The market research & insights industry is buzzing with excitement over newly emerging and horizon applications of artificial intelligence (AI), and rightfully so. Machine learning, when applied to open-end coding, data processing, survey programming/administration, participant sourcing, and even quantitative/qualitative interviewing is sure to have a lasting impact on helping us deliver faster, higher quality insights at lower costs. However, arguably the biggest impact that AI has had on the insights industry to-date is one that all research practitioners and end-users should be very afraid of, and one that we’re not talking nearly enough about…SURVEY BOTS.
In a nutshell, survey bots are programs/algorithms that allow for automated completion of online surveys. In most cases, bots are a means for unscrupulous programmers to rack up cash, rewards, and sweepstakes entries for participating in paid research studies without actually taking the time to share honest opinions. On the surface, these ‘participants’ look to have qualified for and legitimately completed a survey, but the validity of their survey data is complete garbage. These bots are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated and should be an obsession of the insights industry to weed out. For a fun, fear-inducing exercise, Google the term Survey Bot. What you would hope to see in your results is a collection of market research and academic thought leadership on how to avoid and prevent such parasites. However, what you actually see is a laundry list of available tutorials, services, and software downloads for executing your very own bots and gaming the system.
It’s certainly a scary issue, but not an insurmountable one. Clients and suppliers need to remain vigilant and work together to minimize the impact of survey bots. A handful of effective and relatively painless techniques to do so include:
The quality control steps described above provide an example of Accelerant Research’s approach to service that we take on each project. We sweat the details. We invite you to request a cost estimate from us and experience the difference that we provide for yourself. Simply give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).