Product Promotion Network


SurveyMonkey is probably the best-known online survey tool[1] for creating and deploying market research, and for good reason. Even its free version has a lot of power, and the online application’s clear-and-understandable user interface makes it easy to solicit input from your customers, users, and employees. The paid version, priced at £25 per month, adds desirable features to the by-now-familiar interface, so it’s an easy upgrade to justify.

Even better, SurveyMonkey recently updated its interface, optimized for mobile, and even incorporated artifical intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to give the software all-new capabilities[2]. Not everything is straight-up obvious. To ensure an answer is a number, you have to select a text box, and then dive into its options.

It won’t take long to get used to such things, but at first blush it’s a little confusing. I prefer to use software that does not violate the Rule of Least Astonishment – that is, I want my first guess for “How do I do that?” to be the right choice–which is why I gave SurveyGizmo[3] the Editors’ Choice award instead. SurveyMonkey has two pricing options at £19 or £25 per month.

The latter provides such features as data and report export, A/B testing, answer randomization, and text analysis. The export capability is probably worth the kick upstairs to the more expensive subscription; otherwise your data is trapped within SurveyMonkey’s system. The Enterprise license encourages collaboration, with a shared library (for images and custom themes) and data sharing across a workgroup.

SurveyMonkey - Builder

Creating Surveys

Certainly, SurveyMonkey gets good marks on “easy to learn.” To create a new survey, you drag-and-drop questions onto the webpage, and then fill in the question and answer text.

While drag-and-drop design might seem a bit “old school,” in this case it works well, since it’s easier to drag a question to a different page than to click on seemingly-interminable-dialog boxes to “move to after question 11.” Each question type has help text floating above it, obviating the need to open up separate Help windows. On the other hand, SurveyMonkey support multiple text boxes in response to one question, such as, “What three search terms would you use if you were looking for this result?” Most (all except FluidSurveys[4]) required me to ask that question with one text box, which meant textual analysis (either manual or algorithmic). It permits A/B testing, so you can see how people respond to different wording.

Plus, SurveyMonkey can insert piped text. That is, all the applications let you send the respondent to another question (or page) depending on his response, such as asking someone who marked his sales experience as “disappointing” follow-up questions (like “Why?”). Here, though, the question incorporates an earlier answer.

If Question Four was a multiple-choice for favorite colors (red, blue, yellow), Question Five can ask, “Why did you prefer red?” and Question Seven’s multiple-choice options can include [favorite color] as a response, so you can learn more about that red choice. You’ve plenty of resources to work with. SurveyMonkey has a superb “question bank” with ready-made Q&As, including obvious demographics (gender, age, employment status) and the not-so-obvious (U.S.

Military Service). It’s not as extensive as the SurveyGizmo question bank, but it’s pretty darned good. You don’t need to search its database, either; pausing briefly while typing in a question (“How old…”) causes SurveyMonkey to suggest common questions (“How old is your target client?”).

Its expert survey templates work as an excellent starting point for typical needs (such as customer satisfaction or event feedback). You won’t always be doing surveys on your own.

SurveyMonkey - Options

Deployment, Reporting, and Analysis

Once your survey is ready to share, you can send it via email or Facebook; you can also share the URL manually or embedded on your website. Email distribution can get IDs using a CSV file or manual entry, or by importing from Gmail, Yahoo!

Mail, or Its customization options for the email appearance are comparatively limited (no pretty backgrounds here), though you can schedule when to send the message, create a custom URL (rather than send people to, and accept or reject anonymous answers. It’s the only tool I tested to send email updates; each day I got a message telling me that I had, say, 20 new answers to each survey.

If you can’t find enough respondents on your own, SurveyMonkey lets you buy responses based on demographics, employment status, technology use (people who own a digital camera), or household choices (cat owners). I didn’t test this, though I noted that pricing depends on the audience you seek. After all, there are more cat owners than corporate CEOs, and you should expect to pay accordingly.

SurveyMonkey’s reporting is straightforward, with clear charts and graphs that make it easy to see the results. Most of the time, you don’t have to think about the software, just use it to contemplate the data you collected. But SurveyMonkey does an admirable job of offering power right below the surface, for when you do want to change things.

Its click-right-here choices encourage you to adjust the way data is presented: Stacked horizontal bar? Line graphs? Change the axis scale?

Whatever you need. Every online survey application does well in this regard; I simply liked the way it presented this data, as it encouraged me to play with the data and thus discover unexpected relationships.

SurveyMonkey - Display Options

Every survey application lets you filter results (“Show results from people in Arizona”) and compare data based on answers (“Show this ‘likelihood’ question correlated by state”). SurveyMonkey does a particularly good job at saving these filters (“Compare Q10: Female, Male”), which again encourages you to look at data in new ways.

Unfortunately, if those reporting needs aren’t everything you want, you need to pay extra to do your own analysis, as exporting the raw data or reports is in the higher-priced subscription. You do get lots of choices: You can export summary data to PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, and CSV; the raw response data can be saved as Excel, Google Sheets, PDF, and SPSS. The Enterprise edition lets you trigger surveys and analyze results directly from[5].

Note: SurveyMonkey and FluidSurveys are now one company, but the products are maintained separately; as a result, each merits its own standalone review.

It’s Popular For a Reason

Online support is friendly and responsive–which is a good thing, because it’s the only sort you’ll get. Should you need to contact the company in any other guise, you’ll discover that once you do find a phone number, all it does is direct you to the online resources. Yes, I realize we’re all online these days, but on the rare occasions we need a live breathing human to respond, we shouldn’t have to contact a company’s Twitter ID.

Can’t someone answer the phone?

SurveyMonkey is the “default” survey application for many people, and it gains considerably in power when you sign up for an online subscription.

There’s a reason this application is so popular: It’s very good.


  1. ^ online survey tool (
  2. ^ all-new capabilities (
  3. ^ SurveyGizmo (
  4. ^ FluidSurveys (
  5. ^ (

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