5 interesting online survey tools compared

Getting feedback from customers or asking their opinion on specific things is easier than ever before. Online surveys, which are discussed in more detail in our general guide to customer feedback, are the reason for this. With a well thought-out concept, you can get all the information you require from your customers at any time of day or night, regardless of their location. To help make finding the perfect software a little easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of 5 interesting online survey tools to compare and contrast.

Doodle

The web application Doodle allows you to create simple internal polls to see when people are available for the next business meeting or work drinks event, and the same technology can be applied to customer surveys. When you start creating an online questionnaire with Doodle, you’ll receive a randomly generated address that is hosted on the Doodle AG server and can be sent to your customers or colleagues via e-mail. To ensure you don’t miss a survey or a resulting appointment, Doodle can be linked to numerous calendars and address books, like Google, Outlook, iCloud and more. Alongside its simple presentation with positive and negative options for answers, Doodle has the following additional settings and functions to choose from:

  • Additional answers (If needs must, etc.)
  • Hidden survey results (only you can see the answers of the participants)
  • Limit participants to just one possible answer
  • Organize participants by answers provided

With Doodle, you can create free online surveys and discussions with or without registration – it’s up to you. But for regular users, there are two, subscription-based premium packages with additional features like SSL encryption, individual design options, and an ad-free use of the service.

Advantages: simple; no registration necessary; surveys can be created quickly; also available in app format for iOS and Android

Disadvantages: surveys are saved on the provider’s server; only suitable for fixing appointments and other small, simple, private questionnaires; surveys can’t be encrypted in the free version

Polldaddy

The web service Polldaddy is based on an editor from Automattic, the company that’s responsible for the popular content management system WordPress. Through the help of this editor, which you can access via a WordPress.com account, you can create an unlimited number of online surveys, from simple ballots to detailed questionnaires, quizzes, and evaluation forms. Given the extensive range of possible answers and number of participants, there’s basically no limits when creating online surveys with Polldaddy. And you have multiple options when it comes to releasing your surveys for feedback: you can either send them via a URL link by e-mail, post them in forums and on social networks, or embed them directly into your website. It’s worth mentioning that Polldaddy is only available in English, so if you operate in several countries, you’ll need to purchase an additional language package for surveys in other languages.

The basic version of Polldaddy’s online survey tool is free and comes with the following special features:

  • 15 template questionnaire designs
  • 19 different types of question
  • SSL encryption
  • Surveys can be decorated with your own brand logo
  • Integration of media content like images or videos is possible

Polldaddy also features a premium package for a fee. This offers additional functions like the option to shape the design of the survey with CSS, the chance to use your own domain name, or the possibility to export the results of your questionnaire as an Excel of PDF file.

Advantages: unlimited questions and answers; different designs; encrypted surveys; app format for iOS; comprehensive reports including various filtering tools for easy analysis

Disadvantages: surveys are saved to the Polldaddy server; knowledge of CSS is required for creative designs; foreign language packages must be added separately

LimeSurvey

The free, GPL licensed online survey tool, LimeSurvey, is written in the PHP scripting language and functions with a MySQL database as standard. You can download the software free of charge from the official LimeSurvey website and host the software on your own web server or local computer. Alternatively, you can outsource the hosting to an external provider or allow LimeService, the hosting platform of the LimeSurvey developers, to host it. Thanks to the licensing, it’s possible to change the exposed source code to include your own design ideas and to program useful plugins. LimeSurvey supports over 80 different languages and comes with a design editor that can be used to help change the layout and design of your survey to fit to your needs. Here are some of the most important features on offer:

  • Unlimited number of surveys, questions, and participants
  • 28 different types of question
  • Options for additional questions based on previous answers
  • Anonymous and public surveys
  • Integration of images and videos

If you’re impressed with LimeSurvey and so want to expand your options and support the developers financially, you can opt for a premium package. By doing so, you’ll also get the premium plugin ‘ComfortUpdate’, which allows you to update your version of LimeSurvey to the latest release with just a few clicks.

Advantages: open source software; can be installed on your own computer or server, giving you full control over collected data; supports more than 80 languages

Disadvantages: lack of accessibility; slightly confusing back end display; high maintenance costs

SurveyMonkey

Whether you’re planning a simple opinion survey or basic market research: SurveyMonkey is a web-based questionnaire solution that offers over 15 types of questions, including multiple choice questions or evaluation scales, as well as a lot of intuitive branching logic that can be used to determine the course of a survey based on answers. Users of this online survey tool don’t just profit from hundreds of expert templates, they can also rely on a full e-mail support system from the SurveyMonkey team. You can either embed your online survey into your web project, publish it on social media, or send it to all your prospective participants via e-mail. When it comes to analyzing the results, SurveyMonkey has a wide range of high performance functions available:

  • Real-time results
  • Visualization of results in the form of diagrams and graphics
  • Filtering tools for particular results (e.g. name, e-mail address, etc.)
  • Crosstabs for discovering and analyzing trends

You can use SurveyMonkey in its free, lite version, which still gives you an unlimited number of questions and 100 possible responses per survey, or you can subscribe to the premium package. This will give you access to additional features like an English-speaking telephone support system, a central user management (e.g. for use of the software for internal surveys inside the office), or the option of adding your own logo.

Advantages: SSL encryption; mobile apps for iOS and Android; diverse pre-designed expert templates; useful question branching logic; central user management (premium edition)

Disadvantages: questions are saved on the server of the provider; very complex software; free version is very limited

SoSci Survey

SoSci Survey is an online questionnaire tool with a unique twist. It’s designed for all users to carry out non-commercial, scientific studies free of charge – and that’s with a full range of functions too. Thanks to the extensive and informative guidance built into the program, users are easily guided through all the necessary steps, from creating a first draft of a questionnaire to analyzing feedback – allowing first-timers to create high quality content for up to 5,000 participants. Other special features here include:

  • Over 30 types of question (e.g. fill in the blanks, scaled responses, balloon test)
  • Embedding of images, audio files, and videos
  • Filtered questions and branches
  • Password protection and SSL encryption
  • Easy to export results as an Excel or SPSS file
  • Flexible, programmable filters and layouts

You can find this German software on the SoSci Survey website. Here you can either use it as an inexpensive Cloud-hosted solution on the provider’s server, or alternatively you can download the software, install it onto your own web server and host it privately. Universities and high schools can get a full year-long license for their own survey server free of charge.

Advantages: free for scientific research; SSL encryption and password protection; can be installed onto your own web server

Disadvantages: overcomplicated for smaller surveys; specialized for data collection and so lacks the necessary means for data evaluation