Download the complete guide
Enter your email and receive the complete guide in your inbox.
Introduction: What is an online survey and why are they useful?
Do you like drinking a good cup of coffee? Did you know specialists ensure that 95°C is the ideal water temperature to fully enjoy this infusion? How can we be scientifically certain about how to bring the water temperature to exactly 95°C and for it to remain at that temperature?
Nowadays, thermometers are sophisticated measuring instruments that allow us to precisely measure the temperature of a coffee, our children's fever or of the goods being transported by a logistic company.
Surveys, in this sense, are like thermometers that measure the temperature of a company. They enable us to learn about tendencies and about the opinion of customers, users or any other key audience of our interest. Just like there are many different thermometers (from old mercury ones to modern digital others), there are also many different types of surveys.
A survey can be done in person, by phone, online and in many other possible formats as well. In this guide, we concentrate on the third type of survey mentioned, and we’ll try to reveal the benefits, characteristics and types of online surveys and also provide you with all the necessary information required to start your first online survey.
Let’s move forward and we hope that this information is useful for your business.
What is an online survey?
The common denominator of every online survey is its use of the digital ecosystem and of digital platforms for doing the research. In the following section we’ll analyze its benefits, but mainly, we can affirm that this type of research is faster and more economic than other traditional methods.
Also, online surveys are more “friendly” when trying to obtain valuable data and evaluate it. Centrally, given that they simplify the analysis of results and display them in a clear and organized structure.
The researcher, that is, the person in charge of the survey, has an additional benefit when choosing the online method to work with: the scale. Usually, traditional surveys are directed to a representative population sample with the objective of obtaining information regarding tendencies and opinions. A sample population is used, given that it’s very expensive to work with an entire population (census).
Contrary to this, online surveys allow the researcher to reach a broader audience - as big as he/she wants - with a cost close to cero, instantly and obtaining results simultaneously as users answer.
Why make an online survey?
A project involving a traditional survey can take several days, even weeks. However, online surveys are developed within a shorter time-frame than traditional research methods. This happens, partly, because the information is collected automatically, and among other things, you don’t need to wait for the paper questionnaires to arrive.
At the same time, the response time is almost instantaneous. Marketing experts claim that more than half of the responses are received within the first three days after the surveys are sent.
The use of online surveys reduce the costs of research. You’ll save money in mailing expenses, nor will you have to assign time and resources to enter the information in a database. Answers are processed automatically, and the results can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
Online surveys considerably reduce the margin of error given that participants enter their answers directly in the system. Traditional methods of market research are dependent upon the attention span of the personnel to enter every detail correctly. In this sense, human errors can naturally appear when a person has to execute a repetitive task.
Online surveys are not only faster, but also more agile. They allow you to see the results in real time and hence allow you to make quicker decisions, create graphs for reports, export data for further analysis and to share your results with anyone.
Most people prefer to answer surveys online instead of answering them by phone or in person, because it’s more comfortable. With an online survey, participants can choose when to answer it according to their convenience. Also, the time taken to complete an online survey is much shorter.
Nowadays, more than 70% of surveys are opened on mobile devices.Source: company data.
An online survey presents the perfect opportunity to place your brand in the user’s mind and remind them of the benefits you offer. Your survey can be designed for it to match with your company website with backgrounds, images, logos, customized fonts, thank you screens and even the URL.
Remember that a survey is an extension of your brand and a point of contact with your clients. In this sense, it's very important that you feel comfortable with the customization and design of your survey and that it’s coherent with the image your brand portrays.
Also, make sure that your online survey provider has features to answer them from mobile devices, which allows you to increase its reach and simultaneously maintain your brand in all the platforms.
Diverse studies have demonstrated that people prefer to answer surveys online- instead of participating in written questionnaires or in phone interviews- and generally provide longer and more detailed answers this way. When designing and sending relevant and specific surveys, it’s more likely that people will provide honest answers.
Online surveys are friendly, fun and simple. They provide a better experience for the user. That’s why (and due to other reasons too), they have a higher completion rate than other survey methods. Hence, they provide better results and more information that can be then used to make better business decisions.
With an online survey, you can evaluate the participants previously and allow only those that fit your target audience to complete it. Platforms of online questionnaires offer tools to filter a specific target with relevant questions that will apply only to them.
