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  • What is market research survey

Why use surveys?

Survey research methods.

  • Conducting market research surveys
  • Common mistakes with market research surveys?

The different types of survey methods

Survey tools for your survey method, what can businesses do with these types of surveys, how to write a research survey (free example templates), try qualtrics for free, types of market research surveys.

20 min read There are different types of survey research you can run, but the majority of research is conducted with just a handful of research survey methods. We explore what they are and how to use them.

What is a market research survey?

A market research survey is a way of getting feedback directly from the people who have the ultimate say in your organization’s success: your customers.

Unlike focus groups or interviews, market research surveys allow you to get detailed feedback at scale — from behaviors to overall experiences — and in a standardized format. Also, as the data is easy to process, you can quickly turn it into actionable insights .

Surveys are used to collect primary research, which means market research data that you collect yourself. The other type is secondary data, which is obtained from other sources, for example census data.

Surveys are among the most popular methods of primary market research, since they can be used to gather qualitative and quantitative research on market trends, and they can cover a huge range of respondents across your customer base. They’re also a format familiar to many people.

Get started with our free survey software

Surveys are ultimately about understanding your target audience, but they can go beyond your customer base. They can be taken by anyone — employees, potential future customers, and even those who don’t want to engage with your business (helping you to identify the ones that do).

However, a survey isn’t a stand-alone solution. It can work alongside other survey methods, such as focus groups, field studies, observation, and market analysis, to help you get a clear picture of your market and decide what direction to take.

But with all these different types of survey methods, and some being better than others in specific areas (e.g. data quality, collecting feedback), where should you start?

To get the best out of each survey research type, consider what you can invest in terms of:

  • Time: How quickly do you need the survey research? Do you have time to conduct research?
  • Money: Do you have the budget to invest in research overheads?
  • Knowledge of analytics: Are you trained to interpret the collected data? If not, do you have a partner you can work with to get the insights you need?
  • Research expertise: Do you have clearly defined problems or challenges that you want to explore or understand through surveys?
  • Technology capability: Is your survey software up to the task of analyzing the data?
  • Your audience’s response: Is it likely that your audience will respond? What survey types (online surveys, etc.) would they be most receptive to?
  • Slow responses: Do you have a strategy in place to avoid low response rates?

Conducting market research surveys: best practices

Today’s market research industry is advancing rapidly, thanks in part to new technologies which make it easier to conduct market research, and offer more power and sophistication when it comes to analyzing your data.

Data-driven research is the standard across market research and other disciplines, and within the sector competition between brands is driving progress towards better and better market research tools. Beyond customer satisfaction, demographic questions and competitive analysis, today’s tools can dive deeper into your data, unearthing key drivers behind trends and even providing aggregated data on emotions and attitudes in customer feedback.

However, none of these technological advances can replace humans. To conduct market research successfully, you need to be able to combine tech with insight, intelligence and intuition, especially when you’re dealing directly with target customers, for example during a phone interview or when you’re approaching existing customers whose relationship to your brand needs to be maintained.

As we’ll see in this guide, market research can be used in a huge range of contexts, including brand tracking, customer experience research, employee experience programs, and of course product development. Whichever application you’re looking at, it’s essential to prepare thoroughly before sending out your surveys.

  • Make sure your research question has been formulated and agreed by everyone involved in the project
  • Develop a communications plan to maximize the chances of people engaging with your survey, including introductions, publicity, reminders and follow-up
  • Consider using pre-testing before you fully launch your survey to thoroughly road-test it and iron out any issues
  • Close the loop – after the study is complete and actions have been taken, let participations know how their contribution helped
  • Consider a research panel for future surveys, either one you’ve built yourself or one managed by a third party provider

What are some common mistakes with market research surveys?

With the right survey tools and appropriate support from your survey platform provider, everything should go smoothly, even if you’re not an expert at doing your own market research. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

Choosing the wrong people to survey

Figuring out who you’re going to survey in the first place may seem like an obvious first step and not one you need to spend much time on. But in fact it’s possible to get it wrong, survey the wrong people and end up running a market research study with unreliable data. This is sometimes called ‘sample framing error’

Getting your sample size wrong

If your sample is too small, you run the risk of getting a sample group that doesn’t adequately reflect your target population. This can throw your entire market research survey off course. But if the sample is too large, you spend time and money on research that doesn’t add significant value. Have a look at our sample size calculator to help determine the right sample size for your market research surveys.

Using the wrong kinds of analysis

Do you know your conjoint analysis from your T-test? Understanding the basic types of statistical tests you can use to analyze market research survey data is essential if you’re not using a survey tool with built-in analytics. You’ll need to match the kind of data you’re collecting to the analysis method you choose in order to get accurate insights from your market research surveys.

Writing confusing survey questions

Survey questions aren’t like the questions we use in everyday speech, or even like the ones we ask in formal writing. They need to be highly specific, include appropriate context, and be free of any kind of descriptive or persuasive element that might introduce bias. For a primer on writing great market research survey questions, see our guide to great survey questions

You should choose your survey method based on your target audience, distribution capabilities, and the questions you want answered. For example, interviews are far more personal and explorative by nature, but they’re difficult and costly to scale. Online surveys, on the other hand, have far greater reach and much more affordable — but you lose the opportunity to connect with respondents. Let’s go through the different types and how you can use them.

Graphic of 8 different survey types

Online surveys

Online surveys are accessible to any participant across the globe, providing they have an internet connection. You can create online surveys using survey platforms and distribute them via email using a link, or respondents can go directly to the online survey and complete it.

Paper surveys

Paper surveys (or written surveys) are printed surveys filled in by hand. This method works well if respondents have enough time (and incentive) to complete the survey, and the researcher is happy to manually collect the data before collating and interpreting the answers.

Mail surveys

Mail surveys provide exceptional geographical coverage as they can be printed off and sent via the post. However, as recipients need to return the surveys for counting, it’s recommended that you include a pre-paid returns envelope in the original envelope, otherwise you’ll have lower response rates.

Telephone surveys

Telephone surveys involve asking respondents a series of questions over the phone. It’s a popular survey method as it’s convenient for researchers and doesn’t require a lot of capital to do. However, researchers may need to invest time to set up interviews with participants and take notes during the process.

In-person interviews / face-to-face surveys

In-person interviews and face-to-face surveys are great opportunities to get more insightful and valuable responses from participants. You can quickly find out why they think and feel the way that they do, providing an unbiased view of a subject or issue. However, like telephone surveys, they require a lot of time to set up and gather data.

Panel surveys

Panel surveys use a pre-selected group of people as the sample, so that the research can be carried out quickly. It presents a happy medium between the speed and quality of research data.

Based on the type of survey method you choose, here are the types of tools you need and can use for each:

A good internet connection is required for participants to access online surveys, though mobile devices data plans mean that most people can connect to the internet easily.

A good survey software platform is needed to give you full functionality and flexibility, so your online surveys can be customized and optimized. However, businesses can get more for their money with a survey software system that does more for the company.

For example, the Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a best-of-breed experience operating system for experience management. It brings all your operational and experience data together from across the organization to help create and improve experiences for employees, customers, prospects and more. It automatically updates records, has an in-built analytics engine and can handle research projects, from start to finish, in a few clicks.

All you need are paper, ink, pens and clipboards — but due to environmental and sustainability concerns, particularly paper waste and ink pollution, you may want to opt for a more digitized solution.

For mail surveys, the resources and concerns are the same as with paper surveys — but the main difference is distribution.

Ultimately, you need a reliable postal service that can deliver to your target audience. It also becomes costly if you want to include international respondents.

As long as you have good connectivity and network coverage, telephone surveys are straightforward. That said, survey calls can last a long time, so if you plan to include international audiences, ensure you can afford the calling costs.

The only requirement for in-person interviews and face-to-face surveys is a venue to hold them in.

These require participants to be available at the time of the research. Traditionally, third-party generated research panels are available as a service to companies that don’t have access to the audiences they need.

The surveys we explored can be used for four purposes in any business:

1. Market surveys

These help you understand who’s out there, what they want, and how you can best meet their needs.

Market description surveys

Purpose: to determine the size and relative market share of the market. Such studies provide key information about market growth, competitive positioning, and tracking share of the market .

Market profiling / segmentation surveys

Purpose: to identify who the customers are , who they are not, and why they are or are not your customers. This is often a descriptive market segmentation and market share analysis.

Stage in the purchase process / tracking surveys

Where is the customer in the adoption process? This information shows Market Awareness – Knowledge – Intention – Trial – Purchase – Repurchase of the product.

2.   Customer experience surveys

This kind of survey helps you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and look at your business from their perspective.

Customer intention – purchase analysis surveys

Purpose: Directed at understanding the current customer. What motivates the customer to move from interest in the product to actual purchase? This is key to understanding customer conversion, commitment, and loyalty .

Customer attitudes and expectations surveys

Purpose: Used to direct advertising and improve customer conversion, commitment, and loyalty. Does the product meet customer expectations ? What attitudes have customers formed about the product and/or company?

Learn how you can set up and run customer attitudes and use surveys

Sales lead generation surveys

Purpose: Sales lead generation surveys are for

  • assuring timely use and follow-up of sales leads
  • qualifying sales leads (thereby saving valuable sales force time)
  • providing more effective tracking of sales leads

Customer trust / loyalty / retention analysis surveys

Purpose: Especially helpful for high-priced consumer goods with a long decision and purchase processes (time from need recognition to purchase), this type of study explores the depth of consumer attitudes formed about the product and/or company.

Salesforce effectiveness surveys

Purpose: A combination of measures that focus on the sales activities, performance, and effectiveness in producing the desired and measurable effect or goal. Often measured as a 360-degree survey completed by the salesperson, the client (evaluating the sales call), and the supervisor responsible for evaluating the salesperson.

Customer service surveys

Purpose: Akin to customer satisfaction surveys, customer service surveys instead focus in detail on the actual customer service that was received, the process involved in receiving that service, and the evaluation of the participants in the service process.

Customer service representative (CSR) surveys

Purpose: CSRs often exhibit frustration, burnout, and high turnover . Surveys focus on CSR retention, reducing costs, and increasing the quality of customer relationships.

Attitudes, burnout, turnover, and retention: CSRs hold attitudes that reflect on their job-related activities including:

  • the allocation of time
  • solutions to customer needs
  • how to improve their job
  • best practices
  • how well internal departments help customers

3. Product surveys

As part of product development, surveys help you find out what features, benefits and attributes appeal most to your customers, and how best to package your product, experience or service.

New product, service or experience concept analysis surveys

Purpose: Concept test studies are appropriate in the initial screening of new product concepts . Likes and dislikes about the concept and evaluation of acceptability and likelihood of purchase are especially useful measures.

Concept optimization, demand estimation, and cost analysis surveys (conjoint analysis)

Purpose: Determines an optimal bundle of features and benefits, and estimates associated demand. This kind of survey develops market share estimates of market potential for the alternative potential products.

Habits and practices, or attitude and usage surveys

Purpose: Directed at understanding usage situations, including how, when, and where the product is used. Habits and practices studies sometimes include a real or virtual pantry audit. Attitude and usage studies are used to understand consumer attitudes towards the product category and to life in general. They also look at product and brand usage, including how, when and where the product is used.

Product satisfaction surveys (attribute, features, promised benefits)

Purpose: Evaluation of the product’s promised bundle of benefits (both tangible and image). Are expectations created for the product by advertising, packaging , and the product appearance fulfilled by the product?

Competitive benchmarking surveys

Purpose: A “best practices” study of “how does the market view us relative to the competition?” Competitive positioning analyses often compare the attributes and benefits that make up the product using multidimensional scaling. These analyses also include an evaluation of key competitors, looking at the same KPIs and attributes as product satisfaction surveys.

Sales forecasting and market tracking surveys

Purpose: Sales forecasting and market tracking studies can include expert opinion (experts estimate the market), judgmental bootstrapping (expert-based rules describing how to use available secondary market information), conjoint analysis (estimation of consumer intentions based on product attributes that are important in the decision), and intentions evaluations (consumer self-reported intentions of future purchases).

Price setting surveys and elasticity of demand analysis

Purpose: Price surveys estimate the elasticity of demand and show optimal price points, including prices too low or too high. Price surveys may estimate the demand for different product or service segments, or different usage situations.

4. Brand surveys

A survey can help you understand how consumers perceive your brand and what values and ideas they associate with it. You can explore what value your brand has and whether people would choose you over competitors in your market niche.

Brand equity analysis surveys

Purpose: What is the psychological value that a brand holds in the marketplace? Brand equity is a composite of brand awareness , brand quality, brand associations, and brand loyalty measures.

Advertising value identification and analysis surveys

Purpose: Advertising value analysis focuses on mapping the hierarchical attributes, benefits, and values that are associated with and portrayed by an advertisement. Means-end analysis is often part of this type of study.

Advertising message effectiveness surveys (media and message)

Purpose: Message effectiveness testing identifies the impressions, feelings, and effectiveness in moving the respondent to a desired goal (increased awareness, more product information, trial, repeat purchase).

Once you know the right type of survey to run, the next step is to write a survey that your respondents will love to take!

Survey methods can be used to help collect data on real business issues and help you answer questions. Qualtrics supports customer surveys on every channel, at every journey stage to get you answers for more informed decisions.

We’ve put together a range of survey example templates that you can use for free to help you get started:

  • Employee satisfaction survey template
  • Employee exit survey template
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey template
  • Ad testing survey template
  • Brand awareness survey template
  • Product pricing survey template
  • Product research survey template
  • Employee engagement survey template
  • Customer service survey template
  • NPS survey template
  • Product package testing survey template
  • Product features prioritization survey template

In addition, for large-scale research studies, Qualtrics offers market research services to help with everything from questionnaire design and survey methods, to implementation and analysis.

Related resources

Post event survey questions 10 min read, best survey software 16 min read, close-ended questions 7 min read, survey vs questionnaire 12 min read, response bias 13 min read, double barreled question 11 min read, likert scales 14 min read, request demo.

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Business growth

Marketing tips

How to conduct your own market research survey (with example)

Hero image with an icon of a survey

After watching a few of those sketches, you can imagine why real-life focus groups tend to be pretty small. Even without any over-the-top personalities involved, it's easy for these groups to go off the rails.

So what happens when you want to collect market research at a larger scale? That's where the market research survey comes in. Market surveys allow you to get just as much valuable information as an in-person interview, without the burden of herding hundreds of rowdy Eagles fans through a product test.

Table of contents:

What is a market research survey?

Why conduct market research, primary vs. secondary market research.

6 types of market research surveys

How to write and conduct a market research survey

Tips for running a market research survey.

Market research survey campaign example questions

Market research survey template

Use automation to put survey results into action

A market research survey is a questionnaire designed to collect key information about a company's target market and audience that will help guide business decisions about products and services, branding angles, and advertising campaigns.

Market surveys are what's known as "primary research"—that is, information that the researching company gathers firsthand. Secondary research consists of data that another organization gathered and published, which other researchers can then use for their own reports. Primary research is more expensive and time-intensive than secondary research, which is why you should only use market research surveys to obtain information that you can't get anywhere else. 

A market research survey can collect information on your target customers':


Preferences, desires, and needs

Values and motivations

The types of information that can usually be found in a secondary source, and therefore aren't good candidates for a market survey, include your target customers':

Demographic data

Consumer spending data

Household size

Lots of this secondary information can be found in a public database like those maintained by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics . There are also a few free market research tools that you can use to access more detailed data, like Think with Google , Data USA , and Statista . Or, if you're looking to learn about your existing customer base, you can also use a CRM to automatically record key information about your customers each time they make a purchase.

If you've exhausted your secondary research options and still have unanswered questions, it's time to start thinking about conducting a market research survey.

The first thing to figure out is what you're trying to learn, and from whom. Are you beta testing a new product or feature with existing users? Or are you looking to identify new customer personas for your marketers to target? There are a number of different ways to use a marketing research survey, and your choice will impact how you set up the questionnaire.

Here are some examples of how market research surveys can be used to fill a wide range of knowledge gaps for companies:

A B2B software company asks real users in its industry about Kanban board usage to help prioritize their project view change rollout.

A B2C software company asks its target demographic about their mobile browsing habits to help them find features to incorporate into their forthcoming mobile app.

A printing company asks its target demographic about fabric preferences to gauge interest in a premium material option for their apparel lines.

A wholesale food vendor surveys regional restaurant owners to find ideas for seasonal products to offer.

Market surveys are what's known as "primary research"—that is, information that the researching company gathers firsthand. Secondary research consists of data that another organization gathered and published, which other researchers can then use for their own reports. 

Primary research is more expensive and time-intensive than secondary research, which is why you should only use market research surveys to obtain information that you can't get anywhere else. 

Lots of this secondary information can be found in a public database like those maintained by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics . There are also a few free market research tools that you can use to access more detailed data, like Think with Google , Data USA , and Statista . 

Or, if you're looking to learn about your existing customer base, you can also use a CRM to automatically record key information about your customers each time they make a purchase.

6 types of market research survey

Depending on your goal, you'll need different types of market research. Here are six types of market research surveys.

1. Buyer persona research

A buyer persona or customer profile is a simple sketch of the types of people that you should be targeting as potential customers. 

A buyer persona research survey will help you learn more about things like demographics, household makeup, income and education levels, and lifestyle markers. The more you learn about your existing customers, the more specific you can get in targeting potential customers. You may find that there are more buyer personas within your user base than the ones that you've been targeting.

2. Sales funnel research

The sales funnel is the path that potential customers take to eventually become buyers. It starts with the target's awareness of your product, then moves through stages of increasing interest until they ultimately make a purchase. 

With a sales funnel research survey, you can learn about potential customers' main drivers at different stages of the sales funnel. You can also get feedback on how effective different sales strategies are. Use this survey to find out:

How close potential buyers are to making a purchase

What tools and experiences have been most effective in moving prospective customers closer to conversion

What types of lead magnets are most attractive to your target audience

3. Customer loyalty research

Whenever you take a customer experience survey after you make a purchase, you'll usually see a few questions about whether you would recommend the company or a particular product to a friend. After you've identified your biggest brand advocates , you can look for persona patterns to determine what other customers are most likely to be similarly enthusiastic about your products. Use these surveys to learn:

The demographics of your most loyal customers

What tools are most effective in turning customers into advocates

What you can do to encourage more brand loyalty

4. Branding and marketing research

The Charmin focus group featured in that SNL sketch is an example of branding and marketing research, in which a company looks for feedback on a particular advertising angle to get a sense of whether it will be effective before the company spends money on running the ad at scale. Use this type of survey to find out:

Whether a new advertising angle will do well with existing customers

Whether a campaign will do well with a new customer segment you haven't targeted yet

What types of campaign angles do well with a particular demographic

5. New products or features research

Whereas the Charmin sketch features a marketing focus group, this one features new product research for a variety of new Hidden Valley Ranch flavors. Though you can't get hands-on feedback on new products when you're conducting a survey instead of an in-person meeting, you can survey your customers to find out:

What features they wish your product currently had

What other similar or related products they shop for

What they think of a particular product or feature idea

Running a survey before investing resources into developing a new offering will save you and the company a lot of time, money, and energy.

6. Competitor research

You can get a lot of information about your own customers and users via automatic data collection , but your competitors' customer base may not be made up of the same buyer personas that yours is. Survey your competitors' users to find out:

Your competitors ' customers' demographics, habits, and behaviors

Whether your competitors have found success with a buyer persona you're not targeting

Information about buyers for a product that's similar to one you're thinking about launching

Feedback on what features your competitors' customers wish their version of a product had

Once you've narrowed down your survey's objectives, you can move forward with designing and running your survey.

Step 1: Write your survey questions

A poorly worded survey, or a survey that uses the wrong question format, can render all of your data moot. If you write a question that results in most respondents answering "none of the above," you haven't learned much. 

You'll find dozens of question types and even pre-written questions in most survey apps . Here are a few common question types that work well for market surveys.

Categorical questions

Also known as a nominal question, this question type provides numbers and percentages for easy visualization, like "35% said ABC." It works great for bar graphs and pie charts, but you can't take averages or test correlations with nominal-level data.

Yes/No: The most basic survey question used in polls is the Yes/No question, which can be easily created using your survey app or by adding Yes/No options to a multiple-choice question. 

Multiple choice: Use this type of question if you need more nuance than a Yes/No answer gives. You can add as many answers as you want, and your respondents can pick only one answer to the question. 

Checkbox: Checkbox questions add the flexibility to select all the answers that apply. Add as many answers as you want, and respondents aren't limited to just one. 

A screenshot of a multiple choice question asking about how you travel to work with various answers and an option to type in your own answer in an "other" field

Ordinal questions

This type of question requires survey-takers to pick from options presented in a specific order, like "income of $0-$25K, $26K-$40K, $41K+." Like nominal questions, ordinal questions elicit responses that allow you to analyze counts and percentages, though you can't calculate averages or assess correlations with ordinal-level data.

Dropdown: Responses to ordinal questions can be presented as a dropdown, from which survey-takers can only make one selection. You could use this question type to gather demographic data, like the respondent's country or state of residence. 

Ranking: This is a unique question type that allows respondents to arrange a list of answers in their preferred order, providing feedback on each option in the process. 

Interval/ratio questions

For precise data and advanced analysis, use interval or ratio questions. These can help you calculate more advanced analytics, like averages, test correlations, and run regression models. Interval questions commonly use scales of 1-5 or 1-7, like "Strongly disagree" to "Strongly agree." Ratio questions have a true zero and often ask for numerical inputs (like "How many cups of coffee do you drink per day? ____").

Ranking scale: A ranking scale presents answer choices along an ordered value-based sequence, either using numbers, a like/love scale, a never/always scale, or some other ratio interval. It gives more insight into people's thoughts than a Yes/No question. 

Matrix: Have a lot of interval questions to ask? You can put a number of questions in a list and use the same scale for all of them. It simplifies gathering data about a lot of similar items at once. 

Example : How much do you like the following: oranges, apples, grapes? Hate/Dislike/Ok/Like/Love

Textbox: A textbox question is needed for collecting direct feedback or personal data like names. There will be a blank space where the respondent can enter their answer to your question on their own. 

Screenshot example of an interval question about how much you enjoy commuting to work with options to indicate how much a person agrees and disagrees with a statement

Step 2: Choose a survey platform

There are a lot of survey platforms to choose from, and they all offer different and unique features. Check out Zapier's list of the best online survey apps to help you decide.

Most survey apps today look great on mobile, but be sure to preview your survey on your phone and computer, at least, to make sure it'll look good for all of your users.

A screenshot image of two survey questions on a mobile device rather than a desktop view to illustrate the importance of checking to see how a survey will show up on multiple platforms

If you have the budget, you can also purchase survey services from a larger research agency. 

Step 3: Run a test survey

Before you run your full survey, conduct a smaller test on 5%-10% of your target respondent pool size. This will allow you to work out any confusing wording or questions that result in unhelpful responses without spending the full cost of the survey. Look out for:

Survey rejection from the platform for prohibited topics

Joke or nonsense textbox answers that indicate the respondent didn't answer the survey in earnest

Multiple choice questions with an outsized percentage of "none of the above" or "N/A" responses

Step 4: Launch your survey

If your test survey comes back looking good, you're ready to launch the full thing! Make sure that you leave ample time for the survey to run—you'd be surprised at how long it takes to get a few thousand respondents. 

Even if you've run similar surveys in the past, leave more time than you need. Some surveys take longer than others for no clear reason, and you also want to build in time to conduct a comprehensive data analysis.

