Digital marketing on Facebook (particularly mobile) has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years.
In fact, Facebook accounts for around 10% of the global ad revenue, set to rise even further this year by reaching $135.94 in 2022.
Although platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram have shown accelerated growth over the past year or so, they still do not compete with the number of daily active users (DAUs) and monthly active users (MAUs) offered by Facebook as a whole.
Advertising agencies and digital marketing companies have realized the tremendous value offered by the platform for their clients. The benefits include increased brand awareness, engagement, and even conversions for many advertisers.
But what about using Facebook ads for online surveys and other forms of market research?
Our market research company has found quite a bit of success in this channel over the past few years. Keep reading to learn how.
Using Facebook for Market Research
Facebook offers us a way to showcase our surveys, acquire engagement, and survey completes rather than using an online panel.
The Drive Research team was one of the earliest innovators of using Facebook advertisements for market research purposes at a prior firm of mine years ago.
We began using it for both online surveys and focus group recruitment (more on why sourcing participants through Facebook is better than a panel) and saw tremendous success for the value.
Our team presented an entire webinar on the topic if you're interested in getting more of a deep dive 👇👇
Cautions of using online panels
One of the cautions of using a panel, particularly with tracking or benchmarking studies, is you run the risk of using the same panel members over, and over, and over again.
Depending on the rigor and monitoring applied to panel management (which is, unfortunately, lacking in the industry) companies end up building a group of professional survey takers.
That's not good for the market research firm or the client.
The panel members learn how to answer screener questions, what they need to say to qualify, and all of which create untrustworthy data.
But, market research needs to be credible and trustworthy. The entire industry stands on this single notion, so if panel members are overused, it completely wipes out this standard we are all held to.
How Facebook is different
Before we get into specific benefits of using Facebook for market research, one key benefit of Facebook is the ability to reach a wide array of audiences.
Because the user base is so large, these are typically audiences that you won't run into if you were to conduct a Wave 2.
For example, if you are running an image and awareness survey tracker study and you inquire about awareness in Company ABC this year, it's dangerous to ask that same person the same question next year.
Having taken the survey their awareness of the company has already been vetted. So of course your awareness figures would increase, but by 30%? That seems fishy.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Online survey panels are riddled with professional survey takers. They know exactly how to speed through a survey to earn the reward, even if it means providing illegitimate answers. Doing so results in poor-quality data.
Reason 1: Targeting Capabilities
Oh, how we love the ability to target our audience on Facebook.
Have a highly specific consumer or business audience you need to target? Facebook likely has some data to help you.
Think about the free data Facebook users offer up knowingly (or unknowingly). Things like age, locations visited, page likes, interests, job titles, etc. The list goes on and on. Scary isn't it?
This all comes in handy for digital marketers and market research companies.
- Have quotas for specific age groups or geographies? No problem.
- Need to target specific job titles or roles in Central New York? Not a problem either.
On Facebook you can customize several advertisements to focus on your ideal survey respondents.
💡 The Key Takeaway: The social media platform gives you the ability to pinpoint your audience for your survey. Or in some cases pinpoint many of your audiences using separate messaging for each.
Reason 2: Placement Options
Whether you are aware or not, Facebook also owns Instagram. So when you run an ad on Facebook you are presented with an option to place an ad to a matching set of Instagram users.
Remember, Instagram is a much more visual platform than Facebook which can help or hurt you when it comes to advertising your survey invite.
We typically steer clear of Instagram, however, it does add to your targeted pool especially if you are looking to attract users under the age of 35.
There are various placement options throughout Facebook specifically as well. This includes:
The right Facebook ad placements can help you target specific segments of your audience. For instance, you might see that clicks generated from Stories seem accidental and lead to a high amount of survey incompletes.
For increased survey response rates, you can deselect Stories altogether moving forward.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Depending on your ideal survey respondent, you can select specific spots on Facebook or Instagram for your ad to be shown. Our online survey company finds that Feed ads offer the best return for survey completes.
Reason 3: Capturing Users During Their Free Time
When people use Facebook, they are most likely leisurely scrolling through their newsfeed or pictures. The benefit here is they are most likely using up some free time.
Because it's so easy to click on the survey and users are more likely to be open to taking it, this can benefit a market research company.
Catching them while they're on Facebook, it's hard for a user to think "I'm too busy for that." Are you really?
Like I've always said, how powerful is a survey invitation or advertisement when it's placed directly between your wife's posted pictures of your kids and pictures of your friends? Smack dab right in the middle.
Talk about impactful ad space and getting attention, even for surveys.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Studies have shown the average time spent by day by American users on Facebook was 33 minutes. What better way to spend that free time than to participate in a short survey for a chance to win a reward?
Recommended Reading: Market Research Incentives -- Survey Shows What Reward Is Most Appealing to Respondents
Reason 4: Cost Effectiveness
This is one of the major benefits of utilizing Facebook for online surveys. Particularly when you are trying to find a laser-focused audience.
We recently worked on a market research study targeting nurses in Upstate New York and the online panel companies quoted us $40 per completed survey. We were able to get the survey completes we needed on Facebook for about $5 per complete.
These cost savings can be passed along to our clients to make market research more affordable.
Outside of the survey conversions, Facebook also builds awareness and engagement in our client's brands.
If the survey isn't blinded, our clients benefit from increased awareness and website visits regardless of whether the person has taken the survey or not. It's a nice value-added. It's almost like an advertisement but you also receive bonus data and feedback.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Online surveys are perhaps the most cost-effective type of market research. Going one step further though is by promoting these surveys on Facebook. In some cases, survey completes through the social media site are a lot cheaper than going with an online panel.
Reason 5: A/B Testing
This has been a growing trend not only on Facebook but with our online survey tools as well.
Our survey software allows us to splice invitations and send 2 separate invites for testing. Maybe we find out one subject line works better than the other.
Or 1 reward increases the number of completes over another reward. Options are endless.
Similarly, on Facebook, you can A/B test specific ads to the same audience.
During your soft launch, you can monitor 2 ads and see which one performs best. You can swap out text or imagery. Then you use the best-performing advertisement going forward.
This makes the entire survey process on Facebook more optimized and affordable.
💡 The Key Takeaway: A/B test your survey advertisements on Facebook to ensure you use the optimum ad placement, text, image, and other factors.
River sampling through Facebook does create some concerns. If you complete all of your fieldwork through social media you must be willing to accept the limitations and sample bias.
Let's face it. There are sample limitations with any sample methodology you choose. These limitations with Facebook include sampling online users only, sampling audiences who use social media, etc.
A simple example here is understanding that if you ask a question about "What is the best way to market Company ABC services?"
You're likely to see Facebook and social media overstated because your survey is being answered by its users.
As long as you are willing to accept and address these limitations, we say Facebook is an excellent and inexpensive tool to collect survey data.
If you haven't considered it or if your market research firm is recommending it, it's time to embrace it just like advertising agencies and digital marketing companies already have.
The advertisements are still extremely affordable on Facebook for the amount of engagement and conversions it offers. We all know a good thing can't last forever.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Although Facebook has some limitations, there are still many reasons it has proven to be a cost-effective and more productive option to yielding survey responses. Discuss your options with market research companies like Drive Research to understand the best plan of action.
Contact Our Online Survey Company
Drive Research is a national market research company in Upstate New York. We often utilize Facebook for online surveys and qualitative recruiting, therefore we understand common best practices that lead to finding cost-effective, yet quality respondents.
Interested in conducting a study with our team? Contact us below.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.
Learn more about George, here.