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Surveys Are Still In Vogue For The Tech Giants

As surveys become shorter, more interactive, mobile-friendly and even easily embedded into marketing experiences like the new Twitter Polls, we ask who will own surveys within the organizations in 5 years from now: Marketers, Technologists or Market Researchers?



By Adriana Rocha

The discussions around the decline of surveys and their data validity are hot in the market research industry. However, if surveys are in decline for a bunch of market researchers, it seems it is not the truth for the tech giants, with Twitter more recently also joining the “Survey Club”.  They released few weeks ago “Twitter Polls”, and now anyone can add 2 questions to any tweet, and for the next 24 hours, people can place their votes. As Twitter states in their blog, “For poll creators, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard”.

This Twitter poll feature is super simple; still it gives marketers a new great “tool” in their toolbox for engaging and learning with people in a social media channel. But is it just an “interactive micro-content” tool, or is Twitter launching a new powerful survey tool? As we advance through the era of marketing as experiences, brands can count on micro-surveys as a new interactive way to engage with their audiences, and collect “in the moment” insights. This opens up a whole new dimension for marketing research and consumer insights possibilities.

For those still thinking that surveys are in decline, have a look into this marketing technology landscape  infographic, and you will realize the survey software arena is blooming, and the competition becoming even fiercer with the entrance of tech giants into the space. Additionally to Twitter (with its Twitter Polls),  Google (with its Google Consumer Surveys)  and Facebook, (with its  Facebook questions) also offer survey tools for free, or at very low cost, available to anyone wanting to ask questions, either with the objective of engaging or understanding their audiences.

For marketers, conducting surveys used to be something they had to leave to their market research departments. Nowadays, survey and poll features are integrated into a variety of  marketing technology platforms, from email marketing to social media marketing, making it easy, fast and affordable to anyone create surveys, gather customer feedback, ask questions and get fast responses from consumers, at any touch point, and soon enough through every “smart” device in your life.

I believe the main question for market researchers should not be if surveys are dying. As surveys become shorter, more interactive, mobile-friendly and even easily embedded into marketing experiences like this new Twitter Polls, I believe the main question should be: who will own surveys within the organizations in 5 years from now: Marketers, Technologists or Market Researchers? What is your bet?

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10 responses to “Surveys Are Still In Vogue For The Tech Giants

  1. Hi Adriana,

    From a long time research perspective, I think questioning is probably more prevalent; however surveying (at least the traditional kind) is becoming a part of the past. For many researchers, the goal of information has gotten lost in a valley of techniques and support of those techniques. The goal should always be to get the best information, not the best validation of information.

    Along with the demise of mass marketing comes the reality that information comes from many places and most have similar levels of credibility albeit different caveats.

    The biggest question is influence and if you think about it, surveys that imply intention can never be validated until action occurs. That necessarily limits the value independent of sampling and data issues. That’s one reason why qualitative and qual hybrids are surging in use.

    Want, like and interest are not action verbs. They imply that action will be taken but can’t quantified within a time line or a likelihood to buy scenario. They can, however, rule out certain pathways.

    Ultimately it is a question of focus. Ten years ago companies had two year plans and consumers planned out their actions. Today, both adjust to the data available at the time of purchase. What that means is that relationships are far more powerful than they have been in the past because they allow you to skip steps.

    Surveys, as they have always done, confirm that the influence within the relationships has led to a successful outcome.

    It seems pretty obvious that un-anchored marketing is simply another form of advertising but it even if you lead the horse to water you can’t make him drink. If you think about it, customer and employee interactions are a lot like surveys, where there is an assessment of need as in a survey but with an immediate follow up that often leads to a sale.

    Surveys come in many forms, but the best surveys focus on definitive answers.

  2. @Ellen, excellent comments! I agree 100% that “surveying (at least the traditional kind) is becoming a part of the past”. The good news is that technology has evolved and opened unlimited new ways for us to be “in the moment”, to create more relevant experiences, to combine qual/ quanti/ biometric tools, etc., so researchers are more empowered than ever to focus on getting “definitive answers”. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for your article Adriana. My answer to the question in your title is: Surveys of the past must be declining and will decline even further. The issue with the survey types that are declining is that they are longer than they should be and the respondents are of bad quality. The example of Twitter in your article is a strong hint on where surveys are heading to. They will be micro surveys or polls and they will take place mainly intercepting respondents while they are doing something specific that we are interested in. This type of surveys will increase at the expense of long and expensive monthly trackers and other unacceptable types of surveys. Other types of research that are growing are social listening and tracking behaviour.

  4. Great article! I think you hit it on the head that surveys are not and will not die, but instead are being forced to evolve with consumers. It would be interesting to see the stats for the number of surveys that are being taken on mobile vs desktop as well. The other big question that I have is how to get repeat survey takers. Google surveys are fantastic, however your audience is new each time. For brands that are looking for repeat survey takers, the task is growing much more daunting…

    To answer your question, Market Researchers will be in charge of surveys! They need to structure the questionnaire so they can line up the results with the ad campaigns, sales, etc. Hooray for smart people!

  5. Thank you Michael for your comments. Agree that social listening, tracking behaviour and other techniques, including insights communities, should continue growing. Exciting moment to be a technology empowered researcher! 🙂

  6. Thank you, @Guy. Great comments! That’s it: surveys need to evolve with consumers. On stats of mobile vs desktop surveys, there is a decent Decipher article here on the topic:

    On your question about how to reach same respondents, I believe the answer is through online panels, but these last ones need to evolve with consumers too.

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