Multi-Sponsor Surveys: What They Are and How to Use Them

cropped image of sponsors shaking hands

It's no secret that market research adds value to organizations' business and marketing decisions. 

That said, we know it can be intimidating to use for the first time. 

Luckily, multi-sponsor surveys are a great methodology for those looking to cut costs and test the value of market research.

Also known as piggyback or omnibus surveys, multi-sponsor surveys are simple to implement, especially for those new to market research.

This blog will outline:

  • Definition of multi-sponsor surveys
  • Multi-sponsor survey advantages and disadvantages
  • How to conduct a survey with multiple sponsors

Interested in conducting a multi-sponsor survey with Drive Research? Get a quote from our online survey company by completing the online contact form or emailing [email protected].

What Are Multi-Sponsor Surveys?

Multi-sponsor surveys or omnibus surveys are a type of online survey that is commissioned by multiple different brands.

Each survey sponsor pays a fee per question and splits the cost of survey design, programming, fieldwork, and reporting. 

This is the biggest difference between omnibus surveys and traditional online surveys.

Multi-sponsor survey questions cover unrelated topics based on each organization’s objectives.

For instance, some questions may measure brand awareness, others test customer loyalty, and some are used to get more press coverage.

Each business will typically sponsor two to five questions, but again this varies based on objectives and budget. 

How Multi-Sponsor Surveys Work

💡 The Key Takeaway: Surveys with multiple sponsors combine a variety of questions from separate organizations. 

Recommended Reading: Your Guide to Conducting Omnibus Surveys

Benefits of Multi-Sponsor Surveys

Because these multi-sponsor surveys are so unique, they offer benefits that are hard to match with other research methods. We outline these advantages below.

1. They're cost-effective

Multi-sponsor surveys are an incredibly cost-effective market research methodology - mainly because the cost is split between different brands and organizations.

It's like a timeshare of market research. 🌴🌴

This type of online survey is ideal if you're unsure how much of your budget to set aside for market research services

Although recent research shows companies are budgeting at least 11% of company funds for marketing teams, this can be a substantial amount for some organizations.

Therefore, for teams concerned about budget, these surveys are the perfect tool to incorporate and test the ROI on market research.

2. You'll still receive quality results

Despite being for multiple organizations, multi-sponsor surveys have quality results that can be applied to business decisions and marketing objectives. 

That's because the survey process has multiple steps to ensure accuracy. 

Even though each client only provides a few questions, the process of conducting an omnibus survey is comprehensive and oriented to gain applicable data based on objectives. 

When the survey is completed, data is cleaned to ensure all respondents took the survey appropriately. 

The market research team will analyze the time to complete to see if any respondents were speeders or laggards. Additionally, the team will look at answers to red-herring questions and straight-line answers. 

3. They pair well with PR and marketing efforts

Another benefit of multi-sponsor surveys is that they're ideal for collecting insights for unique marketing content. 

The findings are exclusive to your organization and can aid in creating press releases, blog posts, reports, and other lead-generating content. 

With up to 73% of journalists searching for press releases online, multi-sponsor surveys have the potential to give you news-worthy data nuggets that don’t exist anywhere else.  

Press release statistic

Plus, an added bonus of gaining more media attention is getting more white hat backlinks for your website.

These are key to helping you rank high in searches and more website visits.

4. Fast turnaround times

More than other types of market research, these surveys have a quick turnaround time. 

Questions and designs are finalized quickly between the different clients because each has a smaller number of inquiries. 

These surveys are sent to general groups of people, so data can be collected within 48 hours once the survey is released.

Finally, the data can be analyzed and shared with each sponsor as they will have a small number of questions. 

5. A great first step to market research

This method is a great introduction to market research if your organization has never utilized it before. 

Conducting a multi-sponsor survey familiarizes you with the market research process from start to finish, with less risk or intimidation.

They can act as a trial run with online survey companies, like Drive Research before investing in larger studies.

It also allows you to practice applying market research findings and data to understand how it fits with your organization's goals. 

Again, these surveys are less expensive than other market research methods, so more members of the organization may be comfortable trying it out. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: The benefits of multi-sponsor surveys are many. From being budget-friendly to yielding loads of fresh data, businesses can greatly improve by investing in these surveys. 

Recommended Reading: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Omnibus Surveys?

Drawbacks of Multi-Sponsor Surveys

The quick timeframe and focused approach of a multi-sponsor survey have some drawbacks as compared to other online surveys. To name a few...

1. There's limited population targeting

These surveys are typically sent to general populations or representatives of the census population. 

Though, qualifying questions can be included to ensure respondents fit the appropriate profile and aren’t biased against the survey subject. 

For example, if a survey was designed for a financial institution, screener questions would disqualify any respondents that aren’t decision-makers of their banking accounts.

