Som tidigare aviserats släpper nu Google sin undersökningsprodukt Google Consumer Survey. Det är ett do-it-yourself verktyg med enkät- och utvalsmodul i ett.
Målsättningen enligt Google är att göra enkla undersökningar billigare och att för sajtägare erbjuda en alternativ ersättningsmodell för premium innehåll på internet (f.n. endast i USA).
En sak är säker. Denna nya konkurrent kommer inte passera obemärkt i undersökningsbranschen.
According to Google Consumer Surveys product manager, Paul McDonald, the tool has been introduced to make research affordable to small- and mid-size businesses that typically can’t afford to hire a market research firm. The tool allows users to create anonymous surveys via a self-service online interface that also analyses and presents the data in real time, simple reports.
After a quick look at the user interface and the sampling and weighting functionalities, it is clear that Google has used a very smart approach and they are in it for the long run…
The survey question pops up on a section of a webpage giving the reader the option to ”pay” by answering one question to get access to the page content (videos, articles etc). Google is by this paying the website owner/publisher five cents per response (= one reader). The service is being billed as an alternative revenue model for publishers considering a pay wall strategy, launching with a handful of news partners last week.
Image: An example Consumer Surveys surveywall on www.limaohio.com. Once the user has answered this question, they can continue reading the article.
From the researcher perspective, the service works as a DIY research tool, charging users 10 cents per response to questions of the their choice. For specific research audience segments (currently gender, age, geography (US only), urban density and income) researchers are billed 50 cents per response.
Screening questions can also be used for selecting survey participants at the cost of 50 cents per response (minimum incidence rate of 5%).
Image: Google Survey's four steps
The questionnaire building is very intuitive with visual examples in four steps: Name your survey, pick your audience, write your questions and confirm. To allow the researcher to select from available question types, audience selection, screening questions set up and sample size. Then Google takes care of the sampling, weighting and reporting providing the results in real time as respondents complete the questions.
For some researchers, the one-question-per respondent model can of cause restrict analysis of the relationship between survey questions.
In order to ask subsequent questions to respondents with identical background criteria and to provide researchers with demographics about the respondents, Google using cookies and partner networks to deduce this information. The accuracy of this information remains unclear at the moment, to me at least. Google explains it like this:
“Income and urban density can be computed by mapping the location to census tracts and using the census data to infer income and urban density. Gender and age group can be inferred from the types of pages the respondent has previously visited in the Google Display Network”
Surveys can only be made with US participants at the moment, and the cookie-based tracking system that underlies their sampling model can most likely not be applied in Europe straight on, but is is just a matter of time before the respondent trackling will function here as well. In the meanwhile it is not unlikely that Google rolls out its survey package in emerging economies with lighter privacy restrictions for online businesses.
What will Googles survey tool do to the research business?
Clearly it affects many of us working with or participating in market research. Here are some ideas but there are of cause many more.
If (or when) respondent get used to these one question long surveys, it will be difficult going back answering 25 minute long surveys again. And this maybe makes it easier for research providers when explaining to their clients that we mustn’t add this additional question block? Cint recently reported exemplified response rates for different survey length, where around 7 minutes long surveys gave the highest response rate. Note that Cint’s revenue model increases the respondent compensation with interview length. Shorter surveys are believed to give a too low incentive to motivate the respondent, and surveys over 10-15 minutes become too long.
My guess is the Google model is likely to put even more pressure on research designers to make questionnaires more fun and meaningful in order to hold on to the respondent through surveys longer that a few questions. This is good news for those concerned about the SABENA-effect on respondents filling in long and boring surveys (Such A Bloody Experience Never Again).
Faster, faster! is something that research providers are likely to hear more often. When research buyers realise that Google provide real time reporting, they are more likely to ask there local provider to deliver today rather that tomorrow.
Research providers with low-value-added research and DIY-tools probably need to focus and develop their business or create new innovations in order to keep earnings growing. Especially surveys directed to the general public will probably be under strong price pressure.
For the Market Research business as a whole, it will most likely make research used by more people and smaller businesses. Hopefully make research as natural, easy and instant as small-scale advertising became with Google Adwords. Even though Google have taken a substantial part of the online advertising spend, there is still a strong need for creative agencies for successful ad campaigns.
Brand owners will have a new research currency to refer to. Given that the US pricing applies in Europe as well, a 10 question, general sample survey with 1000 respondents is currently priced at 6600 Swedish krona (USD 1000). Excluding pre-analysis, survey design and questionaire design of cause, but including sampling, data management and reporting. For a customized target group the price increases up to five times, thus around 33 000 kronas.
One can also guess that research buyers become more demanding when contracting an external agency for their insight, as the DIY option is just around the corner.
One thing is for sure. The market research business will not be untouched by this new competitor.
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