I just completed some go-to-market research for a scientifically-oriented business-to-consumer company. In this research, one of my tasks was to assess consumer sentiment and project possible customer loyalty for a new product launch. Things like customer-lifetime-value, ecommerce conversion rate, and loyalty would be wonderful to have from our competitors, but these KPIs are closely-guarded secrets.
While I loved spy novels as a teen, I am not up for corporate espionage. I do not need to break into competitor website analytics to uncover insights into consumer behavior. I asked consumers about their buying habits and loyalty directly, online.
My research on online consumer surveys turned up two options – Survata and Google Consumer Surveys. I believe I had heard of Google Consumer Surveys and then found Survata by searching for competitors of Google in the consumer survey space.
Both show a short survey to give a reader access to gated content. Both offer a handful of questions for a buck or two a completed survey. Both help publishers monetize their visitors. Both offer geographic, age, and gender targeting, which happens, I imagine based on the target demographic of the content on the gated sites.
Both survey engines offer visualization help to understand your survey answers, including visualization of subsets within your answers. Both survey engines provide some sense of statistical significance of any trends in the data. Both require prepayment to run the survey.
Qualifying Question – Advantage Survata
When I started earlier this summer, Google Consumer Surveys did not offer the chance to have a qualifying question. So if the website visitor met your demographic criteria (say a certain age, your specified gender, maybe your region of interest) they answered your surveys. If you wanted males under the age of 45, great. If you wanted males under the age of 45 with small dogs, not so great.
Since then, Google has added a qualifying question option. The survey client (me in this case) only pays for respondents who answer the qualifying question correctly (e.g. people who answer yes to having a small dog).
Google’s restriction is they need the qualifying question passed at a minimum amount, otherwise they bounce the survey back to you. Apparently, my qualifying question was too stringent.
Google kept my payment for the survey and issued me a coupon in lieu of a refund. However, since I don’t want people who don’t meet my criteria to answer my survey, I’m a little stuck as to how to use the coupon.I would have preferred a full refund, so I can get my questions answered at Survata! [edited 10/22 – Google issued me a refund for the incomplete survey].
As far as I can tell, Survata does not have a minimum response goal for the qualifying question. In fact, I used the same qualifying question for both the Survata and the Google Consumer Survey so I anticipate its success rate was similar in both environments. Survata did not bounce my survey.
Cost – Advantage Survata
The two survey engines are both inexpensive, but Survata is less expensive. For a 5-question survey, I paid about $1/response for US respondents from Survata. The qualifying question was not included in the question count. Google Consumer Surveys includes the qualifying question in the count, and I paid about $2/response for US respondents for 4 questions after the qualifier.
Support – Advantage Survata
I had a great experience with Survata. Prior to each survey launch, I got feedback on my questions and setup from a survey analyst. The analyst edited my survey, and I got to see the before and after version and approve it before launch. My analyst was available to me via email, in my survey dashboard, and via IM throughout the process. I also had a follow up call so that I could understand the survey results and get a quick orientation to their visualization engine when the survey was complete. I ran a handful of surveys and was able to work with the same analyst rather than starting anew each time.
Google Consumer Surveys did a review of my questions ahead of launch as well, but the experience was less caring. I got a basic email detailing what was wrong with my survey and telling me what to do to fix it.
Survata’s help was more helpful – they did the work for me and asked for my approval. Google made me their admin.
Data/Results Visualization – no Advantage
I liked the user interface, question previews, and results analysis engines for both survey vendors.
Publisher Network – Advantage Google?
I imagine with Google’s reach and reputation, Survata has stiff competition. I have not encountered a Survata survey on a website. I did see my first Google survey yesterday, on the Christian Science Monitor website. In case it’s not obvious, this is not my survey, though it is relevant to my home state, Michigan.
I prefer Survata
The survey engine (user interface, options, everything) for both Survata and for Google Consumer Surveys changed during my project. So, this review is a snapshot of an evolving set of features. Right now Survata has a strong edge in customer service. I had a good relationship with my survey analyst and a positive experience with the company. My experience with Google was more at arm’s length (only email, always from someone new) and ultimately unsatisfying due to their rejection of my survey
after taking my money. [edited 10/22 – Google issued me a refund for the incomplete survey].
Short version: I strongly preferred my interactions with and the results I got from Survata.