Data Integrity Series. Chapter 3: Bot Awareness 101

In the context of online market research surveys, bots refer to automated scripts or computer programs designed to mimic human behaviour and submit responses to surveys automatically. Understanding the importance of identifying bots is crucial in market research, as they can distort survey results by submitting fake responses or skewing data.

Thus, recognizing and mitigating their impact is essential to ensure the accuracy and reliability of survey findings and to guarantee that businesses make informed decisions based on genuine human opinions and preferences.

In this blog post we talk about some of the key characteristics and implications of bots in market research online surveys.

Why Knowing About Bots Matters in Market Research

Automated Participation:

Bots can be programmed to complete online surveys without any human intervention. They can simulate the entire process of accessing a survey, filling out form fields, and submitting responses.

Survey Manipulation:

Some bots are designed to manipulate survey results intentionally. This can occur when the bot operator has a vested interest in steering the outcomes of the research in a particular direction.

Survey Spamming:

Bots can flood a survey with multiple submissions, overwhelming the system and making it challenging to identify legitimate responses. This can be especially problematic when incentives are offered for survey completion.

Waste of Resources:

Bots consume valuable resources by inflating response numbers without providing genuine insights. This not only wastes the researcher’s time and effort but also impacts incidence rates and the cost-effectiveness of the survey.

Data Quality Issues:

Bots can compromise research by introducing noise and inaccuracies, hindering the ability to draw meaningful conclusions from the dataset. This includes the risk of skewed data and the introduction of bias, jeopardizing the reliability and accuracy of research findings.

Concluding Thoughts

In an era where online surveys are prevalent, knowing about bots, their potential influence and how to mitigate their impact is fundamental for maintaining data integrity and deriving meaningful insights from research efforts. To counter the impact of bots in online market research surveys, we employ various strategies which we will talk about in our next blog post in the series: Cracking the Bot Code. These strategies include the use of CAPTCHAs, geolocation checks, incorporation of open-ended questions, and analysis of response patterns. By implementing these measures, we can enhance the authenticity and reliability of our survey data, ensuring that the insights gathered truly reflect the perspectives of the real human respondents rather than automated computer programs.