Step 5: Organize and interpret the data

Unless you're a trained data analyst, you should avoid crunching all but the simplest survey data by hand. Most survey platforms include some form of reporting dashboard that will handle things like population weighting for you, but you can also connect your survey platform to other apps that make it easy to keep track of your results and turn them into actionable insights.

You know the basics of how to conduct a market research survey, but here are some tips to enhance the quality of your data and the reliability of your findings.

Find the right audience: You could have meticulously crafted survey questions, but if you don't target the appropriate demographic or customer segment, it doesn't really matter. You need to collect responses from the people you're trying to understand. Targeted audiences you can send surveys to include your existing customers, current social media followers, newsletter subscribers, attendees at relevant industry events, and community members from online forums, discussion boards, or other online communities that cater to your target audience. 

Take advantage of existing resources: No need to reinvent the wheel. You may be able to use common templates and online survey platforms like SurveyMonkey for both survey creation and distribution. You can also use AI tools to create better surveys. For example, generative AI tools like ChatGPT can help you generate questions, while analytical AI tools can scan survey responses to help sort, tag, and report on them. Some survey apps have AI built into them already too.

Focus questions on a desired data type: As you conceptualize your survey, consider whether a qualitative or quantitative approach will better suit your research goals. Qualitative methods are best for exploring in-depth insights and underlying motivations, while quantitative methods are better for obtaining statistical data and measurable trends. For an outcome like "optimize our ice cream shop's menu offerings," you may want to find out which flavors of ice cream are most popular with teens. This would require a quantitative approach, for which you would use categorical questions that can help you rank potential flavors numerically.

Establish a timeline: Set a realistic timeline for your survey, from creation to distribution to data collection and analysis. You'll want to balance having your survey out long enough to generate a significant amount of responses but not so long that it loses relevance. That length can vary widely based on factors like type of survey, number of questions, audience size, time sensitivity, question format, and question length.

Define a margin of error: Your margin of error shows how much the survey results might differ from the real opinions of the entire group being studied. Since you can't possibly survey every single person in your desired population, you'll have to settle on an acceptable percentage of error upfront, a percentage figure that varies by sample size, sample proportion, and confidence interval. According to University of Wisconsin-Madison's Pamela Hunter , 95% is the industry standard confidence level (though small sample sizes may get by with 90%). At the 95% level, for example, an acceptable margin of error for a survey of 500 respondents would be 3%. That means that if 80% of respondents give a positive response to a question, the data shows that between 77-83% respond positively 95 out of 100 times.

Market research survey campaign example

Let's say you own a market research company, and you want to use a survey to gain critical insights into your market. You prompt users to fill out your survey before they can access gated premium content.

Survey questions: 

1. What size is your business? 

<10 employees

11-50 employees

51-100 employees

101-200 employees

>200 employees

2. What industry type best describes your role?

3. On a scale of 1-4, how important would you say access to market data is?

1 - Not important

2 - Somewhat important

3 - Very important

4 - Critically important

4. On a scale of 1 (least important) to 5 (most important), rank how important these market data access factors are.

Accuracy of data

Attractive presentation of data

Cost of data access

Range of data presentation formats

Timeliness of data

5. True or false: your job relies on access to accurate, up-to-date market data.

Survey findings: 

63% of respondents represent businesses with over 100 employees, while only 8% represent businesses with under 10.

71% of respondents work in sales, marketing, or operations.

80% of respondents consider access to market data to be either very important or critically important.

"Timeliness of data" (38%) and "Accuracy of data" (32%) were most commonly ranked as the most important market data access factor.

86% of respondents claimed that their jobs rely on accessing accurate, up-to-date market data.

Insights and recommendations: Independent analysis of the survey indicates that a large percentage of users work in the sales, marketing, or operations fields of large companies, and these customers value timeliness and accuracy most. These findings can help you position future report offerings more effectively by highlighting key benefits that are important to customers that fit into related customer profiles. 

Market research survey example questions

Your individual questions will vary by your industry, market, and research goals, so don't expect a cut-and-paste survey to suit your needs. To help you get started, here are market research survey example questions to give you a sense of the format.

Yes/No: Have you purchased our product before?

Multiple choice: How many employees work at your company?

<10 / 10-20 / 21-50 / 51-100 / 101-250 / 250+

Checkbox: Which of the following features do you use in our app?

Push notifications / Dashboard / Profile customization / In-app chat

Dropdown: What's your household income? 

$0-$10K / $11-$35K / $36-$60K / $61K+

Ranking: Which social media platforms do you use the most? Rank in order, from most to least.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / LinkedIn / Reddit

Ranking scale: On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate our customer service? 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Textbox: How many apps are installed on your phone? Enter a number: 

Market research survey question types

Good survey apps typically offer pre-designed templates as a starting point. But to give you a more visual sense of what these questions might look like, we've put together a document showcasing common market research survey question types.

Screenshot of Zapier's market research survey question format guide

You're going to get a lot of responses back from your survey—why dig through them all manually if you don't have to? Automate your survey to aggregate information for you, so it's that much easier to uncover findings. 

Related reading:

Poll vs. survey: What is a survey and what are polls?

The best online survey apps

The best free form builders and survey tools

How to get people to take a survey

This article was originally published in June 2015 by Stephanie Briggs. The most recent update, with contributions from Cecilia Gillen, was in September 2023.

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Amanda Pell

Amanda is a writer and content strategist who built her career writing on campaigns for brands like Nature Valley, Disney, and the NFL. When she's not knee-deep in research, you'll likely find her hiking with her dog or with her nose in a good book.

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How to do market research in 4 steps: a lean approach to marketing research

From pinpointing your target audience and assessing your competitive advantage, to ongoing product development and customer satisfaction efforts, market research is a practice your business can only benefit from.

Learn how to conduct quick and effective market research using a lean approach in this article full of strategies and practical examples. 

market research and online surveys

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market research and online surveys

A comprehensive (and successful) business strategy is not complete without some form of market research—you can’t make informed and profitable business decisions without truly understanding your customer base and the current market trends that drive your business.

In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct quick, effective market research  using an approach called 'lean market research'. It’s easier than you might think, and it can be done at any stage in a product’s lifecycle.

How to conduct lean market research in 4 steps

What is market research, why is market research so valuable, advantages of lean market research, 4 common market research methods, 5 common market research questions, market research faqs.

We’ll jump right into our 4-step approach to lean market research. To show you how it’s done in the real world, each step includes a practical example from Smallpdf , a Swiss company that used lean market research to reduce their tool’s error rate by 75% and boost their Net Promoter Score® (NPS) by 1%.

Research your market the lean way...

From on-page surveys to user interviews, Hotjar has the tools to help you scope out your market and get to know your customers—without breaking the bank.

The following four steps and practical examples will give you a solid market research plan for understanding who your users are and what they want from a company like yours.

1. Create simple user personas

A user persona is a semi-fictional character based on psychographic and demographic data from people who use websites and products similar to your own. Start by defining broad user categories, then elaborate on them later to further segment your customer base and determine your ideal customer profile .

How to get the data: use on-page or emailed surveys and interviews to understand your users and what drives them to your business.

How to do it right: whatever survey or interview questions you ask, they should answer the following questions about the customer:

Who are they?

What is their main goal?

What is their main barrier to achieving this goal?

Pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t ask too many questions! Keep it to five or less, otherwise you’ll inundate them and they’ll stop answering thoughtfully.

Don’t worry too much about typical demographic questions like age or background. Instead, focus on the role these people play (as it relates to your product) and their goals.

How Smallpdf did it: Smallpdf ran an on-page survey for a couple of weeks and received 1,000 replies. They learned that many of their users were administrative assistants, students, and teachers.

#One of the five survey questions Smallpdf asked their users

Next, they used the survey results to create simple user personas like this one for admins:

Who are they? Administrative Assistants.

What is their main goal? Creating Word documents from a scanned, hard-copy document or a PDF where the source file was lost.

What is their main barrier to achieving it? Converting a scanned PDF doc to a Word file.

💡Pro tip: Smallpdf used Hotjar Surveys to run their user persona survey. Our survey tool helped them avoid the pitfalls of guesswork and find out who their users really are, in their own words. 

You can design a survey and start running it in minutes with our easy-to-use drag and drop builder. Customize your survey to fit your needs, from a sleek one-question pop-up survey to a fully branded questionnaire sent via email. 

We've also created 40+ free survey templates that you can start collecting data with, including a user persona survey like the one Smallpdf used.

2. Conduct observational research

Observational research involves taking notes while watching someone use your product (or a similar product).

Overt vs. covert observation

Overt observation involves asking customers if they’ll let you watch them use your product. This method is often used for user testing and it provides a great opportunity for collecting live product or customer feedback .

Covert observation means studying users ‘in the wild’ without them knowing. This method works well if you sell a type of product that people use regularly, and it offers the purest observational data because people often behave differently when they know they’re being watched. 

Tips to do it right:

Record an entry in your field notes, along with a timestamp, each time an action or event occurs.

Make note of the users' workflow, capturing the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘for whom’ of each action.

#Sample of field notes taken by Smallpdf

Don’t record identifiable video or audio data without consent. If recording people using your product is helpful for achieving your research goal, make sure all participants are informed and agree to the terms.

Don’t forget to explain why you’d like to observe them (for overt observation). People are more likely to cooperate if you tell them you want to improve the product.

💡Pro tip: while conducting field research out in the wild can wield rewarding results, you can also conduct observational research remotely. Hotjar Recordings is a tool that lets you capture anonymized user sessions of real people interacting with your website. 

Observe how customers navigate your pages and products to gain an inside look into their user behavior . This method is great for conducting exploratory research with the purpose of identifying more specific issues to investigate further, like pain points along the customer journey and opportunities for optimizing conversion .

With Hotjar Recordings you can observe real people using your site without capturing their sensitive information

How Smallpdf did it: here’s how Smallpdf observed two different user personas both covertly and overtly.

Observing students (covert): Kristina Wagner, Principle Product Manager at Smallpdf, went to cafes and libraries at two local universities and waited until she saw students doing PDF-related activities. Then she watched and took notes from a distance. One thing that struck her was the difference between how students self-reported their activities vs. how they behaved (i.e, the self-reporting bias). Students, she found, spent hours talking, listening to music, or simply staring at a blank screen rather than working. When she did find students who were working, she recorded the task they were performing and the software they were using (if she recognized it).

Observing administrative assistants (overt): Kristina sent emails to admins explaining that she’d like to observe them at work, and she asked those who agreed to try to batch their PDF work for her observation day. While watching admins work, she learned that they frequently needed to scan documents into PDF-format and then convert those PDFs into Word docs. By observing the challenges admins faced, Smallpdf knew which products to target for improvement.

“Data is really good for discovery and validation, but there is a bit in the middle where you have to go and find the human.”

3. Conduct individual interviews

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. They allow you to dig deep and explore their concerns, which can lead to all sorts of revelations.

Listen more, talk less. Be curious.

Act like a journalist, not a salesperson. Rather than trying to talk your company up, ask people about their lives, their needs, their frustrations, and how a product like yours could help.

Ask "why?" so you can dig deeper. Get into the specifics and learn about their past behavior.

Record the conversation. Focus on the conversation and avoid relying solely on notes by recording the interview. There are plenty of services that will transcribe recorded conversations for a good price (including Hotjar!).

Avoid asking leading questions , which reveal bias on your part and pushes respondents to answer in a certain direction (e.g. “Have you taken advantage of the amazing new features we just released?).

Don't ask loaded questions , which sneak in an assumption which, if untrue, would make it impossible to answer honestly. For example, we can’t ask you, “What did you find most useful about this article?” without asking whether you found the article useful in the first place.

Be cautious when asking opinions about the future (or predictions of future behavior). Studies suggest that people aren’t very good at predicting their future behavior. This is due to several cognitive biases, from the misguided exceptionalism bias (we’re good at guessing what others will do, but we somehow think we’re different), to the optimism bias (which makes us see things with rose-colored glasses), to the ‘illusion of control’ (which makes us forget the role of randomness in future events).

How Smallpdf did it: Kristina explored her teacher user persona by speaking with university professors at a local graduate school. She learned that the school was mostly paperless and rarely used PDFs, so for the sake of time, she moved on to the admins.

A bit of a letdown? Sure. But this story highlights an important lesson: sometimes you follow a lead and come up short, so you have to make adjustments on the fly. Lean market research is about getting solid, actionable insights quickly so you can tweak things and see what works.

💡Pro tip: to save even more time, conduct remote interviews using an online user research service like Hotjar Engage , which automates the entire interview process, from recruitment and scheduling to hosting and recording.

You can interview your own customers or connect with people from our diverse pool of 200,000+ participants from 130+ countries and 25 industries. And no need to fret about taking meticulous notes—Engage will automatically transcribe the interview for you.

4. Analyze the data (without drowning in it)

The following techniques will help you wrap your head around the market data you collect without losing yourself in it. Remember, the point of lean market research is to find quick, actionable insights.

A flow model is a diagram that tracks the flow of information within a system. By creating a simple visual representation of how users interact with your product and each other, you can better assess their needs.

#Example of a flow model designed by Smallpdf

You’ll notice that admins are at the center of Smallpdf’s flow model, which represents the flow of PDF-related documents throughout a school. This flow model shows the challenges that admins face as they work to satisfy their own internal and external customers.

Affinity diagram

An affinity diagram is a way of sorting large amounts of data into groups to better understand the big picture. For example, if you ask your users about their profession, you’ll notice some general themes start to form, even though the individual responses differ. Depending on your needs, you could group them by profession, or more generally by industry.


We wrote a guide about how to analyze open-ended questions to help you sort through and categorize large volumes of response data. You can also do this by hand by clipping up survey responses or interview notes and grouping them (which is what Kristina does).

“For an interview, you will have somewhere between 30 and 60 notes, and those notes are usually direct phrases. And when you literally cut them up into separate pieces of paper and group them, they should make sense by themselves.”

Pro tip: if you’re conducting an online survey with Hotjar, keep your team in the loop by sharing survey responses automatically via our Slack and Microsoft Team integrations. Reading answers as they come in lets you digest the data in pieces and can help prepare you for identifying common themes when it comes time for analysis.

Hotjar lets you easily share survey responses with your team

Customer journey map

A customer journey map is a diagram that shows the way a typical prospect becomes a paying customer. It outlines their first interaction with your brand and every step in the sales cycle, from awareness to repurchase (and hopefully advocacy).

#A customer journey map example

The above  customer journey map , created by our team at Hotjar, shows many ways a customer might engage with our tool. Your map will be based on your own data and business model.

📚 Read more: if you’re new to customer journey maps, we wrote this step-by-step guide to creating your first customer journey map in 2 and 1/2 days with free templates you can download and start using immediately.

Next steps: from research to results

So, how do you turn market research insights into tangible business results? Let’s look at the actions Smallpdf took after conducting their lean market research: first they implemented changes, then measured the impact.

#Smallpdf used lean market research to dig below the surface, understand their clients, and build a better product and user experience

Implement changes

Based on what Smallpdf learned about the challenges that one key user segment (admins) face when trying to convert PDFs into Word files, they improved their ‘PDF to Word’ conversion tool.

We won’t go into the details here because it involves a lot of technical jargon, but they made the entire process simpler and more straightforward for users. Plus, they made it so that their system recognized when you drop a PDF file into their ‘Word to PDF’ converter instead of the ‘PDF to Word’ converter, so users wouldn’t have to redo the task when they made that mistake. 

In other words: simple market segmentation for admins showed a business need that had to be accounted for, and customers are happier overall after Smallpdf implemented an informed change to their product.

Measure results

According to the Lean UX model, product and UX changes aren’t retained unless they achieve results.

Smallpdf’s changes produced:

A 75% reduction in error rate for the ‘PDF to Word’ converter

A 1% increase in NPS

Greater confidence in the team’s marketing efforts

"With all the changes said and done, we've cut our original error rate in four, which is huge. We increased our NPS by +1%, which isn't huge, but it means that of the users who received a file, they were still slightly happier than before, even if they didn't notice that anything special happened at all.”

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Market research (or marketing research) is any set of techniques used to gather information and better understand a company’s target market. This might include primary research on brand awareness and customer satisfaction or secondary market research on market size and competitive analysis. Businesses use this information to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.

David Darmanin, one of Hotjar’s founders, launched two startups before Hotjar took off—but both companies crashed and burned. Each time, he and his team spent months trying to design an amazing new product and user experience, but they failed because they didn’t have a clear understanding of what the market demanded.

With Hotjar, they did things differently . Long story short, they conducted market research in the early stages to figure out what consumers really wanted, and the team made (and continues to make) constant improvements based on market and user research.

Without market research, it’s impossible to understand your users. Sure, you might have a general idea of who they are and what they need, but you have to dig deep if you want to win their loyalty.

Here’s why research matters:

Obsessing over your users is the only way to win. If you don’t care deeply about them, you’ll lose potential customers to someone who does.

Analytics gives you the ‘what’, while research gives you the ‘why’. Big data, user analytics , and dashboards can tell you what people do at scale, but only research can tell you what they’re thinking and why they do what they do. For example, analytics can tell you that customers leave when they reach your pricing page, but only research can explain why.

Research beats assumptions, trends, and so-called best practices. Have you ever watched your colleagues rally behind a terrible decision? Bad ideas are often the result of guesswork, emotional reasoning, death by best practices , and defaulting to the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO). By listening to your users and focusing on their customer experience , you’re less likely to get pulled in the wrong direction.

Research keeps you from planning in a vacuum. Your team might be amazing, but you and your colleagues simply can’t experience your product the way your customers do. Customers might use your product in a way that surprises you, and product features that seem obvious to you might confuse them. Over-planning and refusing to test your assumptions is a waste of time, money, and effort because you’ll likely need to make changes once your untested business plan gets put into practice.

Lean User Experience (UX) design is a model for continuous improvement that relies on quick, efficient research to understand customer needs and test new product features.

Lean market research can help you become more...

Efficient: it gets you closer to your customers, faster.

Cost-effective: no need to hire an expensive marketing firm to get things started.

Competitive: quick, powerful insights can place your products on the cutting edge.

As a small business or sole proprietor, conducting lean market research is an attractive option when investing in a full-blown research project might seem out of scope or budget.

There are lots of different ways you could conduct market research and collect customer data, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one research method. Four common types of market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.

Which method you use may vary based on your business type: ecommerce business owners have different goals from SaaS businesses, so it’s typically prudent to mix and match these methods based on your particular goals and what you need to know.

1. Surveys: the most commonly used

Surveys are a form of qualitative research that ask respondents a short series of open- or closed-ended questions, which can be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or via email. When we asked 2,000 Customer Experience (CX) professionals about their company’s approach to research , surveys proved to be the most commonly used market research technique.

What makes online surveys so popular?  

They’re easy and inexpensive to conduct, and you can do a lot of data collection quickly. Plus, the data is pretty straightforward to analyze, even when you have to analyze open-ended questions whose answers might initially appear difficult to categorize.

We've built a number of survey templates ready and waiting for you. Grab a template and share with your customers in just a few clicks.

💡 Pro tip: you can also get started with Hotjar AI for Surveys to create a survey in mere seconds . Just enter your market research goal and watch as the AI generates a survey and populates it with relevant questions. 

Once you’re ready for data analysis, the AI will prepare an automated research report that succinctly summarizes key findings, quotes, and suggested next steps.

market research and online surveys

An example research report generated by Hotjar AI for Surveys

2. Interviews: the most insightful

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. Nothing beats a face-to-face interview for diving deep (and reading non-verbal cues), but if an in-person meeting isn’t possible, video conferencing is a solid second choice.

Regardless of how you conduct it, any type of in-depth interview will produce big benefits in understanding your target customers.

What makes interviews so insightful?

By speaking directly with an ideal customer, you’ll gain greater empathy for their experience , and you can follow insightful threads that can produce plenty of 'Aha!' moments.

3. Focus groups: the most unreliable

Focus groups bring together a carefully selected group of people who fit a company’s target market. A trained moderator leads a conversation surrounding the product, user experience, or marketing message to gain deeper insights.

What makes focus groups so unreliable?

If you’re new to market research, we wouldn’t recommend starting with focus groups. Doing it right is expensive , and if you cut corners, your research could fall victim to all kinds of errors. Dominance bias (when a forceful participant influences the group) and moderator style bias (when different moderator personalities bring about different results in the same study) are two of the many ways your focus group data could get skewed.

4. Observation: the most powerful

During a customer observation session, someone from the company takes notes while they watch an ideal user engage with their product (or a similar product from a competitor).

What makes observation so clever and powerful?

‘Fly-on-the-wall’ observation is a great alternative to focus groups. It’s not only less expensive, but you’ll see people interact with your product in a natural setting without influencing each other. The only downside is that you can’t get inside their heads, so observation still isn't a recommended replacement for customer surveys and interviews.

The following questions will help you get to know your users on a deeper level when you interview them. They’re general questions, of course, so don’t be afraid to make them your own.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

How you ask this question, and what you want to know, will vary depending on your business model (e.g. business-to-business marketing is usually more focused on someone’s profession than business-to-consumer marketing).

It’s a great question to start with, and it’ll help you understand what’s relevant about your user demographics (age, race, gender, profession, education, etc.), but it’s not the be-all-end-all of market research. The more specific questions come later.

2. What does your day look like?

This question helps you understand your users’ day-to-day life and the challenges they face. It will help you gain empathy for them, and you may stumble across something relevant to their buying habits.

3. Do you ever purchase [product/service type]?

This is a ‘yes or no’ question. A ‘yes’ will lead you to the next question.

4. What problem were you trying to solve or what goal were you trying to achieve?

This question strikes to the core of what someone’s trying to accomplish and why they might be willing to pay for your solution.

5. Take me back to the day when you first decided you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this goal.

This is the golden question, and it comes from Adele Revella, Founder and CEO of Buyer Persona Institute . It helps you get in the heads of your users and figure out what they were thinking the day they decided to spend money to solve a problem.

If you take your time with this question, digging deeper where it makes sense, you should be able to answer all the relevant information you need to understand their perspective.

“The only scripted question I want you to ask them is this one: take me back to the day when you first decided that you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this kind of a goal. Not to buy my product, that’s not the day. We want to go back to the day that when you thought it was urgent and compelling to go spend money to solve a particular problem or achieve a goal. Just tell me what happened.”

— Adele Revella , Founder/CEO at Buyer Persona Institute

Bonus question: is there anything else you’d like to tell me?

This question isn’t just a nice way to wrap it up—it might just give participants the opportunity they need to tell you something you really need to know.

That’s why Sarah Doody, author of UX Notebook , adds it to the end of her written surveys.

“I always have a last question, which is just open-ended: “Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” And sometimes, that’s where you get four paragraphs of amazing content that you would never have gotten if it was just a Net Promoter Score [survey] or something like that.”

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

Qualitative research asks questions that can’t be reduced to a number, such as, “What is your job title?” or “What did you like most about your customer service experience?” 

Quantitative research asks questions that can be answered with a numeric value, such as, “What is your annual salary?” or “How was your customer service experience on a scale of 1-5?”

 → Read more about the differences between qualitative and quantitative user research .

How do I do my own market research?

You can do your own quick and effective market research by 

Surveying your customers

Building user personas

Studying your users through interviews and observation

Wrapping your head around your data with tools like flow models, affinity diagrams, and customer journey maps

What is the difference between market research and user research?

Market research takes a broad look at potential customers—what problems they’re trying to solve, their buying experience, and overall demand. User research, on the other hand, is more narrowly focused on the use (and usability ) of specific products.

What are the main criticisms of market research?

