Build Your Own Consumer Confidence Index

We recently shared a new functionality of Survata with subscibers to our newsletter: trackers. We’ve seen a great response from our clients, who have used them to track brand satisfaction, measure changes in consumer preferences, and even create consumer confidence indexes.

If your work is affected by broad, macro trends, keeping an eye on consumer confidence is critical. Instead of simply analyzing consumer confidence findings released by universities or the government, our clients have been able to affordably create their own and gain a proprietary view of the economy.

Best of all, you can base your consumer confidence index on whatever you define as an economic driver. For example, you could track:

  • whether consumers buy their coffee at a coffee shop or make it at home
  • whether consumers perceive gas prices to be rising or falling
  • whether full-time employees expect a raise in the next 6 months
  • whether contract workers expect more or less work in the coming quarter

If you have an idea for creating a consumer confidence index, go ahead and get started!

Survata Announces $6 Million in Series A Funding

Survata is excited to announce that we’ve raised $6 million in Series A financing. The round was led by IDG Ventures with participation from Bloomberg Beta, Alexis Ohanian & Garry Tan, and strategic angels like Tom Patterson, a former SVP at MarketTools. Our existing investors (SoftTech and PivotNorth) also returned for this round. We’re extremely happy to have investors with a strong background in selling data and information products and who share our vision for building Survata. We also welcome Phil Sanderson from IDG Ventures to our board.

In the last year, we’ve grown from just a few coworkers in a converted loft apartment to over a dozen employees in a great new office in SOMA. Our growth has been very rewarding, but we’re excited to keep building Survata into the best possible market research company in the industry. “Our mission is to build a world-class research company,” said Survata CEO Chris Kelly. “We love serving leading consumer product companies, ad agencies, and hedge funds, and thousands of other clients. We can’t wait to serve more.”

This investment will fund our continued improvement of our current offerings, as well as building new products, such as trackers, API implementations, B2B research products, and other subscription products. We’ll also be further investing in the growth of our Publisher Network and hiring a full time employee devoted to managing and growing the network. We’re also hiring for multiple other roles, so if you see a fit, please reach out.

Which Tech CEO Would Make the Best President?

With under 18 months remaining until the election, 2016 presidential hopefuls are announcing their bids. At the same time, the spotlight on the CEOs of technology companies has never been brighter. We decided to ask America which technology CEO they believe would make the best president. We surveyed 1503 voting age Americans, asking them to select the CEO they would be most likely to vote for in a presidential election. Their choices were Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Larry Page.*

Here’s what we found:

Survata asks America to choose the best presidential candidate of tech CEOs

To see the full results, head to the Survata Public Dashboard.

* NOTE: We did not consider eligibility requirements for the US presidency, such as country of birth, in this survey. Read more about the rest of our methodology.

Join the discussion on Hacker News.

Would you pick Facebook over Twitter? Probably, unless you’re a teen

Despite the recent growth of new social services like Snapchat, the undisputed kings remain Facebook and Twitter (sorry, Google+).  We at Survata were curious how users of both services would react if they were presented with a digital Sophie’s Choice: Making them select only Facebook or Twitter to keep using.

We used our consumer survey service to interview thousands of online respondents, and screened for 1,555 respondents who reported being regular users of both Facebook and Twitter.  Those respondents were then asked “If you could only continue using one of the following services, which would you choose?” followed by randomized answer options for Facebook and Twitter.

Overall, 65% of respondents chose Facebook.  However, it’s more insightful to review the data by demographic segment.  In a surprisingly consistent trend, users preferred Facebook more as they got older – the 55+ crowd chose Facebook 92% of the time.  In fact, the only age group to prefer Twitter (51% of the time) was 13-17 year olds.


Both genders preferred Facebook, but their advantage was stronger among women.


We did not ask respondents to list a reason for their choice, so we don’t have any evidence behind Facebook preference.

Interested in measuring your own consumer preferences?  Try a Survata survey now and start seeing data today.

What’s worse than your mom seeing your web history? The NSA, Google

While the federal government and your significant other may have very different interests in scouring your personal data, the potential privacy breach is troublesome in both cases. With data security and government surveillance perpetually in the news, we at Survata decided to gauge public concern about data snooping in various forms. To evaluate this, we polled over 2,500 respondents with two surveys — one gauging concern with the NSA and a corporation like Google gaining access to personal data, and one with bosses, significant others, and parents. Overall, the results show respondents were most concerned by a company like Google gaining this access, as shown by the average level of concern:


Types of questions every startup needs to answer

Is your new logo a success? Are you offering a service that consumers are excited about? Your company needs answers to these types of questions, but traditional research methods often aren’t a fit for a smaller company’s timeline or budget. However, emerging consumer research tools are making consumer data accessible to companies of any size. You can collect data to inform any business decision, and can do quickly and affordably. To fully dispel the “research is only for large companies” myth, we at Survata compiled a list of research topics that address some of the major concerns of the average small business, and can be designed to fit any budget.

