It’s not a secret that businesses are data-driven today. And a survey is a powerful tool for collecting data. Surveys can reduce the risk of introducing new products and features. They can also help to collect insights about employees, users, and markets.
In the past, conducting a survey was time-consuming and difficult, so mostly only big companies could afford them. Companies had to conduct surveys with the help of paper questionnaires or phone or in-person interviews.
Today, companies of all sizes can use online survey software to collect insights, and survey apps are in demand. Survey apps optimize the process of collecting data and cut costs. Compared to manual surveys, online surveys require fewer labor and material costs. Even large surveys require only a few people to manage.
Survey software is popular as it helps companies to understand consumer behavior. Businesses use survey apps to reach wider audiences and remote areas. According to Technavio, the global online survey software market is predicted to be worth up to $6.92 billion by 2021.
What are survey apps and why do businesses need them?
First things first: let’s define what survey apps are. Survey software provides a platform on which companies can design and manage electronic surveys. These platforms then attract respondents and collect and analyze survey results.
Survey software provides customized questionnaires. Companies can choose types of questions and modify surveys for their needs. Different companies use surveys for different reasons. Among the most common reasons are:
- Market research. No business starts working on a new product or service suddenly. Companies typically use surveys to find out if there’s demand for a product or service. A survey is also a tool to check what people from a target market think of new ideas.
- Receive product feedback. With surveys, companies can find out what users think of their products. Surveys are a great way to understand which features customers use and like the most. They also help companies find out what updates are necessary.
- Track customer satisfaction. Companies can use surveys to connect with their customers and get feedback. With feedback, they can improve the user experience and set new goals and strategies.
- Test product concepts. Before launching a new product, it’s important to find out if it has the right target customer, pricing, and features. So companies run surveys to collect and analyze data.
- Learn pricing sensitivities. Setting the right price for a product or service isn’t easy. The price should be high enough so that the company makes a profit. At the same time, the price should be low enough to attract customers. Businesses – especially small ones – use surveys to find out if their pricing is appropriate.
- Measure employee engagement. Some companies use engagement surveys to find out employees’ opinions and moods so they can see if they’re on the same page as their employees.
Survey software saves feedback in a database in real time when respondents answer questions. This reduces the risk of losing data and makes managing surveys easy. Online surveys are flexible, so companies can change parts of a questionnaire after they’ve started collecting responses or even re-target a survey.
How to develop a survey platform: Core features
Different survey apps offer different features. Let’s see what features your survey platform must offer to meet the needs of most customers. Plus, don’t forget that your platform is going to compete with free services like Google Forms and other open source solutions. So make sure your platform offers more functionality than free solutions. Here, we’ll focus on the most important parts of online survey software.
Templates are fundamental for a survey app. Companies that want to use your platform should have templates for surveys. Templates help users to quickly start creating a new survey. Proper templates improve the user experience as users don’t have to start designing their surveys from scratch.
Various question types
Your platform should allow users to choose question and answer types when they design surveys. The most commonly used question types include:
- Multiple answers. These questions are presented as check boxes that allow respondents to choose multiple answers from a list. The list can also include an “other” option to let respondents type in their own answers. If respondents can’t find an appropriate option, they’re likely to choose a random answer, so offering an “other” option prevents biased results.
- Single answer. This type of question usually uses a radio button that allows respondents to choose a single answer from a list. This list can also include an “other” option.
- Open-ended questions. These questions require respondents to type in their answers. Such responses help companies to better understand their customers. But it’s quite difficult to analyze collected data with open-ended questions.
- Drop-down lists. Drop-down lists are an easy way to show a long list of potential answers. They allow respondents to choose a single answer quickly.
- Rating scales. These questions provide a scale – from 0 to 10, for example. A respondent selects the number that represents their answer.
- Likert scales. These questions are used to measure respondents’ opinions. Likert scale questions offer a range of options to choose from. For example, this can be a range starting at “I would never use it” and scaling up to “I would definitely use it.” This is quite a popular question type for customer satisfaction surveys.
- Matrix questions. This option is great for several questions that have the same response options. Your platform should provide limits for matrices, as large ones are difficult for respondents.
A skip logic feature provides a custom-designed path through the survey for each respondent. Which question comes next depends on the way a respondent answers the current question. This helps respondents to avoid wasting time on irrelevant questions. Skip logic improves the user experience and the quality of collected data since asking irrelevant questions results in random responses. Plus, skip logic makes surveys shorter. Giving respondents fewer questions improves completion rates and helps companies to collect more thoughtful responses.
Data analysis and export
So far you’ve collected the data. Next, you need to analyze it. Your platform should offer analysis tools that process collected data and provide real-time results. These results can be in the form of charts and graphs that help companies better understand their surveys.
SurveyMonkey, for example, allows customers to view survey results in a few different ways:
- A question summary shows response counts and percentages for all close-ended questions, weighted averages, open-ended comments, and dynamic charts.
- Data trends shows how response data changes over time. This is useful for surveys that are held regularly.
