Frequently Asked Questions


How do we source our respondents?

We have a proprietary database of over 250,000 people in 79 countries. What typically happens is we create a recruitment screener (most often brand blind), then post the screener for our participants to apply. Our Project Managers review potential applicants based on your specific screening criteria, and hand-pick respondents best suited for your study. Because our team hand picks recruits, you won’t find professional respondents appearing over and over again in our studies – and we collect data on the back end so we know when they were last accepted. Respondents also create a profile video when they sign up, and our team uses those videos to get a feel for whether participants are a good fit. If – for some reason – a respondent is accepted to a study and you deem them unqualified, we will replace them free of charge.

Do you handle international studies?

We do! Beyond the reach of our database which includes 250,000 respondents in 79 countries, we have recruiting partners in key regions: Europe, LatAm, the Middle East, and Asia. We translate recruitment screeners, study questions, and study responses (using machines & humans so the transcripts are accurate). Our local partners also help adapt the study questions, so they don’t come across as awkwardly translated. Responses are typically in the country’s local language (our clients tend to prefer that), but we have completed global studies with English speaking respondents on request.

How do we ensure quality respondents?

We are obsessed with the authenticity of respondents and have a number of ways to ensure they are high quality. Every participant in our database provides their age (not DOB for privacy protection), gender and location. They also complete a profile video which helps our Project Managers identify the most qualified recruits for your study. We collect data on when they apply and are accepted to studies, so we know they are not professional respondents. We also guarantee the quality of our recruits – we’ll even replace any respondent you deem unqualified, free of charge. We QA the incoming responses and will request respondents re-record answers that don’t meet our standards, or simply replace them.

What’s the right number of recruits to include in a study?

The short answer is 30-50. All of the academic research on the topic we could find points to the fact that the goal of qualitative research is to reach the point of saturation, where adding one more recruit does not add materially to the insights generated. We have found generative studies can be successful with smaller sample sizes, as are studies that include subject matter experts (SMEs’ responses tend to be quite dense in their insight). We have also found that the culture of the company sponsoring the research can impact the right sample size; some companies will only look at qual studies with a minimum number of respondents.

Can you recruit B2B?

Yes. We have a partnership with a leading B2B recruitment firm, and are able to find very specific B2B recruits. It’s not cheap, but our clients have been very pleased with the calibre of professionals we have been able to recruit.

Can you recruit kids?

Yes. For kids 13-17, we require the parent or guardian to appear in the first video response to expressly give their consent prior to their teen’s participation. For kids under 13, we require the parent to be present for all video responses.

Can I invite some of my own recruits into the study?

Yes. You can bring your own recruits to a study in one of two ways: (1) through our DIY platform (, you can create and manage your own study, or (2) you can have our Project Managers assist you in creating a study, and have them add your recruits. In both cases, our platform automatically sends the study invitation, fulfills incentives and provides transcripts

What types of studies is mindswarms mobile video ethnography best suited for?

There are a number of ways to answer this question. Our clients tend to fall into a number of different job types: messaging development (advertising, marketing, branding) and product development (UX, product marketing). There are a number of methodologies we employ in any given study: (1) understanding people’s baseline perceptions and attitudes (2) having them show and tell on camera (3) having them view some sort of digital stimulus (ads, packaging, video) and (4) responding from a retail environment. At this point, we are still finding the breaking point for our methodology, but because we are video based, studies where seeing for yourself is important is where we fit best.

What are the best types of questions to ask?

See Resource center. As a quick tl;dr: 

    • Perceptions and attitudes – these questions aim to get a read on baseline perceptions and attitudes from participants.
    • Prompt and react – these questions make use of stimulus material to get the initial, in-the-moment reactions from consumers 
    • Show and tell – these questions ask participants to show something that’s emotionally resonant, or that aligns with their perception of something. These make for awesome theater in a video highlight reel!

Is it possible to ask follow up questions? IDIs

Yes. IDIs can be discussed at the outset of a project, or added on if desired. Please note that we do not recruit just for IDIs – IDIs are used only as a follow up to a mindswarms study. We have found that this has some advantages: (1) the mindswarms study allows us to tailor the discussion guide to findings that bubble up in the first research phase; (2) the asynchronous portion allows us to tailor the discussion guide somewhat to each participant, rather than using a blanket discussion guide for all.

Can the responses be used for ad campaigns/social media?

Generally, no. Participants retain full rights to their likeness. You would need to look into contacting and compensating each participant you wished to use in public-facing work.

Can a study include more than 10 questions?

No. We find that after 10 questions, participants feel fatigued, lowering the quality of their responses. 10 questions has really served as the perfect balance point for us – longer and we risk fatigue; shorter and we may not get everything we want to hear from participants. Note that this means you will get 10 minutes of time per participant – which we have found is the average time a person will speak in a 90-minute focus group.  We are happy to work with you to maximise the use of the 10 questions!

Can respondents screen share? Hug the laptop

We currently do not support screen sharing. We have a methodology for mobile in-app recording called ‘hug the laptop’.  We’re happy to discuss the logistics of this over a call, or offer a demonstration.

How long does it take to conduct a study?

Studies generally take 10-12 days from kick off to study completion for domestic recruits, and 20-25 days for international. These timeframes are very general, and can be shifted around depending on the specificity of the recruit. The timelines listed are inclusive of first conversations, proposals, and the actual running of the study. We are also happy to talk about expediting options.

Analysis and Reporting

What’s the difference between a top line and a full report?