The order of the questions in a survey can be altered according to previous answers. You can even program your survey to avoid some questions depending on previous answers of the user. In this way, a survey can adapt to each participant as they go completing the survey by using different “logic jumps”.
There are 416 millions users of mobile devices in Latin America. That is 67% of the population! That’s why it’s key to make your surveys mobile device friendly.Source: GSMA.
Type of surveys
A survey regarding client satisfaction allows you to analyze the expectations of your users (prior to making a purchase) and their experience after, which will put layers to what is their level of conformity.
Also, this is one of the most useful ways to analyze the product, identify its flaws and reveal opportunities that have not been exploited. In this sense, depending on the satisfaction level, they are useful to determine potential next strategies that can be implemented.
Make a client satisfaction survey that’ll help you get to know their perception and which can be the groundwork for improving your company.
Which questions must be on your online client satisfaction survey? There are many possible ones, but here we suggest some which are key:
- For how long have you been using our products or services?
- How frequently do you buy our products?
- How likely are you to purchase our products again?
- How would you rate the attention received at our store (or website)?
- How satisfied are you with our products/services?
Today, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become one of the most frequently used measuring tools and a standard for satisfaction and loyalty indicators.
One of the reasons for its popularity is because it is very simple to use it. The NPS is based in a single question: “How likely is it that you’ll recommend this product/service to your family/friends?” The options are also simple: in a scale from 1 to 10, in which those who anser 9 and 10 are promoters; 8 and 7 are neutral; and 6,5,4,3,2 and 1, are detractors.
From the coefficient of promoters minus detractors, an easy to interpret NPS is established for all the areas in the company which its very simple to compare in time and with competitors. Nowadays, most digital companies use it to learn about the experience of users and rapidly attend to sensitive issues.
Web surveys are the most adequate ones to know the NPS and measure the client satisfaction of your organization, brand, product or service and also about your client’s loyalty level.
Executing online market research is easy, accessible and reliable. It allows you to collect information about your target market.
You can use this type of online survey to access key demographic information and in this way, obtain valuable information about whatever you wish to know: from what do clients like about your brand to which product does your market need.
If you go deeper in your market research, you’ll see that the effort pays off. But why? Because wild guesses and hunches are not enough when launching successful products and writing appropriate marketing messages. We are not the only ones that defend this approach.
According to the book “Milkshake Marketing”, by Clay Christensesn, 19 of every 20 new products launched in a market, fail.
Getting to know what your audience and clients think and feel is of vital importance for companies nowadays. Currently, the business environment gets more and more competitive, and all brands seem to be exposed to diverse commercial and reputational risks.
That’s why it’s necessary to have tools to analyze the data generated from the interaction with our audiences in order to detect tendencies that could affect the future of your business.
Contact forms are a key part of most businesses, given that they are the principal way visitors can communicate with the company. They are THE way to send structured information and store it correctly in one place.
Whether you are a small business or a huge marketplace, it’s necessary to have a contact form in order to receive messages and communications from your visitors. This information will be very useful when completing your client data base to know better your users.
Evaluation surveys are an important type of questionnaire to really know if an event was successful or not (and also knowing the “key learnings”, that is, the aspects that need improvement).
Generally, people tend to be politically correct when facing another person. Despite satisfying the ego, it is best not to stick exclusively with comments of praise when people are leaving.
Keep in mind that the event you organized probably was a success in your eyes, but that perhaps not everyone who attended it shared your perspective. Hence, an online survey to evaluate the level of satisfaction after the event will allow you to receive an honest opinion from the people that attended your event.
We recommend that, when planning an event, you reserve a space in order to evaluate how everything went down.
Also, it’s desirable that you don’t let a lot of time pass before sending the evaluation survey after the event. That window of hours – at most days – after the event is key in order to get the necessary feedback to hit “while the iron is still hot”.
Online surveys offer a valuable, very interesting alternative for e-commerce platforms. The premise in this case is “the more knowledge about the client and their experience, the better”.
So, why are online questionnaires useful? Mainly, to analyze the level of satisfaction regarding products, services or the experience in itself after each sale.
The golden rule is: Send a survey immediately after each purchase, and it has to be very brief and concise.
Many companies send a longer survey a long while after the sale. This tends to happen due to time constraints and lack of will to send many emails. The problem is that most people forget about their experience after a while.
