Facebook Polls: The Latest Market Research Fad

H&M Poll

Facebook polls are becoming the new “it” tool for digital consumer interaction. With topics ranging from lighthearted – Juicy Couture recently asked its fans to name their Halloween costumes –- to brand-specific queries – H&M, J.Crew and Ann Taylor Loft have asked for feedback about their recent collections (see below) – these polls are becoming a popular way for brands to create closer relationships with their customers — and gather information about who is buying their merchandise.

Aside from building rapport, polls allow long-standing customers to connect with each other and bond over purchases. This weekend, Ann Taylor Loft asked members of its fan page what they bought from the store’s latest collection, inspiring conversation about the most popular items. The popularity of polls like this speaks for itself: twenty-seven people “liked” the Loft poll and almost fifty left comments. J.Crew created a similar poll in July resulting in over 117 responses, proof of the retailer’s growing e-power.

But polls aren’t only for casual topics; many are actually being used to help companies make future branding decisions. On October 24, Lucky Brand asked what its customers wanted from the jeans company’s Facebook page (coupons, contests, and sales were the most popular answers).

This isn’t the first time Lucky has reached out to the public; on October 11, it polled Hawaiian Facebook users to see who would be attending a Tim Gunn event in Honolulu.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of these polls is their data gathering potential: Using Facebook, companies can potentially gather information about their customers – data that in the past could only be gathered by extensive (and often expensive) market research surveys and focus groups. In other words, Facebook is becoming a sort of haven for voluntary, cost-effective market research.

So will knowing its fans’ favorite fall drink help Tory Burch to garner more sales? Probably not. But at least she (or whichever intern controls her Facebook page) cared enough to ask.

[Disclosure: Lucky Brand is owned by Liz Claiborne Inc., the financial sponsor of this site]