But there's a catch. ⚠️⚠️

Screener or demographic survey questions take up valuable space in multi-sponsor surveys and are often left out. 

The more a client wants to target respondents in omnibus surveys, the more expensive the service will be for adding additional questions. 

So, findings from these surveys are reserved to come from large groups of people. 

2. They yield smaller data/responses

Clients only have access to the responses to their contributed questions.

Reports from multi-sponsor surveys only account for a few questions from each client, so there are fewer data points to analyze. 

Therefore, findings from omnibus surveys are less comprehensive than a traditional online survey.

If business objectives call for a greater depth of analysis, other market research methods would be better suited. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Multi-sponsor surveys can get pricey when targeting multiple audiences and don't always yield adequate data. However, partnering with an outsourced team can lessen these cons. 

How to Conduct a Survey with Multiple Sponsors

Sure, you may not be familiar with the market research process. But it's not scary, we promise. 

In this section, we'll break down each step for you. Though, conducting a survey with multiple sponsors may not require each stage to reduce project management costs and time.

online survey process

1. Contact an online survey company

The first step is to find a market research firm that specializes in multi-sponsor surveys, such as Drive Research.

Each company has different specialties and services, so looking into multiple options is helpful leading up to your survey. 

There are multiple factors to look for in an omnibus survey company, so it's important to dedicate time to this step. 

2. Kickoff meeting (optional)

This step is not always necessary. Being that multi-sponsor surveys are quick to implement, many of the necessary communications can happen over email.

Though, if the market research company does host a kickoff meeting, it is a good time to discuss your overall goals and needs in conducting a multi-sponsor survey

Topics to expect in a kickoff meeting include:

  • Questions you want to include
  • What kind of data you want to collect
  • Which audiences you want to reach 

This stage helps keep every party on the same page and understand the steps at hand. 

As mentioned earlier, multi-sponsor surveys can veer away from the standard market research process.

They often have faster turnaround times, thus some market research firms may opt out of this step. 

3. Survey design

The questionnaire design stage is where you create the meat and bones of your multi-sponsor survey

As one of the most collaborative steps, you can expect to revise, tweak and improve the survey design throughout the process. 

The market research team will run an audit of the survey questions you want to ask. 

They provide feedback on:

  • Types of questions to ask
  • How to phrase the questions
  • Randomization and other factors

There's a huge variety of possible survey questions, so the team is there to guide you through and offer expert opinions to help you reach your goals. 

The survey draft will be proofed by multiple members of the team before moving on to programming. 

Coffee mug next to computer

4. Programming

The fourth step is where your survey comes to life. 

The multi-sponsor survey company will begin loading approved questions into their preferred online survey software. 

This step requires precision and attention to detail to ensure the best usability. 

For instance, it is critical to ensure each question is accounted for, and that there is cohesive branding. This is especially important, as questions themes and topics vary. 

Some programming steps include:

  • Adding routing patterns
  • Marking questions as must-answer
  • Creating a path for disqualified respondents

5. Testing

Before launching the now-programmed survey, it should be tested multiple times for accuracy. 

Members of your research team will take the survey from the perspective of a respondent. 

For instance, when testing a multi-sponsor survey, our team pays close attention to:

  • Skip patterns
  • Grammatical errors
  • Branding design 

If they see issues in accuracy, consistency, or usability they leave comments and the survey is revised. 

6. Collecting survey responses

Some multi-sponsor survey firms begin with a soft launch (a controlled release of the survey to a smaller number of respondents).

Our online survey company recommends this step as an added layer after testing, this makes certain the survey is running as intended. 

When that is cleared, the survey is fully launched.

Multi-sponsor surveys can be finalized within 24-48 hours, depending on other factors. 

Additionally, at Drive Research, all clients have guaranteed access to an online portal to track fieldwork progress and view results instantaneously. 

Drive Research Multi-Sponsor Survey Portal

Use this interactive link to preview our client survey portal

7. Analyzing the feedback

In multi-sponsor surveys, the level of feedback about your results is determined by your budget and goals. 

Some organizations request raw files of data, executive summaries, and even full reports. 

If interested, we'll also have a final meeting to discuss your full report. Though, similar to the kickoff meeting this is not often necessary for multi-sponsor market research studies.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Running this type of survey follows the basic market research process. A proper team will never skip a step and always keep the client updated throughout the process. 

Contact Our Online Survey Company

Multi-sponsor surveys are a great stepping stone for more comprehensive market research studies. They are quick, cost-effective, and offer quality feedback.

If you're interested in conducting a multi-sponsor survey, contact Drive Research.

We are a full-service market research company that executes omnibus surveys regularly.

To get a quote, contact Drive Research through the following channels:

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