How Are Online Surveys Used for Marketing Purposes?

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either into online marketing or about to be into it. If not, then maybe it’s time to consider diving in.

In this article, we’re going to discuss how online surveys are used for marketing purposes, including which types of surveys to use, how to properly run them, and more.

Why Online Surveys?

While traditional surveys have been around for centuries, modern-day online surveys emerged around the turn of the century and changed the way we conduct market research. Thanks to the internet, making surveys and getting responses became incredibly easy and accessible (hence the near-universal presence of the quiz type).

Traditional surveys were only available to people who could physically go to a survey company’s office. This meant that only large corporations with deep pockets could afford expensive market research firms. This, in turn, limited the scope of the data that could be collected and presented in a usable form.

With the advent of online surveys, any business or market research firm with a decent website can conduct a survey and get results in a matter of minutes. In fact, some of the larger survey providers (like SurveyMonkey, Ipsos iSay, and OneOpinion) provide free trials that allow you to test out their software and see how easy it is to use.

Types Of Online Surveys

If you’re just starting out, the best thing you can do for yourself is to familiarize yourself with the various types of online surveys and their purposes. Here are the most common ones, along with a brief description of what makes them unique.


A trivia quiz is a fun and simple way to get feedback from your target audience without too much thought. All you need is a series of questions and a couple of images/videos to guide the user through the test. One of the biggest benefits of a trivia quiz is that the data is usually accessible right away, which makes it suitable for immediate action.

You can encourage users to give you their contact details with the promise of a prize (an incentive that will hopefully convince them to give you their email address). And since these kinds of surveys don’t require too much thought, you can ask them anything from what their current job is to what they think about your product.


An attitude survey is a good way to get an indication of how your target audience feels about something. The questions are usually very straightforward and the answers should be either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (dull phrases like ‘somewhat agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ are usually considered ‘no responses’).

Some examples of attitude questions include;

  • Do you feel the company you work for cares about your well-being?
  • Are you satisfied with the pay at your job?
  • Do you feel that technology will improve your life?
  • Do you believe that women are less intelligent than men?
  • Do you think society should restrict the right to marry of those who are homosexual?

You can use an attitude survey to gauge how your audience feels about things like your product, your website, or even a famous person. For example, if you wanted to know what your users thought about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, you could ask them if they liked the product or service, or even just test the waters by saying his name and seeing what responses you get.


A basket survey is similar to an attitude survey, but instead of asking question about one particular topic, it gets a bit more open-ended. This is probably because a basket survey is used when you want to gather qualitative data – things like comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Users are presented with a series of products and asked to choose two or three they want to include in a shopping cart. A shopping cart is then presented to them with the option to either continue or finish the survey.

This kind of survey relies on users choosing only a few products out of a large number. If you’re trying to decide what clothes to include in an online store, you could run a basket survey to get ideas from your customers.


Flash surveys are pretty cool because they allow you to integrate videos, images, and interactive elements into your survey design. With a flash survey, you can add a video, an image, or a few questions and, at the end, you’ll have a short survey that’s fun to complete.

You’ll see a lot of brands using flash surveys, mainly because they’re easy to set up and only take a minute or two to complete. If you have a product to promote and you want to test the waters with a few friends, family, or coworkers, then a flash survey might be the way to go.


Satisfaction surveys are extremely popular because they give you the opportunity to ask users what they think about your product or service. The short and sweet way to describe satisfaction surveys is that they allow you to ask open-ended questions about your product or service and get some objective (but very useful!) feedback.

In a satisfaction survey, you’re not going to get very detailed information. Instead, you’ll get a general idea of whether or not your product or service is a ‘good fit’ for the audience you’re targeting. Things like this are very valuable and save you a ton of time and effort – which is what you should aim for with every type of survey you run.


Finally, we have usability surveys. These types of surveys are designed to assess how easy or difficult it is to use a specific product or service. For example, if you’re planning to expand your ecommerce store into the mobile sphere, you might want to design a usability test to see how easy or hard it is to navigate the site on a small phone screen.

Sometimes, you need more than just a little bit of information to make an educated decision. If you’re trying to decide what kind of coffee machine to purchase, for example, you could run a usability test to see how easy or hard it is to use the product or service.

Keep in mind that not all usability surveys are created equal. Some companies that specialize in this sort of research (like and Userlytics) provide valuable feedback on how to make your product or service more user-friendly and easy to use.

How Are Online Surveys Used For Marketing Purposes?

As we mentioned above, surveys are incredibly valuable when it comes to marketing. But, not just any survey will do. There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your survey.

Make Sure You’re Collecting Data You Need

The first and most critical step to creating a successful survey is to make sure that you’re asking the right questions. When it comes to marketing research, every question or piece of data you get is a drop in the ocean. So, make sure that the data you’re getting is going to be absolutely vital to the decision-making process.

Nowadays, there are a variety of surveys that you can use to get marketing data. Some of these are discussed above, but there are also others that you might not have heard of. One of the most popular marketing automation tools, for example, is called SurveyMonkey. This is a robust platform that makes it easy to create different types of surveys, including ones for customers, prospective customers, and employees.

Because marketing research is such a valuable tool for businesses, a variety of platforms designed specifically for market research have emerged. These include tools like SurveyMonkey, Ipsos iSay, OneOpinion, and many others.

Avoid Oversimplifying Complex Topics

Creating a useful survey isn’t just about asking the right questions. It’s also about presenting the information in a way that makes sense to the reader.

If you’re asking questions about the value of online learning versus traditional learning, you might want to put into words how you intend to use the information. For example, the respondents to your survey might not all be in the same place geographically or educationally, so presenting the information in a way that applies to all of them could be challenging.