A Comprehensive Guide to Polling Survey Platform

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Demystifying election polling: How survey data can give you insights customer experience
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Feedback matters, and so do opinions, especially when they can impact the success of a product, service, or political campaign. 

This is why it is recommended to gather feedback & opinions of your target population with a polling survey before launching a product or a service or starting a campaign. What makes the process smoother is a polling survey platform. 

But what is it, and how does it help? Well, we’ll learn more about it in this blog. 

What is a polling survey?

A polling survey, more commonly referred to as a “poll,” is a research method used to gather information and opinions from a specific population or sample. Polling surveys are commonly conducted by researchers, news organizations, government agencies, and other entities to gauge public opinion on various topics, such as political preferences, social issues, consumer behavior, and more.

What is a polling survey platform?

A polling survey platform is a software or online tool that allows individuals, organizations, and researchers to create, distribute, collect responses, and analyze data from surveys or polls. These platforms streamline the entire survey process, making designing effective surveys easier, reaching target audiences, and generating actionable insights from the collected data. 

Some well-known polling survey platforms include Voxco survey software, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Typeform, Qualtrics, and Poll Everywhere.

What features of a polling survey platform make them suitable for polls?

Some of the key features of polling survey platforms that make them useful for polling are

  1. Survey Creation: These platforms provide user-friendly interfaces that allow you to create survey questionnaires without requiring extensive technical skills. You can design different questions, such as multiple-choice, open-ended, Likert scales, and more.
  2. Customization: Most platforms offer options to customize the look and feel of your survey to match your brand or desired style.
  3. Distribution: You can easily share your survey link through various channels, including email, social media, websites, and more. Some platforms also offer email distribution tools for sending surveys directly to specific contact lists.
  4. Data Collection: As respondents complete the survey, their answers are automatically collected and stored within the platform’s database.
  5. Real-time Reporting: Polling survey platforms often provide real-time access to survey results. You can view response rates and summary statistics and even generate basic data visualizations.
  6. Data Analysis: While some basic analysis features are available within the platform, more advanced platforms may allow you to export data to external analysis tools for deeper analysis.
  7. Security and Privacy: Reputable platforms offer features to ensure the security and privacy of respondents’ data. This includes data encryption and compliance with privacy regulations.
  8. Survey Logic: Advanced platforms allow you to set up survey logic, meaning respondents see different questions or sections based on their previous answers. This helps create more personalized and relevant survey experiences.
  9. Integration: Some platforms integrate with other software applications, enabling you to connect survey data with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, email marketing tools, or other data management platforms.
  10. Mobile Responsiveness: Polling survey platforms often ensure that surveys are mobile-friendly and can be easily completed on smartphones and tablets.
  11. Collaboration: Many platforms allow teams to collaborate on survey creation and analysis, which is helpful for projects involving multiple stakeholders.

Now that we know the best features of a polling survey platform, let’s learn the benefits of using it.

What are the benefits of using a polling survey platform?

Using a polling survey platform offers a wide range of benefits that make the process of creating, distributing, and analyzing surveys much more efficient and effective. Here are some key advantages of using a polling survey platform:

