Securing reliable outcomes with monadic testing

May 31, 2023

Monadic testing is a great way to give market research participants a more realistic context in which to consider your latest offering. This gives you more insightful results, leading to more refined decision making and better results. 

The Oxford English dictionary definition of ‘monad’ is “the number one, a unit.” Making ‘monadic’ the perfect name for this type of testing because it involves 1 respondent considering 1 idea at a time. 

It’s likely that you often use monadic testing to trial new packaging, test out on a new feature or product, or gauge opinion on pricing. It’s a great way to make sure that you’re market ready based on what your clients and prospects actually want to buy. Your company’s energy, resources and budget can be redirected to include any new information.



What is monadic testing


Monadic testing, also known as monadic concept testing or single concept testing, is a research methodology used to evaluate individual concepts or ideas in isolation. This approach allows researchers to measure the appeal, relevance, and potential of a single concept without the influence of other competing ideas. Monadic testing is commonly employed in various industries, including product development, marketing, and advertising, to gain insights into the specific attributes and strengths of a single concept.

One of the key advantages of monadic testing is that it enables researchers to focus solely on one concept at a time, eliminating potential biases and distractions that could arise when multiple ideas are presented together. By isolating the concept, respondents can provide more accurate and in-depth feedback, leading to a clearer understanding of its potential in the market. This controlled and standardized respondent experience ensures a more accurate comparison of reactions and preferences, facilitating unbiased evaluations of the concept’s appeal.

Monadic testing also allows researchers to delve deeply into respondents’ perceptions of the concept. By presenting a single idea, respondents can focus their attention and provide comprehensive feedback, leading to better insights into the concept’s strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, this method is time-efficient for evaluating multiple concepts simultaneously, helping researchers efficiently identify high-potential concepts for further development or refinement.

By evaluating concepts one at a time, researchers can implement feedback and iterate on each idea more effectively. This iterative approach helps enhance the concept’s design and positioning, ultimately leading to a more successful final product or marketing campaign. Another advantage is that monadic testing minimizes respondent fatigue, as respondents are exposed to only one concept, leading to more thoughtful and accurate feedback.

Monadic testing aids in predicting the market entry success of a concept. Understanding its individual appeal and potential helps businesses make data-driven decisions about which concepts are worth pursuing and investing resources in. It also allows businesses to allocate their resources more efficiently by concentrating efforts on the most promising concepts, minimizing wasted resources on ideas that may not resonate with the target audience.



Utility of monadic testing in market research


Monadic testing holds significant value in market research due to its ability to provide in-depth insights into individual concepts or ideas. By isolating a single concept during testing, researchers can obtain more accurate and unbiased feedback from respondents. This focused approach allows for a clearer evaluation of the concept’s appeal, strengths, and weaknesses, helping businesses make data-driven decisions about the viability of their ideas.

Monadic testing also streamlines the evaluation process, enabling researchers to efficiently compare multiple concepts and identify high-potential ones for further development. Additionally, this method minimizes respondent fatigue, as participants are exposed to only one concept, leading to more thoughtful and genuine feedback. Ultimately, monadic testing empowers businesses to optimize their product development, marketing strategies, and overall market success by making informed decisions based on well-informed research data.



Types of monadic testing


Monadic testing can be used as part of your quantitative, qualitative or combined research strategy. You need to choose the test depending on what you want to know. There are 3 types of monadic testing. In these descriptions, the minimum number of groups is used. This can be increased to accommodate however many ideas you’re testing at a time. 


Split-cell monadic testing

You split your participants into 3 different groups. Group 1 will only see idea 1, group 2 only sees idea 2, and group 3 only sees the current product as a baseline. Each member of each group considers the idea individually. 


Sequential monadic testing

You divide your participants in the same way as for split-cell monadic testing, but this time each group of participants will individually see all 3 ideas, considering one at a time.  


A/B testing

This is where you have 2 versions of the same concept, like a new homepage for your website. Your participants are divided into 2 groups. The first group only sees version A and the second group only sees version B.



When monadic testing is most useful


Concept testing

A monadic study is useful at several stages of testing a new concept. You might be at the initial stages of development for new features for an existing service. With 3 concepts to choose from, you want to get an idea of which is the best market fit. Run a split-cell monadic test with all 3 to get current insights into their appeal and how quickly they’ll be accepted by your target market. It’s also wise to include questions about how it compares to your competitors’ offerings

Monadic concept testing is also useful for researching brand new products or services, packaging design and most marketing assets. The idea is to get a steer on your product or marketing strategy before making any further investment. 


Price testing

Pricing can be a very tricky prospect, particularly for a brand new service or product. Monadic testing is a great way to get a read on any price sensitivity issues, its perceived value for money, and how much price is a barrier or shortcut on the path to purchase. 

By asking an individual to consider one idea at a time, you avoid the distractions of others’ opinions or comparative products/services. This gives you a snapshot of key decision makers’ thinking about your product and the likelihood that they’ll purchase it. 



Benefits and limitations of monadic testing


As with any research methodology, there are pros and cons to the different variations of monadic testing. 


Split-cell monadic testing

  • Benefits: It gives a more real-world context to the questions and avoids external influences. Each individual survey is quite short, so there’s the time to ask follow up questions to get deeper insights. For example; ‘Why are you more likely to buy our service than this competitor’s?’
  • Limitations: Because you’re only asking each participant about one idea, you need a larger sample size. As well as being more expensive, if you’re in a niche market it may be quite a challenge to find a useful number of participants. 


Sequential monadic testing

  • Benefits: As you’re asking the same people to consider different ideas, you need a smaller sample size. This helps with finding enough participants in a niche sector and reduces costs. This type of test also saves time, as less people are involved overall. 
  • Limitations: Being asked to consider a number of individual ideas means that the survey itself takes more time, from the participants viewpoint. This can reduce the number of surveys that are fully completed. 


Monadic testing versus comparison testing

Comparison testing is a common alternative to monadic surveys. It involves participants considering several ideas presented to them simultaneously. Sometimes the aim is to pick a favorite, in other situations you’ll ask them to rank each idea in order of preference. 

The main benefit of comparison testing is that it gives a clear winner. The results from comparison testing are unambiguous. The primary limitation of comparison testing is a lack of any real context on which to build useful decision quality insights.  


Perceptions change

It’s important to point out that, like any other market research, monadic testing is not a ‘one and done’ solution. Your clients’ and prospects’ perceptions of your brand and offering will change over time – as will their needs, expectations and pain points. Monadic testing tells you what your participants think right now. To make business critical decisions a few months from now, you need to base them on data you collect then. 



Working with a market research partner


NewtonX creates a bespoke research strategy for your business needs. This comprises whatever research methodologies will best answer your questions – including monadic concept testing. Working with a trusted market research partner means that you just need to ask the questions. We work out the best way to get the most valuable, actionable insights. 

As you’re well aware, it’s not all about what you ask – but who you ask. The NewtonX Knowledge Graph scans over 1.1 billion minds to find the niche professionals that can answer your precise questions.Your insights are based on 100% verified, fraud free data. 


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