What to Look for in Online Survey Tools

What to Look for in Online Survey Tools

Online survey tools are invaluable for market research. In today’s digital world, these are the chief drivers of primary market research, as they allow you to obtain your own results.

Many brands don’t have market researchers on board; thus they don’t have the means to perform self-conducting research. As such, surveys are a vehicle of ease into primary research.

By their very nature, online surveys allow brands to explore the minds of their consumers and prospects.

But choosing the correct online survey tool can be a feat, as there is a slew of survey software available. Navigating the muddy waters of the internet, in which you’ll be constantly inundated with ads, social mentions and other promotional content, can make it difficult to steer you in the right direction.

That’s because all survey platforms will claim to provide the best experience and results for your business. But is any of it true? Don’t learn the hard way; instead, read this article on what to specifically look for in online survey tools for all of your needs.

Macro Applications for Online Survey Tools

Understanding the utility of survey software involves understanding all of the disciplines and campaigns it can be applied to.

Hence, before we delve into the individual capabilities you should seek in a survey platform, you should consider some of their more high-level applications.

Not every survey platform you come across will be able to provide the same value across these areas, so you ought to consider the functionalities of the survey platform you choose. But before that, let’s examine the macro applications your survey tool should aid you in.

  • Branding: Branding involves developing a reputation and an image, along with increasing the recognition of your company. A survey should help you in the following for branding:
    • Seeing the reception of content, whether it’s visuals or messaging
    • Finding the images to use for a campaign (including placement of logos)
    • Testing your unique value proposition
    • Testing a slogan
    • Identifying brand awareness levels
  • Marketing: Marketing is an umbrella term that involves all the processes of raising interest in your brand and promoting it, including advertising, distribution methods and sales. A survey should help you in the following for marketing:
    • Determining the state of your industry and niche
    • Identifying your target market
    • Applying market segmentation to your target market
    • Seeing if there is a demand for your product or service
    • Doing an analysis of your competitors
    • Unearthing the attitudes around issues you can later use in your messaging
    • Finding the shopping habits of your consumers
  • Advertising: Advertising is a form of communication that uses overtly sponsored messages to promote or sell a product or service and is one of the main disciplines within marketing. A survey should help you in the following for advertising:
    • Forming the bedrock of an ad campaign based on consumers’ opinions
    • Figuring out which topical subjects are too touchy to include in the ads
    • Finding ideas for individual ads
    • Narrowing the most consumed advertising mediums from your target market
    • Testing the efficiency of ads
  • Site Traffic/Visitation: Gaining site traffic is a critical campaign in itself. So how would completing a survey — which can be seen as a chore — help on this front?
    • When surveys are tailored correctly towards your target market, site visitors will enjoy taking them
    • Surveys with images and interactive elements will create engaging experiences
    • Users may feel appreciated for taking your survey if you offer thank you emails, incentives, etc.
    • Surveys that deal with topical issues may reel in user interest when visiting your site

Features that Make Market Research Easy

A survey tool needs to be useful for market research. A key part of marketing, this kind of software should have the following:

  1. Multiple categories for demographics: this will help you reach your target market more precisely and accurately.
  2. Adding quotas to any of the demographics to reach your desired amount.
  3. Multiple sub-categories of demographics to reach your segmented personas.
  4. Various language options to apply to different countries and speakers.
  5. The addition of at least 3 screening questions.

What to Look for in the Survey’s Environment

The environment of the survey has to be vast and easily made visible to any demographic of respondents. In addition, it should be able to be widely distributed automatically. Here are the features to look for, for the most fitting survey environment.

  1. Software with a vast network of publishers: preferably popular websites and mobile apps.
  2. A wide pool of users associated with the publisher channels.
  3. An easy to detect element (button) to reach the survey.
  4. The capability of being supported by over a hundred countries for global reach.
  5. An easy to integrate API or coding.

Individual Survey Capabilities

These specific features are the micro aspects of the applications to look for in your survey platform. They are immensely important, as they largely involve unique capabilities that distinguish one platform from another. Additionally, these capabilities can be put in use for the aforementioned macro applications (advertising, etc). The following lists individual features you should seek out in your survey provider:

  1. Configuring question types in a number of ways (multiple-selection, single selection, open-ended, ratings, stars, etc.)
  2. Adding media to your questions (images, GIFs, videos)
  3. Adding predefined answers to save you time.
  4. Utilizing advanced skip logic so that participants are only moved to questions that pertain to their previous answer, i.e., are relevant to them.
  5. An estimated completion time for all quotas to be met/ for the survey to conclude.
  6. Handling a large pool of survey participants (reaching into the thousands).

