I spend a lot of time talking about quantitative data on this blog, mostly Google Analytics data. But this post will focus on Qualitative. Specifically I want to talk about how to implement and collect qualitative data using Google Consumer Surveys for your website.
Why would you want to run a survey on your website?
Quantitative data, like the data in Google Analytics, only tells half of the story. It’s very good at explaining what happened.
Qualitative data, the data we get from surveys, helps us understand why things happened.
Simply put, Google Consumer Surveys is a survey tool that lets you ask people questions.
You can use a default survey or create a custom survey. If you use the default survey the product is actually free! The default survey consists of the following four questions. (Those in the analytics space will recognize the questions):
- Overall, how satisfied are you with this website?
- What, if anything, do you find frustrating or unappealing about this website?
- What is your main reason for visiting this website today?
- Did you successfully complete your main reason for visiting this website today?
How cool is that? As a site owner that’s everything I want to know. Really, that’s it!
A customized survey costs $0.01 per response. You can ask your website visitors critical questions like:
- How would you rate this website?
- Do you like my new logo?
- Do you watch cat videos on the internet?
- What’s your favorite analytics blog?
Let’s get started!
Running the Free Website Survey
It’s almost TOO easy to run the basic website survey. Start by signing up for Google Consumer Surveys.
That’s it. Once you add the code and activate the survey it will start.
There are a few other basic settings that you can configure for your survey.
You can name the site where the survey is running, like ‘My Blog’ or ‘Store Site’. And you can also enter the URL for the site. Again, this helps in organization.
You can also adjust when the survey is first shown to your users. The default is after 1 page. I have been using this setting as most of the people on my blog only view 1.3 pages per visit (thanks Analytics data!). If you visitors view a lot of pages you might want to wait one or two pages so they so not get scared off.
Oh, did I mention that you can add your survey using Google Tag Manager? I’m not going to go through the entire process, but here’s an overview:
1. Add a new tag to your container. Use a generic HTML tag.
2. Paste your survey code into the tag
3. Add a rule to your tag so it will appear on your site. Don’t forget you need to add rules to your tag so they will execute.
You can learn more about Google Tag Manager in these posts.
Once activated you should see the survey in the lower-right corner of your site.
Setting Up a Custom Website Survey
Let’s take a step back and look at the entire Google Consumer Survey product.
You can run two types of surveys using Google Consumer Survey: an internet survey or a website survey. An internet survey is a survey that you run on other websites. A website survey is a survey that you run on YOUR website.
Your Consumer Surveys account has a hierarcy. It’s fairly simple. You have an account. Inside your account you can create sites and within a site you can create multiple surveys.
This structure is especially useful if you are a large organization with lots of web properties. Sites help you keep track of all your surveys.
To add a new survey, click the create button.
To begin the process you need to choose if you want to run a survey on the internet or on your website. We’ll be running one on our site, so choose the radio button for Your Website and then choose the name of your site from the drop down box.
Again, lots of advanced options at the bottom of the page. But let’s stick to the basics.
Now it’s time to add questions.
There are lots of different types of questions that you can add to a custom survey. From multiple choice, to a simple rating to open-ended question. You have options to choose the best format for your question
In general be brief! There is a 125 character limit for each question. Make sure your answer choices are short, and exact.
If you’re new to creating a survey check out some of these tips for writing good questions.
I’m going to ask a simple question in my survey: why did you come to this website today? I want to make it open ended. I want to see the terms that people actually use to talk about my content.
A survey can have multiple questions. Go ahead and add as many as you want.
BUT, and this is important, GCS will not ask each user ALL of the questions. Each user will only be asked ONE question from your CUSTOM survey. GCS will build a complete survey response by combining all of the answers from all of your participants.
Longer surveys lead to more abandonment. People get tired of answering question after question. Using this method GCS can achieve a ~24% response rate. I like high response rates :)
This does NOT apply to the basic survey. All users will be asked ALL questions on the basic survey.
Once you’ve added all your questions it’s time to review and start your survey. Simply choose how many responses you want and go! I’ve found that for smaller sites 500 is more than enough.
Don’t forget it $0.01 per response. 500 responses = $5.00 = 1 cup of coffee. #DataDeal.
You can also choose a frequency for this survey to run. This means that a user can only submit onceresponse per the time period you specify. For example, you could create a monthly survey to ask your users to rate your site. Each user would only be able to submit one answer per month.
That’s it! I’ll cover how to interpret the results in the next post.