A topline report is an abbreviated summary report of the findings. Most topline reports include a background of the research, explanation of the methodology, an one-pager executive summary, and a few pages of supporting detail for a management summary. 

A full report includes a topline as well as detailed findings. Detailed findings are typically outlined as a question by question summary with supporting verbatims, but can also be adjusted to other formats (such as journey mapping). A full report will also look to explain how the question by question findings hang together, to paint an overall picture.

What do I get for $5,000 (the starting point)?

For $5,000, you would receive a full report deliverable from a manual analysis and summary of the participant responses to the study. This process starts with an analysis check in session once response collection is complete, with updates along the way as the report draft is being built out. The report deliverable will be shared with you as a draft, which can be adjusted as needed for presentation purposes. This starting point does not include additional analysis exercises such as tally exercises, journey mapping, comparative analysis, nor segmentations.

Q: What makes mindswarms unique?

We’re obsessed with helping researchers understand consumers emotionally. How do we do that?

Our platform is focused solely on video because video is the most emotional medium. You get to see what consumers have to say. We are also obsessed with the quality of our recruit. Customers come back to us time and time again because we consistently help them hear from their hardest to reach audience segments.

Mindswarms is trusted by some of the best brands in the world like Nike, Amazon, and Google.

Q: What’s included in a full service study?

For our mindswarms full-service studies we’ll help you design the study, build a screener, and handpick the best respondents. We’ll consult with you on working the questions and develop the best sequencing, then program the study into the mindswarms platform.

Along the way, we’ll check every response for quality, handpick the best recruits, and pay incentives directly for the respondents that qualify. You’ll have access to every video answer and the machine transcript as they come in. We’ll enrich them with human transcripts so you don’t miss any nuance from the respondent’s answer.

Throughout the study we’ll provide daily updates of the results.

Q: Any additional options with full service studies?

Our full-service studies cover a lot of ground, but we do have a few additional services we can help you with! Still have questions or want to dive deeper after your study? We can schedule, coordinate, and moderate follow up one-on-one interviews.

Need help with reporting? We’ll write debrief reports to help you share the research with all the stakeholders involved. And since we know video is the most powerful storytelling tool, we can help you by creating video highlight reels that summarize our findings.

Q: What if I want to use your platform but don’t want a full service study?

We can do that, too. Our latest product Fabric allows you to run and manage your study from one easy to use platform. Have friends and family you want to get feedback from? How about a legion of highly engaged customers? With Fabric you can invite your own audience to any study.

Don’t have a list of people to invite? Don’t worry, we can do the recruiting based on your study’s needs, then turn the rest of the project over to you. Either way, Fabric is the fastest and most affordable way to launch your next self-managed study.

Q: I heard Fabric has AI. What’s that do?

Using Fabric’s proprietary AI is like hiring an assistant to help do your research. Instead of spending hours wading through video responses, Fabric quickly generates summary views surfacing the most common mentions and emotions in all the responses to any of your survey questions. It saves you time by pointing you in the right direction, then gives you the ability to dive deeper into the videos to keep everything in context.

Q: How does Fabric AI work?

Fabric AI generates three primary assets to help you more quickly uncover insights. Fabric AI provides a plain English language summary of each study question response, verbatims, and videos that align with the summary that includes surfaced positive and negative topics, and a deeper data dive where you can sort by emotions, mentions, and more.

Q: How many questions can I ask and how long is each response?

All studies include up to 10 questions per respondent with each response one minute in length. We’ve experimented with adding more questions and increasing the length of each question, but found the 10 x 1-minute format to provide the most unguarded responses and the highest completion rates. 10 minutes of rich content per respondent is also the amount of insight you would expect from each participant in a 90-minute focus group.

Q: Do consumers open up on these video responses?

Yes, they do! mindswarms is the fastest and most user-friendly way to get unguarded human truths from your consumers. Because people answer your questions from the comfort of their homes mindswarms helps eliminate moderator bias and groupthink. And because you’re getting video responses you’re able to get an emotional read of your audience.

Q: Can I ask follow up questions?

Yes! We take pride in helping you design studies that give you meaningful insights directly from the 1-minute video responses that come in once we launch the study. They’re so rich that most clients don’t need follow-ups.

If you want to dive deeper, you can ask respondents follow up questions in the platform. We can also coordinate one-on-one interviews with any respondents that you’re excited to hear more from.

Q: Can you help with international studies?

That obsession with finding the right recruit? We do that worldwide. It’s our standard practice to do global studies in local languages, because we believe that consumers are able to articulate their feelings more clearly in their native language.

Q: How fast can I get results?

Fast. For US studies we complete the project in 7 calendar days or fewer. For international 14 days or fewer. Need expedited turnaround? For more general audience studies we offer an overnight option for an additional cost.

Q: How much does a study cost?

Our full service studies start at $500 per respondent including incentives. For our Fabric do it yourself platform we charge $25 per respondent if you have your own participants. If you want us to do the recruiting it’s $175 per respondent.

Q: Do you offer transcripts?

We provide machine transcripts instantly, then back that up with human transcripts within 24 hours. We take that extra step because we believe that nuance matters when trying to uncover brand new insights.

You can even share a link with a matrix of the transcripts or download them directly to your desktop.

Q: Can you help with reporting the results?

Our full service studies include light analysis and daily updates. Optionally, we offer deeper analysis and reporting to help you identify key insights and create a full report of the findings.

Q: Can you help with video editing?

We love storytelling and have a team of video editors to turn your video answers and insights into a highlight reel. We find this to be one of the most powerful ways to make the other stakeholders feel connected to your research. Seeing is believing, right? Check out this example.

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