Poll a Wider Audience With Google Consumer Surveys
By: Jessica Chestnut
Google Consumer Surveys (GCS) offers “Custom market research made easy,” with a new spin on the way businesses collect information. Ten cents per response gets you answers to any number of questions from a nationally representative sample, including what features are important in a product, specific behaviors, or thoughts on a new logo or packaging. Fifty cents per response buys you demographically targeted answers (by gender, age, or geographic region) or answers from a custom audience, such as dog owners or snowboarders (all Google surveys require a $100 minimum purchase).
Who are the survey participants, you ask? If someone is trying to access content that they would usually pay for from one of Google’s publishing partners (such as New York Daily News or Pandora), they can instead opt-out of the fee by taking a short (two questions max) survey. The publishing partners make a small profit every time a user responds, and you purchase the results of the surveys.
Demographic information is created through Google’s inferred demographics, courtesy of Gmail accounts, browsers’ cookies, IP addresses and more. While this information is fairly accurate (Google gets high marks for inferring gender and interests), it’s still not 100% correct (predicting age seems to be an issue at times).
There are a number of reasons why GCS is an effective tool for small businesses:
Fewer questions equals increased response rate: The survey design ensures that respondents will never be asked more than two questions. In the case of two-question surveys, the first question is a screening question (e.g., “Do you ride a bike?”), in order to provide you with information relevant to your actual survey question. You can create a survey to be as long as you want, but questions will be distributed between separate sample groups. Google estimates their response rates are between 15 - 20%, compared with an industry average of 0.1 - 2%.
Fewer questions also equals more accurate results: Keeping the surveys short results in less “survey fatigue,” where respondents click through the survey without taking the time to read the questions or answer accurately.
“Clean” samples: GCS provides results from real people, a contrast to what they see as “biased panels” found in other surveys with respondents that regularly participate in market research.
Affordability: While you are required to purchase at least $100 worth of responses, this breaks down to 1000 general population responses or 200 targeted responses. Google recommends the purchase of 1500 general population or 500 targeted responses for a statistically significant and representative sample. Either way, you’re getting a lot of data for a fairly low price.
Questions and answers in a variety of formats: Format your questions and answers to fit your needs. For example, answers can include word choices, rating something on a scale (either numerically from 1 - 10, or by number of “stars”), images (e.g., “which of these would you choose”), multiple choice and more.
The power of Google’s reach: There’s no hiding the fact that Google is everywhere. This allows them to gather large samples across the nation. The sample group will be broad, and some demographic information is even approximated using U.S. Census data. Although some of the respondents may never directly use your products or services, you still benefit from a variety of opinions.
Simple, clean design: Following in the footsteps of the Google search engine, Gmail, Google Calendar, and their numerous other apps, GCS boasts an easy-to-navigate layout that has become synonymous with the Google name. Everything is laid out step-by-step, and even the data analyzation is sleek and manageable.
Demographically distributed answers: Filter results by certain demographic segments (gender, region, age, etc.) or compare them across groups. GCS weights the results to represent the U.S. Internet population, however you can turn off weighting at any time to view only the raw data.
Real-time results: Instead of waiting for days or weeks for data to be compiled and analyzed all at once, GCS allows you to log in immediately for results that are published in real-time. Since the questions are distributed among so many potential respondents, you can often view the first results within hours. The results will update automatically until all responses are in (an email will alert you once all responses have been collected).
Results that are automatically aggregated and analyzed: Google makes all the data easy to understand, review, and analyze. For example, GCS uses a number of methods to categorize and code responses to open-ended text questions, including web documents and search data to categorize and code the answers automatically by sentiment classification (classify responses into positive, neutral, or negative categories) or synonym classification (understanding house = home = residence). Results can be filtered and compared by demographic traits, and explanations are made simple through text and bar charts.
Exportable data and charts: Data and charts can be exported quickly into a few different formats for printing or further analyzation. Survey results can even be shared publicly to anyone with the link.
If you have questions, it only takes a few steps with GCS to get answers:
Create your survey
Choose your audience
Write and submit your questions
Review your responses and data in real-time
Want to know if someone would purchase your product online, why they are in the market for a new product, or their feelings towards a particular service? Consider creating your own survey with GCS to get the affordable answers to help your business succeed.
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