Today, modern technology offers many possibilities to automate these processes, making the time factor no longer a constraint. Surveys are sent automatically, they are fast and easily developed and allow you to obtain answers rapidly, which also means that your company can make decisions faster.
For example, if a client was unsatisfied with their purchase experience, you can contact the client to revert this bad image before the problem escalates and hence prevent him/she from sharing their bad experience with other users.
Counter to popular belief, surveys don’t have to be boring.
Except for particular cases (academic research, medical studies), a survey can be valuable for you -in terms of its research objectives- and offer at the same time a pleasant experience for your respondents.
Fun surveys are excellent opportunities to increase your completion rate and simultaneously maintain your questionnaire interesting. The key is in the language, tone, and the use of appropriate design resources. Online surveys platforms are an excellent ally for this.
Do you want to learn tips to make your surveys more entertaining? There are many, but some basic ones are to include humorous questions among the standard survey questions, or formulating your questions in a humorous way (yes, these are two totally different alternatives!), adding videos or gifs to make it alive and adding scores to the answers to make it feel like a quiz.
These rules apply to almost every survey that you can think of, from employee surveys, to client satisfaction and market satisfaction surveys.
Human resources professionals want to recruit and retain the most talented employees. Depending on the discipline, surveys in the workplace can help you comprehend further the impact of programs and current policies. Also, they can help identify areas that require improvement.
In general, HR surveys can help you connect the functions, the work and the capacity of collaborators with your commercial objectives. The results from your survey will shed light about the metrics that you wish to test and will allow you to get the results needed to present its progress.
The results of any HR survey will reveal which areas need improvement and could hence lead to a more productive workforce.
This type of online survey will be useful for many business owners, human resources directors, managers, professionals dedicated to training and development as well as for specialists in Human Capital. Among other things, you could use online questionnaires to generate job search engines, employee satisfaction, performance evaluations, career plans, training plans and exit interviews.
One of the most useful tools to improve the bond between teachers, students and parents are online surveys.
You can include open-ended questions in which students must answer using a text box or you can formulate close-ended questions with only two possible options (yes/no, true/false, etc.). Also, others can be done in multiple choice format or with a series of options that the student must place in a determined order.
Furthermore, beyond these options of online surveys, there are others which allow you to apply playful elements to foster an entertaining and challenging learning experience.
Have you heard about “gamification”? That’s how it’s denominated the method of adding gaming elements to different products or services. In online surveys it helps to make the experience more engaging for the users.
Also, online questionnaires allow you to use logic jumps which can be used to make a student access a “customized” path, and depending on their answers, they can skip certain questions.
Finally, online surveys are a great space which encourage students to express their level of satisfaction regarding the service being provided to them by the education institution in which they study.
How to create an online survey
Now it’s time to get to work. How do you create an online survey? From where do you start? Which tools will help you make more effective your questionnaire?
Relax, the answers that you are looking for can be found here.
Define the general objective of the survey
It can sound a bit obvious, but the starting point for designing any survey involves setting concrete and clear objectives. We could summarize the problem in one simple question: Why am I doing this online survey?
Know your audience (and generate empathy with it)
In a market in which users are more and more involved with brands through content, knowing which themes are important for its audience becomes more critical. Many elements exist that can work as distractions for your audience and which can provoke the failure of your campaign. That’s why it’s fundamental to know who we are addressing.
Also, we need to narrate stories to make this target audience more involved with our brand. Well now, how can we know what type of content are they expecting from us? The valuable answer to this question can be gathered through online surveys.
According to a recent study, 8 out of 10 companies consider that content is key to create brand loyalty.
Request demographic information to improve user experience.
If our clients are in Argentina they’ll most probably want to receive content specific to that particular country. If our users are mainly women, then they’ll prefer content with a feminine touch. If our target audience is composed by professionals between 26 and 35 years old, they’ll possibly want our brand to narrate stories related to them.
The answers to these questions will help you understand the values, motivations, and behaviour of your audience.
How can we obtain this information through online surveys? Online surveys platforms tend to have features to request demographic information (age, city, sex, etc.) and even to ask respondents to link their social network accounts.
