How Do Website Surveys Work? | Website Survey Companies

website survey market researchWebsite surveys are an excellent way to capture in the moment feedback from users. Similar to the benefits of intercept surveys, market research conducted during or immediately after an experience is always the most reliable and accurate.

To explain the value of in the moment market research, let's take a look at 2 examples.

The first scenario is an example of in the moment surveys. This is one of the major benefits of website surveys which we'll talk about later in this post. The second scenario is an example of more delayed market research where a survey is sent well after the experience took place.

Let's equate this to a simple purchase, like buying a sandwich at your local deli.

Scenario 1

On the way out you receive a text message alert asking you about your experience. The deli has your contact information from the rewards card you signed up for months ago earning you points for every purchase at the deli.The survey asks some basic questions. How quick was the service? How was the quality of the food? How accurate was the order?

Since the order happened just a minute or two ago, it is easier to remember all of the details of the experience. The line to order was very long and it took over 5 minutes to place your order so you rate that low. The food service person was rather rude because it was so busy and when asked for additional comments, you write "Jodi seems frustrated and flustered and was rude to me."

However, the sandwich was excellent you rated that high. As a result, you rated the deli a "7" on the likelihood to recommend scale of 0 to 10, with "10" being very likely to recommend. Overall the sandwich was good so you rated the experience higher.

Scenario 2

About 4 days after the order you receive an email in your inbox inviting you to take part in a short 3-minute survey about your most recent purchase at the deli. The survey questions are identical to the ones we listed in Scenario 1.

You pause for a moment to think back to the experience 4 days ago because you've eaten at 3 other restaurants for lunch since then.

You remember the sandwich being really good but you forget about the line and you can't remember the food service person's name. So the speed of your order is rating high as well as the quality of food. Your overall likelihood to recommend score is now a "9." The deli missed out on here very valuable and actionable feedback because you did not complete the survey in the moment.

Which one of these scenarios offers accurate and reliable data?

This is one of the core benefits of website surveys: collecting data in the moment with users on your website.

There is no better time than now. Especially when it comes to surveying users.

What are Website Surveys?

Website surveys are administered directly to users or browsers of websites. The survey invitation is initiated at the time when the user is on the site. There are 3 different examples of website surveys which are offered by website survey companies like Drive Research.

The 3 options for you are described below.

Option 1: Embedded Survey On-Site

This is the first website survey option for your organization. Here the website survey company will program a survey addressing your key needs and objectives and send you an HTML code to embed on your website. This survey code can be embedded on to any page of your site and in some cases a widget or toolbar to the right side of your screen.

This survey is static. Meaning it lives on your site so anyone who can access your site can take it. Some clients also put the survey on a private link. So unless you have the link, you cannot find it on the website. The survey is embedded into the site infrastructure so the respondent never leaves the site to complete the survey.

Example of an Embedded Survey: A local gym wants to receive feedback from its members. It does not collect emails as part of the sign-up process and a phone survey is too expensive. It decides to post a static website survey on its site and directs new members to the website page: Feedback is submitted regularly through this page from site visitors and members.

One option for you is offering a static and embedded survey on your site.

Option 2: Pop-up Survey In-Screen

This is probably the most popular form of website surveys for companies. The key question you need to ask yourself is do we want to allow pop-ups on our site for users or not? Many e-commerce companies choose not to use this option because they want users to have the path to least resistance when placing an order.

These pop-up surveys show on respondents' screens in a smaller window. The user can navigate and complete the survey without ever leaving the site page. Once the user completes the survey they are reverted back to the original webpage. Pop-up blockers will limit the opportunity to survey site users.

This is recommended for short 2 to 3 question surveys. Because the user will be distracted by the original site in the background of the screen time is critical here. The pop-up typically starts with the first question of the survey and has them jump right into it.

The frequency of pop-ups can be set by the market research firm. This allows the survey to show to 1:2, 1:5, or 1:10 users. This adds some randomness and statistical reliability to the survey. This can be adjusted to any ratio needed. The ratio is often adjusted throughout fieldwork to manage quotas (higher or lower).

Example of a Pop-up Survey Invitation: A law firm just launched a new blog on its website. It posts relevant stories, tips, and advice for its users and site visitors on a regular basis. It is in the early going and they are trying to receive feedback from readers. This includes what types of articles they want to read and how satisfied they are with the current content. The law firm sets up a quick pop-up survey for blog readers asking those 2 questions.

Option 3: Pop-up Survey Invitation

This third option uses a very similar structure to the pop-up survey in Option 2. However, when the users see the pop-up, instead of asking question 1 in the survey, it invites them to take a survey off-site. By doing this it ensures the user has your full attention when taking the survey. It also gives you an opportunity to ask more questions to the user.

This option also offers customization to show the survey to any number of site visitors. It ensures not every single visitor will get an invite. However, if response rates are low, it can be bumped to a different ratio to increase show-rate.

Example of a Pop-up Survey Invitation: A local news site wants better understand the demographics of its site readers. It would prefer the pop-up survey in-screen but the organization quickly realizes it has at least 10 to 15 questions it wants to ask. Rather than trying to have the user complete the survey in a pop-up, it pushes users to the website survey company's page to complete the survey.

How Do Website Surveys Work?

We highly recommend working with a third-party website survey company to assist you. They have access to several survey software capabilities which can add a lot of value to your project. The other option is purchasing a survey platform or software. However, you'll be responsible for an up-front cost and need to spend time training, writing, programming, and managing your survey.

If you work with a website survey company, you'll be taken through the following 4 step process. These are the basic 4 components of any market research project.


Here, the website survey company will meet with your project team to understand the key objectives of your study. What do you want to learn? How will you be using the results? This helps drive the structuring of the website survey. It also ensures everyone is on the same page on timeline, tasks, and deliverables.


In this step, the market research vendor designs a draft survey for your team to review. After it is finalized, it is programmed into the software and a test link is sent to your team for review. Here you can see how the survey will look as if you were a real respondent. They will also pass your website management team or IT personnel an HTML code to embed on your website.


This is the time period when the survey completions are collected. This can be a finite amount of time to collect a specific number of completes (200, 400, 800). Or it can be ongoing. Clients choose both of these options depending on their objectives. Some even do a benchmark wave of fieldwork followed by a Wave 2 to measure how KPIs and other metrics have changed.


Probably the most valuable step of the website survey process. This is when the website survey company develops insights and key takeaways from the data. This report structure may include an executive summary, infographic, customer persona(s), and question-by-question results from your fieldwork. This is another major advantage to using a third-party because they can provide expertise and perspective from all of the other companies they've worked with on website surveys.

Want More?

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Contact Our Firm

Drive Research is a website survey company located in Syracuse, NY. Our clients span coast-to-coast. We work with a number of industries offering market research services such as surveys, focus groups, voice of customer (VoC), and customer experience (CX).

Call us at 315-303-2040 or email us at [email protected].

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