Many marketing professionals are critical of market research because it can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s often easier to convince your CEO or CMO to let you do lean market research rather than something more extensive because you can do it yourself. It also gives you quick answers so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Do I need a market research firm to get reliable data?

Absolutely not! In fact, we recommend that you start small and do it yourself in the beginning. By following a lean market research strategy, you can uncover some solid insights about your clients. Then you can make changes, test them out, and see whether the results are positive. This is an excellent strategy for making quick changes and remaining competitive.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Everything You Can Do with Market Research Online Surveys

 market research online surveys

If you’ve ever begged the question, what can you do with market research online surveys? — we’ve got but one key response:

More like, what can’t you do with online market research surveys? 

These digital tools gain you a wide range of insights into virtually anything about your target market or any target audience you intend to study.

You can apply them to any research project , as they grant you data on past campaigns (think existing ads, products or service sessions), as well as prepare you before you take any new action for your business.

Given that market research surveys have so many purposes, survey data remains important for both small and large businesses .

It is thus hardly surprising that the market research industry has grown 3.6% per year between 2017 and 2022 in the US on average. After all, it wouldn’t grow if businesses stopped relying on it.

This article gives you a deep dive into market research online surveys, what they entail, their importance and all of their applications.   

Understanding Market Research Online Surveys

An online market research survey is both a major method and tool for conducting market research , which is the practice of studying your target market, the group of customers most likely to buy from your business.

Market research entails researching your target market and other customer segments in full depth , thereby understanding who they are, their needs, desires, preferences, aversions and more. 

There are various forms of research, such as scientific, medical, socioeconomic, etc. A market research survey is a tool designed specifically for conducting market research , as its name suggests. 

As such, it should include all the features necessary for researchers to learn what’s driving customer sentiment, market demand and a slew of other customer concerns. 

An online market research survey is the modern form of a market research survey and market research at large . That’s because it is conducted online in an automated way, completes all quotas and grants you the swiftest and most accurate way to pull customer data. 

Unlike other forms of conducting market research, online surveys allow you to get to the heart of the matter on virtually any topic. But there’s much more they can do, provided you use a strong survey platform. 

When it comes to these surveys, the possibilities are endless. 

What You Can Do with a Market Research Online Survey Platform

Most online market research surveys are conducted through an online survey platform . Such a platform allows researchers to partake in every part of the survey process. 

However, keep in mind that all survey platforms are built differently, with different features and levels of respondent outreach. 

The following outlines what you can do with an online survey platform:

  • Target your respondents.
  • Set all respondent qualifications.
  • Create screening questions to further determine eligibility.
  • Set quotas, the number of completed surveys and multiple audiences per survey.
  • Create the survey questions, i.e., the questionnaire.
  • Offer a variety of survey templates to align with various market research campaigns.
  • Create disclaimers, introductions and thank you pages.
  • Allow you to use a variety of question types.
  • Send your survey to a vast network of digital publishers randomly.
  • Allow you to send your survey to specific digital spaces and people. 

In all, an online survey platform allows you to create and administer surveys, thus also working as a survey distribution service. 

A powerful survey platform enables your online survey to perform a variety of tasks, which we cover further down this article. But first, let’s learn about the importance of these surveys. 

The Importance of Market Research Online Surveys

Given all that we’ve already discussed that these surveys are capable of, you’ve probably caught on to their importance.

However, there are so many other reasons why market research online surveys are a must for your business , regardless of its stage, its brand reputation and other factors.

importance of market research online surveys

Firstly, these surveys form a critical aspect of your business strategy . This involves strategizing all things business-related, from understanding the reception to a new product, to how a support session was perceived. 

With this knowledge in tow, you’ll be informed on how to make further business decisions and run different campaigns. Thus, you’ll be less likely to make major mistakes that will affect your bottom line, while delighting your customers . 

Online market research surveys allow you to remain competitive, no matter how many players are in your industry, and how big (or small) your market share is. In fact, conducting these surveys is the answer to how to increase market share , as it helps you carry out productive campaigns. 

These surveys are not just tools for gathering data , instead, they are also data visualizers, presenting your data in a variety of formats. This is especially important when you need to analyze survey data and use it to create a report, a whitepaper or any other type of research asset. 

As data visualization tools, they also reduce and organize large amounts of information allowing you to easily compare two or more sets of data. This will depend on the data filtering capabilities of your online survey. 

In addition, these surveys also allow you to uncover things not only in relation to your customers but your own business. You’ll therefore be able to learn things you would never have otherwise without this survey type. 

That’s because this survey allows you to understand exactly how your customer base views your brand , how often they think about it, what they’d like to improve, what they dislike and so much more.

By understanding your customers in great depth, you won’t simply form better marketing, advertising and other business campaigns. You’ll also build stronger relationships with your customers, which fosters consumer loyalty . 

Loyalty is the bedrock of customer retention, which is more important than customer acquisition. There are many reasons behind this, including the fact that the chances of converting existing customers are 60 -70% . The probability of converting a new customer is only 5- 20%.

Thus, by studying your customers with this survey, you’ll be able to understand them well, thus better appealing and catering to customers, strengthening your relationship. In turn, you’re building loyalty, allowing you to increase your customer retention rate . 

Market research online surveys don’t merely allow you to understand how customers view your business, but your competitors as well. In this way, you can obtain all the competitive research you need simply by conducting such a survey.

All in all, these surveys are extremely important for all business affairs, as they help measure the representativeness of customer views and needs . The intelligence you gain from them allows you to make crucial decisions.

What You Can Study with Market Research Online Surveys

As mentioned, there are a myriad of things you can study with these surveys. As such, you can apply them to specific areas of business, including specific campaigns and macro applications. 

As such, here we lay out several main purposes of conducting online market research surveys. As you can see, these are high-level and have many sub-methods and applications. 

  • General Marketing : Marketing involves all the activities performed to aid a business sell its products/services, which includes educating customers, interacting with them and more. Marketing market research exists to help businesses gauge their campaign efficacy and better understand how their customers view various campaigns. 
  • Advertising : Used to deploy sponsored messages to grow demand and elicit purchases, advertising , you can leverage it to influence customer behavior. This involves prompting existing customers to make more purchases or to gain new customers. Surveys can be used to determine which advertising messages are the most resonant and which ads elicit the most interest. You can ask questions to compare ads and their different parts. 
  • Branding : This discipline involves creating a reputation, an image and a set of associations around a brand. Branding market research helps brands differentiate themselves from one another and form a style unique to a company. Businesses can tie these surveys to branding by using them to test new logos, slogans, value propositions, content ideas and more.
  • Market Segmentation: Market segmentation is a macro-application that refers to dividing a target market into smaller segments and assigning certain values to each segment to better understand all your customers. That’s because a target market includes all the customers most likely to buy from a particular business and is not solely defined by one group. Researchers can create questions about their target market’s habits, lifestyles, preferences and more to distill them into several segments. From there, marketers can adopt different marketing campaigns for each segment. 
  • PR : Public Relations, or PR, as it is commonly referred to, aims to control the distribution and spread of information about a company (or individual) and the public. Its goal is to control the narrative of a business or organization to gain positive public perception. These surveys can help by asking questions on how well respondents know a business and their general thoughts on its operations, products, experiences, performance, etc. Researchers can also test out press release ideas and pitches through these surveys. 

brand tracking

  • Brand Awareness : This goes beyond whether or not your target market has heard of your brand. Brand awareness also deals with the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize your brand under various conditions and circumstances. A strong brand awareness is necessary to build long-lasting relationships with existing customers, as well as draw in the interest of new and potential customers.

Specific Market Research Endeavors to Study with Market Research Online Surveys

In the previous section, we discussed several broad campaigns, macro-applications and business topics that this survey type can support. Now, let’s move on to more specific usages of these kinds of surveys .

Here are some of the more specific purposes a market research online survey campaign helps serve:

  • You can use this survey to form a target market analysis .
  • It will allow you to understand all the needs, concerns and behaviors of your target market and its segments.
  • This includes forming it as the NPS, CSAT, CES, visual rating surveys & more
  • Doing so allows you to understand your customers’ CLV (customer lifetime value) .
  • Use it to test product satisfaction.
  • Innovate products with new features and upgrades.
  • Understand how your product compares with competitors’ offerings.
  • Use it to perform regular checks on the opinions of your brand.
  • Uncover customer aversions to avoid using in your messaging and brand image.
  • Use it to run a pulse survey on your employees.
  • Retain strong company morale by discovering your employees’ thoughts on their job training, roadmaps, pipelines, their boss and more.
  • Use it to learn about your customer experience (CX). 
  • This can involve all aspects of the customer buying journey .
  • Use this survey for B2B endeavors.
  • This will help you learn about the specific needs and desires of your target market, specifically your B2B clients such as partners, vendors and other business entities.
  • Use it to keep up with market and niche trends.
  • Use it to produce a market trend analysis , so that you can analyze trends in an industry, including past and current market behavior, and dominant patterns of the market and its consumers.
  • This makes it easier to change with the times.
  • Being able to compare your brand with others
  • Getting a feel of the thoughts and attitudes in your overall space
  • Use it to create a customer behavior analysis . 
  • Learn the motivations of customers, their lifestyles and how those affect their purchasing behavior.
  • Create an RFM analysis to learn about your customers’ recency and frequency of purchases, along with their monetary value.
  • Use it to form a demographic analysis of your target market.
  • This is one of the preliminary things you ought to know about your customers.
  • Use it to create a psychographic analysis of your target market.
  • This allows you to understand your customers’ psychological characteristics, such as their values, desires, goals, interests, fears, aversions and lifestyle choices.

What You Can Set Up with Market Research Online Surveys

Now that you understand the various macro-campaigns and applications to use with these surveys, along with the specific tasks you can apply them to, let’s dive into this survey type itself. 

There is plenty that you can set up with this survey type, along with key market research functions (more on the latter in the next section).

Thus, you’ll find several aspects of these surveys as you set them up. That’s because, as the previous section informed, you can use them to form specific market research survey types such as customer satisfaction surveys, etc.

Here is what you can set up within these surveys:

  • This is the heart of any survey, as it contains all the questions.
  • You can build sophisticated survey paths with advanced skip logic , depending on the survey platform you use. These route respondents to different follow-up questions based on their previous answers.
  • This section involves adding all the respondent qualifications you seek to designate your survey audience .
  • This section also contains your screener, to qualify people based on how they answer screening questions. 

survey target audience targeting

  • This dictates how you will distribute a survey to your target audience.
  • Random Device Engagement (RDE) : A kind of organic sampling , RDE deploys surveys to a massive network of online sites, such as websites and apps. Respondents are targeted at random in their natural digital environments.
  • Specific Online Channels and Respondents: You can also send surveys to the specific digital spaces you choose, such as your own website and social media with the Distribution Link feature. You can also send surveys to specific people via email with this link.
  • There are various ways the survey can be presented. Within your survey results dashboard , you can view resultant data in the form of tables, graphs and charts.
  • You can also view it via other visualizations, such as the kinds in imports like PDFs, Excel, CSV and Crosstabs . 
  • You can also view data granularly, viewing how each demographic answered questions by filtering the resulting data.

What Research Capabilities Online Market Research Surveys Include

Lastly, let’s touch upon the market research capabilities that these surveys can carry out. Not all market research surveys have these capabilities, as not all survey platforms offer them.  

At Pollfish, we go beyond surveys. 

That’s because Pollfish is not just a survey platform; it provides a full-scale market research experience . That’s because we offer a wide scope of functionalities that the average survey platform simply doesn’t have.  

As such, you’ll find much more than merely survey creation on this platform. 

You’ll find the following market research capabilities on the online market research survey on the Pollfish platform:

  • You can conduct both Monadic A/B testing and sequential A/B testing . 
  • Monadic A/B testing lets respondents choose their preferences for one concept or product they randomly receive out of many. These are what the researcher wants to test and compare, exposing the respondents to one concept instead of two or more at once.
  • Focusing participants’ attention on just one concept at a time grants researchers insights into making product, pricing and various marketing decisions.
  • Monadic testing is commonly used for gathering independent data for each stimulus — a contrast to comparison testing, where several stimuli are tested side-by-side.
  • Sequential A/B testing uses concepts with a specific distribution: all possible combinations are derived from the concepts that are selected to be shown. 
  • Thus, each concept is evenly distributed and presented to the respondents at equal times in the first position. 
  • This reduces biases that may occur from serving a concept always at the first position of a combination.
  • A conjoint analysis allows researchers to gauge the value that customers place on different aspects of a product or service. 
  • It shows exactly how your customers perceive the makeup of your offerings.
  • It unveils the distinct advantages and imperfections of your product features.
  • This method breaks a product or service down by its components, called attributes and levels. Researchers can test different combinations of the components to identify consumer preferences.
  • You’ll get a rich evaluation of how your customers rate the unique features of a product, rather than passing a general judgment on it.
  • Also called the Best-Worst Scale, a Maxdiff Analysis is a system for prioritizing new product ideas and customizing them to consumer preferences.
  • Respondents choose the best and the worst option from a given set of options, which relate to a product and its features.
  • Respondents rate a list of items by selecting only two of them — the complete opposite of each other, labeling one as the best of the list and one as the worst.

MaxDiff analysis

  • The Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter is a pricing framework that provides data for decision-making in regard to consumer preferences on price. 
  • The meter exists in the form of a graph, with ratings on price and value, presented as responses to survey questions that focus on the prices of different products and services.
  • It is used to determine customers’ willingness to pay a range of prices.
  • It allows businesses of different sizes and industries to set the proper prices of their offerings so that they can be in line with customer expectations.
  • It helps conclude the prices that your target market deems acceptable, too high, too low and optimal.

Conducting Thorough Market Research

As you may have gathered, online market research surveys offer a vast amount of capabilities. As such, you can take on various macro-applications, specific tasks and projects by applying these kinds of surveys.

While these surveys offer a wide breadth of functionalities and insights, they are limited by the online survey platform that administers them . In essence, it is the survey platform that grants these surveys all their powers.

As aforementioned, not all survey platforms have the same features; thus, not all market research online surveys can offer all of the functionalities and features mentioned in this article.

Thus, you should select your survey platform carefully. 

Pollfish survey software allows you to create a thorough survey data collection , one you can customize to your liking, view however you please and organize to the max.

In addition, with our vast array of question types, you can create virtually any type of online market research survey to support your research campaigns.

Researchers can leverage a wide range of information on their respondents by accessing a wide pool of insights in their survey results dashboard .

In addition, we also offer the advanced skip logic feature, which routes respondents to relevant follow-up questions based on their answers to a previous question.  

Thanks to our advanced market research platform, you can leverage the maximum number of market research capabilities with our online surveys. 

Do you want to distribute your survey? Pollfish offers you access to millions of targeted consumers to get survey responses from $0.95 per complete. Launch your survey today.

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Guide to market research surveys

guide to market research surveys

Research Director

Market research surveys are powerful tools that help companies better understand current and potential customers. This information can be used to make business decisions based on facts and data —not flimsy gut feelings. But how, exactly, do you go about conducting market research surveys? We answer this question and more below.

What are market research surveys?

Market research surveys are a reliable means of gathering insight into the people that matter most: your target audience. Put more simply, surveys help market researchers get to know current and potential customers. And in some cases, like new product launches, can help to determine who your customers are.

The type of information extracted from these surveys varies. However, businesses typically use market research surveys to collect demographic data as well as data related to consumer desires, beliefs, and purchasing behaviour. For example, a company may develop a market research survey to evaluate brand awareness. Meanwhile, another company may design a market research survey to assess demand for a potential product.

It’s worth noting that market research surveys are an example of primary research. That means you are collecting information that hasn’t already been collected. Comparatively, secondary research involves using pre-existing data. For example, market researchers may reference census data.

Furthermore, it’s also important to note that the data collected through market research surveys is usually quantitative. This allows company executives to make quick, fact-based business decisions. For instance, information gleaned through a market research survey may show that customers in certain areas are willing to spend 50 percent more on a particular product. Companies can use this information to adjust pricing accordingly.

While online surveys are typically used to collect quantitative data, they can also be useful in collecting qualitative information as well. Market researchers achieve this by including open-ended questions that require panellists to type answers into a comment box. From there, market researchers can analyse the text manually or use text analysis tools.

Why use market research surveys?

Market research surveys provide a window into the consumer psyche, helping market researchers and end users better understand consumer wants, needs, and pain points. Companies can then use this information to develop products and services that resonate with the target market or better understand and respond to consumer concerns.

Simply put, market research surveys can boost the bottom line by helping businesses:

Research and analyse a target market

The primary goal of a market research survey is to gain insight into the people who are buying or who may buy your products or services. This insight may range from customer satisfaction to a consumer’s reaction to advertisements (i.e., ad testing).

Market research surveys often collect demographic data as well to enable deeper analysis among sub-groups of the population or your target market. For example, a questionnaire may request information regarding gender, location, and education level.

Measure brand awareness

When you live and breathe your company, it can be difficult to objectively assess what your target market thinks of your products and services. (Or, if your products and services are even on their radar.) That’s where a brand awareness survey comes into play.

A brand awareness survey seeks to evaluate consumers’ awareness of your brand, frequency of usage, and their perception of it compared to competitors. This information can be used to determine if your company is breaking through the noise or if more energy needs to be invested in marketing efforts.

Gain insight into current or future products

Is a product meeting customer needs? The best way to find out is to ask customers directly through an online product feedback survey. This questionnaire may ask questions like: ‘What changes would improve the product?’ and ‘What do you like most about products available from other brands?’

A similar type of survey can be conducted prior to releasing a product as well. These surveys help companies work out kinks or determine which features are most important to consumers before officially launching the product.

Types of market research surveys

Market research surveys can give companies the information needed to make key decisions, from adjusting or determining pricing to providing a new service. However, to collect meaningful data, market researchers must be sure to select the correct type of survey based on the target audience and the overarching research goal.

Online surveys

Online surveys (aka panel surveys ) are developed using survey platforms and then distributed to panellists (typically via email).

In recent years, online surveys have exploded in popularity, and with good reason. Thanks to the internet, market researchers can use this tool to reach consumers across the globe quickly. Even better, this survey method is relatively quick and affordable.

However, there are some downsides. Namely, online surveys are vulnerable to survey fraud—a phenomenon in which panellists or online bots offer disingenuous responses. Respondents may, for example, straight-line or speed through questions. Meanwhile, some scammers make a living by intentionally hacking surveys to collect economic incentives.

  • Relatively low cost
  • Global accessibility
  • Real-time access to results
  • Convenient for both panellists and researchers
  • Quick execution
  • Vulnerable to survey fraud
  • Vulnerable to response bias
  • Sampling is limited to respondents with internet access

In-person interviews

In-person interviews have long been a staple of market research. To conduct these interviews , participants must travel to a physical location. From there, a market researcher asks a series of questions that are answered verbally.

There are clear benefits of this survey method. In particular, a market researcher is present to answer and clarify any questions that the interviewee may have. In comparison, panellists completing online questionnaires may abandon the survey altogether if they become confused.

Nevertheless, in-person interviews are significantly more expensive and time-consuming. Participants may also feel less inclined to offer honest responses to potentially sensitive questions (e.g., ‘How many alcoholic beverages do you consume each week?’).

  • Market researcher is available to offer clarification
  • Moderators can take note of non-verbal cues
  • Panellists can experience products in real life (in the case of product testing)
  • Relatively higher cost
  • More time-consuming
  • Panellists are geographically limited

Telephone surveys

During a telephone survey, market researchers ask panellists a series of questions over the phone.

As with the in-person survey, the primary benefit of a telephone survey is that the moderator can offer further instruction and clarification if a respondent is confused by a particular question.

There are downsides, though. Chiefly, it can be difficult for market researchers to connect with panellists. Most people screen their calls and are hesitant to answer a phone number they don’t recognize. Additionally, questions that can be asked in an online survey to keep the respondent engaged typically do not translate over to phone interviews well. For example, an exercise where respondents are asked to rank a list of 10 items in order of importance is easier to complete when you can see all 10 items on your screen vs. a phone interviewer having to read them off to you.

  • Wide geographic access
  • Relatively cost-effective
  • Market researcher available to answer questions
  • Difficult to connect with panellists
  • Questions must be simple and brief
  • Panellists may be unwilling to share sensitive information

Mail surveys

With a mail survey, questionnaires are sent directly to panellists’ homes. The panellists then complete the surveys and mail them back to the company.

Though this method may seem antiquated, it allows market researchers to target segments of the population based on geography and reach people who are not part of online panels or are an underrepresented group. Panellists may also be more willing to offer honest answers in writing as opposed to online, in-person, or via phone.

However, there are some clear downsides. Namely, it can be difficult to motivate panellists to return the surveys via mail and there is no way to ensure that the sample that responds is representative. The process is also significantly slower than other methods, particularly online surveying.

  • Lower administrative costs relative to in-person/telephone surveys
  • Geographical segmentation is possible
  • Panellists may offer more honest responses
  • Time-consuming
  • High nonresponse error
  • Difficult and time consuming to process data

How to conduct market research surveys

If you want to gain insight into what makes your target consumers tick, then market research surveys are a must. But it’s important that these surveys be conducted properly, otherwise you risk wasting company time and money. A faulty survey could also sour a customer’s relationship with your company.

Fortunately, you can conduct market research surveys that yield high-quality data by following the six steps below.

Step 1: Set clear research objectives

Start the process by establishing a clear research goal. What do you hope to discover by conducting this research? Be sure to get specific here; the more granular, the better.

Examples of research objectives include:

  • To better understand our customer journey, we aim to discover what triggers our five user segments to purchase Product X.
  • To improve our spring marketing campaign, we want to assess brand awareness among consumers ages 18 to 25.

Knowing what you hope to discover will help you design an effective market research survey.

Step 2: Identify your audience

Before you can conduct a survey, you must determine who you will be surveying. In other words, you must identify your audience. Will you be targeting existing customers? Or are you hoping to collect information about prospective consumers?

If you’re struggling with this step, let your research objective act as a navigational compass. For example, let’s say your goal is to gauge customers’ willingness to purchase a product at a certain price point. With this in mind, you may target people who earn over a certain amount. Or, you may segment based on geography to determine how different areas respond to price changes.

Again, use your research goal as a guide. Then, work to determine the key demographics of your target audience.

Step 3: Create survey timelines

This step is rather straightforward but important nonetheless. Essentially, you want to answer questions like:

  • When will the survey be sent to panellists?
  • Will the survey be sent multiple times?
  • When do you hope to collect all of the information?

Keep in mind that when you send surveys will affect the quality and quantity of data collected. If you choose to send a survey at midnight, for instance, it will likely have a lower response rate than a survey sent to panellists in the morning.

Step 4: Determine margins of error

In an ideal world, companies would survey every single consumer. But since this is unrealistic, market researchers instead survey a subsetof the total population. Ergo, the resulting data may not fully reflect the total population but our goal is to make it representative.

Exactly how much your sample data differs from “true data” that would be achieved if the total population were surveyed is called the margin of error. The larger the margin of error, the higher the uncertainty. As a market researcher, it’s up to you to determine how much uncertainty is acceptable. This value will help you determine an appropriate sample size.

Step 5: Send the survey

After designing the survey with respect to survey design best practices , it’s time to send it to your target audience.

As responses roll in, you must check the quality of your data . It’s also important that you set a total sample size for the number of responses collected. The value you land on will be determined by your margin of error.

Step 6: Analyse the data

Once responses have been collected, the last step is to use data analysis tools to answer your overarching research question. Collecting data that is representative of your consumer universe also allows you to analyze the data by different subgroups such as men vs. women or Millenials vs. Gen X. The information gleaned through this process will help you make data-driven decisions that serve your consumers and give your company a competitive edge.