Inquire more about behaviour, habits and consumption
If your users like soccer, then it would be convenient for your content to have a sporty vibe. If your consumers listen to trap, then you'll have to make references to this particular type of music or even find some sort of association with trap artists of the local scene. If your clients are concerned with climate change, then you'll have to generate content about sustainability and incorporate this topic in your communication strategy.
Online surveys, in this sense, are an essential input to get to know what type of content is expected by your target audience. All the information about habits and consumption can be collected with these platforms.
We recommend being honest with your audience; tell them what the objective of your survey is to get to know more about them. Generally, this is established in the welcome screen of the survey with a question that says: “We want to know more about you”.
Understand where your users are
The current tendency of using the mobile surveys will probably persist and grow. Mobile devices are the true personal computers. They are an ubiquitous device and by far the one with which we interact the most. It is expected that this technology and trend will continue to be extremely important for surveys in the upcoming years.
However, the future of online surveys could also be linked to virtual reality experiments. Meaning that in a matter of years, new technologies will be developed that’ll place people in a digital environment or hybrid environment, in which you’ll be able to simulate “real” in person interviews, that could enrich the experience provided by surveys.
Despite enjoying futurology, for the time being, surveys targeting mobile devices will continue to be chosen by audiences for a while. That’s why, we recommend, each time more, orienting your user experience to the mobile world.
Customize your survey to reflect your brand’s identity
Remember: if you are thinking of creating an online survey to improve your relationship with your audience, a key objective is increasing participation. At the same time, to make the user feel comfortable and for it to complete the survey entirely, you must make sure that it’s presentable and with an appealing look and feel.
Surveys can be thought as conversations between the company that creates them and the people who respond them. In the same way you put effort into creating a survey that is understandable and engaging for the user, you must also make sure that it's presentable and engaging.
Like conversations, good surveys require a little bit of art, a bit of nuance and another bit of delicacy to engage the people with whom you are interacting.
How to connect with our audiences through surveys while maintaining our brand’s identity? There are a series of tools that allow you to create experiences of online surveys which match perfectly with the brand of your company.
Some of the most common ways to make online surveys compatible with your brand include: adding your company’s logo, choosing themes and images related to your brand (some online survey tools allow you to use backgrounds with images or colors), use the same color palette, search for the tone in which you want to communicate with your respondents and learn to look beyond numbers.
In the next section, you'll find more information on this topic. However, it's worth clarifying that we could provide 1000 suggestions but the only person who actually knows what you really need to do is you. Use your imagination, put your mind to work, and create.
How to write the content of your questions
Have a clear objective for each question
As we already anticipated above, the quality of the questions is a key factor to get valuable information. It’s not something that can be resolved in a matter of minutes. Si, in order to get the desired results, it’s necessary to dedicate all the time it deserves.
In the previous section, we explained the importance of defining concrete objectives for your online survey. Related to this piece of advice, the first thing to have in mind when writing a question is to make sure that each one addresses a clear objective.
In the end, it’s about simplifying the form in general and to avoid making a single question address too many issues. For example, in a survey for people that have visited a restaurant:
- “Tell us what you ate, if you liked it and why” is a wrong format (the respondent will take too long to answer and with a lot of information mixed).
- It’s preferable to make three separate questions: first “what you ate”; next, “Did you like it?”; and finally, “Why?”.
Formulating questions with clear objectives will make the experience more pleasant and entertaining for your clients. This way, you’ll avoid having them get frustrated or bored when answering and prevent them from abandoning the survey.
How to speak to the audience being surveyed
Knowing the audience and understanding how they express is key to obtain a high completion rate. Answering an online survey must be a simple, trouble-free experience.
Here comes to play the value of knowing forms of expression and language used by the target audience: it’s important to communicate in the same way in which they address your brand (and how they express themselves in their daily life). Let’s see some examples:
- If it’s an elder client, part of the most exclusive segment in a bank, maybe it’s better to address him/she with greater formality.
- If the client belongs to a particular profession, it’s important to show respect for their title or denomination. For instance, if you must survey the military or personnel of the Defense area, make sure to consider ways to personalize the questionnaire so that you can address them according to their corresponding rank.
- If it’s a teenager, you can use more informal language. The more irreverent and closer to their form of expression the better. You have to make them feel comfortable in order to motivate them to complete the questionnaire.
