Google Consumer Surveys are a great, inexpensive tool to capture some broad feedback from consumers. This survey program has been around for some time, and according to Google’s website, it shows that you can create surveys, target the demographic you’d like to get data from, and Google will pretty much take care of the rest.
Our company has tested this service in the past and thought it to be easy to use, and gave us some data on a broad level to work with for a small study we conducted last year. However, I recently came across a method of using Google Consumer Surveys that gave me pause, as I realized that this particular methodology might me giving us some invalid results.
Let me back up a step and say that once demographics are selected, Google will strategically place survey questions on partner sites that cater to the demographic you’re interested in. It will display one question from your survey for the user to respond to. When placed appropriately, it may draw attention and encourage a response.
However, when used as a gatekeeper, as I call it, the results might be different. I was browsing the online publications last week, as there is news regarding a local high school that I have been following. I came across a local online publication that had a recent article. Interested, I clicked on the link to read it. This is what I saw:
Looks like I can read the article, but only if I answer the question at hand or login as a member. If I’m a member, I guess this is no problem – I login and move on to read the rest. But I’m not a member, and don’t want to register, so I’m left with the option to answer the question or find another article.
In this case, it’s a question that could be relevant to me, and I might be inclined to answer if I really wanted to read the article. But, what if I was in a hurry, or for whatever reason wanted to get to the article. I could just click on any response and move on. Quick for me, but not very useful for the company who is running the survey.
This is one way in which I do not think placement is very effective and may be giving companies false data, or at least not the most accurate data possible. It’s important to make sure that responses are voluntary, and not used as a gatekeeper of sorts to get where the user ultimately wants to be.
Like I said, Google Consumer Surveys can be a great tool to capture broad consumer data; being careful with placement makes a difference, and it’s something to keep in mind when using this product and looking at the data coming in.