As a leader in the realm of online survey design, Kantar is committed to helping brands develop questionnaires that yield meaningful, high-quality data. We do this by equipping market research partners with state-of-the-art programming tools and results-driven survey consultation. Our audience network is also the biggest and best source of real people who are who they say they are—not scammers or bots.

Want to know more? Speak to our award-winning survey design team to learn how we can help you design surveys that provide invaluable business insights.

Want more like this?

Read: 11 best practices for more effective survey designs  

Read: How to combat survey fraud  

Read: Your guide for writing open-ended questions for more thoughtful feedback

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Market Research Surveys: How to Conduct Online Market Research

Market research survey is a powerful tool, and one of the best ways to make sure that you’re creating products and services that are tailored to your most competitive market. As a company, you want to make sure that you’re making products that people want, and market research is the best way to do that. But in order to do market research, you need to make sure you’re using the right market research tools. Many companies use panels, but panels suffer from several problems. Panels are small samples, they generally have only a few talkative people, and are subject to biases.

Panels can be useful for brainstorming, but when it comes to discovering your market and ensuring that you are creating and marketing products for it successfully, you need to collect more information and in a way that you can analyze easily.

Market Research Surveys to Research and Analyze Your Target Market

It’s for these reasons that so many businesses use online market research surveys as their best tool for learning more about their market. These surveys allow you to discover much more information about the target market – and possibly even explore markets that you never thought possible. With surveys, you can:

  • Research all Markets – Including trends, buying habits, etc.
  • Gather Customer Feedback – Learn what people think of your business and products
  • Understand Customer Awareness – Find out more about the effects of your marketing efforts

You can use surveys like a panel as well, except you’re able to reach a much larger audience, and what market research surveys allow is for you to segment your responses into all types of categories (using demographics data, buying habits, etc.) and use that to discover where your market is and what you can do to reach it. Market research surveys are also a great way to get into new markets and find out what your competitors are doing as well.

SurveyMethods’ online survey software allows you to do all of those things and more. With surveys as the best way to evaluate your market, our software has tools that are designed specifically to make the process more intuitive and useful for your needs.

We have online reporting options, dozens of customization options, embedded video capabilities and so much more. Our online survey software even comes with a complete library of sample surveys so that you do not have to start from scratch every time.

Sign up with SurveyMethods  today to start running your  market research studies , or to play around with our program and see why we’re a great tool for evaluating your target markets.


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  • to withdraw your consent to the use of your information
  • to complain to a supervisory authority
  • Sensitive personal information:  We do collect what is commonly referred to as ‘sensitive personal information’, however we will only capture essential minimum data where it is strictly necessary.  Any sensitive data will be held on our secure servers and will be transferred securely using SSL 256-bit encryption.

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact the data controller.

The data controller in respect of our website is SurveyMethods and can be contacted at 800-601-2462 or 214-257-8909 .

You can also contact the data controller by emailing our data protection officer at [email protected] .

We collect and use information from website visitors in accordance with this section and the section entitled 'Disclosure and additional uses of your information'.

Web server log information

We use a third party server to host our website called  Google Cloud the privacy policy of which is available here:

Our website server automatically logs the IP address you use to access our website as well as other information about your visit such as the pages accessed, information requested, the date and time of the request, the source of your access to our website (e.g. the website or URL (link) which referred you to our website), and your browser version and operating system.

Use of website server log information for IT security purposes

We collect and store server logs to ensure network and IT security and so that the server and website remain uncompromised. This includes analysing log files to help identify and prevent unauthorised access to our network, the distribution of malicious code, denial of services attacks and other cyber-attacks, by detecting unusual or suspicious activity.

Unless we are investigating suspicious or potential criminal activity, we do not make, nor do we allow our hosting provider to make, any attempt to identify you from the information collected via server logs.

Legal basis for processing:  Compliance with a legal obligation to which we are subject (Article 6(1)(c) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Legal obligation:  We have a legal obligation to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk of our processing of information about individuals. Recording access to our website using server log files is such a measure.

Legal basis for processing:  Our legitimate interests (Article 6(1)(f) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Legitimate interests:  We have a legitimate interest in using your information for the purposes of ensuring network and information security.

Use of website server log information to analyse website use and improve our website

We use the information collected by our website server logs to analyse how our website users interact with our website and its features. For example, we analyse the number of visits and unique visitors we receive, the time and date of the visit, the location of the visit and the operating system and browser use.

We use the information gathered from the analysis of this information to improve our website. For example, we use the information gathered to change the information, content and structure of our website and individual pages based according to what users are engaging most with and the duration of time spent on particular pages on our website.

Legal basis for processing:  our legitimate interests (Article 6(1)(f) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Legitimate interest:  improving our website for our website users and getting to know our website users’ preferences so our website can better meet their needs and desires.

Cookies are data files which are sent from a website to a browser to record information about users for various purposes.

We use cookies on our website, including essential, functional, analytical and targeting cookies. For further information on how we use cookies, please see our cookie policy .

You can reject some or all of the cookies we use on or via our website by changing your browser settings or non-essential cookies by using a cookie control tool, but doing so can impair your ability to use our website or some or all of its features. For further information about cookies, including how to change your browser settings, please visit  or see our cookie policy .

When you contact us

We collect and use information from individuals who contact us in accordance with this section and the section entitled 'Disclosure and additional uses of your information'.

When you send an email to the email address displayed on our website we collect your email address and any other information you provide in that email (such as your name, telephone number and the information contained in any signature block in your email).

Legitimate interest(s):  Responding to enquiries and messages we receive and keeping records of correspondence.

Legal basis for processing:  Necessary to perform a contract or to take steps at your request to enter into a contract (Article 6(1)(b) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Reason why necessary to perform a contract:  Where your message relates to us providing you with goods or services or taking steps at your request prior to providing you with our goods and services (for example, providing you with information about such goods and services), we will process your information in order to do so).

Enquiry forms

When you contact us using an enquiry form, we collect your personal details and match this to any information we hold about you on record. Typical personal information collected will include your name and contact details. We will also record the time, date and the specific form you completed.

If you do not provide the mandatory information required by our contact form, you will not be able to submit the contact form and we will not receive your enquiry.

We will also use this information to tailor any follow up sales and marketing communications with you. For further information, see the section of this privacy policy titled 'Marketing communications'.

Messages you send to us via our contact form may be stored outside the European Economic Area on our contact form provider’s servers.

When you contact us by phone, we collect your phone number and any information provide to us during your conversation with us.

We may record phone calls with customers for training and customer service purposes.

Legal basis for processing:  Our legitimate interests (Article 6(1)(f) of the General Data Protection Regulation)

Reason why necessary to perform a contract:  Where your message relates to us providing you with goods or services or taking steps at your request prior to providing you with our goods and services (for example, providing you with information about such goods and services), we will process your information in order to do so.

If you contact us by post, we will collect any information you provide to us in any postal communications you send us.

Legal basis for processing:  Necessary to perform a contract or to take steps at your request to enter into a contract (Article 6(1)(b) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

We collect and use information from individuals who interact with particular features of our website in accordance with this section and the section entitled 'Disclosure and additional uses of your information'.

Social Media Tools

We have a wide range of social media tools to be able to use on our website.  These tools include (but are not limited to); Sharing, Likes, comments and submitting content both on and off our website. By using these tools, you are providing your consent to store and use the submitted data, whether personal information or general information, both on and off our website.

Legal basis for processing:  Your consent (Article 6(1)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation). Consent: You give your consent to us storing and using submitted content using the steps described above.

We may also use this information to tailor any follow up sales and marketing communications with you. For further information, see the section of this privacy policy titled 'Marketing Communications'.

Information you submit may be stored both inside and outside the European Economic Area on our servers as well as third-party servers such as Facebook.

Registered Users

When you register as a user on our website:

  • We collect and store one or more of the following: Your email address, password, first name, last name, job function, company name, phone, billing address, country, state/province/region, city, zip/postal code, and very limited credit card details (the cardholder’s name, only the last 4 digits of the credit card number, and the expiration date) for authentication. We do not store the CVV number.
  • We use this data to provide you with customer support and other services, bill you for our services, collect feedback, send you account-related notifications, and keep you informed about our key features, important feature updates, and latest releases.
  • We store data related to your surveys, polls, and newsletters in your account that you access using your login-id and password. This includes questions, responses, images, email lists, data you enter while configuring or customizing any settings, etc. This data is processed by SurveyMethods to enable you to perform functions like design and distribution of surveys, polls, newsletters, and analysis & reporting.
  • We do not share any personally identifiable and account-related data with a third party without your explicit consent. However, if you use the SurveyMethods API or 3rd Party Integrations, you will need to share your SurveyMethods login-id and the “API Key” with the 3rd party for authentication. For more on our API Terms of Use, click here .
  • We may display your organization’s name and/or logo on our customer listing (unless agreed upon otherwise by both parties herein).
  • Your data will be visible to those with whom you share your published reports or extracted data/reports.
  • If you collaborate your surveys with other Registered Users, all collaborated data and your login-id will be visible to them.
  • If you are a Child User on an Enterprise account, the Enterprise Master User (Administrator) will be able to see the SurveyMethods login-id, first name, last name, phone number, account type, and expiration date of the Enterprise Child Accounts (Member Accounts). The Enterprise Child Accounts can view the SurveyMethods login-id, first name, last name, phone number, job title, job function, country, state/province/region, and city of the Enterprise Master User.
  • Troubleshoot problems and fix bugs (issues).
  • Ensure website compatibility across different devices and browsers.
  • Identify trends and patterns in the usage of our Services.
  • Gain insights for adding or improving the functionality and usability of our website.
  • Monitor and prevent abuse.
  • To prevent any undesirable, abusive, or illegal activities, we have automated processes in place that check your data for malicious activities, spam, and fraud.
  • We may use your data if required by law, court orders, subpoenas, or to enforce our agreements.
  • We collect information using cookies. Cookies are digital files that allow websites to recognize returning users. While most browsers allow users to refuse cookies or request permission on a case-by-case basis, our site will not function properly without them. SurveyMethods uses cookies primarily to enable the smooth functioning of its Services.
  • While accessing SurveyMethods, you may be able to access links that take you to websites external to SurveyMethods. SurveyMethods is not responsible for the content, policies, or terms of these websites.

GDPR Legal Classification for registered users

Legitimate interest:  Registering and administering accounts on our website to provide access to content, allows you to buy goods and services and facilitates the running and operation of our business.

Transfer and storage of your information 

Information you submit to us via the registration form on our website may be stored outside the European Economic Area on our third-party hosting provider’s servers.

When you register as an end user;

  • SurveyMethods’ Surveys and Polls sent by Registered Users
  • Newsletters from SurveyMethods Newsletter module and sent by Registered Users
  • When responding to a survey or a poll, End Users may provide personal data such as first name, last name, phone number, email address, demographic data like age, date of birth, gender, education, income, marital status, and any other sensitive data that directly or indirectly identifies them. SurveyMethods does not use or share any data of End Users in any way. The Registered User is solely responsible for ensuring that collection and sharing of any End User data, personal or otherwise, is done with the End User’s consent and in accordance with applicable data protection laws.
  • Since the Registered User controls and manages all data of their surveys, polls, and newsletters, End Users may contact the Registered User for any concerns regarding consent, privacy and protection of their data, or if they wish to access, modify, or delete their data.

GDPR Legal Classification for End Users

Visitors to our website

When you visit our website:

  • SurveyMethods may record your personal data (such as your name, email address, phone, company, and the reason you are contacting us) when you visit the SurveyMethods website and contact us using our online form. Any consent for the collection and use of your data in this case is entirely voluntary.
  • We may use your contact information to respond to you. We do not share any personally identifiable information with a third party without your explicit consent.

GDPR Legal Classification for Visitors

When you place an order

We collect and use information from individuals who place an order on our website in accordance with this section and the section entitled 'Disclosure and additional uses of your information'.

Information collected when you place an order

Mandatory information

When you place an order for goods or services on our website, we collect your name, email address, billing address.

If you do not provide this information, you will not be able to purchase goods or services from us on our website or enter into a contract with us.

Legal basis for processing:  Compliance with a legal obligation (Article 6(1)(c) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Legal obligation:  We have a legal obligation to issue you with an invoice for the goods and services you purchase from us where you are VAT registered and we require the mandatory information collected by our checkout form for this purpose. We also have a legal obligation to keep accounting records, including records of transactions.

Additional information 

We can also collect additional information from you, such as your phone number, full name, address etc.

We use this information to manage and improve your customer experience with us.

If you do not supply the additional information requested at checkout, you will not be able to complete your order as we will not have the correct level of information to adequately manage your account.

Legitimate interests: The ability to provide adequate customer service and management of your customer account.

Our content, goods and services

When signing up for content, registering on our website or making a payment, we will use the information you provide in order to contact you regarding related content, products and services.

We will continue to send you marketing communications in relation to similar goods and services if you do not opt out from receiving them.

You can opt-out from receiving marketing communications at any time by emailing [email protected] .

Legitimate interests:  Sharing relevant, timely and industry-specific information on related business services, in order to help your organisation achieve its goals.

Third party goods and services

In addition to receiving information about our products and services, you can opt in to receiving marketing communications from us in relation third party goods and services by email by ticking a box indicating that you would like to receive such communications.

Legal basis for processing:  Consent (Article 6(1)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Consent:  You give your consent to us sending you information about third party goods and services by signing up to receive such information in accordance with the steps described above.

Information for marketing campaigns will be stored outside the European Economic Area on our third-party mailing list provider’s servers in the United States.

For further information about the safeguards used when your information is transferred outside the European Economic Area, see the section of this privacy policy below entitled 'Transfers of your information outside the European Economic Area'.

Use of tracking in emails

We use technologies such as tracking pixels (small graphic files) and tracked links in the emails we send to allow us to assess the level of engagement our emails receive by measuring information such as the delivery rates, open rates, click through rates and content engagement that our emails achieve.

This section sets out how we obtain or collect information about you from third parties.

Information received from third parties

We can often receive information about you from third parties. The third parties from which we receive information about you can include partner events within the marketing industry and other organisations that we have a professional affiliation with.

It is also possible that third parties with whom we have had no prior contact may provide us with information about you.

Information we obtain from third parties will generally be your name and contact details but will include any additional information about you which they provide to us.

Reason why necessary to perform a contract:  Where a third party has passed on information about you to us (such as your name and email address) in order for us to provide services to you, we will process your information in order to take steps at your request to enter into a contract with you and perform a contract with you (as the case may be).

Consent:  Where you have asked a third party to share information about you with us and the purpose of sharing that information is not related to the performance of a contract or services by us to you, we will process your information on the basis of your consent, which you give by asking the third party in question to pass on your information to us.

Legitimate interests:  Where a third party has shared information about you with us and you have not consented to the sharing of that information, we will have a legitimate interest in processing that information in certain circumstances.

For example, we would have a legitimate interest in processing your information to perform our obligations under a sub-contract with the third party, where the third party has the main contract with you. Our legitimate interest is the performance of our obligations under our sub-contract.

Similarly, third parties may pass on information about you to us if you have infringed or potentially infringed any of our legal rights. In this case, we will have a legitimate interest in processing that information to investigate and pursue any such potential infringement.

Information obtained by us from third parties

In certain circumstances (for example, to verify the information we hold about you or obtain missing information we require to provide you with a service) we will obtain information about you from certain publicly accessible sources, both EU and non-EU, such as Companies House, online customer databases, business directories, media publications, social media, and websites (including your own website if you have one).

In certain circumstances will also obtain information about you from private sources, both EU and non-EU, such as marketing data services.

Legitimate interests:  Sharing relevant, timely and industry-specific information on related business services.

Where we receive information about you in error

If we receive information about you from a third party in error and/or we do not have a legal basis for processing that information, we will delete your information.

This section sets out the circumstances in which will disclose information about you to third parties and any additional purposes for which we use your information.

Disclosure of your information to service providers

We use a number of third parties to provide us with services which are necessary to run our business or to assist us with running our business.

These include the following: Internet services, IT service providers and web developers.

Our third-party service providers are located both inside and outside of the European Economic Area.

Your information will be shared with these service providers where necessary to provide you with the service you have requested, whether that is accessing our website or ordering goods and services from us.

We do not display the identities of our service providers publicly by name for security and competitive reasons. If you would like further information about the identities of our service providers, however, please contact us directly by email and we will provide you with such information where you have a legitimate reason for requesting it (where we have shared your information with such service providers, for example).

Legal basis for processing:  Legitimate interests (Article 6(1)(f) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Legitimate interest relied on:  Where we share your information with these third parties in a context other than where is necessary to perform a contract (or take steps at your request to do so), we will share your information with such third parties in order to allow us to run and manage our business efficiently.

Legal basis for processing:  Necessary to perform a contract and/or to take steps at your request prior to entering into a contract (Article 6(1)(b) of the General Data Protection Regulation).

Reason why necessary to perform a contract:  We may need to share information with our service providers to enable us to perform our obligations under that contract or to take the steps you have requested before we enter into a contract with you.

Disclosure and use of your information for legal reasons

Indicating possible criminal acts or threats to public security to a competent authority.

If we suspect that criminal or potential criminal conduct has occurred, we will in certain circumstances need to contact an appropriate authority, such as the police. This could be the case, for instance, if we suspect that fraud or a cyber-crime has been committed or if we receive threats or malicious communications towards us or third parties.

We will generally only need to process your information for this purpose if you were involved or affected by such an incident in some way.

Legitimate interests:  Preventing crime or suspected criminal activity (such as fraud).

In connection with the enforcement or potential enforcement our legal rights

We will use your information in connection with the enforcement or potential enforcement of our legal rights including, for example, sharing information with debt collection agencies if you do not pay amounts owed to us when you are contractually obliged to do so. Our legal rights may be contractual (where we have entered into a contract with you) or non-contractual (such as legal rights that we have under copyright law or tort law).

Legitimate interest:  Enforcing our legal rights and taking steps to enforce our legal rights.

In connection with a legal or potential legal dispute or proceedings

We may need to use your information if we are involved in a dispute with you or a third party for example, either to resolve the dispute or as part of any mediation, arbitration or court resolution or similar process.

Legitimate interest(s):  Resolving disputes and potential disputes.

This section sets out how long we retain your information. We have set out specific retention periods where possible. Where that has not been possible, we have set out the criteria we use to determine the retention period.

Retention periods

Server log information: We retain information on our server logs for 3 months.

Order information: When you place an order for goods and services, we retain that information for seven years following the end of the financial year in which you placed your order, in accordance with our legal obligation to keep records for tax purposes.

Correspondence and enquiries: When you make an enquiry or correspond with us for any reason, whether by email or via our contact form or by phone, we will retain your information for as long as it takes to respond to and resolve your enquiry, and for 36 further months, after which we will archive your information.

Newsletter: We retain the information you used to sign up for our newsletter for as long as you remain subscribed (i.e. you do not unsubscribe).

Registration: We retain the information you used to register for as long as you remain subscribed (i.e. you do not unsubscribe).

Criteria for determining retention periods

In any other circumstances, we will retain your information for no longer than necessary, taking into account the following:

  • the purpose(s) and use of your information both now and in the future (such as whether it is necessary to continue to store that information in order to continue to perform our obligations under a contract with you or to contact you in the future);
  • whether we have any legal obligation to continue to process your information (such as any record-keeping obligations imposed by relevant law or regulation);
  • whether we have any legal basis to continue to process your information (such as your consent);
  • how valuable your information is (both now and in the future);
  • any relevant agreed industry practices on how long information should be retained;
  • the levels of risk, cost and liability involved with us continuing to hold the information;
  • how hard it is to ensure that the information can be kept up to date and accurate; and
  • any relevant surrounding circumstances (such as the nature and status of our relationship with you).

We take appropriate technical and organisational measures to secure your information and to protect it against unauthorised or unlawful use and accidental loss or destruction, including:

  • only sharing and providing access to your information to the minimum extent necessary, subject to confidentiality restrictions where appropriate, and on an anonymised basis wherever possible;
  • using secure servers to store your information;
  • verifying the identity of any individual who requests access to information prior to granting them access to information;
  • using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software to encrypt any payment transactions you make on or via our website;
  • only transferring your information via closed system or encrypted data transfers;

Transmission of information to us by email

Transmission of information over the internet is not entirely secure, and if you submit any information to us over the internet (whether by email, via our website or any other means), you do so entirely at your own risk.

We cannot be responsible for any costs, expenses, loss of profits, harm to reputation, damages, liabilities or any other form of loss or damage suffered by you as a result of your decision to transmit information to us by such means.

Your information may be transferred and stored outside the European Economic Area (EEA) in the circumstances set out earlier in this policy.

We will also transfer your information outside the EEA or to an international organisation in order to comply with legal obligations to which we are subject (compliance with a court order, for example). Where we are required to do so, we will ensure appropriate safeguards and protections are in place.

Subject to certain limitations on certain rights, you have the following rights in relation to your information, which you can exercise by writing to the data controller using the details provided at the top of this policy.

  • to request access to your information and information related to our use and processing of your information;
  • to request the correction or deletion of your information;
  • to request that we restrict our use of your information;
  • to receive information which you have provided to us in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format (e.g. a CSV file) and the right to have that information transferred to another data controller (including a third-party data controller);
  • to object to the processing of your information for certain purposes (for further information, see the section below entitled 'Your right to object to the processing of your information for certain purposes'); and
  • to withdraw your consent to our use of your information at any time where we rely on your consent to use or process that information. Please note that if you withdraw your consent, this will not affect the lawfulness of our use and processing of your information on the basis of your consent before the point in time when you withdraw your consent.

In accordance with Article 77 of the General Data Protection Regulation, you also have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State of your habitual residence, place of work or of an alleged infringement of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Further information on your rights in relation to your personal data as an individual

You can find out further information about your rights, as well as information on any limitations which apply to those rights, by reading the underlying legislation contained in Articles 12 to 22 and 34 of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is available here:

Verifying your identity where you request access to your information

Where you request access to your information, we are required by law to use all reasonable measures to verify your identity before doing so.

These measures are designed to protect your information and to reduce the risk of identity fraud, identity theft or general unauthorised access to your information.

How we verify your identity

Where we possess appropriate information about you on file, we will attempt to verify your identity using that information.

If it is not possible to identity you from such information, or if we have insufficient information about you, we may require original or certified copies of certain documentation in order to be able to verify your identity before we are able to provide you with access to your information.

We will be able to confirm the precise information we require to verify your identity in your specific circumstances if and when you make such a request.

Your right to object

You have the following rights in relation to your information, which you may exercise in the same way as you may exercise by writing to the data controller using the details provided at the top of this policy.

  • to object to us using or processing your information where we use or process it in order to  carry out a task in the public interest or for our legitimate interests , including ‘profiling’ (i.e. analysing or predicting your behaviour based on your information) based on any of these purposes; and
  • to object to us using or processing your information for  direct marketing purposes (including any profiling we engage in that is related to such direct marketing).

You may also exercise your right to object to us using or processing your information for direct marketing purposes by:

  • clicking the unsubscribe link contained at the bottom of any marketing email we send to you and following the instructions which appear in your browser following your clicking on that link;
  • sending an email to [email protected] , asking that we stop sending you marketing communications or by including the words “OPT OUT”.

Sensitive Personal Information

‘Sensitive personal information’ is information about an individual that reveals their racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic information, biometric information for the purpose of uniquely identifying an individual, information concerning health or information concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation.

