Interpreting tied results

What should you take away from a tied poll or a poll without a clear winner?

Updated over a week ago

When your PickFu poll ends in a tie, it could mean that the audience saw little discernible difference between the options presented. Or it could mean that equal-sized segments of the audience showed a strong preference for their choice. In either case, a tie is information that in itself can be valuable.

All is not lost with a tie!

What to take away from a tie

A tie could mean your options are equally preferable. You could interpret this to mean that whichever avenue you go down, a segment of your audience will be amenable to it.

Dig deeper

Another way to get insights is to dig deeper into the comments. Are respondents confused about something? Is there an element that consistently causes them to react negatively? See what you can glean from what people said and use this knowledge to choose the winner or to iterate on a new version — a version that, perhaps, might become a more apparent winner.

When Michael Cowden, a PickFu pollster, wanted to name his mobile game, he tested two potential names: Outrun the 80s and Super 80s World. Super 80s World won, but only narrowly – by a margin of six votes. Should those six votes be decisive?, he wondered. In the end, the answer was yes.

Based on the comments, those who voted for Super 80s World were closer to his game’s intended target. As he wrote on his blog, “I could immediately tell that Super 80s World communicated the game concept much better. The folks that liked that name got what the game was about and, more importantly, wanted to play it!”

When should you retest?

In another poll of 50 mobile gamers, the respondents were split right down the middle when choosing between Squid Attack! and Squid Squad.

Many respondents liked the alliteration of Squid Squad and thought it was fun to say. But respondents repeatedly commented that a “squad" suggests cooperative play (which the game is not), while "attack" sounds more like a player vs. player game (which it is).

In this example, the option that reflects the player vs. player game format is a good choice. But if you are unsure, another idea is to add more respondents. With a larger pool of respondents, you'll receive more comments, and these additional voices may help clarify the road ahead. More respondents may reinforce what the first pool of respondents said and affirm that many people agree with them.

When to re-examine your options

A tie may also mean that the options you tested were not distinct enough. This is often the case when testing almost identical options except for minor details, which respondents may consider insignificant.

The ultimate tie-breaker in a decision is you.

Use your discretion about which points reinforce your position and those that make you think a bit differently. Reading your respondents' feedback and comments could add confidence to the direction you were already heading or open up new questions you hadn't considered.

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