Written by the UserTesting Team

Net new leads, cost per acquisition and conversion, and click-through rate on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns—these are all numbers you’re probably monitoring if you’re a marketer responsible for paid advertising. Or perhaps you’re focused on web optimization, then you’re more likely to be analyzing data points related to monthly website traffic, click-through rate, or pages per visit, to name a few.

These quantitative metrics inarguably produce immense value for marketers, but teams may still find themselves asking, “why was the conversion rate on this ad higher than another?” or “why are people bouncing from this page more than others?”. The truth is, some questions simply can’t be answered by numbers alone.

This is when qualitative data shines. Through the collection of real human insight, marketers are better equipped to provide critical answers to the “why” behind the “what.”

Qualitative customer feedback applied: 4 use cases for marketers

To help bring this concept to life, here are five practical ways marketers can conduct qualitative research to better understand their customers’ behaviors, build empathy with their audiences, and optimize messaging, campaigns, and promotions accordingly: 

1. Needs Discovery

Without fully understanding how target audiences complete an activity or task, or what drives their decision-making processes, marketers are challenged to effectively design campaigns and strategies that resonate. For example, a car manufacturer has noticed one of their models is popular among middle-aged men, so they deploy an email campaign to promote the model to that demographic. Despite signal that the audience has a need for this car model, conversion rates are exceptionally low—but why? 

Without qualitative customer feedback, there’s virtually no way for marketers to understand why—especially before launching the campaign. With tools like unmoderated video testing, the car manufacturer could have collected first-hand insights from their specific target audience—in this case, middle-aged men—to discover if the campaign was compelling. With this context, the team would be better equipped to make informed decisions around the angle, tone, and approach to the campaign. 

2. Message testing

Analytics and other quantitative metrics can tell marketers which subject lines yield more opens, which calls-to-action get more clicks, or which landing pages convert the most. But when trying to refine less successful elements, they’re left guessing as to how they can improve performance. By incorporating qualitative customer insights, marketers can better understand how their messages are perceived, and why (or why not) their messages resonate with their target audiences. 

3. Creative testing

Visual elements such as images or videos can elicit strong emotional reactions, but while this makes them critical to effective marketing, it’s important that they’re interpreted as intended and appropriately represent the desired message. Take Quiznos’ 2004 campaign that featured animated, rodent-esque creatures as the brand’s mascot in ads and commercials. Intended to appeal to children, the creatures instead terrified them and disturbed even adults. This could have easily been avoided by first collecting qualitative feedback on the new mascots to observe initial reactions, and better understand how they made people feel. 

4. Website optimization

A website is one of the most important resources that marketers have to connect with customers and prospects, and there are many different elements that must be considered to maximize the impact of a site. Web analytics are extremely useful for building a better website, but numbers alone leave many questions unanswered. By combining qualitative and quantitative analysis, marketers can quickly and easily identify, for example, if page visits are low because audiences are uninterested in the content or if they simply can’t find it in the navigation bar.

Level-up your marketing confidence with customer feedback

Traditionally, marketers have favored feedback methodologies like in-person focus groups and in-person interviews, however, they can be extremely costly and time-consuming. By leveraging the best practices above by using software that aids in online video interviews, on-demand video feedback, and online communities with progressive profiling, marketers are able to get fast, actionable feedback in as little as two hours.

The UserTesting Human Insights Platform empowers businesses to see, hear, and talk with consumers, customers, and a wide range of customizable panels to gather audio, video, and text responses that drive fast, informed decision-making. And when coupled with Fuel Cycle’s online communities, organizations can scale their customer feedback initiatives and leverage reporting and visualization capabilities for a comprehensive analysis of both quantitative and qualitative research results. 

Interested in learning more about how to collect qualitative customer feedback? Stay tuned for our next blog post for a deep dive into best practices for how you can use customer feedback tools and methodologies to embed customer feedback throughout your campaign planning process.