Video Open Ends

The FocusVision Decipher survey platform enables respondents to submit video open ends or a video capture via a webcam or mobile video camera. With the video open end, the respondent is asked to record and upload a video in response to a question or exercise in the survey.

The idea here is to provide a way for the respondent to express themselves beyond rating scales. The video open end can serve a similar function as an open end text question, but also be a richer source of data. Studies have shown that respondents say more on video than text open ends1.

Visual and audio cues convey emotions in a way that text cannot. From a person’s tone and facial expressions, a video can vividly illustrate how a person feels.

Customer testimonials

Perhaps even more valuable, when presenting to stakeholders, the researcher can use the videos to share insights and customer testimonials. During presentations, engaging the audience is one of the hardest things to do.

Videos provide an audio-visual testimonial of the customer that resonates much more powerfully than tables and charts. Digital marketers, for instance, supplement other forms of advertising with video in order to sell, engage, and improve overall advertising campaign performance2.

In most presentations, you are forced to help bring to life the voice of the customer through text and pictures, but with this new approach, you can bring the customer into the room with you to tell the story.

Sam Harami, eBay Director of Global Customer Loyalty

It’s paradoxical; if you can’t show it to them with numbers, they’re usually not going to pay attention…but if you get a couple of consumers on video to illustrate what you’re talking about in the numbers, that’s actually what they remember.

Scott McDonald, Senior Vice President for Research & Insights, Conde Nast Interviewed in QRCA Views by Judy Langer

How to capture video open ends in your survey

With video testimonials, respondents are asked to record themselves addressing a survey question. The respondent selects a button within the survey to activate their device’s camera. When a recording is made and the user is satisfied, the video is automatically uploaded to the survey and the respondent is directed to the next survey question.

Figure 1. The survey triggers the webcam or camera on the respondent’s device to record a video.

It is important to remember that a video testimonial will be different from what respondents are used to encountering in a survey. As such, it is necessary to provide clear usage instructions. This will ensure the best possible outcomes for both respondent participation and video quality. Explanatory text that introduces the video testimonial concept will also help respondents prepare for what is expected of them:

For this next section, we’d like you to try something different. Would you be willing to record a video answer for one question, when prompted? This is not required to complete the survey and is strictly voluntary.

Since privacy may be a concern, a video capture request must include direct consent from the respondent. It is also important to ensure that the respondent has the required technology to capture a video recording. A simple question can accomplish both of these goals:

From here, the respondent is ready to record their video. Provide step by step instructions, and ask the respondent to be in a quiet, well-lit place to ensure a quality recording. Even at this stage, the respondent should be given the opportunity to skip the question should they encounter any difficulties or change their mind.

After you click the next button below you will be asked a question and provided the opportunity to record a video of your answer(s).

Here are some tips before you get started:

Try to record the video in quiet surroundings

  • Sit or stand comfortably
  • Review the question before starting the video and think about what you want to say
  • Use good lighting so we can see your face
  • Make sure your microphone is working so we can hear you
  • Have fun with it!

Speaking in front of a camera may be a new experience for some, however, respondents will usually find it a much easier way to express themselves. We therefore strongly recommend framing video open-end questions in very personalized ways. This point can’t be emphasized enough.

For example, asking about a personal experience or real situation can elicit extremely rich video responses. Whereas, simply asking about a person’s brand preference may not yield much if a person doesn’t have a strong opinion or experience to recall.

What to expect?

Respondent participation
Video participation tends to be modest. Every situation will be different, but generally, you can expect to collect quality videos from 5-10% of survey completes. An engaging topic has the potential to increase participation, but if a researcher desires to collect a large number of responses, an additional ‘kicker’ incentive is recommended. The researcher can expect to see interview length increase by 3-5 minutes for those participating in video testimonials. However, this tends to have a negligible effect on the overall sample LOI, as many respondents will not participate. As such, the researcher may wish to limit participation on video testimonials, if LOI increases are a concern.

Not everyone will have the right technical equipment or record usable content. Additionally, respondents may decline to record a video due to privacy concerns related to showing their faces. Therefore, it is very important for the consent form to address questions about how the videos will be used. Respondents must be given a way to opt-out of video testimonials; otherwise researchers can expect heavy dropout rates. The goal, however, is not to collect a large number of videos or a representative sample. Instead, the researcher should aim for a dozen snippets to choose from to better-illustrate survey data for presentation purposes.


We live in an age where consumers like to share and record digital moments. And, advances in mobile and online video technology have opened new avenues for research data collection. Using these trends and technologies, researchers are now able to humanize survey data and illustrate customer stories in more inspiring and memorable ways.

Download Guide


  1. Kuegler, S. and Dowling, Z. “Unravelling the Mystery of the Video Respondent.” Lightspeed & Added Value presented at CASRO Digital. (2016)
  2. Facebook Business. “The Value of Video for Brands.” (2015).
White Paper

An Introduction to Dynamic Questions

In the market research world, dynamic questions and elements push progress by providing a graphical and interactive way for researchers to capture respondent data in online surveys.

Read Now

See for yourself: Begin your journey to better customer insights

Request a demo

Sign up to receive news from FocusVision