User Trials For Softer And Subjective Product Claims
At Validated Claim Support we are often asked to design Consumer Perception Studies, Subjective Questionnaires, Qualitative User Feedback, and User Trials. In reality, these concepts all relate to the same underlying testing needs: providing a wide range of data about product performance and consumer experience.
Qualitative Consumer Questionnaires are the most cost-effective way of obtaining assessments for subjective claims. Each timepoint gives you the opportunity to ask approximately 20 individual questions about product efficacy. That said, you are limited with the phrasing and it is not “objective” like Expert Grading or Instrumentation. Questionnaire data alone is generally not considered clinical, and you should consider other alternatives if this phrasing is desired.
Combining Different Types Of Clinical Studies To Get The Most Value
At VCS we add Subjective Questionnaires to most of our clinical studies which is a great way of combining softer, marketing oriented consumer feedback with hard objective clinical data.
In many cases, the industry considers these endpoints secondary to objective, measurable clinical data points. That said, Validated can provide a qualitative endpoint that is more accurate, reliable, and realistic than an at home questionnaire alone. Our test participants are required to return to our temperature and humidity controlled clinical site for evaluations, they complete a diary and we measure their product usage at various timepoints throughout the study to help ensure compliance. An at home consumer research company or user trial group simply cannot provide this level of clinical, objective control.
Subjective user feedback allows for “soft” claims that involve the look, feel and perceived performance of a product or the skin post usage as opposed to the hard, measurable efficacy that can be determined via instrumentation or expert grading. Subjects’ feedback will be used to help determine the efficacy and usability of beauty and skincare products.
Subjective Questionnaires For Clinical Research In Practice
Sensory feedback is provided by panelists in the form of responses to individual questions about the look and feel of a product and its impact on their skin or hair.
Sometimes a product requires actual consumer feedback to support its claims because they are inherently considered to be “subjective.” Subjective user feedback allows for “soft” claims that involve the look, feel and performance of a product on the skin post usage.
Home Use Testing Study Designs
Validated Claim Support generally recommends a qualitative questionnaire on most studies. The user-perceived benefits of a product can bolster the clinical results, and occasionally the consumer perception is better than the measured product efficacy.
Questionnaires can also offer self-perceived objective feedback through product Safety In Use and Tolerance Evaluations.
Many Brands use questionnaires because they lead to highly consumer facing, improvement statements such as “98% of participants agreed that their skin felt softer and more supple after product use.”
Cosmetic Label Claim Studies
The widely accepted industry standard is a minimum of 30 subjects to complete a study for statistically significant skincare and beauty claims.
We recommend starting with 35 subjects to account for dropout over the course of most studies, although for extended durations and specialty designs we may suggest an increased number to start.
Active Ingredient Pilot and Proof of Concept
VCS is comfortable testing on smaller panels as well, generally with a minimum of 5 subjects for a pilot or proof of concept study.
While these small panels won’t help you substantiate final claims, they are great for active ingredient comparisons and can help you to ensure your product is ready for final clinical testing and support.
Clinical Study Demographic Details
Standard demographic details are reported in a HIPPA compliant and blinded manner for the sponsor, and studies can be recruited with a wide range of parameters.
Home Use Trials (HUT) and Consumer Preference Testing
Home Use Trials (HUTs) provide subjective feedback which can be used to substantiate a wide range of claims. Either incorporated into a clinical trial or as a separate study, they help to support what the consumer thought about your product after using it for a specific length of time as directed.
Home Use Trials are very effective in helping determine consumer preference and perception for a specific product.
The number of subjects in a study varies depending on what is deemed necessary to show statistical significance upon data analysis.
Subjects are issued the test product and are given instructions on the use or application of the product for use at home, for a specific length of time.
The subjects will complete an SPQ (Self-Perception Questionnaire) to determine the product’s performance, and their opinions can be used for subjective claim substantiation.
HUTs provide the following types of feedback for your products:
- Usability and acceptability of your product for the intended consumer
- Opinion of the consumer regarding the intended purpose of your product
- The performance of your product versus competitors in the same market through comparison testing
- Consumer opinion of the fragrance, shape, packaging, and branding of your product
Consumer Sensory Sample Questionnaire
Answer “Agree” or “Disagree” to the following questions:
- The test product improves skin clarity, leaving a healthy, even tone.
- The test product reduces the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes.
- The test product improves the skin’s overall appearance.
- The test product reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- My jawline appears more defined since using the test product.
- My face appears more youthful since using the test product.
- My skin feels firmer since using the test product.
- The test product makes my face look < 5 years younger
- The test product makes my face look 5 years younger
- The test product makes my face look 10 years younger
- The test product makes my face look 15 years younger
- The test product makes my face look > 15 years younger