Simplifying the Process & What Else to Look For

It is understandable that the above lists seem rather intimidating in terms of finding in an online survey tool. Moreover, you may find a survey software that you feel comfortable using due to the ease of the interface, one that does that necessarily tick off all the capabilities in this article.

This is okay, as the needs of your business will differ from that of others. However, if you want to amass as many as these features and utilities as possible, here’s a few tricks to simplify the process:

  • Look for the specific features (not the macro applications) in a survey platform by checking its website and social channels.
  • Watch demos if need be.
  • If you don’t get all the specifications you’re looking for, contact the survey provider
  • Or.... just use Pollfish!

Luckily, the Pollfish online survey tool allows for all the macro applications so that your surveys can help your market research, marketing, branding and all other campaigns as needed.

The platform provides all the features and capabilities listed in this article. But there’s more!

We also offer 24/7 customer support from a dedicated team of product experts, so you never feel like you’re going at it alone.

 

 


How To Conduct A Survey That You Can Trust In 6 Steps

How To Conduct A Survey That You Can Trust In 6 Steps

Conducting surveys on your customers is one of the most effective ways to collect invaluable data and answer questions that are important to you. 

Surveys let you uncover hidden growth opportunities, reveal public opinion, gain deep insights into customer behavior, and even get extra media coverage when prominent publications cite your research. 

As an added bonus, merely the act of conducting a survey can boost customer retention and revenue, as HBR study shows: “The customers we surveyed were more than three times as likely to have opened new accounts, were less than half as likely to have defected, and were more profitable than the customers who hadn’t been surveyed.”

If you want to get meaningful results that you can act on, you need to survey the right people in the right manner. Otherwise, you risk collecting unneeded data and biases.

We’ve prepared this 6-step guide to help you to design, conduct, and organize an effective survey in no time. Let’s dive in. 

Steps to Conduct a Survey

  • Step 1: Write Down Your Research Goals
  • Step 2: Design Your Questionnaire
  • Step 3: Define Your Target Audience
  • Step 4: Distribute Your Survey
  • Step 5. Organize Survey Responses
  • Step 6. Analyze and Present Survey Results

Step 1: Write Down Your Research Goal

Every successful survey has a purpose. 

Are you trying to find out why you are losing customers? Do you want to know if your policies are effective? Are you figuring out what to do in the current market?

Understanding your survey’s main goal both improves its quality and reduces the time you’ll spend on executing your research.

In case you struggle to pinpoint your exact goal, write down a list of all the questions and issues your market research campaign needs and prioritize the most important ones. 

The following questions will help you understand your survey goal:

  • Do you understand who comprises your target market?
  • Do you need to segment your target market further?
  • Do you already have any existing data that you can use? 
  • Do you need data to improve an existing product or launch another?
  • What resources do you have to perform the survey?
  • What actions are you going to take after the survey is complete?
  • After you have figured out the main goal of your research, you can design your questionnaire.

Step 2: Design Your Questionnaire

The quality of a questionnaire is where the majority of surveys fall short. Experiments suggest that sensitive or vague opinion questions increase the potential of error by up to 30%Put simply, your survey is as good as your questionnaire is. 

Make sure your questions are clear and don’t contain jargon or uncommon abbreviations:

Poor example: Do you think VR is going to take off in the next 5 years?

Better example: Do you think virtual reality (VR) is going to take off in the next 5 years?

Another example of a weak questionnaire are leading questions that are structured to induce a certain response: 

Poor example: Do you agree that this is a great movie?
Better example: What do you think of this movie?

Take some time to learn how to write clear, unbiased, and effective survey questions to get the best results out of your research. 

Step 3: Define Your Target Audience

There are two main concerns when it comes to surveying participants: who should I survey and how many participants do I need.

Let’s clarify both. 

Who should I survey?

Surveying the right people makes all the difference. 