Choosing a name:

While choosing a company name can be a daunting task, resources are available to help you instantly access informative data. If you have a list of names you’re deciding between, simply put the list in front of a respondent (along which a quick business description) and ask which they like best. If you want to test the messaging of a specific name, ask respondents what the name reminds them of, or what type of service they’d expect from a company with that name.

Choosing a logo:

There have been well-publicized cases of company logos having unintended visual associations, but testing a logo can safeguard against these disasters. Similar to choosing a company name, logo tests are helpful in deciding between possibilities or evaluating individual logos. Collecting data allows you to test rather than guess, and find a logo that suits your brand and pleases your target demographic.

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Choosing a tagline:

A good tagline gets to the point of a company’s offering without excess verbiage, but how can you make sure your point is coming across? Evaluating different taglines can be helpful for developing a phrase that’s informative and catchy, and highlights the features of your business people care about most.


Testing a landing page:

Once you’ve drawn consumers in with a stellar company name, logo, and tagline, you need an effective homepage design to close the deal. Using tools like Survata and UserTesting, you can get live consumer feedback to your site. Put a screenshot of your website in front of respondents, and ask what stands out, or where they’re most likely to click if they wanted to learn more.


Collecting data for investor pitches:

Convincing consumers your service is worthwhile is one thing, but wooing potential investors can be a different story. If you’re preparing to meet with investors, collect quantitative proof that your business solves a significant problem or fulfills a major need. Simply pitch your business idea to consumers and gauge their interest for a quick and straightforward way to validate demand.


Collecting data for PR releases:

As with investor pitches, collecting data for a press release or newsletter can be a compelling way to communicate the benefits of your business or service and gain publicity. Collect data that’s relevant to current events or your particular industry, or numbers your target customer is likely to care about to add some color and personality to your PR material.

Forget about old-school panel groups and incessant telemarketers, because collecting market research data no longer has to be expensive and cumbersome. By investigating the business elements above, you can start to get a comprehensive data background on your small or emerging business.

Tracking brand reputation on a budget

Running a brand tracking study often means drowning in complex data and spending lots of money, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Survata allows companies to perform simple brand tracking studies, asking a few core questions, that provide meaningful and statistically significant findings. Performing a regular study for as little as $1000 per quarter can give insight to how your reputation is evolving, or clue you in on any aspect of how consumers view your brand.

For example, a business might want to gauge the longer term payoffs of a new PR campaign. By asking questions concerning brand trust or favorability on a regular basis, companies can measure whether their efforts are moving the needle. Obviously, brand reputation can fluctuate with things like current events, emerging competition, or company news. By staying on top of key numbers, brands can take preventative measures before experiencing a full-on PR disaster. A tracking study can also be useful for small companies, as tracking brand awareness can help evaluate company growth in comparison to the competition. Survata makes performing periodic market research easy and affordable, and allows you to track your brand without the hassle of hiring a large consulting firm.

Try your first brand tracking study today!

Airbnb logo redesign: More people see hearts than naughty parts

Airbnb recently launched a massive site redesign, complete with a brand new listings page and company logo. The new logo immediately caused media uproar, as many thought the Bélo depicts something more scandalous than a “symbol of belonging” as explained by Airbnb. Online discussion was less about whether the logo has human anatomical associations, and more about narrowing in on the specific private part the logo depicts. Survata has helped many designers and company executives evaluate their logos (since sometimes your logo may inadvertently look like underwear). So, we were inclined to immediately collect data on the topic, and find out whether the public at large was able to keep their minds out of the gutter.

The day of Airbnb’s redesign unveiling, we displayed their logo to several hundred online respondents and asked a simple question:

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The data indicates that innocence is perhaps not entirely lost. While responses like “boobs,” “vagina,” and “butt” came in relatively high numbers, “paperclip” and “upside-down heart” were by far the more common answers. One takeaway from this study is one we already knew: Internet commentators can shade hypercritical (or at least enjoy perpetuating a joke that might not be as apparent to a neutral party). But another is that performing quick consumer research on a logo can be a timely way to clue you in on logo issues before they are trending on Twitter.

Here’s a visualization of how people answered the above question, and you can download the underlying data here.

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Cures for the common startup naming struggle

This column was originally originally written by Survata for publication by VentureBeat.

Encapsulating a business in a single word or phrase can be a daunting task. For startups, the name of the business becomes the first word of every investor pitch and the first message that’s spread to potential users. Although it’s often dramatized, a solid name can be a startup’s first step toward gaining legitimacy and recognition. Having led countless startups to a successful name, we at Survata were interested in compiling some insight to this all-important process. To do so, we reached out to founders who have braved the naming struggle firsthand.

Founders’ stories quickly illustrated how there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for choosing a company name, as no two anecdotes were quite alike. Jared Kopf, founder of AdRoll and HomeRun, outlined some major properties of a winning name. Kopf, who had a hand in naming both Yelp and Slide, looks for consistency between the URL, company name, and product name, and told us he aims for short, catchy names that work well as both nouns and verbs.

