Not Your Typical Survey Tool: What a New Online Survey Tool Means for the DIY Survey Market

Research plays a fundamental part in enabling businesses to make better decisions. Amidst a recession and continued budget cuts, small and medium sized businesses may no longer be able to afford outsourcing their research needs. Enter DIY surveys, do-it-your-self surveys that can afford businesses the research data they need without the help of a professional or third-party company. More after the jump.

The creation of online survey tools provides DIY researchers a readily available survey platform to create and launch surveys, all with a low cost of entry. Recent statistics by Cambiar estimates DIY spending to be at $700-$800 million worldwide, a compelling number fueling companies to create an online survey tool that caters best to DIY researchers. With the introduction of more competitive survey tools, we can expect that it will not only propel the self-service sampling industry forward but will eventually increase the acceptability of DIY surveys as research tools for all businesses.

Addressing choice overload

With over 100 online survey tools currently in market, finding the differentiating factor between them can be difficult. New platforms offer features that other platforms lack while they further develop innovative features that current users need and want. Furthermore, the challenge for users is to be able decide which is DIY platform is most appropriate for their research needs.

From interface design to the survey creation process, each platform offers something different. A simple interface lets users quickly create and launch a survey, sometimes in as little as six minutes. Some platforms also offer pre-made templates, tailored questions and the ability to add incentives. Customizable features coupled with ease of use help to improve the survey creation experience for the user while making the survey taking experience more engaging for the respondent, and thus, providing better quality data.

Once created, surveys are sent to a selected list of contacts; and in most cases, the user needs to own each contact’s email address. That is one of the main differences between DIY and traditional research methodologies. Third-party research suppliers can offer access to millions of consumers, but a DIY researcher is limited only to email addresses they possess. Without sample, do-it-yourselfers are denied access to an audience they potentially need simply because of a lack of email addresses. While sufficient in some cases, not being able to reach a broader audience when needed can prove to be detrimental to the research data collected.

Online survey tools that offer access to sample bridges that gap, by allowing users to launch their surveys to a targeted sample pool of consumers from today’s growing social media population (similar to what a research supplier can provide) at a minimal cost.

What are the benefits?

Fast, cheap and accessible. DIY surveys are meant to be affordable and less time consuming while technological improvements are enabling online survey tools to become accessible to almost anyone. Certainly there are times where DIY surveys are more appropriate; a simple poll of asking employees what they want for lunch or a customer satisfaction survey requesting feedback about a new product. By design, DIY surveys are better suited for straight-forward research, including situations where feedback needs to be collected quickly or insights can be achieved with only a few questions.

It’s also important to note that not all DIY researchers are seasoned survey writers, and that fact is the root of many concerns regarding DIY surveys. Alternatively, the beauty of self-service sampling is that it is available even to those who aren’t in market research, can’t afford it, or need faster results. However, it’s our intention and responsibility to promote proper survey writing as best we can, and in the end, we all want the user experience to be enjoyable and the survey results to be insightful.

In our experience, there are certain things users can do to ensure they reach such goals. So before hitting send, I encourage do-it-yourselfers to consider the following tips:

• Pay attention to survey length – keep in mind the time it takes to complete a survey and aim to keep it under 10 minutes.

• Avoid loaded, leading or confusing questions – make sure questions will not lead a respondent towards a certain answer

• Use clear, readable English – technical and elaborate words are not part of the average person’s vocabulary and might only confuse them.

• Offer incentives – rewards are a good way to thank your audience for taking the time to complete a survey. It’s also a proven way to increase response rates.

• Test, spell-check and test again – a survey full of typos, poor grammar, or incomplete sentences will only make you look bad. Similarly, a survey that does not make logical sense can often frustrate the respondent and result in a low response rate.

Consider the situation – don’t waste energy trying to fit a difficult research project into a simple DIY survey. This can only lead to higher costs and more time needed to generate usable data. Instead, consider partnering with an online panel provider to ensure your research results are as representative and as insightful as possible.

Using these DIY survey tips, coupled with taking the time to understand effective survey writing, will generate quality results at affordable prices. But most importantly, it will give DIY surveys and online survey tools a better reputation now and into the future.

Guest blogger Noman is the CEO and co-founder of Peanut Labs, an innovative company that provides monetization for social media sites through advertising offers and market research surveys. To view the original blog post please visit:

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