What are online surveys?

One of the most popular research methods, online surveys are a structured set of questions sent to a sample population who respond through internet enabled devices such as laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

Surveys are easy to build, quick to launch and can provide large quantities of data that form the basis of robust insights. The variety of question types that can be included make this a flexible option that adapts to multiple needs. Through online surveys, researchers can ask single or multiple choice questions, ranking, sorting and grid questions, in addition to providing space for open-ended responses, image uploads, video vox-pops and more.

Visual survey design

FlexMR have pioneered a visual flowchart-based approach that makes survey design easy for all.

Online surveys can quickly grow in complexity as logic, routing, piping, quotas and custom end-points are added. These are important elements that ensure participants are qualified, the survey-taking experience is enjoyable and incentive budgets are used to their fullest. However, the traditional approach to survey design makes these functions difficult to understand and often leads to errors that slow down the design process.

The survey tool built into InsightHub takes a revolutionary new approach to survey design, providing a visual flowchart-based interface that allows logic to be added or edited at any point. Automated testing immediately highlights errors and helps bring surveys to field in record time.

Limitless sample sources

Selecting the right sample source is a vital step to ensure your online survey is a success.

The InsightHub platform supports a wide range of sample sources so your surveys are not bound by any constraints. Surveys can be instantly sent to custom segments of your InsightHub database. This database can be segmented by customer status, common demographics, in addition to any other data field or combination of fields previously collected.

Surveys can also be distributed via third-party panel providers or set as open-link surveys. Open links are publicly accessible on the internet, enabling you to distribute via manual email campaigns, your brand website, social media, printed QR codes and more.

Common market research surveys

There are hundreds of different types of market research survey that can help you collect data on topics such as brand performance, marketing effectiveness, customer experience, employee satisfaction and more. Here are the most common surveys that provide powerful and actionable insights that can make a difference to your brand today.

Market segmentation

Get to grips with your target audience, discover common behaviours and build a strategic market map.

Customer satisfaction

Also known as CSAT surveys, these instruments dive into specific and targeted customer experiences.

Net promoter score

Find out how likely are your customers to recommend you, and what is driving that sentiment.

Concept testing survey

Screen and refine ideas for new products or services to make recommendations with confidence.

Advertising effectiveness

Test your adverts or creative ideas before launch to predict, evaluate and refine audience reaction.

Brand health tracking

Measure and address changes that occur in brand sentiment across key market segments over time.

Customer loyalty surveys

Uncover what drives brand loyalty to see how you can keep people coming back time and time again.

Survey software plus service

We don’t believe in maintaining the status quo. We thrive on making insight more relevant, more accessible and more impactful, while overcoming the core challenges that research, product and marketing teams face.

Frequently asked survey questions

Creating your first online survey is easy. But it takes time, knowledge and practice to master this popular method of data collection. Here are some of the most common questions about how to make the most out of online surveys and recommendations from the FlexMR research team.

How long should an online survey be?

The optimum length of a survey varies greatly depending on the survey type, purpose and compensation. A Net Promoter Score survey should ideally consist of only two questions, whilst a market segmentation study may require 15+. A good rule of thumb is that the shorter the survey, the better. Research shows that data quality declines severely if a survey takes more than 20 minutes to complete.

We recommend that in most instances, surveys should take 5 minutes to complete (10 at the absolute maximum) and consist of no more than 20 questions. If you are collecting video vox-pops throughout the survey, we recommend a maximum of three video questions that require no more than two minutes per question.

Lastly, consider how the survey incentive impacts completion time as well. Generally, a longer survey will require a larger incentive in order to make the time investment worthwhile to the participant. However, even a larger incentive cannot completely remove the risk of satisficing, where participants spend less time per question and speed through longer surveys.

In short, keep surveys as short as possible.

What question types can be added to an online survey?

The question types available to you will depend on what the research software or platform you are using supports. InsightHub supports a large variety of question types. Some of our most popular question types include:

Single and Multiple Choice Questions - in which participants are asked to select either one option, or multiple applicable options from a pre-determined list. Commonly used for collecting basic demographic data, purchase information or information that relies on set categories.

Ranking and Scale Questions - ranking questions ask participants to order a set of items by their preference, whilst scale questions provide an individual scale to rate items based on various factors. Scale questions can be used to create industry standard question types such as Likert scales or grid questions.

Open Ended Questions - these are text fields that enable participants to free type responses. These question types are ideal for gathering verbatim quotes, qualitative data or miscellaneous information such as ZIP codes.

Video Booth Questions - enable participants to record video responses to questions for engaging, emotive qualitative data. Limits can be set on video length and clips can be edited through the integrated VideoMR analysis tool built into InsightHub.

What is an appropriate incentive for an online survey?

Incentives are a staple of the market research experience. They reward participants for their time and provide compensation for their data. Typically, incentive rates for online surveys are lower than qualitative research methods, but that does not mean incentive decisions are straightforward. A large number of factors influence the choice of incentive structure and value.

Common incentive structures include: entries into prize draws, direct financial compensation, community or panel points, and access to results. In order to determine the most appropriate incentive structure, it is important to consider the length of the survey, the method for delivering the incentive, the sample source, your budget and participant expectations.

There may also be situations in which no incentive is required. This is often the case in micro-surveys which are less than five questions long, or when there are other factors such as a vested interest at play.

What are the advantages to online surveys?

The main draw of online surveys for many is the speed at which they can be sent to field and their relatively low cost. However, the benefits of online surveys extend far beyond just speed and cost. Well-designed online surveys also offer a superior participant experience and provide the capacity for real-time analysis of results.

There are also distribution advantages. Although hosted on the internet, online survey links can be printed onto marketing materials, translated into QR codes, shared through digital and social channels - and generally find a wider audience. That's before integration into third-party panel providers, in-house CRM systems or the support of specialist market research recruiters.

Finally, the convenience of online surveys helps researchers tap into a greater pool of willing participants. There is even a case to be made that online surveys are more accurate - as the potential anonymity can help participants feel more comfortable in providing honest feedback reflective of their true thoughts and feelings.

Empower better decisions

We have developed a game-changing insights empowerment framework that addresses the three major pressures placed on modern insight teams. We use the framework to construct bespoke partnership programmes - delivering measurable business value through agile research technology and a flexible approach to supporting services. Is your brand ready to take the first step towards insights empowerment? Find out what we can do for you on the pages below, or get in touch today.

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