How Useful Are Online Surveys for Data Harvesting?

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By Boris Dzhingarov

Data harvesting is something companies aim to do in order to gather insight from established and potential customers that will improve their services and products. A primary method for data harvesting lies with online surveys. Are they useful for this purpose? To a certain extent, they definitely have their advantages, but like anything, there are limits and drawbacks. So, how useful are online surveys for data harvesting, exactly? This topic is explored in the post below.

The Benefits of Online Surveys

To begin, let’s dive into the advantages that online surveys hold for data harvesting purposes. There are some decent points to be made, and on balance, they are a useful tool in this context.

Mass Information Gathering

The top benefit to note is that online surveys facilitate a mass gathering of information. They are capable of reaching hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people from all corners of the globe. This alone, is a fantastic bonus to keep in mind because it translates into more data and fewer limitations.

Faster Responses

Online surveys have also put the days of paper and mailed responses to rest. This has established a different rhythm when it comes to improving the speed of access to answers which are then converted into relevant data. It is also faster for the people who are filling them out, as the average online survey takes a mere few minutes to complete.

Cost Effective

Businesses will naturally pour a lot of funding into their marketing budget, therefore anything that can reduce these costs is a great asset to have. Online surveys cost less overall and basic perks like automatic data processing are set up to save you money across the whole agenda.

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Accuracy Improvements

There is little to no point in harvesting data if it is incorrectly entered into the company’s systems. Well, with online surveys, there is simply far less room for mistakes to be made either by human error on the client side or administration mishap on the professional side. Entering data, especially by hand in large volumes, is difficult when it comes to maintaining 100% accuracy, and that is where online surveys have really taken charge.

Real-Time Analysis

It is possible to view the results of these online data results within a few seconds of a survey being completed. There are fewer delays overall and ultimately, this means a company can get the results they are waiting for as soon as they roll in. This means all of the information can be up and running, processed, and put into practice straight away, therefore reducing the timeline on turnaround and utilizing the provided information.

Design Benefits

It is also incredibly easy to create and tweak a brand-focused design for online surveys. Once the template is up and running, you can pretty much adjust it whenever you want or need to. The quality checking is easier, and it can even fit in with your website theme and brand image.

Higher Relevancy

The last advantage to speak of is how online surveys provide the scope for more relevant feedback. Not only is it possible to screen people before they fill in the data and potentially waste your time, but it is also easier to target specific demographics too thanks to how these platforms can be incorporated into the wider marketing strategy.

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The Drawbacks of Online Surveys for Data Harvesting

If those are the key advantages, what are the downsides, if any? Well, there are two main points to think about here that could jeopardize the efficacy and authenticity of online survey data.

Spam Responses

With the rise in completing surveys for cash rewards, there are thousands of people who are opting in. This means, there are a handful of participants who are not leaving authentic answers. While there are great systems for flagging these profiles and moving them along, it still means that some bogus answers continue to slip through the net. Spam responses can throw off an entire set of data if missed, so it is always important to quality test and check for inconsistencies.

Unanswered Questions

If a company opts for non-mandatory questions across the survey, there is also a chance that people will simply miss out large portions of the task. All that will happen as a consequence is a business receives a small number of not entirely useful answers that are not informative enough to gather any genuine information from.

Prognosis Time

When you consider the advantages vs. the disadvantages, is it safe to say online surveys are useful for data harvesting? There are appealing factors that can be put to good use, so for this reason alone, they can be a great tool. However, it is important to use them correctly in order to get the most out of the process. How can companies do this?

Researched Questions

It is vital that every question answered on the page is attention grabbing and relevant. It has to be delivered in a format that will encourage people to deliver the kind of answers you are hoping to see. Set people up with a great question, and you will see some brilliant data flying back at you.

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Keep It Short

Nobody wants to sit down and answer 100 questions, and that is why online surveys need to be short and sweet. Make questions multiple choice where possible, so that people don’t even have to type out their answers and try to make it time accessible. For example, two minutes may seem like nothing, but it is definitely enough for answering survey questions.

Make it Accessible

The language, nuance, and guidance all have to be clear, concise, and engaging. If a person answering the questions doesn’t understand what the point is, they will switch off and leave it unfinished, which wastes your time and your resources, and harms your reputation. Making it accessible will avoid these sorts of problems altogether.

Are online surveys useful for data harvesting? Yes, but only if you construct them efficiently and reach the right target audience. They can be an incredible way to access relevant information to enhance a marketing strategy, so they should be on the table.