Giving marketers access to insight faster than ever: Interview with Usurv

By Chris Lee

A new online polling service has hit the UK. Usurv, a new UK service which the founders say helps brands “make fast, informed marketing decisions using quick, accurate, low cost market research”, enters a competitive market. NMK caught up with Usurv’s marketing director, Guy Potter, to learn what the company brings to the party.

Briefly introduce Usurv to us

Usurv is a self-service survey tool that uses the power of the Web to conduct quick, accurate, low cost market research for businesses in general and marketers in particular. Our portal enables users to set up surveys, ask questions and view results immediately via our online reporting tool, with complete results available in minutes and hours rather than days or weeks.

Usurv delivers questions to respondents by displaying them to people who are surfing on partner sites. As surveys are short (restricted to five questions in length) and delivered as part of the browsing experience we’re seeing much higher completion rates (around 30 per cent compared to industry averages of 10 per cent), and consequently faster results, without compromising quality.

Our methodology has been rigorously tested and to ensure a quality service for both our clients and our partners every survey is reviewed by an experienced market researcher who conducts a quality control check before it is launched.

Essentially Usurv makes market research much faster and cost-effective for marketers and businesses of all sizes.

SurveyMonkey has been around for years, as have other online survey services, how does Usurv differ? What’s your unique selling point?

There are two main differences. Firstly, we don’t just provide the online research platform, but also the audience of potential respondents, tailored to the demographics marketers are looking for. In the past users of SurveyMonkey had to supply their own audience in order to conduct research, which meant marketers had to source and buy a separate database. While this has recently changed and you can purchase an audience from other do-it-yourself survey services, it highlights the second major difference between Usurv and other online surveys.

Most traditional online research, such as omnibus surveys, relies on emailed questionnaires served to paid panels of respondents that complete surveys for cash. This means you get a skewed demographic – essentially a self-selecting sample of those that register to fill in surveys.

We use a recognised methodology we call River 2.0 (where questions are answered in the flowing river of the Internet by people who are surfing on our partner websites) which means we are able to get responses in as near to real time as possible, at a fraction of the cost and from a much wider section of the population, guaranteeing accuracy. And as we are a technology company you can see the results instantly online via our reporting interface.

Why do surveys continue to have appeal to marketers? Don’t we see too many of them?

Understanding your customers is the number one priority for marketers and surveys are a relatively straightforward way of listening to what they are saying. Consequently, we do see too many surveys, often conducted badly. Many are too long, meaning that respondents find them tedious and difficult to answer, leading to high drop-out rates. In these surveys many of the answers are “nice to know”, but few are essential to running a business or marketing campaign.

What we’ve set out to do is help marketers and businesses get to the information that they need to know quickly and easily. Are consumers willing to try my product? Would they re-purchase the same brand of mobile phone? Would they recommend it to other people? These are the sort of questions that cannot be answered by “listening” to social networks, but can be answered with short surveys. Marketers need this level of feedback to manage their brands effectively as it gives them the data to back up their business decisions.

The author’s experience

I have been given access to the Usurv service and gained 1,000 responses within three hours to a survey. Usurv says it exploits the opportunity left untapped while Google’s similar online survey product – Google Consumer Surveys (GCS) – remains unavailable in the UK and Europe, reportedly because the search giant’s cookie based tracking system may fall foul of stringent European privacy rules.

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