The ups and downs of Google Consumer Surveys (GCS)

The ups and downs of Google Consumer Surveys (GCS)

Google Consumer Surveys (GCS) claims that you can run a survey for 10cents per complete.  This is only partially true.  10cents is the cost for the complete for just the first question.  When you get to the second and the third and then the 10th question, the charges begin to mount.  They basically charge per question per complete.  For 10 questions the price can reach up to 35 cents per question per complete.

Google Consumer Surveys allows only 12 types of questions with limits as to the numbers and complexities of the types of answers.  These are:

  1. Single Answer
  2. Multiple Answer
  3. Two Choices with Image
  4. Rating
  5. Rating with Text
  6. Rating with Image
  7. Side by Side Image
  8. Image with Menu
  9. Large Image Choice
  10. Open Ended
  11. Numeric Open Ended
  12. Open Ended with Image

Once you run out of your 10 questions, what do you do if you need an eleventh? You need to start a new survey.  This means that the respondent profiles change.  If you need a few questions to screen for specific types of individuals, segments or behaviors, you need to start a second survey.  Not necessarily a good thing.

Then after the survey design is complete, you need to wait for survey content approval from Google.  This is okay, but isn’t necessarily apparent how long this will take.  If you’re on a deadline – and marketers always are – you need to plan this in, especially if they find something objectionable – for whatever reason.

So GCS can be very powerful for a small dipstick into your consumer’s behavior and attitudes.  The fact that it might have an enormous panel to choose from is definitely appealing.  For anything reasonably complex it is not quite the tool to use.  We wanted to run, what we believed was a simple, quick, down and dirty survey on showrooming in grocery (results to be published shortly) and it was a challenge.  We needed to get the shoehorn going, and even then we needed to field a second survey.

My guess though is that Google will continue to enhance its capabilities here.  Once they decide they want to have a real offering, it will definitely make life difficult for the current panel providers. At some point GCS has the ability to easily be a category killer for many of their services for market researchers and panel providers.  Whether they choose to is another issue.

This is what our experiences were.  I would love to hear what yours are.  Just let me know if you have any additional insights.