Fist bumps or black cars? Uber and Lyft attract users for different reasons

Why book a hotel room when someone’s apartment is left empty? Why catch a cab when you have a “friend with a car”? Such is the logic behind Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, and other collaborative consumption services that have exploded in popularity. The services are typically more convenient and less expensive than traditional alternatives, but also tote loftier implications, like bringing together members of a community and facilitating a sharing economy.

We at Survata were curious if consumers use collaborative consumption services mostly for the practical benefits (like price and convenience), or if the sharing economy ethos was a significant motivator. So we surveyed 554 people who used some of the most popular ridesharing and roomsharing services and asked why they chose to do so.

Sharing is caring

Overall, the majority of people say they used services such as Lyft, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Uber, Zipcar, and RelayRides for practical service benefits. “Convenience,” “price,” and “level of service” were the three most common answers when consumers were asked to describe why they use the services. However, a significant portion of respondents also cited motivations more in line with the sharing community, such as “meeting new people” and “supporting individuals in my community.”

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Hitching a ride

When looking at customers of specific collaborative consumption services, we found that their motivations differed significantly. For example, Lyft and Uber, two ridesharing cab alternatives, draw customers for notably different reasons. Lyft aims to offer a social vibe, as reflected by their tagline of “your friend with a car” and fist bump greeting policy. Uber has a variety of service levels, from uberX, a service equitable to Lyft, to uberBLACK, which offers luxury cars at a premium price. The data shows people who use Uber are more likely to cite “level of service” and “convenience” as reasons for using the service, while Lyft users are  more likely to answer “meeting new people” and “supporting individuals in my community.”

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Rooms for rent

Airbnb, while obviously operating in a different industry than Uber and Lyft, seems to have a relatively large portion of customers who list both service aspects and collaborative consumption aspects as reasons for using the service. “Convenience” and “price” were the top two answers, and “meeting new people” and “supporting individuals in my community” were also significantly above overall averages.

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Our take

While fostering a community economy and bringing people together are admirable business goals, the data suggests that such aspects alone aren’t a sufficient motivator to win customers over, especially if they come at the expense of price or service level. Collaborative consumption services continue to take off (as evidenced by the popularity of the “Airbnb for x” startup formula), and we’re intrigued to see how brand messages evolve as more competition enters the market.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 554 online respondents from January 22 to February 11, 2014.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing here.

8 Clever Ways Online Marketers Use Consumer Surveys

Online marketers have a plethora of web tools at their disposal. We at Survata are happy to see online marketing surveys becoming a more popular one, since they can inform a wide variety of business decisions. Marketers  have used our consumer survey service in many clever ways, so we wanted to share some highlights:

Defining your demographic

When developing a product or service, it’s essential to determine your target customer. The demographic sweet spot for your business may differ from your initial hunch or evolve over time, so it’s important to test your assumptions. It’s often helpful to start by surveying the general population about using your product, and follow up by targeting demographic subsets that responded positively. Progressively narrowing in on a demographic prevents you from surveying (or worse, selling to) an uninterested group.

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Learning about product expectations

Validating demand for a product description is helpful, but working through the details is important too. Perhaps your new product is missing a critical feature, or you’re focusing on a specific aspect that’s not resonating with consumers. Describe a new business to consumers, and ask them what features and services they would expect it to include.

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Finding the gap in your market

While it’s important to find out what your business is doing right, it’s also helpful to know what others are doing wrong. Learning what bothers consumers most about a specific industry is a great way to find a gap for your own product or service to address. There’s no need to guess how your business should be positioned in the market when you can ask consumers what shortcomings they see in existing services.

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Testing names, logos, and taglines

Even with a committee or several rounds of edits, companies are capable of devising logos that rub their customers the wrong way. Running a survey to test a logo, label design, slogan, or product confirms your brand makes the intended impression, and communicates the features you need it to. Quickly putting your image in front of hundreds of consumers can prevent expensive adjustments down the road.

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Hearing how others describe what you do

It’s one thing to feed marketing phrases to a potential customer, but how can you be sure your message is sinking in? It’s useful to hear your value prop repeated back to you. Put a screenshot of your homepage or marketing material in front of consumers, and have them describe what your service does. It’s the same language they’d use to spread the word about what your service does, so it’s important you hear it first.

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Seeing how you stack up against competitors

It’s crucial for brands, especially established ones, to be self-aware. Are you the budget or top-shelf option? Are you youthful or do you have more of a geriatric appeal? Use a “forced ranking” question to have consumers rank you against your competitors on a variety of dimensions and find out.

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Ranking aspects of your value prop

Another powerful use of a “forced ranking” question type is to have consumers provide their order of preference for different aspects of your service. Does ease of use matter more than quality of customer service? Every consumer has different opinions, and their aggregate data can help inform how you make business decisions.

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Indexing your important numbers

Don’t settle for a snapshot; track your most important numbers over time. Building your own index helps you track the metrics that matter to you. For example, trust in a brand can fluctuate drastically with current events, and your target consumer’s behavior can change over time. Whether they are run monthly, quarterly, or annually, indexes can show how the needle is moving.

Have an idea for something we missed? Post a comment and let us know!

Denver lost, but Doritos and Budweiser won the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl offers an unparalleled opportunity for advertisers to make an impact with consumers (that is, if said advertisers happen to have $4 million lying around). And while Super Bowl XLVIII didn’t end up being the most climactic game in recent memory, the promise of a noteworthy commercial kept viewers watching until the end. We at Survata were curious to gauge which  ads were a big hit and which dropped the ball. To find out, we reached 1000 respondents overnight, all of whom reported they watched the entire game, and asked them to select their favorite commercial from a randomly selected group of six. Check out the full results below:

1. Doritos – “Cowboy Kid”

2. Budweiser – “Puppy Love”

3. Doritos – “Time Machine”

4. Budweiser – “A Hero’s Welcome”

5. Coca-Cola – “It’s Beautiful”

6. Coca-Cola – “Going all the Way”

7. Bud Light Platinum – “Equalizer”

8. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – “Seinfeld”

9. M&Ms – “Delivery”

10. Beats music app – “Ellen DeGeneres”

Are your ads creating a buzz? Try Survata and find out.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 1,041 online respondents from February 3 to February 4, 2014.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing here.