- If surveys have a specific audience (for example, web coders), focus on getting to know their jargon and expressions and try to mimic it in your campaign. However, on the contrary, if you are targeting a diverse audience (for example, clients at a gas station), try using a formal tone (but not excessively) and being simple (without underestimating them).
A logical order for the questions
Online surveys must follow a narration. That’s why it must be organized following a logical sequence. This will make clients feel more comfortable when answering them.
Returning to the restaurant example, if you wish to know about the experience of a client, a logical sequence would be:
- Tell us what you ate
- Did you like it?
- What was your favorite thing about the restaurant?
- What did you like the least?
- Would you recommend it to a friend?
- Would you like to leave your contact information to receive promotions?
You can add other questions in the middle, or take some, that depends on what you want to know. However, in any case, it would be absurd to start by asking if you would recommend the restaurant to your friends or leave for the end the question about what they ate. That’s why it’s important to use our common sense when determining the order in which the questions are presented.
Avoid long introductions and resources that distract the respondent
Long questions, with confusing introductions, are the perfect excuse for clients to get bored, uncomfortable and abandon your survey.
While someone is completing a survey, they’re susceptible to many things that can be distracting. Any factor that makes the respondent loose their attention, will lead to them abandoning the survey and finding other ways to spend their time: social media, music apps or audiovisual content, etc.
- Example of a bad formulated question: “Our event gathered the greatest celebrities in the industry and lasted for over six hours. It’s truly hard to choose one best thing for such a unique and unforgettable night. But, if you had to stand out what did you like the most, we would like to know what you would choose. The speech of our general manager? The musical show? Or something else?
- Example of a question formulated correctly: “What did you like the most at the event?
Some companies use long introductions for each question in their online surveys as a way to induce particular responses (as can be seen in the first example). This represents a bigger error, given that you should aim to encourage your clients to respond with the most freedom and honesty as possible.
It’s recommended to be direct and avoid long rants, given that they don’t provide any value and can also provoke loss of attention.
Types of questions
Closed and open ended
In closed-ended questions, the respondent is obliged to choose among a series of predetermined options set by whoever designed the survey. For example, a survey of an airline used to measure the satisfaction of passengers could include closed-ended questions such as: “Have you eaten chicken or pasta?” or “Did you travel in first class or economy?”.
Instead, open-ended questions allow respondents to answer and expand freely, without having to choose between predetermined options. Continuing with the previous example, an open-ending question could be the phrase: “Tell us what we could add to our onboard menu” with a text box for the respondent to respond freely as they please.
Combining the right proportion of questions with closed and open endings is useful to recollect valuable information. In a survey for hotel guests, the first question (closed) could be: “Did the room you booked was up to your expectations?” to which the respondent could choose between two possible answers: a- “yes” b- “No”. Then, the logical thing would be to ask: “Why?” and, instead of offering predetermined answers, you could provide a text box for your respondents to write whatever they want to respond.
An open question, in this case, is useful to further understand the reasons behind a “yes” or a “no” and learn which exact words each person uses to justify their answers.
Open questions can also be used when you want to provide users with the option to add comments not included in the questionnaire. This is known as “Short answer” and it’s usually included at the end of a survey with questions such as “Do you wish to add something more? Your comments help us become better” or “How can we improve?”.
While a closed answer can be quantifiable and tabulated easily to reach conclusions, categorizing open questions is a difficult task. To solve this challenge, there is a tool called word cloud, which is useful to visualize the main answers to open questions and outline an interpretation of the results (see section 9 for more information).
A questionnaire with many open questions will be difficult to analyze. Is best to use them only when it’s strictly necessary. Also, when creating the survey, it’s relevant to analyze thoroughly how to create closed questions with options that can be suitable for all respondents.
Multiple choice questions are useful for people to choose their answers based upon a series of pre established options. For example:
- What was the reason of your visit?
- Work or business
- Personal or family affairs
It’s use has expanded significantly: there are almost no surveys without this type of question. Mainly because, on one hand, these are answered fast and simply, and on the other hand, because their results are easy to analyze.
Some multiple choice questions, such as the ones of the previous example, force the respondent to choose only one answer. However, there are others which allow you to choose several:
- What are your favorite sports?
If possible, use images, icons or GIFs to illustrate the options and make the survey more appealing to your respondents.
The “Other” answer option
By forcing the respondent to choose between preselected options, multiple choice questions can limit their expressiveness and skew their answer, which in many cases, is counterproductive for the results.
