Your complete guide to monadic testing

Monadic testing is a research-based testing concept. But what is it and when should you use it? How should monadic testing complement other kinds of testing, such as focus groups or online surveys? This guide will answer these questions and more.

What is monadic testing?

Monadic testing is showing a product or concept to research respondents in isolation, as opposed to comparison testing where two or more products or concepts are shown to respondents at the same time.

When you need to gauge how to price your item, evaluate an existing listing, or get feedback on a video, monadic testing is useful. You can zero-in on a single idea and test without multiple options to compare.

Testing a single idea with PickFu

You can easily run a monadic test using PickFu. PickFu Solo polls, also called open-ended questions, gather written feedback on a single product or idea. This single idea might be a concept for a brand new app, a rough cut of a video ad, or a product concept you want to validate. 

What’s the difference between monadic testing and sequential monadic testing?

Sequential monadic testing is, more or less, the same as monadic testing but with multiple products. The ideas are still presented in isolation, but the participants are shown one product after the other.

Sequential monadic testing has its pros and cons. For example, you can test more than one idea at the same time. However, respondents might be influenced by the previous idea when looking at the second and third options and be biased for or against them.

When is a good time to use monadic testing?

Certain questions lend themselves to testing an idea in isolation rather than compared to other ideas. For example, asking respondents to take a look at your e-commerce listing and react to it works well to pinpoint areas shoppers feel confusion or hesitancy. Consider asking if your product is something respondents would buy, and ask them to explain why or why not.

If you’re unsure, you can use PickFu’s gallery for inspiration to see what sort of questions others have asked. In the example below, a business asked, “without doing any prior research, what do you think this company Stern Bird does?” Because respondents were only given the logo for the company and were asked what they thought the company did, you can see what associations the logo elicits.

If most of the participants accurately guessed what the company actually does, the logo is probably appropriate for the business. If not, then it might be time to redesign or add a clarifying tagline. 

Monadic testing is also an effective way to validate an idea. Ask a question such as, “How interested would you be in a service that…” and include your idea for a new business concept. For example, this entrepreneur asked 50 parents whether they would be interested in a service that alerts them when their refrigerator has been left open for an extended period of time.

Is test marketing qualitative or quantitative?

Monadic testing can be both qualitative and quantitative studies. What exactly does this mean?

Qualitative research

Qualitative research focuses more on perceptions of a product or brand, taking a deep look at the relationship the customer has with the product. Why is one product or brand better than another? How does this product or brand meet the needs of this customer over other companies?

Qualitative research typically involves fewer participants through one-on-one interviews or focus groups. Whereas qualitative research may determine a specific view held about a brand, quantitative research would measure what proportion of an audience holds that view.

Quantitative research

Quantitative research is concerned with measuring a market or population through defined figures such as awareness levels before and after an advertising campaign or consumer satisfaction levels after interacting with an agent over the phone.

PickFu uses both

PickFu combines both qualitative and quantitative research. The qualitative aspect is collected in respondents’ written comments, while the qualitative aspect can be measured by their votes or 1-5 star ratings.

Monadic testing: a recap

Monadic testing shows a single product or concept to a group of respondents, asking a question or collecting their thoughts on an idea in isolation. It’s an effective research tool when validating a business concept or collecting feedback on a logo, video, or advertisement when you don’t have multiple options to compare.

PickFu combines both qualitative and quantitative research to guide your important business decisions. Give PickFu a try today!

For more about idea validation, watch this Third Thursday discussion with PickFu’s co-founders:


Rachel Poli