According to the study published by Forbes, 47% consumers say they don’t believe executives understand their needs. More than one third (41%) think that companies don’t listen to their suggestions or complaints. On the other side of the barricade, over 38% of executives feel disconnected from the actual consumers’ needs, as the Harvard Business Review reports.
It accumulates to the fact that customers’ needs are considered at the very end, far behind other strategic factors in businesses development, such as competitiveness, product development or distribution.
No one knows everything, but everyone knows something
Brainly builds its business strategy in a way that is consistent with the data they gather directly from their community of users. Based on their demand they create the largest Peer-to Peer learning platform on Earth. Brainly is a simple Q&A forum, where every month over 100 million of students, parents, and teachers from 35 countries look for answers and solve the most mind-boggling questions.
Brainly exists for the students, and that’s why their needs create it. All new functions are tested with users and developed to suit their demand.
By gathering feedback from studies and tests conducted accurately, the whole team has a clear vision of the users needs instead of working in the dark.
For Students by Students
Brainly’s users generate a vast amount of data. Mainly its behavioral and quantitative input, but often it’s not enough to answer one crucial question: “Why?”
Why users use certain features and other not? Why users feel motivated to answer questions on the platform? Why do they behave as they do?
We wanted to understand our users’ needs closely. We want to know their problems and feelings about education. Our analyses are often backed up by actual conversations with users — Jakub Piwnik, Communications Manager at Brainly.Testing and implementing new functionalities in accordance with Brainly’s community is an essential factor in the platform’s development. Brainly evaluates their ideas using one-on-one tests and focus groups. After they implement an initial version of a feature, they use Survicate to conduct surveys with users. It allows them to oversight both quantitative and qualitative tests using open-end questions on a much bigger scale.
Lighting fast surveys
Since 2014, when Brainly started using Survicate, they have collected over 1.5 million answers with the surveys. The astonishing amount of users is one of the factors contributing to this result. However, the quality of responses depends heavily on the precise targeting using Survicate’s built-in features or even Google Tag Manager.
Because of a particular target group, being students between 13 and 19 years old, the way the surveys are distributed must be adjusted to their behavior and age.
Whereas email surveys work well with the adult users, Targeted Website Surveys turned out to be a much better way to reach the younger audience. By displaying survey during the users’ session on the website, Brainly can gather data about a specific behavior.
But how much time does it take Brainly to gather enough answers? With advanced targeting and 100 million active users monthly it’s just a matter of a few days or even hours.
I’ve worked for some time at conducting public studies, and I know how hard it is to collect 300 respondents. In Brainly, collecting 3000 usually takes about a day — Karolina Wójcik, Data Analyst at Brainly
In the beginning, Brainly used Survicate mainly to test the initial versions of their features by asking their users for an opinion. However, as the time went by different teams in the company started to request surveys for their projects. Everyone wanted to ask customers for their feedback. Quickly data become available to everyone at Brainly. This data democracy allows directing all the team’s efforts toward one goal.
We base your decisions on the data because it’s equal for everyone; developers, marketing team and CEO — states Jakub Piwnik. There is no other way to operate. Everyone can have a great idea, but the decision to implement it shouldn’t be based on arbitrary factors like charisma, popularity or job title. Being data-driven replaces delusions with straight facts.
Being data-driven is one of the bases of Brainly’s company culture. Information and data are available to all Brainly’s employees. Moreover, all the teams can create their surveys for their project usages.
We arranged an internal survey workshops for our employees, so everyone could create, conduct and analyze a survey suited for their project needs — says Karolina Wójcik. But just before it’s released I check and edit the final copy and targeting to get the most reliable results as possible.
Surveys become a reliable source of data also at Brainly’s marketing team. Because of the very specific target group, it is crucial to adapt the communication to their dynamically changing language. That’s why the marketing team tests the effectiveness of their efforts not only according to the number of sessions but also by surveying visitors. They directly ask about the quality of the content, what users like about it and what they don’t and why? Using this method, they can adapt the content to the needs and likings of their community.
In September 2017, Brainly tested a new type of content. They introduced a series of videos in which students and teachers explained some mathematical issues. They analyzed the data available in basic video analytic tools, such as acquisition sources and bounce rate. But after adding survey data from the viewers, they were able to establish the direction in which they should further develop the videos.
Brainly uses their far-reaching students’ community to conduct scientific studies, giving aid to the universities around the world. With over 100 million users a month, they can perform surveys examining the quality of education or gather students’ insights about their school experience.
Together with the University of Michigan, Brainly conducted a study to check the influence of the Q&A educational platforms on students’ scores and development of cognitive skills. Using Survicate, they surveyed over 130 Brainly users. The results were presented at the 2016 SXSW conference and showing that about 83% of the participants claim that their knowledge has expanded after actively using Brainly.
In 2017 Brainly conducted another study via Survicate. This time they tested students’ opinion on their teachers. The results caused a little tremor in Polish media. Apart from students’ preference for the passionate and unconventional teachers, over 17% voted for the math teachers as their favorite one, on the contrary to the conventional opinion about them being least favorite.
A product in the hands of students
Despite the fact that various teams request the surveys for the projects, the product department is still the one using Survicate the most.
During the process of introducing a new gamification functionality, Brainly conducted numerous A/B tests to check its influence on the user engagement in the platform. One of the elements of these tests were qualitative surveys carried out with Survicate. Data gathered from surveys was treated equally to the data form A/B tests and contributed to quality tests in the implementation of new features.
We were interested in our users’ approach to the ‘challenges’ and why they participated in them; why they completed the challenge or why they didn’t? Then the synthesized data comprised as a recommendation for the modifications in this feature — says Karolina Wójcik.
The data collected from Brainly’s community helps to optimize the projects in consistency with users. As Jakub Piwnik points out, In every company, there are situations in which the whole team is convinced about the value of a feature, and after a few tests it turns out that the least favorable variant in the company was the most desired one among users. That’s why we always test our product directly on our target group. In the end, they are the ones who know their needs best.