To solve this situation, the answer option “Other” is frequently added as an option to ensure that those respondents that don’t feel identified with the predetermined options, have an option that represents them. In the previous example, incorporating the possibility to add another sport –that is not listed among the predetermined options – can be used to allow users to provide their opinion freely.
When analyzing the results, the “other” option allows you to discover alternatives unaccounted for while creating the survey, and provide valuable information regardless of the fact that this option implies more work (because each answer will have to be evaluated separately).
Scales and matrix
These types of questions present a set of options as possible answers, numeric or verbal, that cover a variety of opinions regarding a particular topic. They are useful to measure attitudes and get to know the level of conformity of the respondent in relation to any affirmation we propose.
They also start from a closed question, that is, that they present the respondents with predefined options to choose from as answers. For example:
- “If you had to rate the quality of a show you just witnessed from 0 to 10, 0 being terrible and 10 excellent, what score would you choose?”
One specific way to use this resource is the Likert scale, a measuring tool very popular when it’s expected for respondents to put nuances to their opinion. The closed categories of answers are useful to capture the intensity of your respondent’s feelings towards the affirmation included in the question:
- Question: “What is your level of agreement or disagreement with the affirmation: “I am satisfied with the services provided by the company”?
- Closed answer options :” Total disagreement/ In disagreement/ Neutral/ Agreement/ Total agreement”.
When making scales, make sure to always include the same number of positive and negative options and to add a neutral one, as shown in the example above. This point is particularly important given that like this you can guarantee your users to expect a variety of possible answers to choose from. Moreover, to not include positive and negative options in the same proportion is a common mistake and can affect the overall results of your survey.
The NPS format that we explained in section 3 (Type of surveys), is another example of the use of scales.
In general, the Likert scale includes 5 levels, but 7 can also be used. The more levels you add, the better are your chances of obtaining more complex and diverse scores.
This question format is also very popular. The main difference with the previous ones is that each answer offers a series of closed options that must be ordered according to the preferences of the respondent:
- What are your favorite sports? Order the list starting with the one you like the most:
Ranking questions are recommended because they’re easy to answer and also because they simultaneously contribute to the objective of entertaining the respondent.
The ideal would be to include a list of five options for answers as maximum. A greater amount will make answering this question more complex and could frustrate the user making it abandon the survey.
Best practices to create an online survey
Welcome and Thank you screens
The welcome screen fulfills a very important role which is one of the basic objectives of any survey: for the user to open the survey and be motivated to complete it. That’s why it’s important to study in detail which are the best ways to create an attractive and inspiring welcome screen.
A common method consists in combining a brief text that explains who is making the survey and with which purpose, with an allusive image to make the audience feel identified. It is also recommended to customize it with logos, fonts and colors that represent your brand. For example:
It is recommended to be nice and friendly without sounding too phony. Also, it’s best to avoid long texts or ones with an excessively commercial tone, which can repel the audience.
The thank you screen is also much more relevant than what it seems. It is useful to indicate that the survey has finished, but also, to include some final words of gratitude.
Despite thank you screens being optional, we recommend that you don’t miss the opportunity to use them to provide a proper ending. If a survey is indeed a narration, this thank you screen constitutes the final point, and this means it must leave the audience with a feeling of satisfaction. For instance, it’s the ideal place to offer a benefit to a client as a way of thanking them for completing the survey:
- “Thank you for participating! Get a 20% discount in your next purchase in our store by showing this screen!”
Also, it’s recommendable to include contact information for people that wish to continue their ties with your brand via e-mail or social media or to invite them to share the results of the survey in their own social media.
Finally, if your survey used scores or logic jumps, it’s possible to add different thank you screens and show the results obtained for each user according to their selected answers.
The logic jumps feature is useful to allow users to access a determined section of a survey according to their answers to previous questions, skipping some parts of the questionnaire. Moreover, the score tool allows you to assign scores to each answer. So respondents will add (or subtract) points depending on their answers until reaching a final score at the end of the questionnaire.
In any case, both tools are useful to make each user see thank you screens according to their answers, a very useful practice to ensure a more personalized survey.
User information and anonymous surveys
It’s important to define which information will be asked to the user, given that a survey can fail if people feel distrust towards it when answering.
