Choosing the best software to start conducting online market research surveys

If you are new to conducting online market research surveys, it is difficult to choose the right software platform. For a start, there are a lot of choices. Some are free, others are modestly priced and others are incredibly expensive.

What’s your starting point?

If you are new to conducting any market research, it might be a good idea to start with one of the free products like SurveyMonkey. This will give you the opportunity to learn how to put a small questionnaire together and practise. However, it’s likely that you are conducting one or two important surveys each year, perhaps an employee survey or a customer satisfaction survey, or you are starting to offer clients a new service that is likely to grow. In such cases, you will soon find that the free products are no longer free and may have limited functionality to cater for your real, practical needs.

So, what do you really need to spend to get started?

There are some products like Confirmit where you will need to spend in the region of $10,000 to get started. That might be fine if you are about to invest in a new team of programmers, who will need to be properly trained, but it’s more likely that you want something that you can start to use effectively with minimal training, yet still have the tools you need to conduct professional market research.

What tools do I need then for ‘professional market research’?

There’s a whole list of things that you will need, but I would like to focus on two key things.

– Being able to select subsets of respondents

You may need to apply complex filters to questions – that is, you might only want to ask some questions to some of your respondents. Let’s say, you want to show a video of soft drink advert. You might only want to show that video to people completing the survey on a PC or a tablet but not a smartphone. Additionally, you only want them to view the video if they have heard of the brand and used it in the last two years. A condition like this might not be possible with several software products.

– Making the survey engaging

Market research on market research has shown that respondents are prepared to answer longer questionnaires if they are engaging. In other words, an interesting 10-minute survey is more likely to be completed than a boring 5-minute survey. What makes surveys boring? Rating scales, pages that look tedious to complete and pages where it is unclear what the respondent has to complete. To improve response rates, you will need to make your survey engaging – you will need tools to use pictures, make some questions interactive etc. (See our blog article “5 ways to encourage people to complete your online survey”.)

I’ve got the data. Now what?

Let’s assume you’ve managed to launch your survey and succeeded in getting enough completed interviews. What happens next? Many online data collection tools do little or no more than provide you with data. If that data is in Excel, that might be good enough for basic counts or simple charts, but what if you want to look split respondents by three age bands within gender to see if there are any differences in your data. That becomes more difficult.

A tool like Snap takes you beyond the data collected and lets you produce tables and charts. You can even share your project with clients so that they can produce their own analysis.

Getting more is important

Many online data collection competitors of Snap start to fall away once you get to analysing data or producing high quality reports. Let’s say that you want to distribute a report to each department in your organisation having conducted an employee survey. Snap can produce all the reports you need automatically, so that each team can compare their reports with similar teams, for example, and the organisation as a whole. You could, of course, compare results from a previous year with the current year. This flexibility soon becomes important even for the smallest surveys.

Winning with Snap

This is where Snap starts to win. It is so much more than a comprehensive data collection tool – and everything is bundled into the one platform so there are no expensive extra costs. For more information about how you can start to conduct online research inexpensively and provide tables, charts, reports and share data with others, take a look at our information pages on Snap.