Fuel Cycle powers the research for clients representing a variety of different industries and business questions. Core to the platform is the flexibility for clients to customize their research. This includes an extensive number of available research methodologies. It also includes all the unique ways that clients group and segment participant responses for discovering new insights.
Clients can define the attributes and dimensions that describe participants, as profile data. This data can include demographics, attitudes, and preferences. For example, a client may be particularly interested in categorizing study responses based on profile points like household composition, brand affinity, product preferences, and much more. This information is key to clients understanding their specific audience.
Retrieving User Profiles
The Fuel Cycle API enables partners to retrieve each participant's profile points from Fuel Cycle by calling Get User Data. These profile points can then be aligned with the participant responses in the partner platform to aid in analysis. The profile points are stored as key/value pairs to make them easy to append to responses, much like a question/answer type response. This information is pseudo-anonymized, meaning the data clients classify as PII is replaced with non-identifiable data.
Profile points are client-defined and fully customizable. The key name and range of available values will vary. The number of profile points will differ for each client community and even each member; some communities may return dozens of profile points and others fewer. Additionally, profile points may change at any point in time (though tend to be relatively persistent once established in the community). Changes can occur if a client adds a new profile point or edits the key value name or responses. Therefore, partners must assume that profile points will not appear in a consistent form across members and communities.
If partners elect to map/match profile points by name (not required), it's important for partners to recognize that there is no strict or standard definition across client communities by design, as outlined above.
Fuel Cycle recommends that partner implementations do not become dependent on specific profile points in such a way that the absence of a key/pair or unexpected values may cause a critical stop for participants or clients.
Partners can elect to include and display profile data in a variety of ways on their platform that is meaningful to clients and helps present the data with important context.
- Display profile points in dashboards and reports
- Add profile points to available segmentations, groupings, categories, and filtering of responses
- Append profile points to response exports/download files as additional columns
Partners can implement any or all three of these use cases, as relevant to your platform and methodology.
Partners can make the API call Get User Data at any time in the course of the study. The following recommendations are the best practices.
Automatically retrieve the participant's profile data when they enter (or complete) the study. This will represent a "snapshot" when the particular member participated in a study.
We strongly recommend that this profile data be stored independently in each study along with the participant's responses (as opposed to collectively aggregating profile data across all studies on your platform).
Add a "Refresh Fuel Cycle Data" button to your study configuration page (after the client publishes the study on your platform). This button can enable clients to request an update when they want it (and with the knowledge of whether it changed).
This button can trigger a job to update each member's profile data for a given client study on your platform. This button should appear only for Fuel Cycle clients and studies that reference the Fuel Cycle API. The technical implementation is relatively simple. When clients click on the button, it can run a job that loops through the Get User Data call for each participant in the study.
The advantage of this approach is that it provides clients with the flexibility to elect to update member data without introducing inefficiencies with excessive API calls. This approach also avoids the prohibited practice of scheduling recurring updates to synchronize data automatically; the Fuel Cycle API was not intended for this purpose with recurring jobs.
At a minimum, we recommend that partners append profile points to response exports/download files as additional columns (see use cases above). This tends to be the easiest to implement and doesn't require additional UI/UX on the partner platform.
The key/value pairs make it straightforward to populate additional unused columns in the export. The order and appearance don't need to be consistent across studies (particularly since the profile points may vary by client and across time).