A survey can be 100% anonymous or it can request specific personal information to the user which doesn’t make it necessarily identifiable. According to the type of survey and its objectives, you must define how much information you can ask the respondents so as to prevent the results from being affected.
In some cases, people are unwilling to answer surveys in which they must indicate their name, surname, document number or other personal information. For example, a survey about a work environment: the more anonymous the better to make respondents feel with more freedom to respond with honesty, making the information collected more authentic.
In a survey about client satisfaction, it’s possible to choose an intermediate option: don’t request information such as name and surname (which could bother the respondent) but do ask them about their age, city in which they live, marital status, etc. This information will not affect anonymity and shouldn’t provoke any kind of rejection. Also, at the same time, knowing this information will probably be of vital importance when analyzing the results.
Some platforms allow you to use social media connects so that users don’t need to manually enter this information. This registering and entering process helps to bring validated information.
Personalization (Add images, logos change fonts and colors)
One of the great advantages of online surveys is the possibility of customizing them according to each brand.
That’s why creating forms of only text constitutes a lost opportunity to differentiate your company and will only generate a cold, boring and impersonal experience for your audience, which will not help your completion rate.
As a starting point, it’s important to adapt the survey to the visual identity of your brand and personalize it by adding logos, fonts and corporate colors. Then, you must search and select images, icons or GIFs.
Integration with other tools
Integrations allow you to send and receive information from and to other tools and platforms. Using a platform that has webhooks and APIs which allow you to create integrations with other systems will enhance the value of the information provided by your survey.
When choosing a platform to create online surveys, it’s important to consider that, the more integrations with other tools it has, the greater the possibility to exploit the information obtained.
For example, if it has integrations with services of cloud storages or tools for teamwork that you have already used in your organization, you’ll see that it’s much simpler to create surveys and share the information with your colleagues.
Another necessary integration for a survey platform is related to marketing, sales and customer service tools. A common objective of any organization that decides to create online surveys, is to use the information obtained to expand their contact data base and polish their Marketing strategy.
A platform to create surveys can be integrated with CRMs or marketing automation tools which allow you to create new contacts or update the information of one that already exists. With each new answer collected, the information is updated in real time and in this way you can personalize the commercial actions that must be developed with each client.
Also, it’s useful to have integrations with image galleries, especially if you don’t have your own image bank. With these types of tools, you can simplify the search of resources to illustrate your surveys.
Gamification of surveys
Appealing to the game (or gamifying a survey) is a valid strategy to provide a more pleasant experience, ensure more engagement from participants and increase the completion rate. You can do this in different ways:
- Use logic jumps so that each participant can “skip” directly a particular page, question or element in a survey according to previous questions.
- Provide different scores to each answer using the calculator, which will make the respondent add or subtract points during the course of the survey. So, once the survey is completed, a final score is determined, and it can be used to compare it with those of others to see who obtained more points.
- “Gamify” the questions by modifying how they are written. For example, instead of asking the respondents to present themselves through phrases such as “Tell us about you”, you can request this same information in a different, more challenging way. For example, by asking them: “Present yourself using only 10 words”. This approach will make them think more and force them to play with language so as to respect the word limit.
- Ask the respondent to fill in the blanks. Instead of asking them to complete sociodemographic information in a structured display, you can ask them to feel in the blanks of a sentence: “ My name is ________. I am ____ years old. I was born the __ of __ of____. I live in________.”
Latin America has the highest average use of social media per user: 212 minutes per day.Source: GlobalWebIndex.
Distributing or sharing a survey with QR code is an interactive and modern method, recommended to expand its reach. Any person with a mobile device can scan it and complete the survey.
Online survey platforms allow you to create QR codes, link them to the corresponding questionnaire and publish it on a website or print them and distribute them at the point of sale, in a magazine or in a brochure.
Embed a website
Embedding or inserting a survey in a website will possibly expand its reach as it will provide access to any visitor.
This can be useful if what you are after is obtaining a large number of responses. However, if you don’t want this, it’s recommended to embed the survey in a landing page created specifically for this purpose, and to which only the people we want have access to it.
Doing this is usually very simple. Most platforms used to create online surveys simplify the process by providing small pieces of code to go adding in a few steps (and with some technical knowledge) to a website.
