Reaching Your Respondents: Comparing Pop-up, Embed and Email Invite Surveying

Online surveys can be deployed in various ways. There are pop-ups, email invites, web links, and embedded surveys, to name a few. Knowing which to use for your questionnaire can be difficult, and usually the decision comes down to whichever deployment method is easiest to implement. Few organizations factor in the strengths and weaknesses of each online sampling technique. This article will go over the two major forms of online surveying and which method is most useful for your company.

The Epic Battle between Intercept and Fixed-List Surveying

When it comes to online surveying there are two major types of sampling, fixed list and intercept. Both of these methods encompass different ways of gathering data from your survey respondents. Let’s first take a look at fixed list surveying.

Online Fixed List Surveys -Using Email Invites

A fixed list survey means that the researcher has a pre-set list of contacts that they are going to request responses from. This could range from a list of phone numbers to call or house addresses to visit. The only requirement is that the researcher does not deviate from their contact list. In the online world, fixed list surveying almost exclusively refers to the use of email invites.

When Emailing Your Survey is the Right Move

If your organization already has the email addresses of all your customers and clients, emailing your survey URL to your respondents is usually the best way to ensure high response rates. Email invites are a stronger call to action than more passive surveying, like an embedded survey where the visitor has to seek out the questionnaire themselves. Emails also allow the individual to respond to your survey whenever they have time, unlike a pop-up that requires their information immediately.

Beyond this, a fixed-list of respondents makes calculating response rates and your data’s statistical accuracy much easier. Your email contacts gives you direct control of your sample size and an easy reference to the survey’s completion rate. Furthermore, with powerful online survey software, like FluidSurveys’s Invite Tool, it is possible to use piping to customize each respondent’s email and survey to include their name, location or any other information that could improve their individual surveying experience.

Learn how to make your email message increase survey response rates by checking out the article, “6 Simple Tips to Write Perfect Subject Lines for Your Survey Email Invitations.”

Why Emailing Your Survey may not be Right for Your Business

Usually, email invite surveys are deployed by organizations that require clients to register or subscribe by providing their contact information. These companies already have a complete list of their target audience and can therefore gather useful data through sending email invites. However, if a company does not already have 100% of their target population on a contact list, using email invites could be the wrong move.

For example, let’s say an online news station wanted to conduct a survey asking its visitors to give feedback on their website. They know they have the contact information of all their visitors who signed up for their newsletter and could easily send an email invite to this group, asking for their input. Unfortunately, taking this course of action would ensure that a significant portion of visitors to the website would be unable to participate. In the end, this lack of equal representation would contribute to a large amount of researcher bias, compromising the validity of the survey’s findings.

Website Intercept Surveys -Pop-ups and Embedded Surveys

Okay, so we know as a rule of thumb, if we have an email list including the entire population of respondents we wish to study, we should go with a fixed list survey. But what if we have no way of reaching out to each potential participant directly or don’t even know who makes up our population to begin with? In this case, it is time to turn toward intercept surveys.

Intercept surveys target respondents as they present themselves. These surveys are often done through in person interviews in public areas with a constant flow of people. For example, many intercept surveys are conducted at malls or on busy streets where an organization’s representative will approach random individuals and ask them to respond to several questions. Online, we see most intercept surveys conducted through embeds or pop-ups on websites and web applications. These online intercept surveys gather responses on the spot by tapping into a website or software tool’s visitor traffic. Let’s go over the two main ways companies conduct online intercept surveys:

Embedding Surveys on a Website

Embedding a survey on your website allows visitors to freely fill out your survey on their own time. Often used by companies with high website traffic, embedded surveys ensure the incorporation of your company’s brand and an image of increased credibility because the survey is a part of your website.

The one drawback to this strategy is that there is no call to action. Most of your responses will be from customers who have gone out of their way to provide feedback, which means they are going to be very opinionated about your issue. If you want to make sure a more representative group of customers fill out this survey, try using incentives and advertising the URL the survey is embedded on through other venues (receipts, videos, employee interactions, etc).

Deploying a Pop-up Survey

Like embedded surveys, pop-up surveys target visitors to your website. However, many pop-ups act as a much more aggressive call to action by ‘popping’ onto the visitor’s screen and forcing the individual to either answer the survey or close the pop-up to continue viewing the site. Though this strategy may entice more responses than embeds, it is often seen as annoying and can have a negative effect on a website’s traffic.

New intercept surveying tools have minimized these frustrations by creating more passive pop up designs which can appear at choice times during the visitor’s interaction with your website or application. Learn more tips on how to use FluidSurveys’s dynamic pop-up system to create the ultimate intercept survey.

Want to learn more about the advantages of intercept surveying, check out our article “5 Reasons Why Your Site Needs Intercept Surveys.”

Deploy the Survey that Best Fits Your Business Needs!

Now that we know the difference, will you be using a fixed-list or intercept survey? If you are leaning towards email invites or embedded survey, go ahead and set up your very own FluidSurveys account by visiting our pricing page!

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