  1. Ease of Use: Survey platforms are designed with user-friendly interfaces that require little to no technical expertise. This enables individuals without a background in survey design or data analysis to create and manage surveys.
  2. Time Efficiency: Traditional survey methods can be time-consuming, involving printing, mailing, or manually entering responses. Survey platforms automate many processes, allowing you to create and distribute surveys quickly.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Using a survey platform can be more cost-effective than traditional methods. There’s no need for printing, postage, or manual data entry. You can also reach a larger audience through online distribution.
  4. Wider Reach: Online surveys can reach a global audience quickly, breaking down geographical barriers and enabling you to collect responses from diverse participants.
  5. Real-Time Data Collection: Responses are collected in real time, allowing you to monitor progress and analyze preliminary results before the survey is completed.
  6. Customization: Survey platforms offer customization options, allowing you to brand your surveys with logos, colors, and themes that match your organization’s identity.
  7. Question Variety: Survey platforms support various questions, including multiple-choice, open-ended, rating scales, and more. This flexibility helps you gather specific types of information.
  8. Automated Data Collection: Responses are automatically collected and stored digitally, reducing the risk of data loss or errors associated with manual data entry.
  9. Data Accuracy: Survey platforms can include validation checks, ensuring respondents provide valid and consistent answers.
  10. Data Analysis: Many platforms provide built-in tools for basic data analysis, such as generating summary statistics and basic visualizations.
  11. Accessibility: Online surveys can be completed on various devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets, making it convenient for respondents to participate.
  12. Survey Logic: Advanced platforms offer survey logic, allowing you to tailor questions based on previous responses. This creates a more personalized and relevant survey experience for respondents.
  13. Segmentation: You can segment respondents based on specific criteria, allowing you to analyze results based on different groups or demographics.
  14. Feedback Collection: Survey platforms are ideal for collecting feedback from customers, employees, students, or any target audience.
  15. Quick Feedback Loop: Rapid data collection and analysis enable you to make informed decisions or adjustments based on timely feedback.
  16. Integration: Many platforms offer integrations with tools like CRM systems or data analysis software, allowing you to centralize your data and processes.
  17. Security and Privacy: Reputable survey platforms prioritize data security and offer features to protect respondent privacy.
  18. Scalability: Survey platforms can accommodate surveys of varying sizes, from small-scale studies to large-scale research projects.

Using a polling survey platform empowers you to efficiently gather valuable information, make informed decisions, and engage with your target audience conveniently and effectively. Also, there are various in which you can put it to use. Learn about them in the following section.

What are the different ways we can use a polling survey platform?

There are various ways in which you can use a polling survey platform to gather information, opinions, and insights. Here are the most common ones:

Market Research

Conduct surveys to understand consumer preferences, buying habits, and trends. Gather data on product demand and potential customer segments. If you’re interested in a broader set of data collection resources, you might want to explore market research tools further.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Measure customer satisfaction with your products, services, or support. Identify areas for improvement based on feedback.

Employee Feedback

Collect employee feedback on workplace satisfaction, company culture, and management effectiveness. Use surveys to gauge opinions on potential policy changes or new initiatives.

Event Planning

Use surveys to gather RSVPs and preferences for events, conferences, or workshops. Gather post-event feedback to improve future events.

Political Polling

Conduct polls to gauge public opinion on political candidates, policies, and issues. Provide insights for campaigns and decision-making.

Academic Research

Gather data for research studies by designing surveys that align with your research questions. Collect data on attitudes, behaviors, and preferences for analysis.

Product Development

Involve customers in product development by collecting feedback on prototypes or ideas. Identify potential features or improvements based on user suggestions.

Education and Training Evaluation

Evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs, courses, or training sessions. Gather feedback on instructors, curriculum, and learning outcomes.

Public Opinion Polls

Conduct surveys on societal issues, public policy, or current events to understand public sentiment. Share results with media outlets for broader awareness.

Healthcare Surveys

Collect patient feedback on healthcare services, quality of care, and facilities. Gather insights to enhance patient experiences.

Nonprofit and Advocacy Surveys

Gather data to support nonprofit initiatives or advocacy campaigns. Understand the needs and preferences of your target audience.

Website and UX Feedback

Use surveys to collect feedback on website usability, user experience, and design. Identify pain points and areas for improvement.

Travel and Hospitality

Gather feedback from travelers to improve hospitality services, accommodations, and travel experiences. Identify popular destinations and travel preferences.

Employee Training Needs

Assess employees’ training needs and preferences to design effective training programs. Identify skill gaps and prioritize training topics.

Community Engagement:

Use surveys to involve community members in decision-making processes. Gather input on local projects, initiatives, or public services.

What are the ways of carrying out polling surveys?

Before you decide on what polls you want to carry out, you need to be sure of how you want to carry them out as well. How you conduct your research (be it through in-person questioning or polling survey software) can affect the quality of insights you get depending on your demographic. 

There are a few options out there that can give exactly the insights you’re looking for –

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

Modern polling survey platforms have greatly expanded CATI Surveys’ abilities to be able to handle an extremely large number of respondents and quickly upload their responses to the cloud for analysis.

Polls, especially exit polls, need a lot of fieldwork, and CATI surveys are exceptionally good at that, with the best platforms able to monitor multiple interviewers remotely. 

For example, Siena College successfully employed a CATI solution and conducted an incredible 3 million phone calls for almost 100 live polls to accurately publish live poll results during the 2018 Midterm elections.