Incentives in surveys
Offering incentives, a resource used nowadays with more frequency to overcome the fatigue or laziness of some respondents when answering a survey. If the objective is to obtain the greatest amount of possible answers, it’s convenient to send your survey via email or publicate it on a website or social media, highlighting the incentive in order to draw attention and encourage interest.
What kind of incentives can you offer?
- Money: “Complete the survey and you’ll get $10 as a prize!”
- Discounts: “Answer this survey and you’ll get 25% off your next purchase!”
- Gift cards: “Get a purchase order for all our stores!”
- Free product samples: “By participating in this survey, we’ll give you a bottle of our new wine as a gift!”
In any case, it’s essential to define the incentives according to what’s attractive for your target audience. For example, in a survey for film lovers:
- “Complete this survey and we’ll give you two tickets for any movie of your choosing at our cinema!”
- “ By participating in this survey you’ll get 30% off our candy bar!”
Offering incentives which are unrelated to the interests of your target audience might not work.
Graphs, visualization of results and word clouds
Graphs fulfill a key function in the analysis of a survey’s results given that they portray them more clearly.
Bars, columns or line graphs, pie charts, with or without colors…each question is different. So the best way to portray the results will depend on the type of question.
There are also word clouds, which are a useful tool to identify the terms most frequently mentioned in the answers (these will have a larger size in the cloud).
Thanks to this visual tool, we can clearly appreciate which are the predominant topics and understand literally how the respondents feel, as well as which words are used more frequently to manifest their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with a product or service.
By using an open-ending question, it’s possible to analyze the results through a word cloud and easily recognize the values with which your brand is associated with.
Despite the existence of spreadsheets and numerous tolls to create graphs and word cloud, it is recommended to do them directly using a survey platform that already has the option to create them automatically, which allows you to save time and work.
Types of graphs or illustrations recommended according to type of question:
- Multiple choice: horizontal bar or column graphs
- Rankings: horizontal bar graphs ordered according to average and with different colors to identify the amount of times each answer was positioned in each place.
- Short answer and form: word clouds.
- Scoring: scale, icon and quantity selected at the time of creating the survey.
- NPS: vertical bars/columns with the amount of answers of each one of the options through bars or columns, the Net Promoter Score and the percentage of detractors and promoters.
Reports available for download and formats
Another useful feature of survey platforms is that they allow you to download the results as Excel spreadsheets (.xls) including range of dates. This is a relevant alternative, especially if a survey covers a long period of time and you wish to analyze a particular moment.
How to use filters
Filters are useful to segment results and access information from a specific part of your respondents’ universe.
In order to use them, first, you must create them. Usually, you can access this option in the results section of a survey platform.
Filters can be created based on different segmentations. For example:
- Questions: allows you to segment results according to your users’ answers to different questions. For example, if we want to see only the answers that rated “Excellent” in the question “Rate your experience in our hotel”, you should use this filter.
- Demographic data: filters the results according to variables such as gender, age, geographic area, etc., (as long as this information was required when configurating the survey).
- Metadata: is useful to filter results by variables previously defined without the need to request the user for this information. For example, name and surname, the time taken to complete the survey, time and date in which the survey was started, IP address, or email.
- Date: allows you to see the answers obtained on particular days before or after a certain date.
- State of response shows the results according to how far has the user advanced in completing the survey. Mainly, it is useful to see how many completed the survey and how many only partially completed them.
- Access to the survey: is useful to filter results according to the channel used to access the survey: if they clicked on an email invitation, if they got there through your website, social media, a URL link or QR code.
- Combined filters: allows you to see specific results according to the combination of two or more prior variables. For example, it is useful to search how many female users have completed the survey, having accessed it via email.
Get to work!
We hope this guide has helped you learn about the world of online surveys.
First we started with a recap of reasons why online surveys have become useful tools for any sort of organization or activity. Then, we saw that there are diverse types of surveys and we emphasized the importance of setting clear objectives for them and making the audience aware of which these objectives are.
Also, we examined the different types of questions and how to write them. Additionally, we commented about some of the best ways to attract users and motivate them to complete your survey.
Finally, we explored some ways to share surveys and diverse methods to analyze results.
Now is your turn! We invite you to put what you’ve learned into practice.
Go ahead and create your fist survey! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, with practice, you’ll be able to improve, verify the usefulness of this guide, and achieve your goals.