Our website may allow you to register ‘Sensitive Information’, however when we ask for this, you will be considered to have explicitly consented to us processing that sensitive personal information under Article 9(2)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation.

We update and amend our Privacy Policy from time to time.

Minor changes to our Privacy Policy 

Where we make minor changes to our Privacy Policy, we will update our Privacy Policy with a new effective date stated at the beginning of it. Our processing of your information will be governed by the practices set out in that new version of the Privacy Policy from its effective date onwards.

Major changes to our Privacy Policy or the purposes for which we process your information 

Where we make major changes to our Privacy Policy or intend to use your information for a new purpose or a different purpose than the purposes for which we originally collected it, we will notify you by email (where possible) or by posting a notice on our website.

We will provide you with the information about the change in question and the purpose and any other relevant information before we use your information for that new purpose.

Wherever required, we will obtain your prior consent before using your information for a purpose that is different from the purposes for which we originally collected it.

Because we care about the safety and privacy of children online, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). COPPA and its accompanying regulations protect the privacy of children using the internet. We do not knowingly contact or collect information from persons under the age of 18. The website is not intended to solicit information of any kind from persons under the age of 18.

It is possible that we could receive information pertaining to persons under the age of 18 by the fraud or deception of a third party. If we are notified of this, as soon as we verify the information, we will, where required by law to do so, immediately obtain the appropriate parental consent to use that information or, if we are unable to obtain such parental consent, we will delete the information from our servers. If you would like to notify us of our receipt of information about persons under the age of 18, please do so by contacting us by using the details at the top of this policy.

Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.

If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.


Hello! If you are reading this, then you care about privacy – and your privacy is very important to us. Cookies are an important part of almost all online companies these days, and this page describes what they are, how we use them, what data they collect, and most importantly, how you can change your browser settings to turn them off.


A cookie is a file containing an identifier (a string of letters and numbers) that is sent by a web server to a web browser and is stored by the browser. The identifier is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.

Cookies may be either “persistent” cookies or “session” cookies: a persistent cookie will be stored by a web browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date, unless deleted by the user before the expiry date; a session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.

Cookies do not typically contain any information that personally identifies a user, but personal information that we store about you may be linked to the information stored in and obtained from cookies.


We use cookies for a number of different purposes. Some cookies are necessary for technical reasons; some enable a personalized experience for both visitors and registered users; and some allow the display of advertising from selected third party networks. Some of these cookies may be set when a page is loaded, or when a visitor takes a particular action (clicking the “like” or “follow” button on a post, for example).


We use cookies for the following purposes:


Our service providers use cookies and those cookies may be stored on your computer when you visit our website.

Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics to analyse the use of our website. Google Analytics gathers information about website use by means of cookies. The information gathered relating to our website is used to create reports about the use of our website. Google’s privacy policy is available at

DoubleClick/Google Adwords

We use Google Adwords which also owns DoubleClick for marketing and remarketing purposes.  Cookies are placed on your PC to help us track our adverts performance, as well as to help tailor our marketing to your needs.  You can view Googles Privacy policy here

Facebook and Facebook Pixel

We use Facebook and Facebook Pixel to track our campaigns and to provide social media abilities on our website such as visiting our Facebook page, liking content and more. To view Facebooks Privacy Policy click here .

We use hubspot to manage our relationship with our customers and to track conversions on our website.  You can view HubSpots Privacy Policy here


Most browsers allow you to refuse to accept cookies and to delete cookies. The methods for doing so vary from browser to browser, and from version to version. You can, however, obtain up-to-date information about blocking and deleting cookies via these links:

Blocking all cookies will have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites. If you block cookies, you will not be able to use all the features on our website.


Online Market Research: What It Is and How To Do It

Online Market Research: What It Is and How To Do It

From building a business to buying a house, on Competitive analysisline market research is an effective tool for making sound decisions.

Oh, and it’s not just you. 

Over 53% of consumers do online research routinely, with an astounding 95% reading online reviews before making a purchase.

Malcolm Forbes quote

What is online market research?

Online market research takes secondary data from the internet or collects primary data online to support research or expand knowledge for a chosen topic. The information is then analyzed to inform or substantiate a theory.

Here are a few things you can do with digital market research:

  • Discover new topics or content to write about
  • Track consumer journeys
  • See what creatives and ads perform well
  • Find the best marketing channels
  • Explore which markets are ripe for entry
  • Analyze a target audience
  • Research potential product or service improvements
  • Benchmark your business
  • Understand market dynamics and spot trends
  • Find out what your competitors are doing and unpack their tactics
  • Uncover new opportunities

Digital market research can help a company grow efficiently and effectively —supporting a business in its quest to stay relevant; and to survive and thrive in its market.

Take two, and hear first-hand from Harvard Business School Professor Rem Koning about the difference between traditional market research and state-of-the-art Digital Intelligence powered by behavioral data from Similarweb. 

Online market research methods

Almost all online market research methods can be grouped into two subcategories; primary or secondary market research . Within these two core groups, you also have qualitative and quantitative research methods to consider.

Here’s a quick explainer of the core four types of online market research, including what they are and how to use them.

Primary Market Research

This is the first-hand collection of data by an organization. It gives full control over what questions are asked. The data obtained isn’t freely available online to anyone else , and the person or company conducting the research retains full ownership of the information they acquire.

This type of research wasn’t always this easy to do online. Thanks to advancements in technology and the heightened use of video conferencing in our daily lives – many types of primary research can be done remotely. Market research surveys , online focus groups, and interviews are perhaps the most widely adopted form of online primary research online.

See below for a complete list of primary research types.

types of primary research

Secondary Market Research

This takes information from various sources online and repurposes it to inform or pad-out research into a chosen topic. It’s often quicker and cheaper to conduct than primary market research but offers fewer controls regarding research methodologies and customization. This data is freely available to anyone online, providing no exclusivity with the insights or information used.

This type of digital market research is also known as desk research and is a tried and tested way to gather facts or insights into a market, consumers, competitors, or products. Research reports, digital intelligence platforms, media outlets, and rival websites are some of the most relevant types of research.

But there are others

types of secondary research

Aside from the core online market research methods, there are two other well-known research types to consider.

Qualitative Market Research

This type of digital market research looks at how people feel about a specific topic or brand . It takes more time to plan than most other forms of research, often with a smaller group of people. Let’s say you want to trial a new feature or product; you’d do this form of research pre-launch or post-trial to get under the hood and understand consumer sentiment.

As a form of primary data, it’s a highly tailored form of research that aims to give granular insights into why things are the way they are. Some of the most popular forms of qualitative research that can be done entirely online include focus groups, online forums, and interviews.

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Get actionable insights for market research here

Quantitative Market Research

Quantitative market research is a numbers game. It’s a process that collects and analyzes data, dealing with primary and secondary information contained in a numerical format. The uses of quantitative market research include making predictions, trendspotting, finding patterns, and establishing averages in a market or business.

If an organization needs to do market sizing , market validation , and forecasting – they’ll usually use quantitative research to inform these activities. It can be done online when you need to gather numerical data from or about a target audience . It’s delivered in mixed formats, including raw data, charts, graphics, and tables. A common form of quantitative research that’s done online is a survey—specifically those using close-ended questions with answer options that have a numerical value. Once the values are collected, various analysis tools can be used to turn them into insights.

Read More: 98 Quantitative Market Research Questions & Examples

types of qualitative market research

How to do market research online

As with any project, you must establish its goals, AKA your research objective. Once you have clarity on what you’re trying to achieve , you can map out how to get from point A to point B.

5 steps for doing online market research

Here’s a quick explainer to guide you through the process.

1. Establish research objectives

Consider what you want to learn from your research. Are you trying to find which market could be best to enter next? Perhaps you need to find new opportunities for efficient growth . You might even want to flesh out some ideas for future enhancements to your product.

Whatever it is, write it down and make it your project goal.

2. Select the right online market research methods

Now you know your goal, it’s time to lay out the foundation of your online market research strategy. At this point, the only thing to consider is the type of data you need and the right types of market research to use to help you get it.

There are four core types of market research to choose from.

  • Primary market research
  • Secondary market research (also known as desk research )
  • Qualitative market research
  • Quantitative market research

Not sure where to start? Read this post to learn more about the different types of market research .

3. Prepare research materials

As with most things in life, the better prepared you are, the easier the task is to complete. Online market research is no different. This essential third step in the digital research process entails laying the foundations for what’s to come. This means you need to collate any:

  • Research questions
  • Delegation of any responsibilities

As someone who’s written extensively about doing online market research and spoken with many thought leaders and professionals about the topic, the biggest tip I can provide is this.

Pro Tip: Take a systematic approach to documenting your findings. Record everything in a workable file in a centralized space. Having a mishmash of files, data, and assets will slow you down when it comes to the analysis phase.

Whatever type of online market research you’re doing, finding a template to use a framework can help speed things up . We’ve put together a free pack of 6 templates for you below.

4. Conduct your research

Carry out your online market research. Set a time limit, and try to stick to it. Regardless of the type of digital market research you choose, always keep your research goal in mind. If you’re using tools like Similarweb Research Intelligence to do industry, company, or market research, then make sure you compare the right data sets that examine the same periods and location. 

For secondary research, ensure that any reports or stats are backed up with verifiable sources. And for primary research, specifically, focus groups or surveys – be open to needing to change the line or type of questions being asked if you don’t feel confident the feedback will answer your research question adequately.

5. Analysis time

This final step in doing online market research involves summarizing your uncovered data. If you took on board the tip about using a systematic way of collecting data, this is where your foundation-setting will really start to pay off.

Once the data is summarized, you can start to analyze and uncover key insights that give you answers to your initial research questions and help bring you closer to your goals.

The market research process is ongoing and should never be viewed as a one-time thing. The more often you conduct it, the more insights and information you’ll uncover.

If you’re new to online market research, check out some free market research courses via the Similarweb Academy .

Online market research tools

Historically, market research was an arduous task that took time to do. Often, it would be done quarterly or perhaps yearly, using data that was already, to some extent, outdated.

Thankfully, times have changed. 

Today, modern online market research tools deliver real-time market data and fresh insights as and when you need them.

Online Surveys

A firm favorite for companies looking to get feedback fast. Surveys can be done with or without a mailing list; and shared on a website or on socials. Typeform and Survey Monkey .

Market research intelligence platforms (like Similarweb)

Software like Similarweb can give you highly relevant, up-to-date information about any market, company, or topic. Most types of online market research benefit from using digital intelligence tools. The data is trusted, it’s dynamic, and it’s one of the quickest types of online market research you can do.

Professor Rem Koning Quote

Think with Google

Great for doing research into persona development, consumer insights, and digital trends.

Answer the Public

If you’re doing online market research into a specific topic, this is a real gem of a tool. It shows

what questions people are asking online relative to your theme, and can give insights into a target audience and their relative concerns.

The Internet

I know it sounds a little elementary, but there’s a world of information available online. From trade associations to research companies that provide syndicated research reports , through to your rivals and even their social media profiles – there are plenty of insights waiting to be uncovered.

Read our dedicated blog on the topic if you want to find more online market research tools .

Similarweb for online market research

Similarweb Digital Research Intelligence is your gateway to endless online market research insights. Whether analyzing an industry or market, doing competitive research, or examining a target audience and their online behaviors, you can do this and more from within a single platform.

Competitive analysis is one of the most valuable types of online market research any firm can do. It takes a rival’s website and unpacks its successes in its basic form. When you do this systematically with your industry leaders and rising stars, you can see what channels, keywords, social platforms, ads, and content work best in your market.

Here, you can view website traffic and engagement metrics , marketing channels, competition keywords, and core audience demographic information, like age, geographics, device split, and gender. It shows the specific tactics and successes of any site. 

Oh, and it’s not just for market research; you can also use Similarweb to do audience analysis, benchmarking, company research , and consumer journey tracking across the web, mobile, and app channels.

Wrapping up: online market research

Whether you’re just starting or part of an established firm, you face dilemmas that online market research can help solve . In the past, market research was timely and costly, but that’s not the case anymore. With tools like Similarweb, you have a world of information and insight at your fingertips.

It’s easier, quicker, and more resolute than ever before. 

Try it out, for free, for a week – and see what you can discover about your market and the people in it.

A type of digital market research conducted online. It uses primary, secondary, quantitative, or qualitative research methods and is designed to help inform strategy or uncover more information about a topic.

What are the benefits of online market research?

You can do online market research with little-to-no professional training, it’s quick to conduct, and almost anyone can access secondary research data on the internet. Online research tools like Similarweb can significantly speed up the time it takes to complete a research project.

What is the best type of digital market research?

The best type of market research will depend on three things—your research goals, the time available, and your resources. Choosing the correct method of research will be crucial to your success. Read our guide to the different types of market research to see which is best for you.

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Market Research: A How-To Guide and Template

Discover the different types of market research, how to conduct your own market research, and use a free template to help you along the way.



5 Research and Planning Templates + a Free Guide on How to Use Them in Your Market Research


Updated: 02/21/24

Published: 02/21/24

Today's consumers have a lot of power. As a business, you must have a deep understanding of who your buyers are and what influences their purchase decisions.

Enter: Market Research.

→ Download Now: Market Research Templates [Free Kit]

Whether you're new to market research or not, I created this guide to help you conduct a thorough study of your market, target audience, competition, and more. Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What is market research?

Primary vs. secondary research, types of market research, how to do market research, market research report template, market research examples.

Market research is the process of gathering information about your target market and customers to verify the success of a new product, help your team iterate on an existing product, or understand brand perception to ensure your team is effectively communicating your company's value effectively.

Market research can answer various questions about the state of an industry. But if you ask me, it's hardly a crystal ball that marketers can rely on for insights on their customers.

Market researchers investigate several areas of the market, and it can take weeks or even months to paint an accurate picture of the business landscape.

However, researching just one of those areas can make you more intuitive to who your buyers are and how to deliver value that no other business is offering them right now.

How? Consider these two things:

  • Your competitors also have experienced individuals in the industry and a customer base. It‘s very possible that your immediate resources are, in many ways, equal to those of your competition’s immediate resources. Seeking a larger sample size for answers can provide a better edge.
  • Your customers don't represent the attitudes of an entire market. They represent the attitudes of the part of the market that is already drawn to your brand.

The market research services market is growing rapidly, which signifies a strong interest in market research as we enter 2024. The market is expected to grow from roughly $75 billion in 2021 to $90.79 billion in 2025 .

market research and online surveys

Free Market Research Kit

  • SWOT Analysis Template
  • Survey Template
  • Focus Group Template

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Why do market research?

Market research allows you to meet your buyer where they are.

As our world becomes louder and demands more of our attention, this proves invaluable.

By understanding your buyer's problems, pain points, and desired solutions, you can aptly craft your product or service to naturally appeal to them.

Market research also provides insight into the following:

  • Where your target audience and current customers conduct their product or service research
  • Which of your competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
  • What's trending in your industry and in the eyes of your buyer
  • Who makes up your market and what their challenges are
  • What influences purchases and conversions among your target audience
  • Consumer attitudes about a particular topic, pain, product, or brand
  • Whether there‘s demand for the business initiatives you’re investing in
  • Unaddressed or underserved customer needs that can be flipped into selling opportunity
  • Attitudes about pricing for a particular product or service

Ultimately, market research allows you to get information from a larger sample size of your target audience, eliminating bias and assumptions so that you can get to the heart of consumer attitudes.

As a result, you can make better business decisions.

To give you an idea of how extensive market research can get , consider that it can either be qualitative or quantitative in nature — depending on the studies you conduct and what you're trying to learn about your industry.

Qualitative research is concerned with public opinion, and explores how the market feels about the products currently available in that market.

Quantitative research is concerned with data, and looks for relevant trends in the information that's gathered from public records.

That said, there are two main types of market research that your business can conduct to collect actionable information on your products: primary research and secondary research.

Primary Research

Primary research is the pursuit of first-hand information about your market and the customers within your market.

It's useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas.

Primary market research tends to fall into one of two buckets:

  • Exploratory Primary Research: This kind of primary market research normally takes place as a first step — before any specific research has been performed — and may involve open-ended interviews or surveys with small numbers of people.
  • Specific Primary Research: This type of research often follows exploratory research. In specific research, you take a smaller or more precise segment of your audience and ask questions aimed at solving a suspected problem.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from (e.g. trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business).

Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors . The main buckets your secondary market research will fall into include:

  • Public Sources: These sources are your first and most-accessible layer of material when conducting secondary market research. They're often free to find and review — like government statistics (e.g., from the U.S. Census Bureau ).
  • Commercial Sources: These sources often come in the form of pay-to-access market reports, consisting of industry insight compiled by a research agency like Pew , Gartner , or Forrester .
  • Internal Sources: This is the market data your organization already has like average revenue per sale, customer retention rates, and other historical data that can help you draw conclusions on buyer needs.
  • Focus Groups
  • Product/ Service Use Research
  • Observation-Based Research
  • Buyer Persona Research
  • Market Segmentation Research
  • Pricing Research
  • Competitive Analysis Research
  • Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research
  • Brand Awareness Research
  • Campaign Research

1. Interviews

Interviews allow for face-to-face discussions so you can allow for a natural flow of conversation. Your interviewees can answer questions about themselves to help you design your buyer personas and shape your entire marketing strategy.

2. Focus Groups

Focus groups provide you with a handful of carefully-selected people that can test out your product and provide feedback. This type of market research can give you ideas for product differentiation.

3. Product/Service Use Research

Product or service use research offers insight into how and why your audience uses your product or service. This type of market research also gives you an idea of the product or service's usability for your target audience.

4. Observation-Based Research

Observation-based research allows you to sit back and watch the ways in which your target audience members go about using your product or service, what works well in terms of UX , and which aspects of it could be improved.

5. Buyer Persona Research

Buyer persona research gives you a realistic look at who makes up your target audience, what their challenges are, why they want your product or service, and what they need from your business or brand.

6. Market Segmentation Research

Market segmentation research allows you to categorize your target audience into different groups (or segments) based on specific and defining characteristics. This way, you can determine effective ways to meet their needs.

7. Pricing Research

Pricing research helps you define your pricing strategy . It gives you an idea of what similar products or services in your market sell for and what your target audience is willing to pay.

8. Competitive Analysis

Competitive analyses give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. You can learn about what's doing well in your industry and how you can separate yourself from the competition .

9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research

Customer satisfaction and loyalty research gives you a look into how you can get current customers to return for more business and what will motivate them to do so (e.g., loyalty programs , rewards, remarkable customer service).

10. Brand Awareness Research

Brand awareness research tells you what your target audience knows about and recognizes from your brand. It tells you about the associations people make when they think about your business.

11. Campaign Research

Campaign research entails looking into your past campaigns and analyzing their success among your target audience and current customers. The goal is to use these learnings to inform future campaigns.

  • Define your buyer persona.
  • Identify a persona group to engage.
  • Prepare research questions for your market research participants.
  • List your primary competitors.
  • Summarize your findings.

1. Define your buyer persona.

You have to understand who your customers are and how customers in your industry make buying decisions.

This is where your buyer personas come in handy. Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Use a free tool to create a buyer persona that your entire company can use to market, sell, and serve better.

market research and online surveys

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Free Guide & Templates to Help Your Market Research

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Online Survey Market Research Trends for 2022 (+ 7 Survey Considerations)

market research and online surveys

Online surveys continue to be a powerful tool for market researchers. Of course, they’re also popular with just about anyone else who wants to gauge the pulse of the public! Growing internet penetration, rising social media, and even the COVID-19 pandemic have all pushed online surveys to new levels. In this blog, we’ll look closer at the growth of online surveys. We’ll also take a look at survey market research trends that present opportunities for survey conductors.

Create your 2022 survey, poll, or questionnaire now!

Online Survey Trends and Survey Growth Statistics

According to Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence , the global online survey market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 16% through 2026. The report notes that “Online surveys are a modern technique to conduct surveys aiming to collect information about the targeted audience’s views and experiences. Surveys are conducted to gather greater insights into the market and forecasting process. It also facilitates working on loopholes for greater efficiency.” So what’s behind this impressive growth rate? A few factors are at play.

Rising Internet Penetration

The internet has made conducting surveys more efficient and less expensive than other types of survey methods . And, widespread use of the internet means that those conducting surveys have easy access to a wide and diverse population. World Bank shows that internet users have increased significantly from 3.18 billion users in 2015 to 4.8 billion users in 2020. Additionally, researchers and organizations can now survey just about any part of the world through their remote location using the internet. This reduces the cost and time of the survey.

Increased Social Media Usage

Social media is here to stay, and the growing usage of social media platforms gives market researchers another playground with which to survey people. Data shows that the number of people using Facebook has increased from 100 million in 2008 to more than 2 billion in 2019 while those using Twitter have increased from about 43 million in 2010 to 330 million in 2019. Instagram and other platforms also continue to grow. Through social media, researchers can conduct short surveys through online survey software and facilitate an increased reach. Read more about social media surveys .

COVID-19 Concerns

The pandemic gave online surveys a boost as lockdowns and travel restrictions forced many people to stay home or work from home. Therefore, more people than ever were online at any given time, and survey-taking spiked because of it. Citing data from Internet World Stats, the proportion of internet users increased drastically from about 50% in 2019 to more than 60% in 2020, which increased the market for online survey software. Further, a surge in social media usage by 63% was observed during the lockdown period which favored the industry.

7 Opportunities with Online Surveys in 2022

With the use of online surveys at an all-time high, what are some takeaways for market researchers and organizations conducting surveys? Here are some things to think about.

1. Keep Your Survey Short

Attention spans are getting shorter, so it makes sense that your survey should too. In fact, a recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. Hence the popularity of microsurveys, short surveys that take an average of about three minutes to complete. They provide fast feedback, better response rates, more accurate responses, easy analysis, and more. Read more about microsurveys .

2. Simplify Your Survey Questions

With the internet and social media offering plenty of rabbit holes, users can often become distracted. So, you’ll want to be sure that your questions are easy to understand and answer, otherwise you may lose your audience. Multiple choice questions and Likert scale questions are popular options that help keep survey takers on point. Get our free guide on How to Write Survey Questions Like an Expert . 

3. Use Responsive Design

Today, more than 60% of web traffic comes from mobile devices , and even more people access social media from their phones. So, you need to make sure your design will look just as good on a small screen as it would on a PC. A responsive design will automatically adjust text and graphics to accommodate any device. Learn more about responsive design .

4. Use Visual Appeal

Humans are 90% visual beings , so be sure your survey has eye appeal. One of the best things about online surveys is how easy it is to incorporate visuals. Each question can even come with its own image to keep things interesting and to keep respondents plugging along, reducing drop-off rates. Using visuals, like images or video, can also stimulate your participants’ memory. If you would like to know if people remembered your last print or TV ad, for example, include it in the survey to jog their memory.

5. Share Survey Results (and Make Results Shareable)

After you’ve conducted a survey, share the results on social media (just be sure everything is secure, as we discuss in the next section). Sharing results can motivate people to continue to take part in surveys because it makes them feel that their participation is valuable. Plus, people are curious, and often want to see how their views stack up to other people. Also, consider allowing survey takers to share their results. When doing this, your survey gets more attention and, if you’re simply interested in the number of participants, it can help you acquire more survey-takers with no effort on your end.

6. Employ Good Security Features

One challenge facing market researchers is the strict government policy of data collection. Increasing numbers of cybercrimes have raised concerns around the world resulting in stricter rules that can hinder online surveys. Plus, the public is becoming more aware of the potential danger of filling out online forms. To avoid legal woes and to ensure survey takers that their information is safe, employ the latest security features, from physical security to data encryption, validation certificates, data portability, user authentication passwords, and more. And, always tell your participants that their personal details will be kept safe and won’t be shared with any third parties. Read more about survey security .

