.

Audience Customization for language in Latin America

Even though Spanish is widely spoken in Latin America, not everyone uses the same words. Therefore, audience customizing a questionnaire by adapting terms and expressions to the regional variants of Spanish spoken in each country aids comprehension.

When applying a research questionnaire in another country, be cautious. What makes sense to some might confuse others. For example, a convenience store in some Latin American countries can be called "tienda de abarrotes" or "minimercado," depending on the region. In the case of food, the word "taco" in Mexico and Nicaragua refers to food wrapped in a tortilla, while in Colombia, it can refer to a lie or exaggeration. In Chile, it can refer to a traffic jam. Similarly, the word "torta" can refer to a salty food in Mexico, while in other countries like Argentina, it is a sweet dessert.

Audience customizing market research surveys in Latin America can prevent comprehension problems and increase participation rates.

Audience Customization with Hispanics in the United States

If you thought that audience customizing each survey according to the target country in Latin America was complicated, conducting a survey for Hispanics in the United States is even more challenging. This is because many surveys focus on Hispanics in general, including people from any country in Latin America, with different levels of acculturation and diverse socioeconomic environments.

But ThinkNow's experienced multicultural team of experts is skilled in these areas and can advise you on improving incidence in LATAM and the U.S.

Get in touch with us. We can help.