7 Tips for Better Tracking Research to Drive Business Success

Businesses invest in tracking research for a fundamental reason: they want to improve their business

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Market Research » 7 Tips for Better Tracking Research to Drive Business Success

People change. Whether at home or at work, change is inevitable. Companies run tracking surveys to keep abreast of how people change. A tracking survey asks the same questions over time, allowing you to “track” the changes from one survey wave to the next.


Comparing survey results across waves shows trends and changes that can prove your decisions are solid or indicate it’s time to make a change. You can think of the results of one survey as a “snapshot” and a multi-wave tracking study as a “moving picture” showing how attitudes and behaviors are changing.


Businesses invest in tracking research for a fundamental reason: they want to improve their business. And they can only do that if they know if and how the marketplace is changing. The objectives of tracking studies vary greatly, depending on the program’s goals. Some typical tracking surveys include customer or employee satisfaction or engagement tracking studies, brand awareness/loyalty/equity tracking programs, and advertising tracking studies.


Tips for Creating and Running Impactful Trackers


Follow these key points to design and run a successful tracking study that will deliver insights to help you drive business success:


  1. Understand Goals and Objectives. A tracking program needs to align closely with your organizational goals and the business outcomes you want to achieve. Think about your research goals and how your study fits with other information you use to make decisions. Start with the decisions you need to make, what data you’ll need to support that decision, and then write your survey questions.
  2. Fielding Frequency. “How frequently should I field the tracking waves?” The answer to this depends on what you are tracking and how frequently those variables change. At a minimum, field tracking studies every one or two years. But other tracking surveys are fielded monthly or quarterly. There are even continual tracking measures with surveys sent to the consumer immediately after a transaction (e.g., buying a car, seeing a physician), with the results compiled weekly.
  3. Be Consistent, Part One. Take the time to build the first wave exactly how you need it because you don’t want to make changes between waves. Even slight changes to your survey design or targeting criteria can skew your data, possibly reducing your ability to compare and trend the results. The less that changes, the better.
  4. Include Open-Ended Questions. Customer feedback is especially powerful when expressed in the customer’s words (especially audio or video input). This allows you to understand the thoughts and emotions behind their quantitative answers. Additionally, if there is an emerging issue, verbatim responses are a way for customers to alert you to the situation.
  5. Be Consistent, Part Two. Once a tracking study is designed and you have decided how often you will run it, create a schedule, and stick to it. Why is this important? This ensures you can budget for your study in advance and keeps you on track, so you do not forget to run a wave. This will give everyone working on the project or using the data the same expectations. This is not to say that you eliminate the wave if it is delayed by a few weeks. Instead, if there is a delay, communicate with the team so everyone can adjust their plans. Also, make a note in the file so the analysis team can account for the delayed results if necessary.
  6. Talk It Up! Information not widely shared is not returning anything on your research investment. So be sure to widely disseminate and communicate the results to anyone who can benefit from the information. Use a variety of publishing platforms including dashboards, company intranet, newsletters, and tools like SharePoint and other collaboration portals.
  7. Take Action! Don’t let tracking program results get old. Figure out what the results tell you, and make recommendations for corrective changes. Make sure the information gets to the right people to take on implementation.

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Tracking studies provide extraordinary insights into changing attitudes and behaviors. Whether you are monitoring the marketplace for changes from competitors or evaluating how consumers receive your new message or product, tracking studies are essential for getting the information to grow your business.


Let OvationMR help you run tracking studies that drive to success! 





Bart Borkosky

Bart Borkosky


Bart is Chief Research Officer at OvationMR and is responsible for Client Insights Design & Analysis, Online Panel, and Online Sample Data Quality. He also consults clients on sampling design for various online research campaigns and political polling. Bart can be reached at Bart.Borkosky@ovationmr.com

To learn more about OvationMR Tracking Research, Online Sampling, and Online methodologies for ensuring your success, you can visit Panel Quality & Recruitment or Download 2022 PanelBook, or Contact Us at info@ovationmr.com

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