7. Make Your Survey Fun

Last but not least, make your survey fun! Sure, this may not apply to all types of surveys, but it can certainly make a difference in response rate when “fun” is used appropriately. Therefore, you’ll want to be funny, conversational, use imagery and icons, offer incentives, show results, allow sharing, and more. Read more about How to Make a Fun Survey .

The online survey market continues to grow at a fast pace. It’s leaving other survey methods, such as telephone surveys, mail-in surveys, and in-person interviews, in its dust! Of course, the success of online surveys shouldn’t be taken for granted; it’s important to still follow best practices to ensure good response rates. By following some of the tips highlighted here, you can make your mark in the online survey world and get answers to all your burning questions! Of course, when you’re ready to begin surveying, check out SurveyLegend. Our online surveys are easy to use, easy on the eyes, secure, responsive, and as fun as you want them to be. Start now for free!

Have you or your organization been using more online surveys? If so, why have you begun using them more frequently? And, are you likely to consider SurveyLegend for your next online survey? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do online surveys continue to increase in popularity?

Growing internet penetration, rising social media, and even the COVID-19 pandemic have all pushed online surveys to new levels. They’re also efficient, easy to manage, and less expensive than other methods of surveying.

What are some survey market research trends?

When it comes to online surveys, researchers are trending toward short, simple, and socially shareable results. So, they’re also embracing the internet because it allows them to add visual appeal and to reach people on their mobile devices, where more web traffic than ever is generated.

What are the latest online survey trends?

The global online survey market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 16% through 2026, spurred by increased internet usage and the popularity of social media platforms.

Jasko Mahmutovic

How to Write Survey Questions Ebook

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  • Market Research

Market research surveys: all you need to know

Anmol Sachdeva

  • November 7, 2022

You know you should spend more time conducting market research surveys, but keep pushing it to the bottom of your “to-do” list. 

Don’t worry. You are not the only one. Many get overwhelmed by the thought of market research because it feels like ‘too much work’. 

You don’t need to be a research expert or a data scientist — all you need is to write practical survey questions, reach out to your audience, and analyze their response. If done correctly, surveys offer many insights into how your customers feel about your business and what you can do to improve. 

Let’s break down everything about market research surveys in this article and help you get started quickly. 

Table of Contents

What is a market research survey? 

Why use market research surveys, different types of market research surveys., step 1: write down your survey questions., step 2: choose a survey platform. , step 3: run a small pilot or test survey., step 4: launch the survey, reach out, and record insights., step 5: analyze the insights., improve your market research survey insights with customer reviews..

A market research survey is a method for conducting qualitative research to gather opinions from your target audience. It offers valuable insights to understand your customers better and help in decision-making. 

A market research survey is the most popular and favored tool among researchers, business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

popularity of market research surveys

A market research survey gives you a hang of the consumer pulse to help you stand out in a competitive ecosystem. 

If you have been building and growing something, you would have dreamt of ‘getting inside the head’ of your customers, probably more than once. A market research survey is a tool that makes your dream come true.

market research survey benefits

A market research survey is like a portal that allows you to peek into your audience’s mind and use the knowledge to improve your business. They’re quick and easy to create and, when conducted well, give your business enough information to: 

  • Find untapped market opportunities
  • Create and/or improve your product
  • Optimize your value proposition 
  • Improve your marketing effectiveness 
  • Delight your customers

Read More: Why is market research important?

  • Online Surveys: Online surveys are the most popular out of the lot and are conducted using a market research tool or platform. You share a survey link with respondents and analyze the results afterward. 
  • Paper Surveys:   Manual surveys are generally conducted when a researcher is in direct contact with the respondent. Such surveys are part of focus groups or a research panel. 
  • Mail Surveys: Sent to respondents by physical mail, these have become obsolete with the penetration of the internet in modern times. They are still used in some industries that need hyper-local insights.
  • Telephonic surveys: Interview-style surveys conducted over a phone call. Online connectivity has now added another element — video to telephonic surveys, which helps analyze the sentiment of the respondent too. 
  • Face-to-face surveys: Conducted in person by a researcher or an entrepreneur, these surveys require a lot of time, money and effort. Useful for market research in high-ticket industries like precious metals, jewelry, or real estate.
  • Panel surveys: Panel surveys are conducted with a sample set of respondents, i.e., a focus group with representations from all the target audience segments for accurate insights.

How to conduct a market research survey.

How to conduct a market research survey line graph.

Okay! Now that you know the fundamentals, let us move on to the process of creating your first survey. Here are the steps you should follow to launch a market research survey: 

Questions are like the soul of your market research survey. The right questions will give you the desired insights to make informed decisions. 

Before you even think of planning market research, spend time crafting your market research survey questions. While you are at it, keep the following things in mind: 

  • A market survey questionnaire should be made with a single goal, like searching for untapped market opportunities or finding pain points with an existing product. 
  • Every question should be straightforward and should not confuse the respondent at any stage. 
  • Do not over-optimize survey questions to lead the respondent into sharing a biased response. Leave room for opinions and preferences by mixing different types of survey questions. 

Writing effective survey questions is an art as well as a science. If you are unsure about the questions you should include in your survey, you can look for survey question examples online to get inspired. 

Also Read: Market Research Questions

Once you have written relevant questions for your survey, you need a way to share these questions with respondents. If you are conducting an online survey, you should sign up for a market research survey platform to get started. 

A tool like Typeform can help you set up a market research survey, share it with respondents, and gather insights. Remember to try multiple tools before you finalize a survey platform for your market research surveys. 

Read More: Best Market Research Tools in 2022

Now, you have the questions, a way to share your surveys, and a platform to analyze the insights. 

Technically, you should move ahead to launch your survey, but wait, don’t just rush into launching your survey for the public yet. 

Instead, share your survey link with a small batch of ideal respondents. Think of it as a testing phase that will help you improve your chances of gathering valuable insights. 

A small test or pilot will help refine your survey questions and set the right expectations. You will understand how people respond to your questions and get a chance to address red flags such as: 

  • Non-responsive prospects or audience. 
  • Non-serious or one-word responses to your open-ended questions. 
  • Too many ‘none of the above’ answers in your opinion-based questions. 
  • Skewed metrics reflecting the same (or similar) response from the entire audience pool. 

When you conduct a pilot and get into any of the above scenarios, you should spend more time refining your survey questions. Also, consider expanding your respondent pool or factor in for margin of error to ensure you get desired results from your survey.

After you have got desired response from your pilot, you can launch your market research survey to all the respondents. 

Reach out to respondents, asking them to complete the survey honestly and allow them enough time to complete it. Depending on the market survey type, region, and industry, it can take days to even months to receive all the responses. Sometimes, people are busy, so don’t jump to conclusions early.

The survey tool you pick will automatically record all the responses that you can access at a later stage to start market research analysis. 

This is the final step of the process, and think of it like sitting on top of a gold mine. 

Any tool that you pick will have a reporting dashboard that will give you access to basic insights, like individual responses, trend charts, and general statistics about your survey. 

Start analyzing the reporting dashboard and make notes to improve your understanding of the audience. Check for cues to validate your hypothesis, make notes of any new insight that was not evident before, and start preparing a document highlighting key takeaways. 

In case you need more profound insights, you can also export the insights to advanced data analytics tools like Tableau. Though, this depends on your need and goals from a market research survey. You can also use Google for market research to expand your understanding of gathered insights. 

Conducting a market research survey is a lot of work that can sometimes take weeks to months. While it is definitely a good source of valuable insights, sometimes it is not feasible in an era of agility and continuous innovation. 

That might be the reason that has stopped you from starting market research until now. You must be thinking if there is a better way to access insights without wasting time, effort, and money. 

Well, you can use online reviews to speed up market research. In a connected world, your target audience, prospects, and customers already share their thoughts, opinions, and valuable insights on social media, forums, and review platforms. You can use these to conduct market research and drive decision-making regarding your product, marketing, and value proposition. 

GapScout analyzes existing online reviews and collates real-time customer insights on a single dashboard. You can use real customer feedback to identify opportunities, develop new products, optimize pricing strategy, drive marketing and make important decisions while saving time and money. 

So, stop thinking and drive your market research efforts in real-time with customer reviews using GapScout.

Ready to Automate Your Market Research? Get exclusive access to GapScout prior to release!

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  • Knowledge Base


  • Survey Research | Definition, Examples & Methods

Survey Research | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on August 20, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 22, 2023.

Survey research means collecting information about a group of people by asking them questions and analyzing the results. To conduct an effective survey, follow these six steps:

  • Determine who will participate in the survey
  • Decide the type of survey (mail, online, or in-person)
  • Design the survey questions and layout
  • Distribute the survey
  • Analyze the responses
  • Write up the results

Surveys are a flexible method of data collection that can be used in many different types of research .

Table of contents

What are surveys used for, step 1: define the population and sample, step 2: decide on the type of survey, step 3: design the survey questions, step 4: distribute the survey and collect responses, step 5: analyze the survey results, step 6: write up the survey results, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about surveys.

Surveys are used as a method of gathering data in many different fields. They are a good choice when you want to find out about the characteristics, preferences, opinions, or beliefs of a group of people.

Common uses of survey research include:

  • Social research : investigating the experiences and characteristics of different social groups
  • Market research : finding out what customers think about products, services, and companies
  • Health research : collecting data from patients about symptoms and treatments
  • Politics : measuring public opinion about parties and policies
  • Psychology : researching personality traits, preferences and behaviours

Surveys can be used in both cross-sectional studies , where you collect data just once, and in longitudinal studies , where you survey the same sample several times over an extended period.

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market research and online surveys

Before you start conducting survey research, you should already have a clear research question that defines what you want to find out. Based on this question, you need to determine exactly who you will target to participate in the survey.


The target population is the specific group of people that you want to find out about. This group can be very broad or relatively narrow. For example:

  • The population of Brazil
  • US college students
  • Second-generation immigrants in the Netherlands
  • Customers of a specific company aged 18-24
  • British transgender women over the age of 50

Your survey should aim to produce results that can be generalized to the whole population. That means you need to carefully define exactly who you want to draw conclusions about.

Several common research biases can arise if your survey is not generalizable, particularly sampling bias and selection bias . The presence of these biases have serious repercussions for the validity of your results.

It’s rarely possible to survey the entire population of your research – it would be very difficult to get a response from every person in Brazil or every college student in the US. Instead, you will usually survey a sample from the population.

The sample size depends on how big the population is. You can use an online sample calculator to work out how many responses you need.

There are many sampling methods that allow you to generalize to broad populations. In general, though, the sample should aim to be representative of the population as a whole. The larger and more representative your sample, the more valid your conclusions. Again, beware of various types of sampling bias as you design your sample, particularly self-selection bias , nonresponse bias , undercoverage bias , and survivorship bias .

There are two main types of survey:

  • A questionnaire , where a list of questions is distributed by mail, online or in person, and respondents fill it out themselves.
  • An interview , where the researcher asks a set of questions by phone or in person and records the responses.

Which type you choose depends on the sample size and location, as well as the focus of the research.


Sending out a paper survey by mail is a common method of gathering demographic information (for example, in a government census of the population).

  • You can easily access a large sample.
  • You have some control over who is included in the sample (e.g. residents of a specific region).
  • The response rate is often low, and at risk for biases like self-selection bias .

Online surveys are a popular choice for students doing dissertation research , due to the low cost and flexibility of this method. There are many online tools available for constructing surveys, such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms .

  • You can quickly access a large sample without constraints on time or location.
  • The data is easy to process and analyze.
  • The anonymity and accessibility of online surveys mean you have less control over who responds, which can lead to biases like self-selection bias .

If your research focuses on a specific location, you can distribute a written questionnaire to be completed by respondents on the spot. For example, you could approach the customers of a shopping mall or ask all students to complete a questionnaire at the end of a class.

  • You can screen respondents to make sure only people in the target population are included in the sample.
  • You can collect time- and location-specific data (e.g. the opinions of a store’s weekday customers).
  • The sample size will be smaller, so this method is less suitable for collecting data on broad populations and is at risk for sampling bias .

Oral interviews are a useful method for smaller sample sizes. They allow you to gather more in-depth information on people’s opinions and preferences. You can conduct interviews by phone or in person.

  • You have personal contact with respondents, so you know exactly who will be included in the sample in advance.
  • You can clarify questions and ask for follow-up information when necessary.
  • The lack of anonymity may cause respondents to answer less honestly, and there is more risk of researcher bias.

Like questionnaires, interviews can be used to collect quantitative data: the researcher records each response as a category or rating and statistically analyzes the results. But they are more commonly used to collect qualitative data : the interviewees’ full responses are transcribed and analyzed individually to gain a richer understanding of their opinions and feelings.

Next, you need to decide which questions you will ask and how you will ask them. It’s important to consider:

  • The type of questions
  • The content of the questions
  • The phrasing of the questions
  • The ordering and layout of the survey

Open-ended vs closed-ended questions

There are two main forms of survey questions: open-ended and closed-ended. Many surveys use a combination of both.

Closed-ended questions give the respondent a predetermined set of answers to choose from. A closed-ended question can include:

  • A binary answer (e.g. yes/no or agree/disagree )
  • A scale (e.g. a Likert scale with five points ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree )
  • A list of options with a single answer possible (e.g. age categories)
  • A list of options with multiple answers possible (e.g. leisure interests)

Closed-ended questions are best for quantitative research . They provide you with numerical data that can be statistically analyzed to find patterns, trends, and correlations .

Open-ended questions are best for qualitative research. This type of question has no predetermined answers to choose from. Instead, the respondent answers in their own words.

Open questions are most common in interviews, but you can also use them in questionnaires. They are often useful as follow-up questions to ask for more detailed explanations of responses to the closed questions.

The content of the survey questions

To ensure the validity and reliability of your results, you need to carefully consider each question in the survey. All questions should be narrowly focused with enough context for the respondent to answer accurately. Avoid questions that are not directly relevant to the survey’s purpose.

When constructing closed-ended questions, ensure that the options cover all possibilities. If you include a list of options that isn’t exhaustive, you can add an “other” field.

Phrasing the survey questions

In terms of language, the survey questions should be as clear and precise as possible. Tailor the questions to your target population, keeping in mind their level of knowledge of the topic. Avoid jargon or industry-specific terminology.

Survey questions are at risk for biases like social desirability bias , the Hawthorne effect , or demand characteristics . It’s critical to use language that respondents will easily understand, and avoid words with vague or ambiguous meanings. Make sure your questions are phrased neutrally, with no indication that you’d prefer a particular answer or emotion.

Ordering the survey questions

The questions should be arranged in a logical order. Start with easy, non-sensitive, closed-ended questions that will encourage the respondent to continue.

If the survey covers several different topics or themes, group together related questions. You can divide a questionnaire into sections to help respondents understand what is being asked in each part.

If a question refers back to or depends on the answer to a previous question, they should be placed directly next to one another.

Before you start, create a clear plan for where, when, how, and with whom you will conduct the survey. Determine in advance how many responses you require and how you will gain access to the sample.

When you are satisfied that you have created a strong research design suitable for answering your research questions, you can conduct the survey through your method of choice – by mail, online, or in person.

There are many methods of analyzing the results of your survey. First you have to process the data, usually with the help of a computer program to sort all the responses. You should also clean the data by removing incomplete or incorrectly completed responses.

If you asked open-ended questions, you will have to code the responses by assigning labels to each response and organizing them into categories or themes. You can also use more qualitative methods, such as thematic analysis , which is especially suitable for analyzing interviews.

Statistical analysis is usually conducted using programs like SPSS or Stata. The same set of survey data can be subject to many analyses.

Finally, when you have collected and analyzed all the necessary data, you will write it up as part of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper .

In the methodology section, you describe exactly how you conducted the survey. You should explain the types of questions you used, the sampling method, when and where the survey took place, and the response rate. You can include the full questionnaire as an appendix and refer to it in the text if relevant.

Then introduce the analysis by describing how you prepared the data and the statistical methods you used to analyze it. In the results section, you summarize the key results from your analysis.

In the discussion and conclusion , you give your explanations and interpretations of these results, answer your research question, and reflect on the implications and limitations of the research.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Student’s  t -distribution
  • Normal distribution
  • Null and Alternative Hypotheses
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles
  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Data cleansing
  • Reproducibility vs Replicability
  • Peer review
  • Prospective cohort study

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Placebo effect
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Hindsight bias
  • Affect heuristic
  • Social desirability bias

A questionnaire is a data collection tool or instrument, while a survey is an overarching research method that involves collecting and analyzing data from people using questionnaires.

A Likert scale is a rating scale that quantitatively assesses opinions, attitudes, or behaviors. It is made up of 4 or more questions that measure a single attitude or trait when response scores are combined.

To use a Likert scale in a survey , you present participants with Likert-type questions or statements, and a continuum of items, usually with 5 or 7 possible responses, to capture their degree of agreement.

Individual Likert-type questions are generally considered ordinal data , because the items have clear rank order, but don’t have an even distribution.

Overall Likert scale scores are sometimes treated as interval data. These scores are considered to have directionality and even spacing between them.

The type of data determines what statistical tests you should use to analyze your data.

The priorities of a research design can vary depending on the field, but you usually have to specify:

  • Your research questions and/or hypotheses
  • Your overall approach (e.g., qualitative or quantitative )
  • The type of design you’re using (e.g., a survey , experiment , or case study )
  • Your sampling methods or criteria for selecting subjects
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., questionnaires , observations)
  • Your data collection procedures (e.g., operationalization , timing and data management)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical tests  or thematic analysis )

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  • Creating Effective Online Surveys: A Guide

April 10, 2024

Effective Surveys

Online surveys have become an indispensable tool in the modern repertoire for gathering data for academic research, market analysis, or customer feedback. 

Digital technology has significantly eased designing, distributing, and analyzing surveys, making them more accessible, cost-effective, and efficient than traditional methods. 

Their capacity to reach a broad audience quickly and collect real-time data allows for more dynamic and immediate decision-making processes.

Defining Objectives and Goals

The foundation of a successful online survey lies in its objectives and goals. Clear, well-defined objectives ensure the survey has a direction and purpose, aligning with broader research or business strategies. 

When setting these goals, you must ask yourself what you intend to achieve with the survey results. This clarity guides the formulation of questions and helps maintain focus, ensuring that every question serves a purpose toward achieving the survey’s goals.

Knowing Your Audience

Understanding the target audience is paramount in designing an effective survey. Identifying who they are, their demographics, and psychographic characteristics can significantly influence the study’s content and language. 

This tailored approach ensures that the survey resonates with the audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement and the accuracy of the responses. 

Furthermore, recognizing the audience’s preferences and challenges can guide the choice of distribution channels, making the survey more accessible to the intended respondents.

Question Types and Formats

The choice of question types and formats plays a critical role in the effectiveness of a survey. From multiple choice and Likert scales to open-ended questions, each format serves different purposes and offers various data. 

For instance, multiple-choice questions are efficient for quantitative analysis, while open-ended questions are invaluable for qualitative insights. 

Crafting unbiased, straightforward questions directly aligned with the survey’s objectives can significantly improve the quality of data collected.

Structuring Your Survey

A well-structured survey is about the sequence of questions and maintaining respondent engagement. 

Organizing questions logically and coherently so that they naturally flow from one topic to another can enhance the respondents’ experience. 

Additionally, it’s essential to consider the survey’s length carefully; a balance must be struck between comprehensiveness and respect for the respondent’s time and attention. 

Keeping surveys concise yet informative encourages completion rates and ensures quality responses.

Design and Usability

The design and usability of an online survey significantly affect its success rate. A responsive, user-friendly interface across mobile or desktop devices ensures wider accessibility and participation. 

The aesthetic elements, including the use of colors, fonts, and layout, not only contribute to the visual appeal but also to the readability and overall respondent engagement. 

Intuitive navigation and clear instructions can enhance the user experience, reducing drop-off rates and improving the collected data quality.

The design phase of an online survey sets the tone for its overall effectiveness. 

By focusing on clear objectives, understanding the audience, carefully selecting question types, structuring the survey logically, and emphasizing design and usability, you can create surveys that engage respondents and yield actionable and valuable data. 

This comprehensive approach to survey design is fundamental in leveraging the full potential of   online surveys  as powerful tools for insight generation.

Distributing and Analyzing Surveys

Creating effective online surveys is a multifaceted process beyond the initial design phase. 

Once you have a well-crafted survey, the next crucial steps involve thoughtful distribution, rigorous data collection, and insightful analysis. This guide delves into these subsequent stages, offering a roadmap for maximizing the impact of your online surveys.

Pre-Testing and Validation

Before distributing your survey to a broader audience, it’s imperative to conduct pre-testing with a small, representative group. 

This preliminary step helps identify any confusing elements, technical glitches, or biased questions that could compromise the quality of your data. 

Pre-testing serves as a crucial checkpoint to refine your survey, ensuring that questions are interpreted as intended and that the survey flows logically for respondents.

Validation of your survey involves verifying the reliability and validity of the questions. 

Reliability ensures that your survey consistently measures what it’s supposed to, while validity confirms that you accurately assess the constructs of interest. 

Techniques such as test-retest reliability and incorporating established scales can bolster the robustness of your survey tool .

Distribution Strategies

Choosing the right channels to distribute your survey is critical to reaching your target audience effectively. Whether it’s through email, social media platforms, or embedded on websites, each channel has its unique advantages and considerations. 

Tailoring your distribution strategy to align with the preferences and habits of your target demographic can significantly enhance response rates.

To further improve participation, personalized invitations and the offer of incentives can be compelling motivators. 

Personalization, such as addressing the respondent by name or referencing their relationship to your organization, adds a touch of appreciation for their input. 

Incentives, monetary or non-monetary, reward respondents for their time and can vary based on the audience and survey length.

Data Collection and Security

As responses start rolling in, attention to data collection practices and security becomes paramount. 

Ensuring respondent information’s confidentiality and protecting the data’s integrity are foundational to ethical survey research. 

Adherence to legal frameworks, such as GDPR in Europe, guides the responsible collection, storage, and handling of data, emphasizing the need for explicit consent and transparent data use policies.

Analyzing Survey Results

The transition from data collection to analysis is where the insights begin to take shape. Familiarity with basic data analysis techniques allows you to sift through the responses and extract meaningful patterns and trends. 

The choice between qualitative and quantitative analysis depends on the nature of your questions and the depth of insight required. Qualitative analysis can unveil nuanced understandings and narratives, while quantitative methods quantify preferences and correlations, offering a statistical foundation for conclusions.

Various software tools can facilitate this analysis, providing functionalities for coding open-ended responses, conducting statistical tests, and visualizing data trends. The analysis phase is critical for translating raw data into coherent insights that inform decision-making.

Reporting and Actionable Insights

Compiling the analysis into clear, informative reports is the next step. These reports should summarize critical findings and offer actionable recommendations based on the data. 

Effective reporting communicates the story behind the numbers, making it easier for stakeholders to understand the implications and act accordingly.

Visual elements like charts and infographics can enhance report readability, making complex data more accessible. Moreover, a well-structured executive summary can highlight the most critical insights for decision-makers, ensuring that key points are preserved in the details.

The process of creating and leveraging effective online surveys is iterative. Each survey provides opportunities to learn and refine your approach for future research. 

By embracing feedback and analyzing the outcomes, you can continually enhance the quality of your data and its insights.

