Should You Be Using Google Consumer Surveys?

Insights derived from market research are indispensable to any successful business strategy. Whether or not a business fails is contingent upon a series of decisions, and making the right ones often requires information that isn’t readily at hand. Traditional market research is too costly for many startups and small businesses, but without it these companies lack the competitive edge possessed by their larger counterparts. Even when research is affordable, the process is often slow and the results inaccurate, making it an undesirable option for many.

This spring, Google launched a solution to the problem. Google Consumer Surveys provide near instant, accurate results and insights at an affordable price. Here’s how it works:

  • First, your business creates survey questions. You can target the entire US Internet population, or narrow your audience, as you desire. Ask anything from broad industry questions to specific ones about your own products or brand.
  • Next, people answer questions in order to access premium content. This means that your survey is not emailed or spammed, but instead presented to Internet users so that they can access content from their favorite online news sites or video creators. The publishers of these sites get paid each time someone answers a question. You pay 10 cents for each response, or 50 cents for demographically targeted responses. Respondents only answer one question at a time; this results in increased accuracy and higher response rates.
  • Finally, Google aggregates and analyzes the data for you as the results come in. Using cookies and the respondent’s IP address, Google can infer demographic and geographic characteristics and tell you which results are statistically significant.

So you get your answers fast, at a reasonable price, publishers get paid, and Google acts as the intermediary. As Google puts it, “Everyone wins.”

Google’s product does however come with its own set of limitations. Before using Google Consumer Surveys, you should be aware of how the product differs from regular surveying. Because questions are asked one at a time, analysis of the relationships between questions is not possible. Furthermore, the data you receive is representative of US Internet users, not the entire country.

Limitations aside, it seems like Google has turned out yet another revolutionary service. Readers, will you be using Google Consumer Surveys to answer your nagging business questions? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments (3)
  • Anthony V

    July 20, 2012

    Do you think this is better than online focus group services such as Usability Hub and Angry Monkeys? Or do you see different uses for this versus Google Consumer Surveys?

    • Jon Brightman

      July 24, 2012

      Great question, Anthony. Usability Hub is definitely a great resource, but it’s services are really specific. If you’re looking to improve the design and usability of your website, it’s probably a better option than Google Consumer Surveys. However the beauty of GCS is that you can ask questions about literally anything and receive data and insights very quickly. It’s a more versatile product.

      What is Angry Monkeys?

      • Jon Brightman

        July 24, 2012

        Moreover, focus groups are small and not always representative of your target audience. GCS allows for data collection from a much larger sample and promises more accurate results. 

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