For Vastrm, a startup custom clothing maker, inspiration struck during a moment of clarity. The name (derived from a Sanskrit term meaning “cloth”) came to the founder “during a meditation after we had exhausted week over week of names and mashed-up phrases,” Vastrm founder Jonathan Tang recalled. “Sometimes the best solutions come once you are able to let the mind go.”

Other names didn’t come about so organically. Guidebox founder Jeremy Riney built a program to generate names for the television and movie streaming service. “I created a database table and filled it with every single one syllable word that had anything to do with television,” Riney said. “I sat with the combined list for a weekend and Guidebox was the clear winner.”

The availability of the domain name is often a roadblock in choosing a name, and factored heavily into many founders’ naming processes. For ad-retargeting service PerfectAudience, domain availability was the primary jumping off point. “We basically just guessed a ton of different combinations around ‘audience’ until we found an unpurchased domain,” founder Brad Flora said. Of course, a name is only good if you can use it (legally). For app-integration service Zapier, a trademark conflict sent them back to the drawing board, after founder Wade Foster found out their original name (“Snapier”) was already taken.

Through talking to different founders, we did come out a little wiser. Here are some resources to keep in mind when considering a company name.

Survata allows you to put a company name or logo in front of online respondents and collect timely feedback. Whether your company name is meant to evoke a certain feeling or spur a more concrete association, testing it can make sure your name is having the desired effect. By targeting respondents of different geography, gender, or age, a business can make sure their image doesn’t bring up any unwitting cultural associations (e.g. orange underwear).

And, while there are plenty of resources to check for domain availability, Domize and Domainr present available and due-to-expire domain names clearly and comprehensively, and allow for purchase straight from the results page.

For domain databases that provide more in the way of idea generation, Dot-o-mator displays available names, and has a handy compound name generator that allows you to filter by naming category and criteria. Impossibility! allows you to enter broader criteria, such as adding a noun or adjective to a keyword of your choice, and quickly generates a list of unregistered domain names that fit the bill.

Sometimes a human touch is helpful when developing a shortlist of possible names, and there are a number of services that allow companies to get name suggestions from creatives around the globe. Just as 99Designs does for logos, services like SquadHelp and Naming Force allow you to describe your project and receive a bevy of crowdsourced options created by their users.

So, whether a company’s naming journey is more mystical or data-backed, there are a number of factors to keep in mind and resources available at any step. Just give it some time, don’t be afraid to seek outside help, and come up with something that wouldn’t be humiliating to wear on a t-shirt.

Advertisers can improve any campaign using consumer research. Here’s how

Advertisers have used Survata’s consumer survey service in a variety of clever ways. Here are examples of some of our favorites:

Predict banner performance

If you run display advertising campaigns, you likely invest heavily in increasing your banners’ click-through rates. You can easily use surveys to test banner ad designs and calls to action: Just show various ads to consumers, and ask which one they would most likely click. Beware, this test demonstrates “stated preference” which can differ from “revealed preference.” But this is an inexpensive way to predict which banners will boost your CTR before paying for impressions.

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Predict search ad performance

Similar to testing banner ads, you can show different AdWords text ads to respondents and ask them which they’re most likely to click on. Again, this is a stated preference and not a revealed preference. But if you’re bidding on high CPC keywords, this survey may be more cost effective than running a live CTR test on AdWords.

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Track ad recall

Is your brand message sinking in? Surveying consumers can be a great way to find out.  You can measure ad recall by surveying a target group (who saw your ad) and a control group (who did not see your ad), and asking if they remember your stellar advertisement. For online campaigns, you can usually cookie users to verify who has seen the ad. For TV campaigns, you’re left to survey the demographic and geographic segments most likely to have seen your spot. (For bonus points, read up on aided vs. unaided recall.)

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Measure ad effectiveness

After you know whether consumers remembered your ad, you should measure whether it was actually effective. Run one survey before your campaign and one survey after your campaign to look for a lift in brand awareness, brand favorability, or purchase intent. Again, utilize a control group (consumers not exposed to your campaign) to ensure the lift was not from an exogenous factor. For businesses that are not “direct response” advertisers, ad effectiveness surveys are critical to knowing whether your expensive campaigns are paying off.

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Generate keyword ideas

Any search engine marketer would love to extend their keyword list, and surveys make this possible too. Ask respondents for the terms they’re likely to use when searching for a given topic, and prepare to be amazed by how many different ways there are to search for the exact same thing. Such a process will likely lead you to keywords not suggested by existing tools, like Google’s Keyword Planner.

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Pick the right commercial

Don’t let this happen to you. Show potential versions of your TV commercial to your target audience and ask a few questions to get feedback. This ensures your ad is a winner before it’s ever seen by the general public.

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Have an idea for something we missed? Post a comment and let us know!