The journey from survey distribution to analysis and reporting is intricate, demanding attention to detail at every step. However, the rewards for actionable insights and informed decision-making are invaluable. 

By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your online surveys are well-designed, effectively distributed, and analyzed, yielding results that drive meaningful action.

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Top 10 Free Market Research Tools to Boost Your Business

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Understanding your market is crucial for success. However, the market research process can be expensive, impacting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Thankfully, there’s good news – you don’t need a big budget to gather valuable insights about your customers and industry trends. Businesses of all sizes can now use free market research tools to make informed decisions and remain ahead of the competition.

From survey platforms to trend analysis tools, these resources offer a wealth of information at no cost. So, these tools can be your secret weapon for success, whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your existing business.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the top 10 free market research tools that can help you supercharge your business growth.

What are Free Market Research Tools?

Free market research tools are helpful resources that anyone can use without spending money to learn about markets, customers, and competitors. These tools give insights that can be used to make smart business decisions.

Some of these tools let you ask people questions through surveys or check what topics are popular online. Others show you how many people are visiting your website or your competitors’ sites. There are even tools that help you see what people are saying about your business on social media.

These tools are great because they’re usually available online and don’t cost anything to use. They give businesses important insights without needing to spend a lot of money on fancy research. By using these tools smartly, businesses can make better decisions and sell more successfully.

Benefits of having Free Market Research Tools

These tools provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, industry trends, and competitor strategies without breaking the bank. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of leveraging free market research software and how they can help businesses thrive.

  • It Save Your Money: With free market research tools, you can unlock valuable insights without spending a single penny. That means even if you’re running on a tight budget, you can still gather important market research data to fuel your business decisions.
  • Making Smarter Moves: Forget relying on guesswork. Free market research tools arm you with real data so you can make informed decisions. Say goodbye to blind leaps and hello to calculated steps toward success.
  • Staying One Step Ahead: Keeping an eye on your competitors is key to staying ahead of the game. Free market research tools let you peek into what your competitors are up to, helping you fine-tune your marketing strategies and stand out from the crowd.
  • Understanding Customer’s Language : Have you ever wished you could read your customers’ minds? Market research tools won’t give you psychic powers, but they’ll come pretty close. By understanding your customers’ preferences and behaviors, you can tailor your products and messages to speak directly to their hearts.
  • Building Better Products : Who doesn’t love a product that’s a perfect fit? With market research tools, you can gather feedback from your target audience and tweak your products until they’re just right. It’s like having a focus group at your fingertips without the hefty price tag.
  • Putting Smiles on Your Customers Faces: Happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. Market research tools help you understand what makes your customers tick, so you can delight them with products and experiences that leave them coming back for more.

10 Free Market Research Tools You Should Know

From survey platforms to analytics tools, these tools offer valuable insights into consumer behavior, industry trends, and competitive analysis. Here, we’ll explore 10 free and best market research tools that every business owner should know about.

1. QuestionPro

QuestionPro offers a wide range of free survey features, including customizable question types, Google Sheets integration, and robust analytics. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, QuestionPro is a great choice for conducting market research and surveys to gather insights from its target audience.

How it Works: Users can create customized market research surveys using a wide range of question types and templates. A market research survey can be distributed through email, social media, websites, or embedded into mobile apps. The platform provides robust analytics and reporting features to analyze survey responses in real-time.

Features You Can Avail:

  • Create unlimited surveys with up to 200 responses per survey.
  • Access to basic survey templates and question types.
  • Branching skip logic based on responses to a question.
  • Trend analysis and geocoding survey responses.
  • Basic reporting and analytics features
  • data visualization.
  • Easy-to-use interface for creating surveys.
  • Up to 30 different question types.
  • Integration with popular third-party tools like Salesforce and Google Sheets.
  • Customizable branding options for surveys.
  • Responsive customer support team.
  • Email support may have slower response times compared to premium plans.

2. Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to explore the popularity of search queries over time and across different regions. By analyzing search trends, you can identify emerging topics, monitor consumer interest in your industry, and track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

How it Works: Users can enter keywords or topics into the search bar to view trends in search volume over time. The tool provides data on regional interest, related queries, and trending topics. Users can also compare the popularity of multiple search terms or topics.

  • Access to search trends data for free.
  • Explore historical search trends and regional interest.
  • View related queries and trending topics.
  • User-friendly interface for exploring trends.
  • Ability to compare multiple search terms or topics.
  • Useful for identifying trending topics and keywords.
  • Integration with Google Analytics for deeper analysis.
  • Limited to search data from Google’s search engine.
  • Data may not always be representative of overall market trends.

3. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey offers a free plan that allows you to create surveys, collect responses, and analyze data. With its intuitive survey builder and customizable templates, SurveyMonkey makes it easy to gather feedback from customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

How it Works: Users can create surveys using customizable templates and a variety of question types. Surveys can be distributed through email, social media, websites, or embedded into mobile apps. The platform offers advanced analytics and reporting features to gain insights from survey responses.

  • Create unlimited surveys with up to 10 questions per survey.
  • Basic survey templates and question types.
  • Collect up to 100 responses per survey.
  • Basic reporting and analytics features.
  • Email support.
  • A wide range of question types and templates are available.
  • Multiple distribution options, including email and social media.
  • Real-time analytics for quick insights.
  • A limited number of responses and questions in the free plan.
  • Advanced features like skip logic and A/B testing are available only in paid plans.

4. Statista

Statista provides access to a vast database of statistics and market research reports across various industries. While some premium content requires a subscription, Statista offers a significant amount of free data that can help you understand market trends, consumer behavior, and industry benchmarks.

How it Works: Users can search for statistics and reports on specific industries, countries, or topics of interest. The platform provides access to data from thousands of sources, including government agencies, industry associations, and market research firms.

  • Access to limited statistics and infographics for free.
  • Basic search and browsing capabilities.
  • Limited access to reports and studies.
  • Access to data from reputable sources.
  • Customizable charts and infographics for presentations.
  • Ability to download data in multiple formats.
  • Limited access to data and reports in the free plan.
  • Some statistics may require a premium subscription for access.
  • Full access to reports and advanced features is available only in paid plans.

5. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that allows you to track website traffic, user behavior, and conversion metrics. By analyzing website data, you can gain insights into your audience demographics, engagement metrics, and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

How it Works: Users can install a tracking code on their website to collect data about visitor interactions, page views, conversion rates, and more. The platform offers customizable reports and dashboards to analyze website performance and audience demographics.

  • Access to basic web analytics features for free.
  • Track website traffic, user behavior, and conversion metrics.
  • Customizable reports and dashboards.
  • Integration with other Google products like Google Ads and Search Console.
  • Comprehensive insights into website performance and user behavior.
  • Customizable reports and dashboards for analyzing data.
  • Real-time data tracking for up-to-date insights.
  • Audience segmentation for targeting specific user groups.
  • Limited support for tracking offline interactions.
  • Requires technical setup and implementation of tracking code.

6. Google Alerts

Google Alerts notifies you when new content related to specific keywords or topics is published online. By monitoring mentions of your brand, industry trends, and competitor activity, you can stay informed and identify opportunities to engage with your audience.

How it Works: Users can create alerts for keywords, phrases, or topics of interest. Google Alerts will then send email notifications whenever new content matching the alert criteria is published on the web.

  • Create unlimited alerts for free.
  • Monitor keywords, topics, or phrases.
  • Receive email notifications for new content.
  • Adjust frequency and sources for alerts.
  • Free and easy-to-use monitoring tool.
  • Set up alerts for specific keywords or topics.
  • Receive email notifications for new mentions or content.
  • Monitor brand mentions, industry trends, or competitor activity.
  • Adjust alert settings for frequency and sources.
  • Limited to monitoring online content indexed by Google.
  • May receive irrelevant or duplicate alerts.
  • No advanced filtering options for alerts.
  • Email notifications may not always be timely.

7. Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center conducts public opinion polling and demographic research on a wide range of topics. By accessing free reports and datasets, you can gain valuable insights into social and political trends, consumer attitudes, and demographic shifts.

How it Works: The Pew Research Center publishes reports and studies based on surveys conducted among the general public, specific demographics, or expert panels. These reports provide insights into public opinion, attitudes, and trends on various issues.

  • Access to reports, studies, and datasets for free.
  • Explore research topics by category or keyword.
  • Download reports and datasets in various formats.
  • Email subscription for updates and notifications.
  • A trusted source of data and analysis on social and political issues.
  • A wide range of research topics and reports are available.
  • Access to raw data and datasets for further analysis.
  • Regularly updated with new research findings.
  • Suitable for academic research and policy analysis.
  • Some reports and datasets may be restricted to paid subscribers.
  • Limited to research topics covered by the Pew Research Center.
  • Reports may have a lag time between data collection and publication.
  • Limited customization options for data analysis.

8. Make My persona

Make My Persona is a free tool by HubSpot that helps you create detailed buyer personas based on customer demographics, behaviors, and goals. By understanding your target audience better, you can tailor your marketing messages and product offerings to meet their needs effectively.

How it Works: Users answer a series of questions about their ideal customers’ demographics, behaviors, goals, and challenges. Based on the responses, Make My Persona generates a customized buyer persona template that can be used for marketing and sales strategies.

  • Create one buyer persona for free.
  • Answer questions to define your ideal customer profile.
  • Generate a customized buyer persona template.
  • Download the persona template in PDF format.
  • Easy-to-use tool for creating buyer personas.
  • A guided questionnaire helps define the ideal customer profile.
  • Customized persona template includes key details and insights.
  • Suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries.
  • Integration with other HubSpot tools for seamless workflow.
  • Free and accessible for businesses with limited budgets.
  • Limited to creating one persona for free.
  • Basic customization options for persona templates.

9. Qualtrics

Qualtrics offers a free plan that allows you to create surveys, collect feedback, and analyze data in real-time. With its advanced features and customizable reporting options, Qualtrics is a valuable tool for businesses looking to gain insights into customer satisfaction, product usability, and market trends.

How it Works: Users can create surveys using a drag-and-drop editor or choose from pre-built templates. Surveys can be distributed through email, social media, websites, or embedded into mobile apps. The platform offers advanced analytics and reporting features to gain insights from survey responses.

  • Access to basic survey creation and distribution features for free.
  • Create unlimited surveys with up to 100 responses per survey.
  • Drag-and-drop editor and pre-built templates for quick survey creation.
  • Integration with popular third-party tools like Salesforce and Slack.
  • Limited number of responses in the free plan.
  • Advanced features like skip logic and branching are available only in paid plans.

10. Qualaroo

Qualaroo is a user feedback tool that helps businesses collect insights from website visitors through targeted surveys and feedback forms. With its customizable survey options and real-time feedback collection, Qualaroo enables you to gather actionable insights and improve the user experience on your website.

How it Works: Users can create customizable surveys and feedback forms that target specific segments of website visitors based on behavior, demographics, or other criteria. Qualaroo offers advanced analytics and reporting features to analyze feedback and identify actionable insights.

  • Access to basic survey creation and targeting features for free.
  • Integration with popular analytics and CRM platforms.
  • Collaboration features for team-based research projects.
  • Integration with third-party tools may require additional fees.

Why Choose QuestionPro as The Best Free Market Research Tool

Understanding your market is crucial for business success in today’s competitive landscape. This is where market research tools like QuestionPro come into play. Here’s why you should choose QuestionPro as your go-to free market research tool:

  • Comprehensive Features: QuestionPro offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to meet all your market research needs. From survey creation to data analysis, you’ll find everything you need to gather insights and make informed decisions.
  • Free Forever: Unlike many other market research tools that offer limited free trials, QuestionPro is free forever. You can access essential features without any time restrictions, allowing you to conduct market research without worrying about costs.
  • Wide Range of Question Types: With over 50 question types available, QuestionPro allows you to design surveys that meet your specific requirements. Whether you need multiple-choice questions, rating scales, or open-ended responses, you’ll find the right tools at your disposal.
  • Google Sheets Integration: QuestionPro is the only survey platform that offers free seamless integration with Google Sheets. This feature allows you to easily export and analyze survey data using familiar tools, streamlining your research process.
  • Multiple Distribution Channels: Reach your target audience wherever they are with QuestionPro’s multiple distribution channels. Whether you prefer email surveys, social media polls, or website embeds, you can engage with your audience effectively.
  • Customization Options: Use QuestionPro’s customization options to personalize your surveys to align with your brand identity. From branding elements to question formatting, you have the flexibility to create surveys that resonate with your audience.
  • Seamless Collaboration: Collaborate with your team members seamlessly on research projects using QuestionPro’s collaboration features. Share surveys, analyze data together, and brainstorm strategies in real-time, enhancing productivity and efficiency.

These free market research tools provide valuable resources for businesses looking to understand their target audience, monitor industry trends, and make data-driven decisions. By leveraging these tools effectively, you can gain consumer insights that will help you boost your business and stay ahead of the competition in today’s dynamic market environment.

QuestionPro offers a powerful and user-friendly platform for conducting free market research. With its comprehensive features, intuitive interface, and dedicated support, QuestionPro is the right choice for businesses looking to gain valuable insights and stay ahead of the competition.

So why wait? Start using QuestionPro as your market research tool today and take your business to new heights with QuestionPro!



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The most common Types of Online Surveys

There are some types of online surveys. Each has a unique purpose depending on the target group and a set of questions tailored to the specific area of interest.

Table of Contents – Types of Online Surveys

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Employee feedback surveys, market research surveys, event feedback surveys, political surveys, academic research surveys, conclusion on common types of online surveys.

  • FAQ on Types of Online Surveys

Online surveys have become an increasingly popular way to collect data and feedback from individuals and groups across different industries. These surveys can be used for a variety of purposes, such as customer satisfaction, employee feedback, market research, academic research and short polls. With the increasing use of technology, online surveys have become more convenient, cost-effective, and accessible to both researchers and respondents. In this article, we will explore the most common types of online surveys, their advantages and disadvantages, and best practices for conducting successful surveys.

What are Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

Customer satisfaction surveys are one of the most common types of online surveys used by businesses and organizations to gather feedback from their customers. These surveys are designed to measure how satisfied customers are with the products or services they received and to identify areas for improvement.

Purpose of customer satisfaction surveys?

The purpose of customer satisfaction surveys is to understand the needs and expectations of customers, as well as their experiences with the company. By collecting this information, businesses can make data-driven decisions to improve their products or services, increase customer loyalty, and drive revenue growth.

Online Survey Types Customer Satisfaction

Examples of customer satisfaction survey questions

Examples of customer satisfaction survey questions may include:

  • How satisfied are you with our product/service?
  • How likely are you to recommend our product/service to others?
  • How satisfied are you with the customer service you received?
  • How easy was it to use our website/app?

Customer satisfaction surveys are important for businesses to gauge customer sentiment and identify areas where they can improve. By addressing areas of dissatisfaction, businesses can increase customer loyalty, improve retention rates, and ultimately drive sales growth.

What are Employee Feedback Surveys?

Employee feedback surveys are used by organizations to gather feedback from their employees regarding their satisfaction with the work environment, job duties, and leadership. The purpose of these surveys is to understand how employees feel about their jobs and to identify areas where the organization can improve to create a better workplace culture.

Purpose of Employee Feedback Surveys

The purpose of employee feedback surveys is to gather honest feedback from employees about their experiences with their job and work environment. These surveys can help organizations to identify areas of improvement, such as issues with communication, workload, or management style.

Examples of employee feedback survey questions

Examples of employee feedback survey questions may include:

  • How satisfied are you with your job duties?
  • How satisfied are you with your supervisor/manager?
  • How well do you feel your skills and abilities are utilized in your current position?
  • How comfortable do you feel voicing your opinions and concerns in the workplace?

Employee feedback surveys are important because they help organizations to identify areas where they can improve to create a better work environment for their employees. By addressing employee concerns, organizations can increase employee satisfaction, reduce turnover rates, and ultimately increase productivity and profitability.

What are Market Research Surveys?

Market research surveys are used by businesses to gather information about their target market, including consumer preferences, buying habits, and attitudes towards products or services. The purpose of these surveys is to provide insights that can be used to make data-driven decisions, such as product development or marketing strategies.

Purpose of Market Research Surveys

The purpose of market research surveys is to collect information about a specific market segment or target audience . By collecting data on consumer preferences, needs, and behaviors, businesses can make informed decisions about product development, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Examples of market research survey questions

Examples of market research survey questions may include:

  • How likely are you to purchase this product/service?
  • How much would you be willing to pay for this product/service?
  • What are the most important factors to you when considering a purchase?
  • How satisfied are you with similar products/services currently on the market?

Market research surveys are important because they provide businesses with insights that can help them to make informed decisions about their products or services. By understanding consumer needs and preferences, businesses can develop products and services that better meet customer demands, increase sales, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

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What are Event Feedback Surveys?

Event feedback surveys are used by organizers of events, such as conferences, concerts, and festivals, to gather feedback from attendees. The purpose of these surveys is to understand attendees’ experiences, identify areas of improvement, and make data-driven decisions for future events.

Purpose of Event Feedback Surveys

The purpose of event feedback surveys is to collect feedback from attendees on various aspects of the event, such as the venue, speakers, entertainment, and overall experience. By collecting this information, event organizers can make data-driven decisions to improve future events and increase attendee satisfaction.

Examples of event feedback survey questions

Examples of event feedback survey questions may include:

  • How satisfied were you with the venue/location of the event?
  • How satisfied were you with the speakers/presenters?
  • How satisfied were you with the entertainment?
  • How likely are you to attend a future event?

Event feedback surveys are important because they help event organizers to understand attendee experiences and identify areas where they can improve. By addressing areas of dissatisfaction, organizers can increase attendee satisfaction, improve attendance rates, and ultimately increase revenue for future events.

What are Political Surveys?

Political surveys are used to gather information about public opinion on political issues, candidates, and policies. The purpose of these surveys is to provide insights into public sentiment, which can be used by political parties, campaigns, and policymakers to make data-driven decisions.

Purpose of Political Surveys

The purpose of political surveys is to collect data on public opinion about political issues, candidates, and policies. By collecting this information, political organizations and policymakers can make informed decisions about campaign strategies, policy proposals, and voter outreach efforts.

Examples of political survey questions

Examples of political survey questions may include:

  • Which political party do you identify with?
  • Who do you plan to vote for in the upcoming election?
  • How important do you think issue X is in the upcoming election?
  • What is your opinion on policy Y?

Political surveys are important because they provide insights into public sentiment on political issues. By understanding public opinion, political organizations and policymakers can make informed decisions about campaign strategies, policy proposals, and voter outreach efforts. This can ultimately lead to better representation of the public’s interests and more effective policy outcomes.

What are Academic Research Surveys?

Academic research surveys are used by researchers and academics to gather data for research purposes. The purpose of these surveys is to collect information from individuals or groups that can be analyzed to draw conclusions and make new discoveries in various fields of study.

Purpose of Academic Research Surveys

The purpose of academic research surveys is to collect data that can be analyzed to draw conclusions and make new discoveries in various fields of study. These surveys can be used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, depending on the research questions being studied.

Examples of academic research survey questions

Examples of academic research survey questions may include:

  • How often do you exercise per week?
  • What is your opinion on policy X?
  • What is your preferred method of learning?
  • What factors do you consider when making a purchasing decision?

Academic research surveys are important because they allow researchers and academics to collect data that can be used to draw conclusions and make new discoveries in various fields of study. This information can be used to inform policy decisions, develop new theories, and advance scientific knowledge. Additionally, academic research surveys may lead to new insights and discoveries that can benefit society as a whole.

Polls are a type of short surveys or feedback requests with 1 to max. 3 questions only. They are designed to gather quick and simple feedback from a target audience, and can be used for a variety of purposes such as gauging public opinion, testing new product ideas, or gathering feedback on a specific issue.

Online surveys have become an important tool for collecting data and feedback from various individuals or groups. In this article, we focused on six types of online surveys, including customer satisfaction surveys, employee feedback surveys, market research surveys, event feedback surveys, political surveys, academic research surveys and quick polls. Each type of survey has its unique benefits and is used depending on research objectives and the target audience. Understanding the different types of online surveys and their applications can help you choose the right one for your research objectives and improve the quality of your data analysis.

As technology advances, online surveys are likely to become even more prevalent in the future. With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, online surveys may become more accurate and efficient in collecting and analyzing data.

In conclusion, online surveys are essential for businesses, organizations, and researchers to gather data that can be analyzed to draw conclusions and make informed decisions. They provide valuable insights into customers’ satisfaction, employees’ feedback, market trends , and public opinions.

Frequently Asked Questions on Types of Online Surveys

What are often used types of online surveys.

  • customer satisfaction surveys,
  • employee feedback surveys ,
  • market research surveys,
  • event feedback surveys,
  • political surveys , and
  • academic research surveys.

How are common types of online surveys conducted?

Online surveys can be conducted through various methods, including email invitations, social media, or website pop-ups. Respondents can fill out the survey on their computer or mobile device.

How can the different types of online surveys benefit businesses and organizations?

Online surveys can benefit businesses and organizations by providing them with insights into customer satisfaction, employee feedback, and market trends. This information can be used to improve products and services, increase customer retention, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

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market research and online surveys

Small Business Trends

132 market research questions to ask.

75 Market Research Questions to Ask

Market research sounds so formal. Yet it doesn’t have to be. It can be part of your daily marketing activity if you adopt one of the best and easiest techniques: simply ask questions.

Asking market research questions can yield new insights to boost your marketing to the next level. One example of market research involves gathering competitive information to inform your new product and service development.

Another market research example involves creating clear pictures of your ideal customers — called customer personas –for precise targeting. Other market research examples involve gathering feedback from existing customers to measure customer satisfaction.

The key to success, however, is knowing which questions to ask. Below is a list of 132 market research questions to use as templates for your own questions. Use them to ask questions internally to your team, or ask prospects and clients directly.

Types of Market Research Questions

Market research questions.

market research questions

A good way to start your market research is to size up and describe your target audience. Gather primary and secondary research to assess the following marketing parameters:

  • What is the size of our target market? How many potential customers are there?
  • Do we have a good set of customer personas developed, to understand ideal target customers?
  • Demographic questions: gender, age, ethnicity. Include annual income, education and marital status.
  • Firmographic questions: size, industry. Include annual revenues and other relevant factors.
  • Psychographic questions: habits, preferences, interests.
  • What key consumer trends do we see?
  • How do we identify new target segments? How do these new segments differ from those we already have?
  • Which neighborhoods and zip codes do we get most of our customers from today?
  • Which geographic locations are growing? Are the demographics of growth markets similar to those in which we already operate? If not, what should we change?
  • Is online commerce or online service delivery a growth opportunity? Are our competitors doing business online?
  • Can we find marketing partners to expand our reach?

Related: How to Conduct Market Research

Questions to Ask Customers

market research questions

Use the following as survey questions, either post sale or as post-support surveys. Or use these market research questions to conduct a focus group, interview individual customers, or engage potential customers during the sales process.

Make it a point to include respondents who are less than thrilled with your customer service. You learn more than if you only talk with happy customers. Ask:

  • How did you hear about us?
  • What made you choose us?
  • What features do you like most about our product or service?
  • Is our product or service easy, fast, convenient to use?
  • What do you wish our product or service did that it does not today?
  • Are you aware that we offer _________?
  • Were our personnel courteous in all dealings?
  • Did we answer all your questions or solve your support problem?
  • Can we help you get started using our product or service?
  • Were you satisfied with our promptness and speed?
  • Would you be willing to tell friends, family or colleagues about us?
  • How do you rate your experience with us?
  • Would you buy from us again?
  • Why have you decided to leave us / not renew?
  • How likely are you to recommend our product/service to others on a scale of 1-10?
  • What is the primary reason for your score?
  • Can you describe a situation where our product/service exceeded your expectations?
  • What changes would most improve our product/service?
  • If you could change one thing about our product/service, what would it be?
  • How do our products/services fit into your daily life or routine?
  • What other products/services do you wish we offered?

