iDiary at a GlanceNatural PopulationInternet TrackingOn Line PollsDemo Study

On-Line Surveys

On-line surveys collect opinion and attitudes of the Natural Population of the target site. These surveys answer questions that tracking alone cannot answer.

The Different Types of On-line Surveys

1. Screening Surveys

These surveys gather key demographics as well as other qualifying or eligibility variables e.g., frequent vs. infrequent visitors to the target site; national vs. international visitors; and so on.
Responses to a screening survey determine whether a person qualifies to be part of the Internet tracking sample.

2. Exit Surveys

After being tracked for a number of weeks, respondents are asked to describe their thoughts and feelings on different aspects of their behavior, both specific to the target site, and about the Internet generally.
This is called an exit survey and is significantly longer than the screening survey.

3. Stand-alone Surveys

Occasionally a client may require only a qualitative survey. This can be directed at either the Natural Population of the target site or specific sub populations e.g., frequent visitors who are females 18 to 34.
These stand-alone surveys can include interactive elements at the target site. The purpose of the interactive elements is to engage respondent interest, improve response rate, and produce more reliable estimates.

Responses from on-line surveys are integrated with Internet tracking data and are stored in a single source database. Top line results from on-line surveys are available to clients at the same time as the data are being collected via the iResults feature.

Which to Choose? On-line Opinion Vs. Tracking Surveys

Mostly, the two represent exclusive domains of knowledge.

On-line surveys are a poor substitute for tracking data. Why? On-line surveys rely on recall and Internet behavior is too voluminous and complex for Internet users to recall accurately. Comparing the two in methodological experiments shows that recall data significantly inflates Internet behavior e.g., registers more Internet hours per day, more visits to target site, than is revealed in behavior tracking.

Tracking data on its own is insufficient because no qualitative dimension to the behavior experience is provided. The target site may be visited for a long period of time during an average visit. This could be a sign of "stickiness". Or, it could be a statement of frustration at not being able to find what visitors are looking for. A timely, on-line survey is the only way to resolve this question.

Most importantly, tracking data provides fundamentally important statistics that relate to:

 how often visitors return to a web site
 what is the average length of time for a typical visit
 how many average page views they generate before leaving
 how long do they view a page
 the above statistics broken out for key demographics of the Natural Population.

Without quantifying these statistics, it is very difficult for a web site to design and develop new content that is attuned to the needs of its users.

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