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June 2, 2021

Questionnaires: The Secret Weapon To Winning the User Acquisition Game

Lidor hezkelo

Knowledge is power. It's truer than ever for user acquisition leaders.

The more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can target the right audience. The rules of the data privacy game are shifting rapidly. For example, the recent iOS14.5 update has limited access to third-party automated user-level data. 

In the past, advertisers could rely on ad platform data and capabilities to drive users down their funnels. Now, companies need to rely on their own customer data. Having the ability to generate audience insights from user input helps isolate you from changes in data privacy rules. Questionnaires are one of the most direct channels to gain first-hand data.

A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions designed to gather information from respondents and generate indicators to inform decision-making. Marketers traditionally use questionnaires to understand user preferences, conduct persona segmentation, inform pricing strategy, or support remarketing campaigns. 

With today's AI-driven analytics technologies, we can leverage questionnaires to unlock new opportunities.

The embodiment for the customer, though, is less an experience of a questionnaire, and more that of a “quiz”. A series of light, rapid, fun multiple-choice questions. They are often presented in a slick UI, and have the feel of “we’re trying to personalize your experience”, and actually promote engagement. 

Read on to find out the hidden value of questionnaires, and how you can leverage this research tool to optimize your paid acquisition strategy. (Note: While we discuss the methodology within the context of a subscription-based/SaaS model, you can appropriate it for other industries and offerings.)

The Value Encapsulated in a Questionnaire

The subscription-based model has risen in popularity because there are many advantages to billing customers on a recurring basis. However, it's not without its challenges.

Churn is a major concern. It has a much higher impact on the revenue stream and profitability of a subscription-based model. Not only does it cost less to retain an existing user than to acquire a new one, but loyal customers are also more likely to spend more with you.

In short, users who stay with you longer are more likely to yield a high lifetime value (LTV.) Therefore, the ability to target and acquire these users is a game-changer for user acquisition leaders.

The challenge is, how can you identify these high-value users, and do so quickly enough to act within the networks’ conversion window? This is where questionnaires come in. 

By gathering information from a questionnaire, you can predict a user's true value and focus your marketing efforts on the highest-yield audience segments to drive profits.

How To Plan an Effective Questionnaire

There are many considerations when implementing a questionnaire. From asking the right questions at the right time to using a tone of voice that resonates with the audience, you need to have everything dialed in.

But all of those are moot if users drop off during the process. Why do people drop off? Because answering a questionnaire takes effort -- it creates friction.

Your questionnaires must be well-planned to make it as easy as possible for your audience to complete while allowing you to gain the most relevant insights. Here's how:

Get the Basics Right

  • Entice your audience to complete the questionnaire by communicating how they will benefit from participating. Let's say you run a monthly subscription beauty box service. Your customers can get better products by letting you know about their preferences.

  • Provide context as you align the questions with the users' interests. Also, carefully phrase the questions to make sure they don't trigger a negative impression about your brand. Moreover, make the questions (or answers) playful and fun!

  • While a questionnaire can be very valuable during an onboarding process, you can also use it throughout the entire customer lifecycle (immediately after subscription, for example) and apply the insights to guide future user acquisition strategies.

Set Questionnaire Goals

  • Set your optimization goal and determine what you want to predict. E.g., the model for predicting customer loyalty is different from that for determining LTV, and therefore, requires a different questionnaire structure.

  • Identify the results you want to achieve and the insights you want to generate so you can craft the most relevant questions.

  • When using a questionnaire to support your user acquisition effort, design the questions to help you predict the true value of a user based on their answers. You can gather some insight into this using email surveys as samples.

  • Set KPIs to not only measure the effectiveness of a questionnaire (e.g., response rates) but also its ability to predict a user’s potential.

Structure Your Questionnaire

A good questionnaire should be multi-vertical and cover several fields. The answers should help you generate a user profile and better understand the value of a user.

  • Demographics — Gather information such as date (a year is all you need actually) of birth, gender, marital status, income, education, employment, etc. For example, one of our SaaS B2B customers who implemented a questionnaire discovered that users who said they worked at corporate are more likely to become high-value users. This piece of information wouldn't have been available without the questionnaire.

  • Product preferences — Pose questions such as: Which of the following products do you like most? How often do you use the product? Which are your favorite brands? Which are your favorite stores/brands? For example, for a facial consumer brand, a user who purchases facial products frequently is more likely to become a high-value user.

  • Customer habits — Gain in-depth insights about a user. E.g., find out how much a client can be worth to you by just asking, "How much do you spend on [product category] a month?" (This is so simple that it boggles the mind!)

  • Spending pattern — Uncover non-obvious connections. For instance, one of our fintech customers found out that users who have experience in the stock market tend to spend more money than others.

  • Decision-making process — See what influences a user's purchasing decision. For example, who's their favorite blogger/influencer, and who do they follow on YouTube or Tiktok?

  • Product-related safety questions — Learn about your customers' concerns around product safety, which is very important if you provide medical or health-related products.

  • How did you hear about us? — Identify the most profitable referral sources. A user referred to you by someone they know or trust is more likely to become a loyal customer.

You Got the Answers, Now What?

The insights you can gain from questionnaires can inform your user acquisition strategy.

First, conduct an in-depth analysis of the data to understand which of the answers correlate with high-value users. Based on this insight, you can improve your marketing efforts. For instance, you can remarket to these users, build lookalike audiences, use the most significant answers to send proxy events to ad networks or target audiences with similar characteristics in the ad networks.

Next, you can use the questionnaire answers alongside other events and data you have collected to build an LTV predictive model. Such a model can help you acquire and target loyal subscribers who are more likely to engage with your brand, so you can increase sales while lowering churn rates. You can then leverage the results of the predictive model and the capability to send conversion signals through ad network APIs to optimize your user acquisition campaigns.

You no longer have to rely solely on their algorithms, which optimize user acquisition based on short-term performance metrics such as installs, purchases, and registration or value events confined to the conversion window. Instead, you can optimize user acquisition based on the true value of each user. 

After working with brands from different verticals, we have seen the meaningful results achieved by using questionnaires to predict the future value of a user. This is particularly impactful for subscription-based businesses, in fact, our customers are able to increase retention by over 30%.

Supercharge User Acquisition With Data

Questionnaires can give you unique first-hand insights about your customers to fuel your user acquisition efforts. Make it the new secret weapon that will help you focus your marketing resources, so you can find more loyal customers who can bring the most value to your business!

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