Related: Tailoring Survey Questions for Your Industry and Best Practices for Surveys

Pricing and Value

market research questions

The following are pricing research questions to ask. Small business owners and marketers may want to assign someone to do a competitive analysis, such as gathering data from competitor websites and putting it into a spreadsheet.

Doing research may also require you to gather information internally. For example, meet with Sales to discuss feedback they receive from possible customers.

You could also ask Customer Support to start tracking when customers give price as a reason to not renew. Here are sample market research questions about pricing:

  • Does our team have a compelling sales pitch based on value, not just price?
  • How do we create more value to justify our prices?
  • How can we position our product as “premium”?
  • What are our competitors charging? Are our prices higher, lower or about the same?
  • Are our prices allowing sufficient profit to stay in business?
  • How often do sales and support staff hear pricing objections? And how often do they overcome them?
  • Are we identifying enough people who can afford our products and services, or who want to pay what we ask for?
  • Can we more precisely target prospects by income, neighborhoods and other factors to isolate a target audience receptive to our price point?
  • In the case of B2B, are we targeting the right industries with needs and pain points we can solve?
  • Are we targeting the right job title? Does the target executive have sufficient budget authority?
  • How does our business model compare in our industry? Are we missing opportunities?
  • What kind of promotions are our competitors advertising? Bulk buys / annual subscriptions? Free gift with purchase? Discounts? Sales events?
  • How do our prices compare with the value you perceive from our products/services?
  • What pricing model do you find most appealing – subscription, one-time purchase, pay-per-use?
  • How sensitive are you to price changes in our products/services?
  • What discounts or promotions would encourage you to make a purchase?

Product or Service Questions

market research questions

Ask yourself or your team these market research questions about your products and services:

  • Are our new products or services sufficiently unique compared with what already exists?
  • What exactly is our value proposition — the reason customers should choose us? How can we best convey our benefits?
  • How are customers currently solving the problem that our product addresses?
  • What products do competitors offer? How does our target market view these competitive offerings?
  • How do competitors deliver service? Does their process differ from our methods? Are there obvious advantages such as cost or time savings to gain if we adjust?
  • Customers have been asking for a certain service — do others in the market offer it?  What do they charge?
  • What changes will customers likely want in the future that technology can provide?
  • How do we get feedback about our product, so we know what to improve, and what to highlight in sales and marketing messages?
  • What technology is available in the market to improve operational productivity or cut costs? What solutions are competitors or big corporations using?
  • When considering new product development, do we interview customers to test their interest level?
  • Are there any untapped market segments or niches where our products or services could be a perfect fit?
  • What are the potential challenges or barriers that customers face when using our products or services?
  • Have we conducted customer satisfaction surveys to gauge overall customer experience and identify areas for improvement?
  • Are there any complementary products or services that we could offer to enhance our customers’ experience?
  • How do customers perceive the quality and reliability of our products or services compared to competitors?
  • What are the specific pain points or needs that our products or services address, and how well are we communicating this to customers?
  • Have we explored partnerships or collaborations with other businesses to expand our product/service offerings?
  • Are there any emerging trends or technologies in the market that could disrupt our current products or services?
  • Have we analyzed customer feedback and complaints to identify recurring issues that require immediate attention?
  • What are the future trends and demands in our industry, and how can we proactively align our offerings with these trends?
  • What additional features would you like to see in our future products?
  • How can we improve the user experience of our product/service?
  • What would make you choose our product/service over a competitor’s?
  • Are there any aspects of our product/service that you find unnecessary or rarely use?

Related: How to Minimize Survey Fatigue

Online Visibility Questions

Online traffic is essential to most small businesses, even local businesses, to drive in-store traffic. Market research questions can assess your company’s online visibility. Get answers from your digital team:

  • How much website traffic do we receive compared with competitors? Check free tools like Alexa and SimilarWeb – while not exact they can compare relative levels of traffic.
  • How prominently do we appear in search engines like Google and Bing?
  • Do we appear in search engines for the queries our audience is searching for, using their words? Or do we need to invest in search engine optimization?
  • Which search queries actually send us website traffic? Check Google Search Console or another SEO tool.
  • How does our search visibility compare with competitors? A tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs can give this kind of advanced look.
  • Have we done a gap analysis and identified which keywords our competitors rank for? Do we have a content marketing plan to attract more visitors?
  • Have we claimed business listings like Google My Business and Bing Places, and completed them with engaging content such as photos?
  • How prominently do we show up in Google Maps, Apple Maps and Bing Maps?
  • Do we give visitors something to do on our website to engage them, such as fill out a lead gen form, read the blog, or schedule an appointment?
  • Are our website’s loading speed and performance optimized for a better user experience?
  • Do we have a mobile-friendly website that caters to the growing number of mobile users?
  • Are we utilizing social media platforms effectively to engage with our target audience?
  • Have we analyzed user behavior on our website through tools like Google Analytics to identify areas for improvement?
  • Are we actively monitoring and responding to online reviews and comments about our business?
  • Have we implemented effective link building strategies to improve our website’s authority and search rankings?
  • How do our online advertising efforts compare with competitors in terms of reach and conversion rates?
  • Are we using email marketing campaigns to nurture leads and maintain communication with our customers?
  • Have we explored influencer marketing as a way to expand our online reach and brand visibility?
  • Are we leveraging online customer feedback surveys to gather insights and improve our online presence?
  • What type of content would you like to see more of on our website?
  • How easy is it to navigate our website and find what you’re looking for?
  • Are there any online channels (social media, forums, etc.) where you feel we should have a presence?
  • How do you prefer to interact with us online – through email, live chat, social media, or other channels?

Related: How to Interpret Survey Results

Reputation Management

Customers today have extraordinary power to talk about a brand, and its products and services. Customers can choose dozens of social media sites or review sites like Yelp to share opinions.

A big part of market research today is to find out what customers think and say about your business (and also about your competitors). You want answers to the following market research questions:

  • Do we have negative reviews online?
  • Do we have any other type of reputation issue, such as poor word of mouth in our local community?
  • Are competitors spamming with fake reviews?
  • What can we learn from bad reviews?
  • Do we thank those who give positive reviews and referrals, or do we ignore them?
  • Do we address negative reviews or complaints by trying to make good or by correcting wrong facts?
  • Can we use an app such as to make it easy for customers to leave reviews?
  • Does our website have compelling testimonials?
  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear our brand name?
  • How would you describe our company to a friend or colleague?
  • Are there any misconceptions about our brand that you think we should address?
  • How do you perceive our efforts in responding to and resolving customer complaints or issues?

Messaging and Advertising

market research questions

Assess your current marketing messages. Brands will want to know that their messaging supports their marketing goals. Make sure to also assess advertising to make sure it is in sync with goals and performing well:

  • Have we identified the milestones in the customer journey, and what customers looking for at each milestone? Are we addressing the milestones?
  • What emotions drive our customers’ buying decisions? Fear? Aspirational desire? Does our messaging align with these emotional needs?
  • What information sources do prospects rely on? TV, online digital, social media, radio, newspapers?
  • Which marketing and advertising channels have been our top performers?
  • Have we developed quality content to educate and persuade prospects?
  • What are the best advertising methods and media outlets to reach our prospects?
  • Are we using our advertising spend to precisely target our desired buyer, or is it spray and pray?
  • Where and how frequently do competitors advertise, and what messages do they use?
  • Do we have good assets such as display ads and landing pages to drive prospects to? How do they compare with competitors’ assets?
  • What social media channels does our target market use? Should we boost our presence on those channels?
  • What issues do our target buyers talk about on social media?
  • Do we use heat maps, A/B testing or other measurements to test content and calls to action?
  • Do our marketing messages align with the values and brand identity we want to convey to our target audience?
  • How do our marketing messages address common pain points or challenges faced by our customers?
  • Have we conducted focus groups or surveys to gather direct feedback on the effectiveness of our marketing messages?
  • Are there any cultural or regional considerations that could impact the resonance of our messaging with different segments of our target audience?
  • What unique selling points (USPs) do we emphasize in our advertising, and how well do they differentiate us from competitors?
  • Have we tested various advertising messages to identify which ones resonate best with our target audience?
  • Are we effectively utilizing storytelling techniques in our marketing messages to create emotional connections with our customers?
  • How do we track the success of our advertising campaigns in terms of reach, engagement, and conversions?
  • Have we analyzed customer journey data to identify potential gaps in our messaging at various touchpoints?
  • Are there any specific keywords or phrases that our target audience commonly uses, and how can we incorporate them into our messaging?
  • What messages in our advertising resonate with you the most?
  • Are there certain advertising channels where you feel our presence is lacking?
  • How do you usually respond to our advertising – visit our website, follow us on social media, make a purchase?
  • In your opinion, what could improve the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns?

Related: 9 Strategies to Get More Customer Feedback and When to Use Online Surveys .

These 132 questions and examples of market research should give you plenty to explore. Always come back to the most important question of all: what can we do better? Answering this one question can put your brand well on the way toward long term growth.


International Marketing

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Real Esate Survey 2024

Real Estate Survey 2024

  • April 01, 2024
PwC Malta is releasing the fifth edition of its Real Estate survey, which was carried out during Q4 of 2023. This market research exercise was carried out through an online survey which addressed the resident population of the Maltese islands. Based on the latest population statistics, the survey targeted a representative sample of the population of 384 respondents stratified by age group, with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 5%. A total of 481 survey responses were collected. The survey explored current demand trends emanating from Malta’s property market customer preferences.

Key developments in the Maltese real estate industry

According to national statistical data for 2023, the number of promise of sale agreements (PoSAs) entered into by individual buyers of residential property amounted to 12,064. The number of PoSAs entered into this year exceeds that registered during 2022 (c. 11,075 PoSAs) and is equivalent to a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 9%. This suggests that 2024 could be another strong year for Malta’s real estate industry.

During 2023, the final deeds of sale involving individual buyers amounted to 11,136. This represents a decline of 15% when compared to 2022. The value of final deeds of sale amounted to €2.5 billion in 2023, which represents a decrease of 8% over the previous year. This implies that there were less final deeds of sale overall, albeit on average at a higher value per final deed of sale, suggesting an increase in property prices.

The number of active registered rental contracts, as reported by the Malta Housing Authority data stood at 54,978 at the end of June 2023, equivalent to an increase of 24% compared to the previous year. This increase is significantly higher than that registered for promise of sale agreements. The increasing number of foreign workers relocating to Malta is one of the drivers propelling rental demand. The number of foreigners employed in Malta, according to Jobsplus data , has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of c. 17% over the period 2017-2022. Furthermore, Labour Force survey data indicates that the median national income for foreign workers in 2022 was €16,500 . This suggests that a very large segment of expats working in Malta are employed in the lowest-paying jobs. Naturally, these expats typically look out for property which are rented within the price range that is in line with their available disposable income. In addition to this, in response to a Parliamentary question, data compiled by Jobsplus reveals that foreign workers spend an average of 22.09 months (1 year and 10 months) working in Malta . This indicates that such workers relocate to Malta temporarily, and are engaged into a non-permanent employment. All such factors are driving a higher demand for the rental of property, as opposed to a demand to purchase property.

The highest number of PoSAs in 2023 was registered in the central region, covering the cluster of localities of Ħamrun, Pietà, Santa Venera, L-Imsida, Birkirkara and Ħal Qormi, amounting to a total of 2,209 registered agreements. This was followed by the cluster of localities located in the Northern region, consisting of Mellieħa, San Pawl il-Baħar and Imġarr, with 1,635 registered agreements.

The Property Price Index (PPI) illustrates the changes in prices of residential properties purchased by households. The chart below shows how Malta’s PPI has been increasing steadily since 2016, both in terms of transacted prices (NSO) and in terms of advertised prices (CBM) . During 2022, the PPI based on transacted prices was equivalent to 145, registering an increase of 6.7% over the previous year. The PPI based on advertised prices also registered an increase in 2022 over the previous year, amounting to 159. As at Q3 of 2023, the PPI based on transacted prices stood at 153 and the PPI based on advertised prices stood at 171. The CAGR growth from 2015 to 2022 of the property price indices based on transacted prices and on advertised prices are 5.4% and 6.8% respectively.

Results from the PwC Survey

Renting or buying residential property, decrease in sole ownership, increased appetite for higher valued property, increased impact of regulatory developments on plans to purchase property, consideration of sustainability factors.

When asked about plans to buy or rent residential property, the majority of respondents,  49%, answered that they have plans to buy property. The demand to rent property dropped from last year’s edition, from 31% to 11%. Moreover, the proportion of respondents that do not have any plans to buy or rent property increased from the last edition (Q4 2023: 40%; Q1 2023: 27%). 

Are you making plans to buy or rent a residential property?

405 responses

481 responses.

The latest survey suggests a significant shift to the cohort of respondents who have no plans to either buy or rent residential property - a suggestion that the prevailing economic conditions could be influencing investment decisions. Such an increase may be attributable to inflationary pressures which dent the purchasing power of consumers. Recent measures to curb inflation included the tightening of monetary policy where the European Central Bank (ECB) raised interest rates, hence making it more challenging for borrowers to service loans and potentially discouraging borrowers from entering into new loans. Central Bank of Malta (CBM) data indicates that there was a decline in the number of new mortgage contracts registered during the second quarter of 2023. Higher interest rates also increase costs for real estate developers, further exacerbating inflationary pressure on the prices of property.  

The increase in the cohort of respondents which indicated that they have no future investment plans, contributed to the dip in demand for renting residential property as observed in this survey. The trajectory of this specific cohort, which will be under the watch of future editions of this survey, is expected to suggest meaningful insights into investment decisions of the general population.

A further drilling-down of the data by age group indicates that the shift from rental demand to homeownership demand for residential property is mostly prevalent within the younger cohort of respondents. Arguably this suggests that the younger generations are more interested in having a permanent residency rather than renting their residential property. Government incentives and regulatory developments may also be enticing this cohort to opt-out to purchase rather than rent property. Another reason for the drop in renting demand could be the increase in rental prices. According to CBM data , advertised rental prices continued to experience an upward trajectory, which in the CBM’s view would make it unsustainable to rent out property for the long term. The shortage of supply on the market for long let property, driven by the influx of foreign workers coming to Malta, is also causing the price of rent to fluctuate.

The results of the latest survey were benchmarked against the trend registered since 2021 in previous editions of equivalent surveys carried out by PwC which, with the exception of in Q1 of 2023, suggest what could be interpreted as generally consistent patterns in the general population’s investment plans, and hence, the dip in results in connection to rental intentions when compared to Q1 of 2023 can be deemed to be return to the trend observed in previous editions of the survey.

This survery also suggests a decrease in respondents that have indicated plans to purchase property as sole owners (Q4 2023: 51%; Q1 2023: 60%). The available affordable options in the housing market for a single person with average earnings are increasingly becoming limited due to the increasing house prices. A study by the Foundation for Affordable Housing notes that the gap between average earnings and house prices has been widening, as house prices have been increasing at a faster rate than the historical long-term average. Prospective buyers are being priced out of the market due to the sustained increase in house prices. The implication is that individuals need to earn more income and save up a larger amount of cash for a deposit, in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. The PPI confirms the increases in price, as both NSO and CBM data register a CAGR of over 5% from 2015 to 2022, implying a strong prolonged increase in residential property prices.

Will you be buying a property alone (sole owner)?

169 responses

234 responses.

Arguably, were it not for government intervention or family assistance, it would be an unrealistic prospect for young people in Malta to own property unless they purchase not as sole-owners. Against this backdrop, published statistics indicate that young Maltese people are leaving their parents’ home considerably late when compared to other EU countries. In 2022, the average age of people leaving their parents' home in Malta was 30.1 years compared to a European average of 26.4 years . Furthermore, the study by the Foundation for Affordable Housing also suggests that affordability concerns are not applicable only to young or first-time home buyers but may also impact prospective home buyers that have recently gone through a divorce or separation and renters transitioning into home ownership. Relocation to Gozo may ease the cost burden on a sole proprietor given that prices are lower in that region, however, this would entail commuting drawbacks.

The survey indicates that the majority of respondents are seeking to buy property valued between the €100k to €200k range (44%). However, when the latest results are benchmarked to  the last edition, a shift in demand towards property valued at higher price brackets can be noted. The biggest increase in the share of respondents was seen in the €201k to €400k bracket, where 47% of the respondents suggested appetite towards property within this price bracket, in contrast to 40%, in 2023 Q1 survey.

What is the value of the property you are looking for/can afford?

A consistent message emanates from a connected question which was posed to the participants of this survey - which delved into the reason underlying the prospective property purchase. Despite a lower share (when compared to the 2023 Q1 survey), the main intention for a prospective purchase of property remains to move out of home (first-time buyers), with 43% of respondents. A higher proportion of respondents answered that they want to upgrade their home (Q4 2023: 25%; Q1 2023: 16%), which also implies that they would be looking at higher priced property.

What is the reason for purchasing the property?

More context to such a shift is further articulated in the results to the question which probed into the type of property that respondents are looking to purchase. Respondents have an increased appetite for property types that are on the higher end of the price spectrum. In the previous edition, 83% were looking to purchase an apartment, penthouse or maisonette, whilst the other 17% were looking at town houses, terraced houses, houses of character and villas (deemed to be higher-end properties). In this edition, the proportion of respondents looking to purchase a higher-end property increased to 27%. In the local market, there exists a lack of supply of high-end properties, and with increasing demand for these types of properties, it is expected that prices will keep on being pushed upwards. Furthermore, demand for high-end property is not expected to slow down any time soon, as high-net-worth individuals relocate to Malta, attracted by the economic growth that the country is so far experiencing and the increased foreign investment.

Type of Property

Another reason that might be propelling market players to consider higher valued property, is that their willingness to pay has gone up in order to purchase a property that suffices their needs compared to what they were willing to pay historically.

People have now become more aware of the reality of higher property prices and also of higher inflation rates in the past two years, potentially leading them to adjust their expectations accordingly.

The apparent increased appetite for higher-end property echoes the sentiment being expressed in the local media by real estate stakeholders. This is also supported by the data , whereby the number of final deeds of sale is decreasing whilst the value of final deeds of sale is increasing. 

Non first-time buyers were asked if they are aware of the additional restrictions imposed by the Central Bank, namely Directive No.16 which entered into force in 2019 and was updated in 2021. These restrictions relate to the issuance of loans to purchase property for second-time buyers and include the following requirements: repayment of the loan over a period of 25 years or by retirement age, whichever is the earlier; instalments cannot exceed 40% of the applicant’s annual gross income; and 25% of the loaned amount needs to be available by the borrower at the origination of the loan. 76% of respondents who were not first-time buyers were aware of the restrictions imposed by the Central Bank, significantly up from 47% in the previous survey. Out of the respondents who were aware of the restrictions, 66% said that such restrictions did have an impact on their decision to purchase property.

If you are not a first-time home buyer, are you aware of the additional restrictions imposed by the Central Bank on local banks in connection to the issuance of loans to purchase property?

If yes, did they have an impact on your decision to purchase/or not, property?

A further question posed to respondents delved on the influence of 2024 budgetary measures on the sale of property, more specifically, the tax relief on transfer of properties which are vacant, in urban conservative areas (UCA) or which carry traditional features. It was noted that 41% of the respondents answered that these had a significant influence on their decision and plans to buy property, up from 33% in the previous edition. A further 33% said that the budgetary measures did have a slight influence on their decisions and 26% said they had no influence.

To what extent have the budgetary measures affecting the sale of property, namely, the tax relief on transfer of properties which are vacant, in UCA (Urban Conservative Areas) or which have traditional features, recently influenced your decision/plans to buy?

Such findings indicate that people are becoming increasingly aware and sensitive of the regulatory developments in place and are seeking to take the best advantage. Respondents were specifically asked if they feel that there is enough information available in the market for them to make an informed decision when acquiring property and, consistently, the number of respondents who felt that there is enough information available went up from the last run (Q4 2023: 41%; Q1 2023: 31%).

Do you feel there is enough information available in the market for you to make an informed decision when acquiring or renting property?

As the concept of sustainability is becoming increasingly important, respondents were asked to rank how much sustainability factors impact their decision to buy or rent property, ranging from not important at all to very important. This survey registers a remarkable shift in percentage of prospective buyers (Q4 2023: 70%; Q1 2023: 59%) who give weight to sustainability factors in the property purchase decision. When prospective buyers were asked if they would be willing to pay more for a property that is built in a manner to consider sustainability factors, a positive shift was noted. Whereas in the 2023 Q1 survey the majority of respondents, at 54%, had answered that they would not pay more for a property with sustainability considerations, in the last edition, the majority have now tipped over to 59% who state that they would indeed pay more.

How much would sustainability factors impact your decision to buy or rent a property?

294 responses

289 responses.

Would you pay more to rent or buy a property that includes sustainability considerations?

This finding helps to shed light on the fact that the general public is becoming increasingly more aware of the importance of sustainability. In this respect, we believe that further emphasis should be placed on environmentally friendly features that advertised properties can offer. Furthermore, increased awareness is needed on the benefits arising from the purchase of environmentally sustainable properties that can yield potential financial benefits to the buyer in the long run, along with benefits to society as a whole.

This survey has explored key themes surrounding Malta’s property market. Findings are generally in line with the sentiment being expressed publically by real estate stakeholders and also support factual data. An increasing demand for higher-end properties has been registered. The growing expat community is shaping the to-let market, with rental prices increasing substantially as supply fails to meet demand. This implies that there is a potential of growth in the residential buy-to-let market, given the perceived supply shortage, which could potentially also stabilise rental prices. Finally, the survey registers an increasing level of awareness on regulatory developments and an increased appetite for buying and renting eco-friendly properties.

market research and online surveys

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Michael Formosa

Michael Formosa

Assurance Partner, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 7975 7014

Angelique Spina

Angelique Spina

Director, Advisory, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 7015

Katya Pirotta

Katya Pirotta

Senior Manager, Advisory, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 7973 6016

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  • » REC response to ONS labour market figures, April 2024

market research and online surveys

  • 16 Apr 2024

REC response to ONS labour market figures, April 2024

market research and online surveys

The ONS has published its latest labour market statistics this morning. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Chief Executive Neil Carberry, said:

“Today’s figures capture a labour market that has slowed with the economy, though activity levels overall remain relatively robust with vacancies still high. With business surveys predicting demand for both permanent and temporary workers to pick up in the near term, this looks like something of a soft landing.

“While overall pay growth remains high, there are signs of softening in the underlying data that we would expect to increase in pace as large 2023 pay awards continue to fall out of the data over the next couple of months. Sectors affected by the latest National Living Wage increase will not see this, however, and this is likely for be a significant challenge. Employers in these sectors have faced a long tough period since the pandemic in terms of wage and goods price inflation, the cost of Covid loan repayments, labour shortages and price pressure from customers.

“Getting the labour market right matters to driving sustainable growth. That’s why The REC has called for a new approach to workforce from Government, based on strong evidence. Tackling barriers on skills, support infrastructure like childcare and transport, regulation and tax. It is time for politicians to really listen to business on what works to tackle inactivity and drive growth. Put the economy first, so it can support lower taxes and better public service funding.”

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