Online/Web Surveys

Web surveys are another reliable method of collecting data from diverse demographics quickly. Modern polling survey software can easily and quickly integrate the results generated by web surveys for analysis and generate reliable, intelligent insights. Web surveys can be useful in reliably getting a wide range of opinions from a wide demographic.

So what kind of polls can one conduct?

You can conduct three main types of polls:

Exit poll

Let’s start with a biggie – The Exit poll. Conducting an exit poll and an even bigger challenge to get accurate results is a monumental task.

Exit polls can be an incredible data source when done accurately and can help you understand demographics better. However, it’s resource intensive to prevent inaccuracies.

Opinion Poll

Opinion polls are usually constructed to find out the opinions of a certain demographic by asking a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities from responses.

Opinion polls using polling survey software are extremely quick to conduct and easy for people to respond to, allowing researchers to reach a wider audience and generate a lot of data for them to play around with.

However, despite plenty of data to glean, the accuracy of the insights you can get completely depends on the sample size of respondents used.

Feedback Poll

A feedback poll in elections is quite similar to its other use cases (retail, service sectors) – Usually conducted on behalf of candidates or political parties to gauge respondent feedback.

This feedback can be about individual policies, their overall performance and to get an idea about how a particular demographic views policies that are yet to be implemented and can allow candidates and parties to benchmark their performance.

However, getting respondents for feedback polls can be a small challenge, especially for political ones, as many people may not be inclined to give honest feedback due to privacy concerns.

How to conduct a polling survey using a polling survey platform?

Polling survey platforms make conducting a polling survey quite simple and easy. involves several steps to ensure your survey is well-designed, effectively administered, and produces meaningful results. 

Steps to conduct a polling survey using a polling survey platform

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Clearly define the purpose of your survey. What specific information or opinions are you trying to gather from respondents?

Step 2: Choose a Survey Platform

Select a polling survey platform or software to create, distribute, and analyze your survey. Examples include SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Typeform, Qualtrics, and many more.

Step 3: Create Your Survey

Use the chosen survey platform to design your questionnaire. Keep your objectives in mind when crafting questions.

Step 4: Question Design

Write clear and concise questions.

Use a mix of question types: multiple choice, rating scales, open-ended, etc.

Avoid leading or biased questions that could influence responses.

Step 5: Response Options

Offer appropriate response options for each question.

If using multiple-choice questions, ensure that response options cover the possible answers.

Step 6: Pilot Test

Before launching the survey, conduct a pilot test with a small group of people to identify any issues with question clarity or functionality.

Step 7: Sampling

Determine your target audience or population.

Decide on the sampling method: random sampling, convenience sampling, stratified sampling, etc.

Step 8: Distribution

Share the survey link through various channels: email, social media, website, etc.

If using a mailing list, ensure your recipients match your target audience.

Step 9: Data Collection

As responses come in, the survey platform will collect and store the data for analysis.

Step 10: Data Analysis

Depending on the complexity of your survey, use appropriate tools or software to analyze the collected data.

Utilize descriptive statistics (averages, percentages) and possibly inferential statistics (correlations, t-tests) if needed.

Step 11: Interpretation

Analyze the results to draw meaningful conclusions based on the data.

Consider any patterns, trends, or variations in responses.

Step 12: Reporting

Create a report or presentation summarizing your survey findings.

Use charts, graphs, and tables to visualize the results effectively.

Step 13: Communication

Present the results to your intended audience, whether it’s your team, clients, stakeholders, or the public.

Step 14: Ethics and Privacy

Ensure that you adhere to ethical standards in survey research, including obtaining informed consent and protecting respondent privacy.

Step 15: Continuous Improvement

Gather feedback on your survey process and learn from each survey to improve future efforts.

 

The success of your polling survey depends on factors like clear communication, unbiased questions, and appropriate sampling. Reviewing and refining your survey methods will help you achieve more accurate and insightful results.

Conclusion

Polling survey platforms offer a convenient and efficient way to gather data from respondents and gain insights that can inform decision-making, research, marketing strategies, and more. The choice of platform will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the level of sophistication required for your surveys.

Additionally, public opinion can change over time, so the results of a single poll may not necessarily represent a definitive or stable perspective on a given topic.

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