7 golden rules for writing open-ended video questions

The open-ended video question is rapidly rising in popularity and breathing real purpose into the open-ended survey question.  So, how do we make sure we get the most out of this impactful question type?

With great questions of course.

Some of these tips follow the conventional wisdom you’ve all learnt over the years, but they are perhaps even more pertinent when asking survey respondents to leave video feedback in your survey. So, without further ado, here are our seven golden rules for writing great open-ended video questions.

1. Master the art of introduction

Whether it's the first time you're asking your customers to record an in-survey video response, or your panel are video-ready, it's always good to consider adding a tiny bit of intro text.  You could add this to a separate page before your actual video question.  Or, incorporate it into the question - provided it doesn’t massively increase your word count.  

2. Make it optional

Such a simple point, but as you introduce your video question let respondents know it’s optional and offer them the alternative of a text-based response instead. 

3. Don’t lead respondents

One of the founding rules of survey writing.  Do not lead respondents with emotive or forceful language if you want to keep research objectivity and credibility. Consumer emotion shines through in your video responses so keep your  question neutral in tone. Ask people for the ‘why’ to gain deeper, more meaningful insights.

4. Clarity is a virtue

We all know clarity is king when it comes to questions.. However, this is even more important when asking a video question. Use clear, understandable language and please leave the acronyms and jargon at the front door.

5. Be Concise & Precise

Your questions should get straight to the point.  Depending on the device the consumer is using they may not see the question while recording their video.  Ask them a memorable question, and at most back this up with a couple of critical points.  Go beyond that and you may see some confused faces in your video content.

6. Two is not a crowd

This is an extension of point five. If you can’t get all your questions into one video question, then write it as two separate video questions. In doing so, you will likely heighten the quality of the video feedback you receive and keep those respondents happy too.

7. It's all about that place...ment

Number seven is not strictly a question writing point but merits a mention.  When writing your entire survey, you must think about where a video question fits into this whole process. Plonk it on the end and respondents exit without giving you their honest opinion. We’d recommend midway through your survey as you delve into your more detail-oriented questions.


For a more conventional take on writing survey questions, check out Quirks’ article ‘The dos and don'ts of writing quality survey questions’ or Fluid Survey's 'Get the most out of your survey’.

Before you go, don’t forget to take a peek at our latest eBook - The ultimate guide to video open-ends. 



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