Suppose you want to learn if iPhone users are happy with the recent product updates. By surveying random iPhone users, you may notice that the majority of responses are somewhat neutral. But if you target specifically the Gen Z generation, you might learn that the younger demographic is worried about having to buy extra accessories.  

The more defined your target audience criteria are, the more accurate and deep your survey insights will be. Make sure to brainstorm what target audience will give you the most accurate insights and help you fulfill your survey goal.

How many participants do I need? 

When doctors want to examine your blood, they don’t drain all of it - they just need to take a small sample. It’s the same with surveys: a small sample of participants can accurately represent the opinions of a larger group. 

If there are 5,000 people in your company and you want to know how well the latest HR policy was received, you don’t need to survey all 5,000. In fact, surveying just 146 employees will be enough. 

Thus,  if you want to learn what all American high schoolers think about the recent TikTok ban, you don’t need to ask all 76 million of them. Surveying between 200 and 600 respondents will give you a sufficient amount of opinions to draw from.

For the majority of studies, 200 to 400 respondents will be enough to represent the opinion of a particular population.

If you want to calculate how many participants you need to get scientifically accurate survey results, feel free to use our sample size calculator

Step 4: Distribute Your Survey

Choosing who you want to survey is as important as how and where you will find your participants.

Let’s continue the example with surveying Gen Z iPhone users. Suppose you moderate a local school Facebook group and decide to post your survey there. Even if you get a large number of responses, the results may not accurately affect this demographic. 

This is because in this case, you don't pick survey participants randomly, instead, you survey only those who joined the local school Facebook group that you conveniently happen to moderate. This is called convenience sampling, since the majority of survey participants unintentionally live in one area. The survey didn’t account for Gen Z users from other areas with different average household incomes. 

To ensure you get the most accurate survey results, use a survey platform that can help you reach your targeted demographics more precisely. In short, avoid convenience sampling.

Here are a few common ways to distribute your surveys: 

  • Email. You can distribute your survey by email, especially if you have access to an established email list. The two main drawbacks of email surveys are that it’s harder to set specific target audience parameters and email response rates are generally low.
  • Social media: if you survey people via social media channels, although beware that sometimes social media groups attract people with shared interests that may not represent the opinion of your target audience or the general public.
  • Online Survey platforms: survey platforms such as Pollfish allow you to target specific audiences, control the number of participants, reach all quotas and easily organize your survey results. 

Besides these prominent survey channels, there are other survey solutions you can use; make sure to select the one most pertinent to your market research needs.

Step 5: Organize Survey Responses

After you’ve gathered your responses, you’ll need to organize the data before starting your analysis.

Here are the steps to prepare your data for analysis:

  • Clean. Sometimes people fill the survey twice by mistake. Although Pollfish survey technology prevents duplicate responses altogether, if you’re conducting a survey on your own, make sure to clean duplicates and “funny” answers before you proceed to organize your data.
  • Organize. Group survey answers that are similar to each other and try finding patterns that allow you to structure your data.

  • Visualize. Try finding ways of visualizing survey responses using graphs, charts and images. Visualized data is easier to analyze and refer to, especially if you want to share survey results with other people.


Step 6. Analyze and Present Survey Results

The data you collected during your survey can be presented and analyzed in many different ways, so make sure to go back to your survey goal that we covered in Step 1. 

Analyzing survey results and writing a report often go hand in hand, so it’s a good practice to go back and forth between the two until you fully narrow down your findings. 

Here are some questions that will help you write a better report: 

  • Did you achieve your survey goals?
  • How can you organize your findings into cohesive narratives?
  • What are the main insights that you gathered?
  • How can you use the collected data in the future?
  • Are there other ways this data can be interpreted? 

If you are presenting a report to others, remember that different audiences may be interested in different aspects of your survey.

In case your audience is primarily business stakeholders, then the main focus should be concrete customer preferences or aversions, along with actionable suggestions.

If you are presenting a survey to other researchers, they will be more interested in the technical aspects of your survey such as target audience, sample size, and data analysis method.  

Making Every Survey Count

Every business has a slew of questions about its industry, competitors and customers. . The challenge is twofold:  finding a survey solution to easily distribute our questions to the right audience, and creating a survey with the proper questions. Following our  six steps will help you conduct meaningful and unbiased surveys to answer your most pressing questions.

Good luck!