Survey Software Buyers Guide
1. What is survey software?
Survey software lets users design, conduct, schedule, and publish electronic surveys, polls, and questionnaires for different purposes such as conducting market research, measuring customer satisfaction, and collecting employee feedback.
Survey software can include a variety of user feedback formats such as radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down menus, and free-form text fields. It can also provide a number of data reporting tools including bar graphs, line graphs, net promoter score (NPS), and cross-tab reports.
2. The benefits of survey software
- Faster and more accurate analysis: Not only do manual surveys take time to conduct, but users need to manually log the results and run spreadsheet reports to analyze reports. The manual data entry process is also prone to errors. A survey management solution automates data entry, eliminating errors in capturing data.
- Budget control for incentivized surveys: Surveyors can run out of budget sooner than they realize, especially for global surveys, where survey incentives vary based on region and the number of responses can skew to specific regions. Survey management software allows users to implement question logics to limit the number of responses. For example, a survey can include a question on the respondent’s country, and stop surveys as soon as a maximum number of responses is reached.
3. Typical features of survey software
- Multiple question types: Create a variety of question and answer formats such as multiple choice, check box, and open answers.
- Reporting/analytics: View real-time survey performance metrics (completion rate, bounce rate, and time spent on surveys), and survey results (question stats, NPS score, and cross-tab reports).
- Survey builder: Create and manage surveys using default templates and question types such as radio buttons, rating scales, and drop-down fields.
- Customizable templates: Draft, save, and repurpose questionnaires and surveys.
- Email marketing: Create and send email blasts and campaigns with the survey link in the email body, and track the performance of campaigns.
- Question branching: Create participant-specific questions based on their answers to previous questions.
4. The cost of survey software
Most products in the survey software market are priced on a “per user, per month” basis, and can be divided into three pricing tiers based on their starting price:
- $0 – $16
- $16 – $38
*The pricing included in this list is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering that was found on vendor websites on September 10, 2018.
The above list summarizes pricing for the base plans of most products. An enterprise or premium product, which is priced higher, may include additional features such as open API, question piping, and SPSS reporting.
5. Considerations when purchasing survey software
- Types of survey solutions: Depending on the purpose, survey software can be divided into one of three types:
- Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI): These survey tools help users manage phone-based surveys and telephone questionnaires. These tools assist users by providing questions and scripts and allow users to record interviews for future references.
- Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI): These solutions help users record and manage one-to-one personal interviews. Interfaces help both interviewers and interviewees navigate through surveys and capture survey information.
- Computer-assisted web interviewing (CAWI): These tools enable users to manage online surveys, create custom survey pages, and share them with respondents through email, social media, and websites.
Buyers looking for survey software should assess their survey needs and choose the type of survey solution accordingly.
- Total cost of ownership (TCO): Most survey management products are available in tiered pricing models, with the price dependant on the number of surveys and number of questions per survey. Buyers who don’t calculate the TCO accurately may end up spending more money than needed. Buyers should assess their monthly and annual survey needs, calculate cost based on their demands, and shortlist products accordingly.
6. Relevant survey software trends
- Adoption of chatbot-based surveys is on the rise: Adoption of chatbots is growing faster than ever, and this trend is also making its way into the survey software market. Chatbots make surveys more interactive by providing a conversational interface for presenting questions and capturing responses. These solutions also help users personalize conversations and provide respondents with additional information on the questions whenever needed, resulting in increased engagement and better response and completion rates.
- Mobile-optimized surveys are the next big thing: Today’s digital age can be characterized by the proliferation of mobile devices. Not only is smartphone usage at an all-time high, but the time a user spends on their phone is also increasing. For this reason, businesses need to optimize their surveys for mobile devices. A mobile-optimized survey solution not only provides smartphone users with easy access, but the mobile functionality also enables surveyors to validate respondents using GPS tracking functionality.
Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Capterra’s Top 20 report. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Capterra’s directory that offer them.
The following sources were used for this document:
- Top 5 Tech Trends for Small Business, Capterra (Date accessed: September 11, 2018)
- Mobile Usage in America Reaches All-Time High, Futuri Media (Date accessed: September 11, 2018)
- Mobile Time Spent 2018, eMarketer (Date accessed: September 11, 2018)