- The individual responses tab shows each respondent’s individual answer set.
A survey app has to provide filters for viewing data. Filters help companies to focus on specific criteria. Allow users to filter survey results by time period, specific answers, demographic data, and A/B test. And of course your survey software should support exporting the results in different formats: PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on.
Tips for building mobile survey apps
The number of survey responses via mobile devices is increasing. More and more users prefer answering survey questions on the go rather than sitting with a laptop. Mobile surveys are convenient and reliable. Popular survey platforms like SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, and LoopSurvey use mobile apps to collect data.
But if you want to create a mobile survey app, you should remember how much mobile surveys differ from web surveys. We’ve highlighted a few issues to focus on before starting survey software development.
One screen, one question
Web surveys allow users to scroll the page to see more content. That doesn’t work with mobile surveys. One question should take up one mobile screen. The design has to be intuitive. And most users won’t try to scroll the page. Hiding some of the survey questions hurts the user experience.
No complex questions
For web surveys, open-ended questions and matrices are useful. But when designing a mobile survey platform, provide a good user experience for mobile respondents by eliminating complex questions.
For example, matrices and tables shouldn’t be used in mobile surveys as they’re hard to complete on mobile screens. Open-ended questions are also not good for mobile surveys. Since respondents will mostly be answering on the go, they’re unlikely to type detailed answers.
So let’s see how to create a user-friendly mobile survey app. Use questions that are easy to interact with on a mobile device. For example, drop-down lists are better than long lists of radio buttons for questions with a single answer. Your survey software can be multi-platform, but keep in mind that there should be different templates for mobile and desktop surveys.
Mobile survey apps do have to send notifications to respondent so your platform can remind people to use it. With notifications, you can engage more users and improve response rates.
Design a mobile survey app wisely
It would be a huge mistake to copy your desktop design for mobile surveys. Desktop and mobile user experiences differ a lot. So be careful when designing your mobile survey app.
First of all, smartphones screens are small, so the text size should be larger than on the desktop version. Users should be able to easily read and tap on answers. For multiple-choice questions, clickable elements should be big enough to tap.
Cut back on images in mobile surveys. Images are great for desktop surveys. But making images responsive on mobile devices can affect their quality. Plus, images slow down the loading time.
When designing response options for multiple-choice questions, make lists vertical. Horizontal response options are confusing for users. One vertical list is most convenient.
Test your platform to ensure you provide a great user experience. Check how your survey templates work on smartphones and tablets of different sizes.
Business models for survey platforms
Any survey platform has two user roles: administrator and respondent. To succeed, you should attract both types of users and choose the right business model.
Freemium is a great way to monetize a survey app. Your platform can provide free basic features and offer paid add-ons. SurveyGizmo employs a freemium business model. Its basic free features include:
- Creating up to three surveys at a time
- Collecting up to 100 responses per survey
- Limited question types
- Standard reporting
- Limited exporting
These features attract companies to start using the survey software for free and see how they can benefit from it. You can provide free basic features and offer users to upgrade to a paid version to get full functionality.
And what about a paid version? It’s better to create a few paid plans so that users can choose the best option and pay only for the features they need. SurveyGizmo offers three paid plans: Explorer ($25 per month), Adventurer ($85 per month), and Voyager ($150 per month). Depending on the cost, these plans provide different features. Small companies would rather use cheaper plans with fewer add-ons, while large enterprises usually need advanced options like deeper data analysis.
Paid survey apps don’t offer basic features for free. They provide their services for fixed prices. But how many companies will decide to pay for surveys before testing them? Not many. That’s why when choosing a paid business model you should offer users to explore your platform with a free trial.
LoopSurvey is an example of a paid survey platform that charges $199 per year per license. They offer a free trial with no time limit that lets users field up to 25 test responses. When the trial ends, the user receives an email.
To attract more respondents, survey platforms can reward users who answer survey questions. This increases response rates but also encourages people to randomly answer survey questions just to collect a reward. That affects your data and may lead to your losing customers.
There are two types of rewards: direct and indirect. Direct rewards include money, gift cards, and so on. To control the budget, survey administrators should be able to close a survey once they’ve collected a defined number of responses. Otherwise, companies can waste money on unnecessary data.
You can also offer your respondents indirect rewards that benefit a third party. For example, your platform can donate a fixed amount ($1, for example) to a charity for each survey completed. Offering indirect rewards cuts down on respondents who use a survey platform just to earn something but still helps you attract more users since they feel that they’re participating in charity while using your app.
For years, surveys have been in demand as successful companies collect and analyze data before making decisions. Doubtlessly, paper questionnaires and phone surveys are things of the past. And that’s good news, since online software cuts costs. Because of lower costs, more and more businesses are deciding to use survey software. To compete with successful survey platforms, you can create a high-quality mobile survey app to attract more respondents and get a high response rate. But don’t forget that mobile surveys differ a lot from desktop surveys. Contact us if you have any questions about designing and developing a mobile survey platform.