The majority of market research studies you've participated in were likely centered around one topic, one product, or one company. This could include a customer satisfaction survey about your bank, a new product development focus group where you shared your feedback on an invention, or a short online survey asking for feedback on a website you just visited. All of these examples represent specific studies with the objective centering around one or several similar topics.
However, this is not always the case with market research. Surveys can focus on a wide variety of topics and questions. This type of survey which acquires several sponsors and covers a broad spectrum of questions is what is called an omnibus survey.
Will your survey cover one topic or a variety of topics?
What is an Omnibus Survey?
An omnibus survey is one survey administered to a large number of respondents which inquires about a variety of topics and questions. The questions are often unrelated and can span across products, services, and brands. The variety of questions is often driven by the sponsors who sign-up or buy-into the survey.
Sponsors of the omnibus survey pay a fee to buy a question or questions in the survey script. For a deliverable they receive the respondent data to their questions and also all of the demographic responses tied to each case. The sponsoring client can cross-tab their satisfaction ratings by age, gender, income, and geography. Some of the omnibus surveys include data on up to 10 to 15 questions of demographic data to provide significant value-added information.
The sponsor does not receive information or data from questions asked from other sponsors even though the respondent answers all questions in the survey. The benefit of the omnibus survey is the ability to share the expenses of a massive survey among several sponsors. So instead of one sponsor paying for an entire market research project from start-to-finish, the questionnaire design, programming, administration, and reporting expenses are shared across entities.
How Does an Omnibus Survey Work?
The most cost-effective methodology for an omnibus survey is by using an online survey platform. Many of the omnibus surveys use omnibus panels. These panels offer a large sample of respondents which can be used for the pool. Since these omnibus panels also have tons of demographic data collected on respondents, they are able to share in-depth profiling data to the sponsors of the survey without having to ask demographic questions on the back-end.
The omnibus survey starts with securing sponsors for the survey. A sponsor is any company willing to buy into at least 1 question in the omnibus survey. This question could ask about awareness, perception, loyalty, or any other number of topics. Once the survey secures enough sponsors and questions, then the market research company works with each sponsor to finalize the question(s) being asked.
From there the omnibus survey is programmed into an online software and a test link for each question is sent to the sponsor companies for review. Once approved the omnibus survey is tested and launched to the panel of respondents. Fieldwork remains open for 24 hours to a week in order to collect the specified number of completes.
The real value of an omnibus survey for a sponsor is to cross-tab results of their question by several audiences. Typically surveys like this acquire at least 800 to 1,000 completed responses per question. This large sample size allows more flexibility for the sponsor to slice data by age group, income levels, and other key splits.
Not only is the raw data delivered to the client but some omnibus survey companies also include a high-level report or infographic as part of the market research package. This is usually an option the sponsor can choose as part of their omnibus rate.
Interested in Conducting an Online Survey?
Drive Research is a market survey company in Syracuse, NY. We work with clients through the market research process as a consultant from start-to-finish. All of our projects involve a kickoff with roadmap, driver's manual workplan, fieldwork, and reporting.
Here is your 6-step guide to an online survey project.
Our reporting is our true differentiator as we dig into results and provide you with insights and actionable takeaways.
Call us at 315-303-2040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.