4 Steps to a Concept Testing Survey

Appinio Research · 20.10.2022 · 10min read

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Simply having a great idea for a product or service is not enough to guarantee its success. Many ideas fail because there is no market demand. To avoid this, it is crucial to test product concepts in advance with the right target audience.

Concept Testing AppinioConcept testing evaluates the potential market acceptance of an innovative idea in its early stages of development, a concept test does not require a finished product, just a concept is sufficient.


Thanks to concept testing, companies can optimize their product before launching it in the market.

Additionally, the results of a concept test can inform a company's positioning and target group segmentation strategies.


Concept testing should be conducted at the beginning of a product development cycle to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the offer.

In this article, Appinio will provide you with all the information you need to conduct a concept test survey.


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Selecting the right target audience


The target audience for a concept test should be relevant to the product or service being tested.


However, for new or innovative concepts in the early stages of development, the potential customer can be defined more broadly.


Concept tests provide first insights for a detailed target audience analysis.

Companies should conduct concept testing not only before the product launch, but also iteratively in all important development phases before and after market launch to constantly improve and further develop it.


Explaining the product idea


A concept test answers questions such as "Is the general product idea attractive?", "Is the core benefit of the product idea truly relevant?", or "Which product features are still missing?"


Therefore, the first step in a concept testing survey is to present the product idea to the survey participants through a verbal concept, which is a written description. Additionally, sketches or mock-ups can be used to supplement the description.


A typical verbal concept consists of three components: insight, benefit, and reason to believe.


  1. The insight explains why the consumer needs the product and is formulated from the consumer's perspective.

  2. The benefit is the customer promise that provides a solution to the problem described in the insight.

  3. The reason to believe is the proof for the consumers that they will actually receive the promised benefit. It supports the benefit and can be functional or emotional, such as product features, technology, ingredients, or expert recommendations.


It is important to keep the description neutral, factual, and avoid technical vocabulary or advertising jargon.

The concept should be presented briefly and in a clear, structured manner.


To avoid survey bias, the monadic approach is recommended for testing multiple novel ideas, with each respondent evaluating only one concept within the survey.


For very short concepts and few survey questions, the semimonadic approach can be useful.


The number of concepts to be tested within a survey should depend on the volume of the product ideas and the number of survey questions, with no more than six consecutive concepts in a single survey.

Evaluating the product idea: understanding potential consumers' liking and disliking


After explaining the product idea, the next step in a concept testing survey is to ask about general liking or disliking of the product idea.


A four- or six-step Likert scale can be used to measure this, ranging from "I don't like it at all" to "I like it a lot".


Following this, an open-ended question is asked to understand the reasons behind the participants' liking or disliking of the product idea.


Gathering negative and positive feedback from potential customers is crucial for effective product development, as it helps to identify usage barriers and product defects from the customer's perspective.


Additionally, it provides insight into individual product features that are particularly appealing to the customers.


The questionnaire should also include questions about product understanding, credibility, and uniqueness of the product offering.


The feedback collected from the survey can be used to optimize the product and help in its positioning on the market in terms of unique selling points and marketing communication.

Exploring interest and likelihood to purchase in Concept Testing


After assessing the target audience's general liking for the product, it's important to determine if there's an actual demand for it.


This is done by asking about their interest in the product and their likelihood of purchasing it, which can be measured using Likert scales.

This allows companies to identify potential customers who are genuinely interested and willing to pay for the product.


Additionally, understanding the specific reasons behind a customer's purchase decision can provide valuable insights for future product development.


Questionnaires for concept tests are tailored to the specific product or service being tested.


For physical products, questions may revolve around preferred purchasing channels, design preferences, flavors, ingredients, packaging, and other relevant factors.


In the case of services, questions may focus on preferred methods of contact and the conditions under which customers are most likely to use the service.

Investigating price sensitivity in Concept Testing


After gauging interest and purchase probability, it is crucial to determine whether the target audience is willing to pay for the product at a specific price point. This is where pricing analysis comes in.


By conducting a pricing analysis, companies can determine the optimal price point for marketability.

In addition to determining willingness to pay, it is also important to understand price sensitivity, which can be explored through the Van Westendorp price analysis.


Interested in testing your product idea?


The Appinio platform offers questionnaire templates and sample surveys for a concept test.


These resources can guide you in creating a well-designed survey that can provide you with valuable insights to improve your product and better understand your target audience. Try it out for free!


Concept Test Survey Template

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Conclusion for Concept Tests

In conclusion, iterative concept testing is an essential part of any product development process.


By gathering feedback from potential customers early on, businesses can identify and address issues before they become costly problems.


A concept test should cover a range of aspects, including the clarity and appeal of the product idea, understanding of the product, potential customers' interest and purchase probability, and pricing analysis.


Depending on the stage of product development, businesses can carry out tests with different focuses, such as product characteristics, name testing, or packaging tests.


Overall, a well-executed concept test can help businesses optimize their product and improve its market positioning.

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